Since 2008 when the Mutuals Yearbook was first published, the world around us has changed significantly. It is clear that all mutual organisations have endured a difficult economic climate in which to operate. Our members have had their own pressures and have had to face some searching questions about the soundness of the mutual model.
However, the sector has continued to grow both in terms of the numbers employed (970,000 in UK in 2013 compared to 844,000 in UK in 2008) and income (increasing from £84bn in 2008 to £115bn in 2013). These figures are a testament to the people who work in the mutual sector, but more importantly, to the fact that many people still uphold the principles of co-operation and mutuality.
It is all too easy at times of uncertainty to look inwards and to focus on the challenges that we face. But in this edition we take great pride in showcasing the many areas in which cooperatives and mutual organisations excel across the nation. Be it community relations, customer service, staff/supporter engagement, financial performance, or academic excellence – this Yearbook gives many compelling examples.
Not only do mutuals and co-operatives contribute significantly to the UK economy, but they have a much broader impact on the local communities in which they work and in which their members live. The spirit and ethos of these organisations is something that many people in the UK and across the globe hold dear and we hope that the Yearbook inspires more individuals, groups and businesses to get involved.