A multi-million pound funding package has enabled an independent cooperative society to press ahead with major growth plans while creating up to 60 new jobs.
Seaton Valley Co-operative Society has been able to buy two additional acres of land near its current premises in Seaton Delaval, and has launched a new supermarket and petrol station thanks to the funds from Santander Corporate & Commercial.
Seaton Valley Co-op is owned and controlled by its members, who predominately reside in the trading areas of Seaton Delaval, Shiremoor, Seaton Sluice, Seghill, New Hartley and Holywell.
It was formed in 1964 by the amalgamation of Seaton Delaval District Industrial & Provident Co-operative Society, established in 1864, and Shiremoor Industrial & Provident Society, established in 1876.
The society has a board of directors who are elected by their members at the November annual general meeting.
Their responsibilities include ensuring the society’s affairs are conducted in the best interests of its members and determining policy in consultation with the chief executive
Initially a retail co-op supermarket, the society has increasingly diversified from its original proposition and now operates two pharmacies, food stores, off-licences, non-food retail and four residential flats.
The new supermarket and petrol station were built on undeveloped land near the village’s Wheatridge Park estate.
The 900sq metre store, alongside an eight-pump petrol-filling station with its own shop, has created up to 60 new jobs for the local community.
Co-operative chief executive Deryck Storey said: “The society is delighted to have finally launched the supermarket and petrol station not just for our members, but for the wider community.
“The funding will help the business move into its next phase of growth, allowing it to supportin the local area with much needed amenities and job support.”
Mark Rutherford, relationship director at Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “Seaton Valley Co-operative Society is very well established in its local community.
“We are delighted to have been able to provide support which will help drive it forward.
“The society is a key local business with a strong customer base and one we’re proud to be working with.”