Fundraising campaign launched to honour pioneering co-operator at Derbyshire food store

Posted by james brindle | Published: 11/02/2022

A fundraising campaign has been launched for a commemorative clock recognising the legacy of one of the pioneers of the modern co-operative movement to be produced and then installed at the Central England Co-op in Belper.

Robert Owen is one of the most well-known names associated with early forms of co-operation and his 250th birthday was celebrated last year. He felt that workers should be treated properly, and he worked hard to improve the conditions in his own factories, reducing working hours, cleaning up accommodation and providing schools.

He is also closely linked with The Arkwright’s from the Derbyshire mills and, in particular, to Belper and Cromford and the Strutt family which is why it is felt a lasting commemoration at the Strutt Street Central England Co-op in Belper would be so fitting.

The retailer’s Northern Membership and Community Council (MCC) has already donated £3,000 to the project which aims to create the commemorative clock.

Owen advocated a day split into eight hours work, eight hours recreation and eight hours rest – and the clock’s design is split into three segments representing the 24-hour period and features the face of Owen made up of concentric circles which rotate in opposite directions, lining up once an hour revealing the portrait.

Tanya Noon, Member and Community Relations Officer for the Northern region at Central England Co-op, said: “At Central England Co-op we are incredibly grateful for the vision and insight of Robert Owen that guides us today and we continue to deliver Robert’s legacy and ensure co-operative and sustainable communities are always part of our decision making.

“Last year we commissioned a special portrait of Robert to mark his birthday, but we were keen to find a way where we could permanently commemorative him in Belper where he has such an important connection and legacy.

“This project will be a truly fitting tribute and we are delighted to be working with fellow co-operators to help bring it to life and we can’t wait to see the commemorative clock produced and become a focal point of our Belper store.”

Following on from the donation from Central England Co-op’s Northern MCC campaigners are looking to raise a further £4,000 for the project.

More details and the opportunity to donate can be found at the project’s Go Fund Me page at


Notes to editors

About Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral and property investment.

Owned by hundreds of thousands of members, its over 8,000 colleagues serve customers across 400 plus trading sites in 20 counties in the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

Its purpose is to inspire communities to create a sustainable Society for all.

It actively campaigns for the Government to increase sentencing for violent attacks on retail workers and works with FareShare Midlands and hundreds of food banks, generating enough food donations to create over 2.1 million meals for people in need.

The Society embraces inclusivity and equality and is a signed-up member to the Business in the Community (BITC) Race at Work Charter, while it is also fully committed to addressing the impact of climate change and is on track to be Carbon Neutral by 2030. 

It invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities through its Community Dividend Fund scheme which has seen over £175,000 shared out between 116 good causes over the past 12 months.

Central England Co-op was named Leading Co-op of the Year by Co-operatives UK in 2021.

Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle

Phone - 01543 421390

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