Co-op van showcases Rochdale’s role in the birthplace of the co-operative movement

The van is being used as part of a flowerbed to show that co-operation is 'alive and well' in the town

A Co-op-branded Morris Minor van is now on view in Rochdale – the birthplace of the modern co-operative movement.

Assembled at the end of July, the van has been used as part of a flowerbed on St Mary’s Way to make the borough more attractive by planting more plants and flowers.

Rochdale Borough council leader Cllr Richard Farnell, who came up with the idea for the van, says he wanted to create something that was “visible and attractive” and show that co-operation was “well alive” in Rochdale.

The van is also very close to the Toad Lane Museum, where the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society members opened their store selling pure food at fair prices and honest weights and measure in 1844. Since then the society has been through many mergers and name changes – it is now part of the UK’s largest consumer co-op, the Co-operative Group.

The car chosen is similar to the ones that used to do deliveries in towns like Rochdale in the 1960s and 70s. After acquiring it from eBay, the council asked a local body repair shop to carry out the restoration work needed and worked with the Co-op to ensure they got the right branding and design.

Cllr Farnell said: “Everyone is rightly proud of our links to the worldwide co-operative movement and although it’s a historical connection it’s one that still resonates around Rochdale today.

“We celebrate that connection wherever we can and think about how we can build stronger links with our communities. The van is really a statement to say that co-operation is alive and well in Rochdale and that we value the principles and want to bring that back into how we deliver services.”

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