Colleague at Central England Co-op’s Travel Shop in Rushden celebrates recognition at annual awards

An inspirational manager at a Northamptonshire travel shop has had her efforts to promote wellbeing for all recognised at a major retailer’s national awards ceremony.

Laura Haggar, Travel Branch Manager at Central England Co-op’s Rushden Travel Shop, was named Wellbeing Advocate of the Year at the Society’s annual Leading Brilliance Awards at a glittering awards ceremony held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Birmingham. The awards aim to recognise the outstanding achievements of the brightest stars amongst over 8,000 colleagues across the Society’s businesses, which include food, funeral and travel.

The 37-year-old has worked for Central England Co-op for over 15 years at the Kettering and Raunds agencies as well as the Rushden Travel Shop since it opened in 2015. The award judges said: “Laura is very proactive and a shining example of a wellbeing advocate. She raises awareness, is there to help people and support colleagues and she also supports her customers in the community.

“She has a “huge impact” on her colleagues and is an asset to the Society’s mental health working party. She received several nominations, and single-handedly led this vitally important initiative in her part of the business, showing strength and leadership and generating a huge impact with their implementation of the mental health initiative called “Time for Change”.”

Amongst the initiatives Laura has championed is the sending of monthly wellbeing emails to her colleagues with advice and guidance on where to get support and encouraging teams to talk about how they are feeling. Laura also supports mental health events which Central England Co-operative supports across the business throughout the year and is a member of the Society’s Mental Health Working Party. She has also reached out to customers and helped them to get assistance at the local branch of Mind.

Laura said: “It makes me very happy to know that I am reaching those in need and developing the tools - like being a Mental Health First Aider - to help others. Having an award for Wellbeing Advocate of the Year shows what an important focus it is within the Society and I'm proud to work for an accepting, open and diverse employer.”

Central England Co-operative Chief Executive Debbie Robinson presented all the night’s winners with their awards, with other categories announced on the night including Colleague of the Year, Leader of the Year and Community Advocate of the Year.

She said: “I was immensely proud to present my first Leading Brilliance Awards as Chief Executive of Central England Co-op and it was such a pleasure to spend the evening with so many inspirational and deserving colleagues and teams, and to rightly recognise their achievements.

“It is so important that we celebrate the wonderful contribution our colleagues make day in, day out to providing our customers and members with fantastic service and to making a real difference in our communities.

“I would like to say well done to all those who received nominations and a big thank you for their continued dedication and commitment to the Society.”

Notes to editors

Picture caption: Laura receives her Wellbeing Advocate of the Year award from HR and Risk Director at Central England Co-op Kellee Torr (left) and Central England Co-op Chief Executive Debbie Robinson (right).

About Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK. 

It is a modern, forward-looking organisation employing over 8,000 staff, with the Society’s principal areas of activity being food, funeral services, travel shops, and property investment.

Central England Co-operative has over 400 trading outlets across 16 counties including; West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.  The Society has an ambitious food store development programme for 2019.

Central England Co-operative is proud of its reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.  It is a member of Business in the Community, the membership organisation that stands for responsible business, and has also won many business awards for excellence.  The Society supports a number of charities including Dementia UK and invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities.

Becoming a member of Central England Co-operative offers a whole host of benefits ranging from collecting points every time you spend in store to earn a share of the profits, access to members activities and community initiatives including the Community Dividend Fund, which hands out grants of up to £5,000 to charities and good causes across the Society’s trading estate.

Find out how to become a Central England Co-operative member by calling 0800 0501 601, emailing or visiting

For more information visit, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, and on Facebook:

Rob Smyth and James Brindle at Central England Co-operative on 01543 421390

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