Co-operatives from across the UK will be celebrating Co-operatives Fortnight by making a difference in their local communities. Themed the Big Co-op Clean, the fortnight enables co-operatives to show how they differentiate themselves from other enterprises.
Throughout the fortnight, which runs from 18 June to 2 July, co-ops will be running various activities such as organising clean-ups of local parks, river banks, beaches and public spaces, or encouraging their customers to clean out their cupboards and donate to food banks.
Organised by Co-operatives UK, the fortnight was initially launched in 2010. Last year it brought together over 100 co-operatives that took part in events across the country.
Ed Mayo, secretary general of Co-operatives UK, said: “Co-operatives Fortnight is a crucial period in the sector’s annual calendar, when co-operatives take concerted action to raise awareness of co-operatives. The Big Co-op Clean is a simple way to take part, enabling co-ops to raise their organisation’s profile, make a difference in their local area and show that we can achieve more working together than we can alone.”
The Southern Co-operative, a consumer co-operative, was among the co-ops that celebrated the fortnight last year. Gemma Lacey, head of sustainability and communications, said: “The Big Co-op Clean isn’t just about picking up litter; it’s about achieving more by working together. It might sound obvious, but co-operating is central to our success as a co-operative – and we are part of something much bigger happening across the UK.”
Hannah Nadim, the chair of the Fox and Goose, a co-operative pub in West Yorkshire, added: “The 2015 Big Co-op Clean was a great opportunity for us to work with like-minded people and at the same time improve our local environment. While we worked we swapped ideas about community enterprises and co-operatives. All in all, a very productive and enjoyable day.”
Unicorn Grocery, a worker co-op from Manchester, also got involved in the Big Co-op Clean. Kellie Bubble, one of the co-op’s worker owners, said: “Co-operatives Fortnight is always an opportunity for us to shout about how proud we are to be part of the co-operative movement, but last year is one we also truly enjoyed. Cleaning up a much-loved cycling and walking route in Manchester with fellow co-operators and customers was a great and satisfying experience … and a chance to chat with those passing about Co-operatives Fortnight.”
Photos from The Big Clean 2015: