ISM stands for Independent Society Member. Independent societies are co-operatives in their own right and are an important part of our Co-op. Together, they have 15 seats on Council, where they represent members as a whole.

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John Dalley

Scotmid Co-operative Society - Newbridge

An independent society representative on the Members’ Council from Scotmid, where I am Society Secretary and Chief Financial Officer, giving me a depth of practical experience applying co-operative values and principles.

A chartered accountant by trade, most of my career has been in retail and consumer goods. Using my co-op experience and retail sector business knowledge, my aspiration is to help the Council to positively challenge and support the Board in the delivery of long-term, sustainable success for the Co-op Group. I am married with two children and live in East Lothian and shop in the local Co-op store.

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Elaine Dean

Co-operative Press - Mickleover

I’m a lifelong co-operator and have been an elected member at Central England Society and its forbears for over 35 years. Currently, I am the Vice President. I represent the Co-operative Press, where I’ve been a director since 2008 and chair since 2013. I’ve previously been a Co-operative College governor, vice chair of Supporters Direct and a member of the Co-op's former Values and Principles Committee, representing all the independent societies. It is imperative for the wider movement that the Co-op regains lost ground and is successful for us all to move forward.

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Laura Dunne

Lincolnshire Co-operative Society - Lincoln

Alongside my role on the Council, my day job is working as the Head of Marketing & Membership for Lincolnshire Co-op, which is an independent society based in the East Midlands. When I’m not at work, I can generally be found running around after my husband and two young children and planning my next holiday! I hope that during my elected term on the Members' Council, we successfully relaunch our membership scheme, allowing members to carry their card with pride knowing that they own a share in one of the best and well-loved businesses in the UK.

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David Paterson

Scotmid Co-operative Society - Edinburgh

My co-operative beliefs in values and principles are influenced by our members. As someone steeped in the history of our movement, and has experience and understanding of the interpretation of core financial information required, I am proud to serve on the Members' Council; the chance to expand my knowledge and experience in such an organisation is motivating. My experience as a regional and board member of Scotmid hopefully gives me the credentials required to serve the Co-op Group well.

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Steve Hughes

Lincolnshire Co-operative Society - Lincoln

My co-operative story starts in the 1960s, when I used to run to the local store for my parents. Before retiring, I worked for Lincolnshire Co-op for 30 years as a pharmacist branch manager and became a director in 2007. I believe that the way to a better society is through co-operation and education. When not “co-operating”, I spend a lot of my time as a governor at a local infant school.

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Nick Matthews (Senate)

Heart of England Co-operative Society - Rugby

I am the current Chair of Co-operatives UK and a director of the Heart of England Co-operative Society. I teach in the Coventry University Business School, including lectures on co-operatives.

I have a B.A.(Hons) in Social Science, a Post-Graduate Certificate in Industrial Relations, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and an M.A. in Third World Studies, and I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I am an independent society member of the Council and Senate of the Co-op Group. A member of too many co-ops to list, a member of the Co-operative College and the Co-op Party. I am also reviews' editor of the UK Journal for Co-operative Studies.

Profile picture of Bev Perkins (Senate)

Bev Perkins (Senate)

East of England Co-operative Society - West Mersea

Like you, I care deeply about The Co-op. I also represent members on the East of England Co-operative Society board. My voluntary experience spans 25 years and includes creating a community food festival and promoting volunteering and grassroots co-operation. As a director in multinational business, I realised that my passion was sustainable food. In 2007, I took a Masters degree in Sustainability and now work as a consultant on this issue. On the Council and Senate, I focus on balancing business performance with values and principles to best serve members' interests.

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Maria Lee (Senate)

Central England Co-operative Society - Cotesbach

Originally from London, I have spent most of my life living in the Midlands. I have two daughters and a husband who is a past president of the Midlands Co-operative Society. Most of my working life has been in education; most recently, I worked for an international development charity. I have been involved with the co-operative movement all my life and in particular, the Central England Co-operative Society. I have served as President for over two years and am an independent society member on the Members' Council. I enjoy reading, gentle walking and travel.

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Jane Avery

Central England Co-operative Society - Markfield

I have been a member of my independent co-operative society since 1978, when it was the Derby and Burton Co-operative Society; my first job was as a management trainee. During the induction week, I heard a presentation from the member relations officer and was hooked on the Co-op story: its history, radical business model and ethical values and principles resonated with me and I’ve spent most of the rest of my working life in the co-operative movement.

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Helen Jackson

Southern Co-operative Society - Hampshire

With a lifelong personal commitment to co-operative values and principles, I'm proud to be representing member interests as an elected director of the Southern Co-operative, and on the Members' Council.

My work in heritage management across the UK in sectors from social enterprise and the lottery to public libraries and national parks, has included CEO and consultancy roles.

Volunteering currently includes my local climate change group, being a national museum trustee and a government appointed national park authority member, pursuing interests in sustainable development, community engagement, heritage and wildlife.

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Shajidur Rahman

Co-op Press - Birmingham

Hi my name is Shajidur Rahman (Shaz). I've been elected on behalf of Co-op Press to the NMC. My area of interest and background are within environmental sustainability and co-ops. In my day job I work in energy efficiency. I'm a director of Community Energy Birmingham Friends of the Earth and I'm a member of the Central England Co-op's Membership and Community Council. I also have a website where I focus on these issues

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Pete Westall

Mid Counties Co-op - Bicester

I’ve worked for Midcounties for 30 years, and have been elected as Independent Society representative on the Members’ Council. My role in Midcounties is Chief Values Officer, looking after our member engagement, community work and sustainability activity. I strongly believe in both Co-operation amongst Co-operatives, and in member participation and both understand and appreciate the role the National Members Council play in helping the excellent work that Co-op Group do in this area. I would hope that I can bring some of my experience in the Co-op movement to help support the Council’s work.

Esme Cole

East of England Co-op

Awaiting Statement

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Vicky Green

Midcounties Co-op - Wolverhampton

I became a conscious co-operator in 2015 as a member representing a community organisation and benefitting from localised co-op grant models. I say conscious co-operator, as I realised that I had found a movement that mirrored my own values, and unknowingly I had been a natural co-operator my whole life. I quickly learnt all that I could by volunteering as an active member before being elected to Midcounties Member Engagement Committee and then as a board director in 2019. More recently, I became a board member for Co-op News, taking up the position in 2021.

My career has always involved communities. I have worked in the Housing Sector all of my adult life, both operationally and strategically. Starting as a housing officer in the late 90s, through to senior leadership in the Black Country at one of the UK’s largest housing associations. Most recently, I am leading community engagement and inclusion for a large housing association in the West Midlands. I develop strategies and partnerships that engage with diverse and, most often, the hardest to reach members of communities: creating programmes that understand what matters to people who live in our homes and supporting the changing needs and ambitions of communities. Much of my work involves seeking out partners and establishing great networks to be able to collaborate and develop solutions in neighbourhoods.

I am particularly interested in the impact of all co-operatives in the communities they serve as anchor stakeholders, and a constant part of people’s lives. Co-operatives are trusted and serve a broad range of stages of every member’s lifetime. I believe that by combining the voice of independent co-operatives, we have a strong network of members within our reach.