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South Tyneside named co-operative council of the year

South Tyneside Council has been named the co-operative council of the year at an awards ceremony in Manchester on 21 June.

Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said, “Being one of just six co-op councils shortlisted for the Co-operative Council of the Year Award was praise enough but to be announced the winner is just great – especially as it was decided by a public vote.”

A cooperative council is one that works in partnership with local community organisations to get the maximum from all of the resources available for the area.

Cllr Malcolm explained: “Research shows South Tyneside Council is the third hardest hit by central government cuts and we have 54 per cent less government grant to spend on supporting our residents.

“As a result, we have had to consider new ways of working to be able to continue to provide the services we know our residents value. Our communities have really stepped up and this award recognises their contribution.

“This collaborative approach is already paying dividends. While many areas have had to close libraries and community centres, in South Tyneside these prized community assets have been retained by working in partnership with local people.

“All branch libraries are now under the management of community groups or charities and a similar process is now underway with community associations.

READ MORE: ‘Dedicated and hugely talented’ councillors across the country win awards

“It is our strong community spirit and incredible army of volunteers in the third sector that make South Tyneside stand out. We couldn’t do any of this without their continued support and for that I am thankful.”

A record 33,000 votes were cast across six categories, with nominations and votes coming from large and small businesses, members, customers and co-operators across the sector. 

Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said: “South Tyneside Council – and all our winners and nominees – are an outstanding example of how working co-operatively creates opportunity, prosperity and meaningful work, and brings social and economic benefits to communities and businesses throughout the country.”

The Co-operative of the Year Awards 2019 are organised by Co-operatives UK – the network for Britain’s thousands of co-operative businesses – with the Co-op Council award sponsored by the Co-operative Councils’ Innovation Network (CCIN).

Cllr Sharon Taylor, Chair of CCIN and Leader of Stevenage Borough Council said: “Congratulations to South Tyneside Council and all the nominees and shortlisted Co-operative Councils.

“Our Network seeks to reclaim the traditions of community action, community engagement and civic empowerment which can transform communities, and which will help us deliver radical and innovative programmes that are designed, led and delivered in partnership with local people and therefore maximise the social dividend they bring.

“We’re delighted to see so many strong community-centred initiatives in South Tyneside.”

(Header image L-R: Paul Baldasera, Cllr Nancy Maxwell, Cllr Joyce Welsh of South Tyneside Council)


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