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Co-ops in the West Midlands

Published: 19 June 2023

Do you know about this unique way of doing business?

A co-op is a business or organisation that’s owned and controlled by its members, to meet their shared needs. The members can be its customers, employees, residents or suppliers, who have a say in how the co-op is run.

What kinds of businesses are co-ops?

All kinds of businesses operate co-operatively. There are co-operative pubs, energy suppliers, taxi firms, bookstores, community gardens, wine sellers, farmers and sports clubs. There are housing co-ops, health care co-ops, co-operatives of actors, musicians, technology co-ops – and much more.

Co-op facts:

  • In the UK, more than 7,000 co-ops contribute over £40bn to the economy
  • 14 million people in the UK are members of a co-op
  • Co-ops are resilient – in the UK, 72% of co-ops survive the first five years of business compared to 43% of companies

West Midlands Co-ops:

  • There are 569 cooperatives in the West Midlands region
  • Penny Post Credit Union in Wolverhampton is the largest credit union in the UK
  • The DIY chain MICA is a cooperative, with its HQ in Birmingham

Spotlight on one of the Black Country’s proudest co-ops; Dudley Building Society

What does your cooperative do?

At Dudley Building Society, we are there to help people live better lives, having served our communities since 1858. 
As a financial services provider, we use our specialist skills, financial knowledge and Black Country roots, to help people achieve their ambitions through savings, mortgages and a range of financial services.
We are proud to be a mutual organisation, meaning our business is run for the benefit of our members, and that they have a genuine say in how we do things. 
What benefits does being a cooperative bring?

We have a passionate team at Dudley Building Society, who are proud to work for an organisation with an important purpose. 
Our mutuality means that we act in the best interests of our members and their communities, as they are at the heart of our decision making. This is of benefit to our members as it builds trust and loyalty. 
A tangible example of this is our commitment to maintaining and developing our branch network, as we know how important face to face services are to our members. 
What does the future hold for your co-op?

Our ambition is to continue to grow Dudley Building Society, and our purpose is to be there to help people live better lives. 
We want to support the regeneration of our community, as we believe that building societies have an important role to play in their local regions. We will continue to take steps to have a positive impact on climate, looking specifically at how we can reduce our environmental impact further, and how we can support people to reduce their household emissions.
We are positive about the future growth of the Society and believe we can make a purposeful difference in the Black Country region, working in collaboration with like-minded partners across the region. We would welcome approaches from other organisations who share similar beliefs and ethics.