Central England Co-op honours colleagues ‘Creating a sustainable Society for all’ at glittering awards ceremony

Posted by James Brindle | 01/12/2021 | Category: Corporate


Hardworking colleagues at Central England Co-op have been recognised for their achievements over the past 12 months at a glittering awards ceremony.

The awards were held online and in person at the Hilton Metropole at the NEC Birmingham and recognised the huge contributions of Central England Co-op colleagues in living and breathing its purpose of ‘Creating a sustainable Society for all’.

The awards were presented by the Society’s Chief Executive Debbie Robinson and included in the nominees were teams and colleagues from across the Society’s family of businesses including its food stores, funeral homes, distribution centres and support teams.

Among the awards handed out on the night were Colleague of the Year and Leader of the Year, as well as prizes linked directly to its purpose, such as Environmental Sustainability Champion, Human Sustainability Champion and Inclusion Champion.

The winners were:

  • Financial Sustainability Champion – Rebecca Mott, Store Manager, Ely Road, Sutton, Cambridgeshire
  • Environmental Sustainability Champion – Steve Johnson, Section Manager, Distribution, Leicester
  • Human Sustainability Champion – Sally Smith, Store Manager, Quorn, Leicestershire
  • Inclusion Champion – Sunni Stewart, Store Manager, Mountsorrel, Leicestershire
  • Learner of the Year – Nicole Suchy, Store Manager, Sprowston, Norfolk
  • Support Team of the Year – HR Shared Services, Business Support Centre, Lichfield
  • Trading Team of the Year – Senior Funeral Director Team, West region
  • Leader of the Year – Craig Goldie, Loss Prevention Manager, Business Support Centre, Lichfield
  • Colleague of the Year – Louise Wardle, Retail Process Lead, Business Support Centre

Sarah Dickins, Chief People Officer at Central England Co-op, said: “We truly believe that our colleagues make the difference. Our Creating a sustainable Society for all Awards 2021 were a fitting way to recognise those colleagues who every day are living and breathing our purpose and making a real difference to their colleagues, customers, members and our local communities.

“It was such a pleasure to spend the evening with so many inspirational and deserving colleagues and teams, and to rightly recognise their achievements. It was also wonderful to be able to welcome our winners from last year’s awards for their moment in the spotlight too when we weren’t able to hold an in-person ceremony last year. 

“It is so important that we celebrate the wonderful contribution our colleagues make day in, day out to providing our customers and members with fantastic service and who are helping us in our mission to create a sustainable Society for all.

“I would like to say a massive well done to all those who received nominations and a big thank you for their continued dedication and commitment our Society”.

Below is a full breakdown of the award winners

  • Financial Sustainability Champion – Rebecca Mott, Store Manager, Ely Road, Sutton, Cambridgeshire

Rebecca won the award after leading her team at Central England Co-op’s Ely Road Food Store in Sutton, Cambridgeshire to become one of the Society’s most successful new store performers in recent years after its launch back in February.

Chief Financial Officer Neil Robinson presented Rebecca with the award and said: “Rebecca is a fantastic example of a colleague who demonstrates our behaviours in everything she does.

“She has driven exceptional financial performance in a new store; working collaboratively and demonstrating strong leadership. Since the launch of the new store, she has led her team to deliver outstanding financial success.”

  • Environmental Sustainability Champion – Steve Johnson, Section Manager, Distribution, Leicester

Steve took home this prize after leading on projects to significantly reduce environmental impacts at the Society’s Leicester distribution centres.

Chief Financial Officer Neil Robinson presented Steve with the award and said: “Steve has been instrumental in the work to reduce the amount of single use plastic used in his business area. He has utilised their can-do attitude and enthusiasm to engage with others to ensure buy in from all colleagues.”

  • Human Sustainability Champion – Sally Smith, Store Manager, Quorn, Leicestershire

Sally was awarded the prize for her exceptional community and fundraising work for the Society’s charity partner Dementia UK at the Loughborough Road Food Store in Quorn since she became Store Manager last year.

Chief Technology Officer Liz Robson presented her with her trophy and said: “Sally is a true advocate of our Co-operative values. She has developed a close connection with her community and partakes in a charity event every month for Dementia UK; whether it’s dragging her friends around Thornton Reservoir or providing a Cycle Maintenance Day outside her store.

“Sustained and regular activity takes great commitment and resilience, and Sally demonstrates this dedication each and every day.”

  • Inclusion Champion – Sunni Stewart, Store Manager, Mountsorrel, Leicestershire

Sunni was named winner in this category for her passion for celebrating difference and her work to celebrate inclusion within the Society, including as part of its Inclusion working party.

Chief Technology Officer Liz Robson was on hand to present the award and said: “Sunni demonstrates a passion for celebrating differences and consistently works hard to remove any forms of discrimination in the workplace, through increased education in her own team and across her region.

“She is keen to share her own knowledge and experiences to improve the working environment. She is an advocate for change within the Society and has engaged with senior managers in Retail and across the wider Society to ensure lasting and meaningful changes; creating an open and safe environment for colleagues to participate and learn in.”

  • Learner of the Year – Nicole Suchy, Store Manager, Sprowston, Norfolk

Nicole was recognised for her meteoric progress through Central England Co-op’s career development programmes, resulting in her taking on a holding store manager position at Sprowston.

Chief Member and Customer Officer Rajesh Gupta, who presented the award, said: “Nicole has recently completed our Leading the Way retail leadership programme alongside starting a new role in a busy store.

“Despite this challenging environment, right from the start she took real responsibility for, and ownership of, her development. She actively looks for opportunities to put her learnings into practice in the workplace and regularly seeks out feedback to ensure her continued development.

“She has used her learning to role model excellent leadership behaviours, developing a strong reputation as a hard-working and supportive leader.”

  • Support Team of the Year – HR Shared Services, Business Support Centre, Lichfield

The HR Shared Services Team based at the Society’s Business Support Centre in Lichfield, were awarded for their excellent service and support to the business over the last 12 months.

Chief Member and Customer Officer Rajesh Gupta presented the team with their prize and said: “This team are at the forefront of change that impacts colleagues. Every member of the team aims to deliver the best support and service to their customers and are known as a ‘go to’ team for colleagues to access invaluable advice and guidance.

“They operate an open and honest culture which enables them to be at their best when interacting with colleagues across the Society. The support that all the members of this team give to each other is second to none and they regularly share knowledge, best practice and advice with each other to provide the best possible service.”

  • Trading Team of the Year – Senior Funeral Director team, west region

Central England Co-op Funeralcare’s Senior Funeral Director team for the west region were recognised for their leadership and teamwork which helped them overcome adversity to drive improvements

Chief Commercial Officer Andy Peake made the award presentation and said: “This team have led their colleagues through a difficult period this year in such a brilliant way.

“A terrific impact has been made in this team’s area and they have demonstrated the power of teamwork, through trust, support and challenge of one another to deliver success. The passion and enthusiasm for both client service and colleague care are simply remarkable.”

  • Leader of the Year – Craig Goldie, Loss Prevention Manager, Business Support Centre, Lichfield

Craig took home the coveted Leader of the Year award for his exceptional leadership and being a role model to his team through the challenges of the pandemic.

Chief Commercial Officer Andy Peake presented Craig with the award and said: “Craig uses innovation, teamwork, and a passion to do what’s right, to overcome challenges that to others seem impossible to achieve.

“As a humble character, he doesn’t realise the impact he has on others and how much the team holds him in high regard.

“Through Craig’s coaching, each member of the team has risen to meet new objectives and have been stretched to turn weaknesses into strengths. He is an inspiration to many, including his team, who are now all working on furthering their own careers.”

  • Colleague of the Year – Louise Wardle, Retail Process Lead, Business Support Centre, Lichfield

Louise won the Colleague of the Year award after being recognised for being at the forefront of some major projects that have been introduced in the retailer’s food stores at pace over the last 12 months.

Chief Operations Officer Paul Dennis presented the award to Louise and said: “Throughout this year, Louise has been the driving force in developing and implementing a number of projects which are now in operation right across the Society.

“She is enthusiastic, resilient and passionate about providing exceptional customer service in everything she does. Nothing is too much trouble; she excels at bringing people together and her enthusiasm is infectious.

“Her passion for getting things right, bringing other colleagues on the journey and always working for a better Society is a sign of a great colleague and a fantastic co-operator.”


About The Author: James Brindle

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