National award for East of England Co-op for its support of regional economy

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The East of England Co-op has now won the national business in the community award, on top of the regional onee reported last week.

It was presented at a ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall, attended by Prime Minister David Cameron and hosted by James Corden and Joanna Lumley.

It was given for the co-ops commitment to supporting the regional economy through its Sourced Locally initiative.

The Co-op now stocks more than 2,000 local products from more than 135 local suppliers. It has also invested £20m into the local economy creating more than 100 jobs.

Mike Sheldon, Group Milk Procurement Director, Diary Crest Group and Chair of the judging panel, said: “It has created a fantastic viable society that has had a genuine positive impact for local farm businesses, and in turn the local community.

“The simplicity of the programme is undeniable, and the judges would love to see it rolled out across the whole co-operative movement.”

Kevin Warden, Local Sourcing Manager at the East of England Co-operative Society, said: “We are proud to source local products which are truly local.

“We have saved food miles, encouraged local suppliers to work together and provided customers with the range of quality local produce at the right price.”

The judges also recognised the impact of the programme on the East of England Co-operative Society’s brand, positioning it as the region’s leading ethical responsible retailer.

Amanda Long, Executive Officer – Membership, Marketing and Media at the East of England Co-operative Society, said: “The success of this programme just keeps growing and we are delighted that it has been recognised on a national level. We are keeping the pound local and giving the community the chance to buy products which are produced and grown in this area.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “It’s a real pleasure to celebrate the work of so any of our leading businesses who are helping to make our country a better place.”