Bigger than big

When most people think of “Co-operative” they think of the Co-operative Group.  However, whilst the Co-operative Group is a co-operative, it is not the co-operative.  The Co-operative Movement is a bigger than big and the Co-operative Group is simply a very successful part of it.  So, what is a co-op? 

Basically, a co-operative is a group of people working together to meet a mutually agreed goal to the benefit of their members or workers of the co-op.  After a particularly informative Bite-size session at the Co-operative College, where Linda Barlow from Co-operatives UK walked us through the different kinds of co-ops, I got thinking that there are so many different co-operatives out there, how many different ones are in my local area?

So, with the aid of my trusty friend, Google, I did a quick search and was pleasantly surprised at the number of different co-operatives working in Greater Manchester, aside from the Co-operative Group.  “Co-operative” means more than “Group” to many people.

For some people it is about sport and exercise.  There is the Yoga Rooms and FC United.

For some people “Co-operative” means changing the way you live and work.  There is the Carbon Co-op and the

OpenSpace Co-op.

For some people co-ops help with art.  There is the Manchester Film Co-operative and Saddleworth Crafts.

For some, it is about foods.  There is the Unicorn Grocery and the Eighth Day Co-op.

For some, “Co-operative” means the big out doors like the Hulme Community Garden Centre.

For some people, it is about having a drink.  There is the Star on the Cliff and the Manchester Brewing Co-operative.

And of course, for some, it is about education, like us here at the Co-operative College.

To find out more about co-ops in your area, have a look at the Co-operatives UK website and search for your region.

A small corner of a large, beautiful church. Many thanks to Father Mark for his assistance and co-operation with these events!

However, co-ops aren’t just members only clubs.  Many people still get involved with co-ops without being members.  I was very lucky to be a part of out Outreach Team’s “Bee-Have” day in Rochdale where they hosted a day of activities for school groups in Rochdale the the beautiful church of St. Mary in the Baum (well worth a visit for its stunning interior and stained glass windows), and where we were given a helping hand by Matthew Rowbotham who came and talked to the kids about his bee keeping.  Have a gander at their account of the day and follow them on Facebook for more out and about co-op fun.

What other co-op happenings do you know of in your area?  What other kinds of co-ops are you interested in?

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