By Chris Whitfield, Chief Operating Officer, Food

It’s my pleasure to share some news about our recent haul of awards – in fact it’s been so successful, we’ve picked up an incredible 25 awards across Co-op.

We kicked off our successes at the Grocer Gold awards with three of the top titles. I’m delighted to announce we won the Business Initiative of the Year for the hard work completed on our Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities campaign, highlighting how Violence & Abuse Are Not Part of The Job. Nothing is more important than protecting our colleagues so being recognised for our campaign in tackling crime and violence is a fantastic achievement.

The E-commerce Initiative of the Year was awarded to us acknowledging the wonderful ways we we get our products to customers, with a special mention going to our innovative, autonomous Starship robots who’ve really come into their own serving our communities throughout lockdown. We also successfully won the Franchise retailer of the year: Nisa, where the look and feel of the stores impressed the judges along with the uplift in sales of Co-op branded products as a direct result of the strength of our proposition and how well the teams have adapted.

With success firmly in their sights, we also had a fantastic week at the Quality Food Awards, where our Food Team had wins every single day totalling an astonishing sixteen awards. These awards are a celebration of the best in retail food products with our wins secured across a wide range of categories. Amazingly the list didn’t end there as we were also crowned Convenience Retailer of the Year which is a superb achievement.

The good news continued as our PR’s team Nation in Mourning report was recognised with not one but two wins at the PRCA National Awards. The awards recognise standout PR campaigns over the last 12 months so it’s an honour to win the Crisis and Issues Management Award alongside the Media Relations Award. The team were also crowned winners at the PR Moments Awards for the Best Use of Research. This was for their work on the Buying Traditions – the Changing Face of UK Funerals report.

Finally, Co-op Business Services continued the winning streak, scooping a hat-trick of achievements at the Call Northwest Awards. Our Sales and Service Team won the prestigious COVID Customer and Colleague Support Programme of the Year – which is a huge achievement as there was some very tough competition. The quality, speed and effectiveness of the team was highlighted, along with their successful transition to home working allowing them to continue providing exceptional customer service rather than taking an easy option of directing customers online or to FAQs.

On an individual basis, our very own Lauren Reeves was selected as the Sales Advisor of the Year thanks to her self-motivation, dedication and innovative thinking, while Craig Arnold was highly commended in the Team Manager of the Year category for rising to the challenge of building a new team from scratch.

Congratulations to all of the winners and to everyone involved, you should be very proud. I know I am!