Central England Co-op announce exciting link-up with Birmingham City University

Central England Co-operative has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Birmingham City University in a bid to collaborate on a new programme to develop skills and improve regional productivity through research, projects and the closer co-operation between business and academia.

The new partnership will see the two organisations work together to support efforts by the Society to continue to embrace the growing influence of digital on the retail and funeralcare industries, as well as seeking co-operation on business development.

Alongside Birmingham City University, Central England Co-op aims to become increasingly digitally enabled, provide research and innovation through joint projects and business partnerships, grow and nurture talent in the local area and extend digital skills across all communities in the region.

Central England Co-operative Chief Executive Martyn Cheatle said: “As a business, we are always looking to the future and ensuring we are ready to meet the changing needs of our customers and members.

“We are delighted to have signed this Memorandum of Understanding and are looking forward to working closely with Birmingham City University.”

The collaboration will also include the creation of a digital hub, called think:digital, based in an office on Birmingham City University’s City Centre Campus.

John Armstrong, Head of Information Technology, is leading on this project.

He said: “We see this as an ideal opportunity to work with the University and use its knowledge base, business partnerships and digital skillset to help Central England Co-operative grow as a business.

“The partnership will allow us to become a more digitally enabled Society and extend our talent development into our community.

“This is an exciting link up and we look forward to working closely together to innovate, develop and rollout exciting and advanced ways of working to help and support the communities the Society operates in.”

Birmingham City University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Julian Beer said: “We are a university that puts regional transformation at our heart, but we can only do this through forging strong, strategic partnerships with organisations that share our ambition and values, such as Central England Co-operative.

“This agreement paves the way for us to explore new ways of better serving the region and, in turn, we hope it will inform our own teaching through practice-based learning opportunities.” 

The agreement builds upon the previous collaboration between Central England Co-operative and the faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment at Birmingham City University. 


Notes to editors

Picture caption: Representatives from Central England Co-op and Birmingham City University meet to sign the Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations.

About Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK. 


It is a modern, forward-looking organisation employing over 8,000 staff, with the Society’s principal areas of activity being food, funeral services, travel shops, and property investment.


Central England Co-operative has over 400 trading outlets across 16 counties including; West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.  The Society has an ambitious food store development programme for 2018.


Central England Co-operative is proud of its reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.  It is a member of Business in the Community, the membership organisation that stands for responsible business, and has also won many business awards for excellence.  The Society supports a number of charities including Dementia UK and invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities.


Becoming a member of Central England Co-operative offers a whole host of benefits ranging from collecting points every time you spend in store to earn a share of the profits, access to members activities and community initiatives including the Community Dividend Fund, which hands out grants of up to £5,000 to charities and good causes across the Society’s trading estate.

Find out how to become a Central England Co-operative member by calling 0800 0501 601, emailing members@centralengland.coop or visiting https://www.members.coop


For more information visit www.centralengland.coop, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, and on Facebook: facebook.com/centralenglandcooperative


Rob Smyth / Heather Clapton at Central England Co-operative on 01543 414140


Email –publicrelations@centralengland.coop