Purchasing power to the people

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

New £60,000 Community Challenge Prize launches.

Co-operatives UK and BIS have joined forces to launch the Buy Better Together Challenge, an exciting initiative to help inspire new models of community buying, stimulate enterprise and promote shared learning.

The £60k pot will go towards training and mentoring for stand out projects and includes £15k for the overall winner.

Community buying allows individuals to combine their buying power to purchase goods or services together and get better deals from shops and other suppliers. It can also help businesses spread their overheads and in turn lowers costs for consumers.

Norman Lamb, recently appointed Consumer Affairs Minister, said:

“The Challenge is a fantastic partnership between BIS and Co-operatives UK and gives groups a great opportunity to deliver real deals and social benefits for their communities.

“I would encourage communities and businesses to get involved, read the guide on how to get started and submit an entry to the challenge on the website.

“Community buying has a range of uses to give consumers a bigger voice - from food co-operatives to heating oil groups - and I look forward to seeing the innovative ideas later this year.”

Buy Better Together

The challenge is now open to applications from groups and organisations within the public, voluntary or business sectors, which focus on creating new or developing existing community buying schemes. Applications are open from 21 February 2012 to 15 May 2012.

To give guidance to applicants there are three challenges. They are:

  • Challenge One: A project aimed at creating a platform, tool or vehicle to help individuals to come together and form a community buying group.
  • **Challenge Two: **A project aimed at enabling existing or new community groups to develop their purchasing power by working collectively.
  • Challenge Three: A project aimed at businesses to empower their employees or consumers to group for community buying.

The criteria for judging the prize will include:

  • The greatest potential in terms of saving money and getting better quality.
  • Achieving long lasting impact or sustainability.
  • Being able to engage a community successfully.
  • Having social benefits, including helping disadvantaged consumers.

Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said:

“Co-operative buying, whether informal with friends, student food co-ops or of crowd-sourcing online, is a growing trend among consumers and a good way to make your money go further.

“Our research shows that almost 20% of people are buying co-operatively and with household budgets under such a squeeze, we are finding more interest than ever in co-operative models of business”.

Read Ed Mayo’s blog on the launch of the Challenge.