EOA Trustee Members
The EOA’s Trustee members are leaders in the employee ownership sector some of which are co-founders of the EOA. Our Trustee members make unique contributions to the EOA’s work of helping to grow the Employee Owned sector through advocacy, profile and financial support.
AG Parfett & Sons Ltd
Parfetts was founded by Alan Parfett and son Steve in 1980 as a food and drink cash & carry wholesaler in 1980. The family grew the business, with the help of loyal and committed staff to comprise six cash & carry depots turning over £300m by 2006.
Alan retired in 1989 and Steve wanted to take a step back, so numerous options for the future of the business were considered. Crucially Steve had previously worked for 2 years at Waitrose (part of the John Lewis Partnership) and this, together with encouragement from the EOA and Field Fisher Waterhouse, led to the start of a transition to employee ownership in 2008. The business became fully employee owned in October 2013 to ensure that the staff who had helped achieve success were given the best opportunity to continue to do so.
Steve is now semi-retired working 2 days per week on both Parfetts business and as an EOA Board member.
Alfa Leisureplex Group
The Alfa Leisureplex Group became employee owned in 2015, when the founding Sawbridge family sold 75% of their ownership to a trust operated for the beneficiary of the employees.
The family founded the business in 1984, with its first Hotel, the Hydro Hotel in Llandudno, which remains one the group’s flagship hotels to this day. The Group’s brands include, Alfa Travel, Leisureplex Holiday Hotels and David Urquhart Holidays. The Group now owns 21 hotels across the UK, a fleet of 48 coaches, carries over 115,000 passengers on holiday every year and employs over 800 people across the UK.
The Group’s employee owned status means the whole team go that extra mile to provide the customers with a memorable holiday experience; The Alfa Leisureplex difference. This is achieved through a collective vision, increased employee voice and very high levels of employee engagement. Employee ownership has fostered a real sense of family throughout the business and has led to record levels of financial performance and engagement. The Group is very proud of its EO status and works with the EOA to promote the benefits of employee ownership.
Arup Group Limited
Arup is one of the largest and longest standing employee owned business in the UK. The global design, engineering and advisory business specialises in larger, innovative projects in the built environment and has 15,000 members working in over 30 countries with about 4,500 based in the UK.
The firm was founded in London in 1946 as a traditional professional services partnership but became 100% owned in trust in 1977 when the partners of the day gifted their personal stakes in the business to all staff through an Employee Benefit Trust.
Arup’s shared ownership means their people care about their business and are much more engaged in our collective enterprise that sees our overall mission as our priority: “To shape a better world” and regards profits as important only as ‘the enabler’ of what they seek to achieve together.
Arup supports the EOA as the most effective means of sharing the key advantages of shared ownership throughout the UK.
City Health Care Partnership CIC
City Health Care Partnership CIC (CHCP) provides health and care services to people in Hull, the East Riding of Yorkshire, St Helens, Wigan and Knowsley and was one of the first ‘mutual’ organisations to spin out of the NHS in 2010.
Being a co-owned business has always been at the core of CHCP; all permanent colleagues have the opportunity to buy a £1 share in the business, which gives them a voice and a stake in its success.
The EOA has supported and encouraged us and it’s also been invaluable in helping us to forge links with other employee owned businesses, allowing us to inspire and motivate each other. We believe that employee ownership is the future for businesses across the spectrum and the work of the EOA is the cornerstone on which they can build.
Cambridge Nutritional Foods Ltd
Cambridge Weight Plan Ltd (CWP) was founded in the UK in 1984 by biochemist, Dr Alan Howard, and has grown to be one of the leading providers of low calorie and very low calorie weight-loss products and services in the UK and worldwide.
More than 90% of all CWP’s products are manufactured at the company’s site in Corby, Northants.
In the UK, The Republic of Ireland and Germany, CWP sells and markets its brand through a direct selling network of more than 3500 Independent Cambridge Consultants. Around the world, the company’s products are sold through an extensive independent distributor network operating in more than 40 countries.
The business began its journey into employee ownership in 2010, when the owner / directors sold 49% to an Employee Benefit Trust. The indirect ownership model was chosen because it was thought to be the most appropriate route to protecting the company values as well as securing its long-term future.
The business become 100% employee owned in December 2014.
In June 2018, the company celebrated ‘Financial Freedom Day’. This marked the moment when all the outstanding debts related to the purchase of the business had been cleared.
CWP is committed to employee ownership. Its 223 employee stakeholders share a responsibility in ensuring the business enjoys long-term profitability as well as benefitting from the rewards generated by a well-run, innovative and forward thinking commercial business.
The company is very proud to be a Trustee Member of the EOA.
Childbase Partnership is one of the country’s top providers of early years care and education with over 1,600 employee owners operating in 41 day nurseries in the South of England. Empowered and encouraged in a continuous drive to deliver excellence and innovation as standard, Childbase partners are invested in providing 6,000 children with the best start in life through an exceptional nursery experience.
As a result, Childbase is one of only 160 UK companies rated ‘Extraordinary’ in 2017; a Sunday Times ‘top workplace’ for over a decade, and is ranked third for quality amongst the 20 largest providers, with most of its settings rated Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ which is achieved by only 18% nationwide. Employee Owned Business of the Year and a UK ‘National Champion’ in the European Business Awards, Childbase is also a major contributor in prestigious research and development projects designed to advance understanding and best practice in the sector, Europe-wide.
In 2006, under the leadership of the then founding Director Jo Pritchard, CSH Surrey became the first employee-owned business to provide health services within the NHS. Its then employees – over 500 nurses, therapists and support staff – chose to leave their NHS trust and establish CSH Surrey, believing that employee ownership would be better for them, and better for patient care. Their vision proved right and today this not-for-profit social enterprise, employs over 1500 people who deliver over 60 different NHS community health services across Surrey. Although employed on NHS terms, its employees’ levels of motivation and engagement outstrip those of their NHS counterparts. They report that they feel more listened to, involved and valued than and their sense of belonging, teamwork and belief in our vision and values is particularly strong. CSH Surrey believes that this directly impacts quality of patient care, with CSH Surrey being rated as ‘Outstanding’ for being Caring in the most recent CQC inspection (June 2017).
CSH Surrey’s success directly influenced Government policy on employee ownership and its potential within the public sector. In 2010 it was named as one of 12 ‘mentors’ to support the first employee-owned public service ‘pathfinders’ and was invited to sit on the Mutuals Taskforce to promote the creation and development of public sector mutuals.
CSH’s founder Jo Pritchard now sits on the EOA Board. Current CEO, Steve Flanagan, who joined CSH in August 2018, believes in the power of the employee owned model and is developing the CSH strategy to build on the link between levels of co-owner engagement, outstanding performance and patient outcomes.
Since the mid-1990s, Hugh Facey, the founder and executive company chairman of Gripple Limited and Loadhog Limited, has been exploring ways to pass on his legacy to subsequent generations of employees.
In the summer of 2011, GLIDE (Growth Led Innovation Driven Employee Company Limited) was formed – an employee owned company that represents all the shareholder members who work in its partner companies.
All shareholders are members of GLIDE which is a private company limited by guarantee. In establishing GLIDE, we took into account how to instil our culture and inherent values into everyone that works in the company both now and in the future. GLIDE has been established to preserve and develop employee culture; to look after the interests of its members and to generate engagement by everyone in their company.
Gripple has been supporting the EOA since 2005, when its membership was 27 companies (now 550 businesses). Gripple has been delighted to showcase our group companies to people who are interested in becoming employee owned including showing people around our factories and discussing our employee ownership model.
Howden Group Holdings
Howden Group has always been a company with a difference – with employee ownership at its heart and clients at the front of its mind.
Founded in 1994 as a specialist D&O broker, and from the modest beginnings of our first five years reaching into Europe, we are now the largest European insurance intermediary group in the world and the largest outside the US, with approaching £1bn in revenues and managing premiums of more than £10bn.
The Group comprises Howden, the international challenger broker, DUAL, the largest international MGA, and HX, one of the leading digital, data and analytics businesses in the insurance industry. We are a group of international experts with a local touch and a digital backbone.
With operations in 45 countries across Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, the US and Latin America, and 8,500 employees from Berlin to Brisbane, Howden Group has grown over the last quarter of a century as the group challenging the status quo for clients every day and in every market in which we operate.
John Lewis Partnership
The John Lewis Partnership operates two of the UK’s most successful and well-loved brands, John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners.
The business has annual gross sales of over £11.7bn and is the UK’s largest employee-owned business, where all 83,900 staff are Partners in the business. The Partnership has 400 shops across the UK, with significant online operations.
The Partnership’s ultimate purpose, written into its Constitution, is the happiness of all its members, through their worthwhile and satisfying employment in a successful business. The Partnership aims to make a sufficient profit to sustain its commercial vitality.
As a co-owner, every Partner has a say in how the business is run through a democratic system that has stood the test of nearly a century of endeavour. Each Partner receives a share in the company’s profits, through an annual bonus.
Make is a different kind of architecture practice. Founded as an employee-owned business by Ken Shuttleworth in 2004, today we have over 150 people in London, Hong Kong and Sydney.
Our non-hierarchical structure allows for the free flow of ideas, and is reflected in our friendly, collaborative culture. Employee ownership has provided a robust, sustainable model of business for us, and acts as a strong factor in recruitment and retention. As such, we’re keen advocates of employee ownership and are proud to support the work of the EOA.
Every year we benefit from the Employee Ownership Association’s influence with Government when we receive our tax-free profit share. Without the EOA, this would not be possible.
Mott MacDonald is a global engineering, management and development consultancy operating in over 150 countries focused on guiding our clients through many of the planet’s most intricate challenges.
Mott MacDonald relies heavily on ingenuity and innovation which is a direct product of the skills of our employees worldwide. Our employees are what makes us what we are and employee ownership plays a very large part in enabling us to manage our business to facilitate recruiting and retaining the very best.
We believe strongly in the benefits of employee ownership and through the EOA we are able to share our experiences and to learn from others as well as helping to provide a voice for our ownership model.
Loadhog is a multi-award winning, employee owned, UK manufacturer, dedicated to the design and manufacture, sale and pooling of returnable packaging solutions across a diverse range of industries. They are firmly committed to reducing logistics and packaging waste and are known for genuine innovation in manufacturing products that provide benefits throughout the supply chain.
They are founder members of GLIDE which preserves their unique employee ownership culture and values for present and future employees.
Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics is the ultimate beauty delicatessen and, since establishing 22 years ago, has been driven by innovation and its ethics.
Creators of pioneering beauty products such as the fizzing bath bomb, shower jellies, solid shampoo bars and solid toothpaste (Toothy Tabs), Lush places emphasis on fresh ingredients like organic fruits and vegetables and the highest quality herbs, flowers and essential oils.
Lush is an organisation and a family of like-minded people, many of whom have been with the company for years.
The Employee Benefit Trust was established because the majority of the shareholders decided that they wanted to share ownership of Lush with the employees.
The shareholders share a series of beliefs that ownership of the company should stay private. The fundamental reasons behind entering into an Employee Benefit Trust is to protect the business, protect the staff and give the staff a voice.
Through the Employee Benefit Trust Lush believe that they can provide staff members with a more formalised voice on important matters such as changes in ethics and ownership and at the same time raise their level of engagement to maintain the business performance in uncertain times.
Scott Bader Company Ltd
Scott Bader was founded in 1921 by Ernest Bader. In 1951 he gifted his company to the workers when the shares of the chemical manufacturing company were transferred to the Scott Bader Commonwealth Limited, a Registered Charity.
The shares were gifted in order to place Scott Bader Company Limited in common ownership where it would be directed and managed not only for the benefit of those working in the Company but also for the wider community and for future generations.
In 1976, Scott Bader received Certificate No1 when the industrial Common Ownership Act was passed. Scott Bader Commonwealth Limited is a membership organisation and everyone employed by the Company can apply to become a Commonwealth Member after 1 year. They then have the right to vote and be involved in the democratic self-governing structure of the organisation.
Scott Bader has been co-founder of the EOA. Since then, it supports the EOA which provides a dynamic platform to gather like-minded people to learn from each other and to promote this type of governance which we believe is more sustainable than any other form.
Seetec is a leading provider of skills, apprenticeship, employability and justice services across the UK and Ireland.
In January 2020, Seetec became owned by its employees. An Employee Trust, was set up for the sole benefit of our 2,500 employees, who now own 51% of the business. It puts their future in the hands of their employees, protects their independence and allows them to focus on creating social value for the people, businesses and communities they serve.
Employee ownership protects Seetec’s values and presence in communities across the UK and Ireland. Originally founded as a registered charity, their founding ethos to empower people and deliver social value is hardwired into their culture. It’s a logical step for employees who know their business and their values best to take ownership of the company.
Under employee ownership, they want to continue their legacy of growth. They want to represent an alternative way of creating wealth by delivering social value, rewarding each other for doing good for the people and communities they serve.
They’ve chosen a Trust model of employee ownership. This means employees, via their new Employee Council, will elect a colleague to the Board of the Employee Ownership Trust.
The Employee Council will include representatives such as frontline probation workers, employment coaches and trainers from across their business in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Directors will still be responsible for the day-to-day management of Seetec but there will now be formal structures to ensure lines of accountability and influence for all employees.
Swann Morton, world leading surgical blade manufacturer formed by Mr Swann and Mr Morton in 1932 has been an employee owned company since 1964 when 50% of the shares were left in trust for the employees.
Swann Morton joined EOA (then JOL) in 2003 to help support other companies wishing to become employee owned in some way.
Over these years Swann Morton has shared its model with many companies either via the EOA or directly, hopefully to mutual benefit. Through this relationship we have also benefited from being members by accessing legal expertise if the unique area of trust and employee ownership which has enabled us to make our structure more robust and created greater longevity for future generations.
Swann Morton is a proud member of the EOA which has grown and can now offer valuable connections and networking with likeminded companies and aid access to bespoke professional advice.
Tullis Russell Group Ltd
The Tullis Russell Group is a progressive, employee-owned company, trusted by generations of clients and brand holders worldwide. It operates a sustainable, employee owned business, which at its heart has a deeply held belief that working in partnership with our customers is better – for us, and for you. We have two sites manufacturing specialist paper and filmic intermediates for the security and coating markets, one in the UK and one in South Korea, each of which has developed market leading expertise in its own field and is trusted by leading brands in over 120 countries.
Tullis Russell has a proud heritage going back to 1809 which means it has real expertise in its markets. With over 200 years of history behind us our sights are fixed on the next 200 years and beyond.
The business has been part of the employee ownership sector for over 25 years and believes the EOA is a great network for connecting businesses and promoting the EO ethos.
Unity Trust Bank
A commercial bank with a social conscience. The spirit and culture of employee ownership is very much alive in Unity Trust Bank and demonstrated in our four core values – enabling, collaborative, inclusive and straightforward. Unity consistently seeks to partner and collaborate with firms who share our values and ethos.
Unity is the bank you can be proud to bank with. Unity helps organisations to prosper and contribute to economic, community and social change. Put simply, Unity is here to help create a better society. Customers’ deposits are used to fund lending that supports the communities the bank serves: its lending that creates and protects jobs, and supports the development of community facilities and care provision.
Shaw Healthcare delivers a wide spectrum of care ranging from elderly residential and dementia to complex care specialities such as Mental Health, Acquired Brain Injuries and Learning Disabilities. We design, build and operate care services for the Councils we partner with to meet and adapt to their bespoke care requirements.
Shaw could not deliver the quality of care it does without dedicated passionate people. The sense of ‘The Shaw family’ flows throughout the business. It goes ‘the extra mile, delivered with a personal touch, with extra special care and attention, for each and every member of the family’.
LUC is an award-winning environmental consultancy providing planning, impact assessment, landscape design, ecology and geospatial services to a wide range of public and private sector clients.
With a track record spanning over 55 years and a team of more than 220 skilled professionals, LUC is united by a determination to achieve sustainable development on behalf of its clients. With the current climate emergency in mind, they ensure that all their work promotes climate change mitigation and resilience.
LUC became a fully employee-owned business in January 2020, sharing profits on an equal basis and involving everyone in key decisions. This helps secure their continued independence as well as aligning their governance structure with their culture and values.
They pride themselves on being at the forefront of innovative thinking, successfully resolving even the most complex of issues. They care about the legacy they leave and hope to make a real difference through the work they do.
LUC’s clients go to them for planning, design, and environmental advice across a wide range of sectors.
What started out as a drawing and a vision of a future involving “trees, tepees, tree houses and bonfires” has evolved into an adventure company welcoming more than a million visitors a year – and one that is now employee-owned after Go Ape’s founders handed over control to their 1,000-strong workforce.
During the almost 20 years that Go Ape has been in existence its founders, husband and wife team Rebecca and Tristram Mayhew, always wondered ‘where do we see this going?’
Safeguarding the “very unique” culture and values of the treetop adventure company – which offers activities such as zip wires, tree-to-tree crossings and bouncy nets – was always at the forefront of their minds, but what swung it for them to become employee-owned was the process of looking into selling to a private investor.
Rebecca and Tristram transferred 90% of Go Ape shares into an employee ownership trust in October 2021 to give its 1,000 employees an equal stake in the ownership and success of the business, which was founded in 2002 and operates 35 sites in the UK and 16 in the US.
With Go Ape “like a family to us”, the pair wanted to retain 10% of the business to still be involved – without being in control – so that they can have “an ongoing legacy with Go Ape”.
Its Founder and MD, Julian Richer, began buying and selling hi-fi separates at school when he was 14. In 1978, aged 19, he opened his first shop on London Bridge Walk with the help of the late Vic Odden, a photography retailer. In May 2019, he sold 60% of his shares in the business (thus handing control) to an employee ownership trust.
We now trade from 51 stores nationwide, online and through our Telesales and Business to Business departments.
As an employee-controlled trust, Richer Sounds is a diverse, customer-orientated team, united by a passion for music and movies. Its stores contain a remarkable number of budding musicians, DJs, and film buffs, fanatical about great sound and vision. Its recruits based on natural friendliness, rather than high-pressure sales skills.