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 “Co-operative” means changing the way you live and work. There is the Carbon Co-op and the
For some, “Co-operative” means the big out doors like the Hulme Community Garden Centre.
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.
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?