In December 1872, 30 people attended a public meeting and unanimously agreed to pay one shilling (12 old pence) for the establishment of a local Co-operative. After five months, the Portsea Island Mutual Co-operative Society’s first shop opened in Charles Street on 9 May 1873. To celebrate this 150th Anniversary, in September 2023 colleagues from across the organisation gathered to present a commemorative plaque to Enable Ability which runs Landport Community Centre Centre just metres from where the first store stood. Mark Ralf, chair of Southern Co-op, said: “It’s an honour for me to mark such a historical occasion. Southern Co-op’s founders set out to benefit the whole community and community is still at the forefront of Southern Co-op’s work. Our support for Enable Ability is an example of this, which our retail and Funeralcare colleagues have been actively involved with for a number of years. So it’s incredibly fitting that they can be part of these celebrations.”

Photo shows Mark Ralk (centre left), Chairman of the Board for the Southern CO-OP, presenting Richard Soutar (centre right) from Enable Ability with the plaque to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first CO-OP which was opposite what is now the Landport Community Centre, with colleagues and staff from the charity. Pic: Steve Reid