Eden and Allerdale are “the most co-operative places in England” according to a new report.

The Co-op Economy report reveals the two local authority districts in Cumbria have the highest ratio of co-operative businesses to people in England.

The co-op sector includes community energy organisations, farming co-ops, housing associations, community-owned pubs and shops, credit unions and sports clubs.

Eden has nearly five co-ops per 10,000 people while Allerdale has almost four.

They include Nenthead Arts and Visitor Centre, in the Eden district.

The former chapel was saved by residents through grant aid and a community share offer.

Sandra Mackenzie, chair of Nenthead Arts and Visitor Centre, said: “Our aim is to put Nenthead on the map as a top tourist destination, attracting visitors to experience the hospitality of our fabulous café, exciting gallery space and dramatic outdoors.

“The centre is now owned by the community which means we can control our own destiny with members having a stake and a say in how things are run. With tourism making such a vital contribution to so many people’s livelihoods it was important to us that the community is empowered to take decisions about such a valuable asset.”

The Co-op Economy Report 2019 is compiled by Co-operatives UK, on behalf of the co-operative movement, and covers organisations owned and controlled by their members.

Ed Mayo, Co-operatives UK secretary general, said: “When needs are so acute in remote and rural areas there’s a necessity and greater impetus for people to work together. There’s strength in being able to rely on others, on being part of a co-op.

“Nenthead Arts and Visitor Centre is a great example of collaboration between the community, co-operative vision and a number of institutional supporters and investors. The entire UK economy could learn a lot from the extraordinary success of these rural areas, where co-ops play a lead role.

“With Brexit looming, more co-ops can help pave the way for an economy that doesn’t just serve the rich – those already at the top of the food chain.”