After navigating the complexities of the pandemic and sporadic lockdowns, participants of the Youth Co-operative Action (YCA) programme from Falinge Park High School in Rochdale, were finally able to get together in person to receive their certificates and celebrate their amazing achievements throughout the programme. 

Students from cohorts 1 & 2 of the Youth Co-operative Action Project from Falinge Park High school pose with the end of project certificates at the celebration meal.

Participants from both cohorts of the programme were invited to attend a celebration meal reflecting on their social action journey together with their peers, UK project manager Daniel Cox from the Co-operative College and staff lead from Falinge Park High School, Sarah Boyle. The group also enjoyed some good food and tasty desserts! 

To get the group together in person to celebrate their hard work and award them their certificates was long overdue and genuinely heart-warming. I am proud to say that both cohorts overcame the additional challenges of the pandemic to complete the programme and create meaningful social action in their community, setting high standards of what it means to be a cooperator and young leader. Daniel Cox, UK project manager, Co-operative College

Supported by the Co-op Foundation #iwill Fund, and delivered in partnership with Greater Manchester Youth Network, the YCA programme focuses on youth activism, co-operation and inspiring a new generation of young people to use co-operative values and principles to make a change in their lives and their communities. 

In Rochdale, the first YCA cohort took place in 2021, and participants held an online social action event raising awareness for child poverty and the working poor. After delivering a hard-hitting presentation on child poverty in their local area, the group conducted an interview with local MP Tony Lloyd and held a discussion on key themes with attendees from their community. The event also raised £200 for Rochdale Food Bank and further connected young people to their local community, with YCA participants going on to be part of the mayoral selection process for the city. 

The second Rochdale YCA cohort took place in 2021/22, and participants held an online social action event raising awareness for hate crime in connection with Human Rights Day, on December 10th 2021. After a presentation on hate crime including powerful testimonials, young participants created and collected artwork, poetry and pledges from community leaders, school staff, students, friends, family and members of their local community. 

Take a look at artwork and poetry collected and created by YCA participants. 

Autism Hate Crime Awareness artwork created by RM as part of the Rochdale Youth Co-operative Action programme.

Rochdale Councillor Rachel Massey wrote: 

My door is always open; I will be there to hear what is happening in your life and I will pledge to do what I can with all the partners around me; to make sure you know that you are heard, and we will, together, make a difference to our community so that we all love where we live. 

Manchester Imam Irfan Chishti MBE wrote: 

It starts with me. It starts with us. I pledge to always encourage my congregation to never accept hate crime; never be simple bystander but an active one. I pledge to keep raising the voice of voiceless whenever I can. 

No Place for Hate artwork created by MI as part of the Rochdale Youth Co-operative Action programme.

We want to take Youth Co-operative Action to many more communities across the UK, but we can't do that without your support. 

Join our membership or donate today, and together let's inspire a new generation of young co-operators to fight for change. 

Find out more and donate