Co-op creates bursary to encourage women to study subjects such as maths and science in Birmingham

Central England Co-op is proud to announce the launch of a new bursary fund that will encourage women to pick subjects ranging from IT, maths and science at Birmingham City University.

The Society is donating up to £20,000 every year for the next three years to support students looking to develop their skills and forge careers in areas such as IT, digital, science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

The Central England Co-operative Fund is aimed at boosting attainment and diversity and comes after the Society joined forces with the university last year to develop skills and improve regional productivity through research, projects and a closer co-operation between business and academia.

Central England Co-operative Chief Executive Martyn Cheatle said: “Everyone at the Society is proud to announce the launch of this bursary and excited to see the impact it will have on students in the coming years at Birmingham City University.

“The Central England Co-operative Fund is a great way of helping students study subjects that are vital to helping the local area and beyond grow in the future.

“I cannot think of a better way of helping to grow and boost our communities than with a scheme like this.”

The partnership between Central England Co-op and Birmingham City University has already seen the two organisations working together to support efforts by the Society to continue to embrace the growing influence of digital on the retail and funeral industries, as well as seeking co-operation on business development.

John Armstrong, Head of Information Technology, said: “We have very much enjoyed our exciting link up with Birmingham City University and are already seeing the benefits of being able to work together, innovate, develop and rollout exciting and advanced ways of working to help and support the communities the Society operates in.

“The launch of the Central England Co-operative Fund is a great extension of our partnership and a fantastic way of helping students to think digital. We are now cementing the great partnership we have created together to become a more digitally enabled Society and extend our talent development into the community.”

Elaine Dean, Central England Co-op Society President, said: “The Board are delighted to support the launch of the Central England Co-operative Fund.

“Supporting our communities in this way is exactly in line with our co-operative values and principles and we all cannot wait to celebrate the first students who have been supported by this bursary.”

Professor Hanifa Shah, Executive Dean for the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment at Birmingham City University, said: “Our partnership with the Central England Co-operative is all about improving opportunities for people and widening the reach of higher education.

“We are delighted to receive this donation to help us provide financial support for students, including female students wanting to pursue STEM related subjects.

“As a member organisation of Women in Science and Engineering, we know that STEM subjects and careers can be male dominated. And it is of the utmost importance for the aspirations of all young people and the future of our economy in the West Midlands that more women enter the field. Initiatives like this are a fantastic way to make sure this happens.”


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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 2019.


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 member 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 or visiting


For more information visit, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, and on Facebook:


Rob Smyth and James Brindle at Central England Co-operative on 01543 421390


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