Searching for ways to boost the co-operative culture in Northern Ireland

Cooperative Alternatives is hosting two events in Belfast to look at the movement’s work in areas like housing and social care

Two events in Belfast will be looking at ways to boost the co-op culture in Northern Ireland, where the movement has not enjoyed as much government support as other parts of the UK.

Co-operatives: Can Do, Will Do, Must Do, organised by Co-operative Alternatives, is held on November 22 and 23, with a seminar and networking dinner.

Keynote speaker at the dinner will be Ed Mayo, secretary general of Co-operatives UK, who will discuss the impact of co-ops on the economy and community.

The events will focus on the major role that co-operatives play within Northern Ireland and look at ways to develop further a co-operative culture with all advantages that this may bring to employment, products and services.

“We want to highlight the fact that co-operatives are people with a can-do attitude, determined to make a difference and get things done,” said Tiziana O’Hara of Co-operative Alternatives.

“We have historical roots deep in agricultural co-operatives and credit unions but we lag behind the rest of the UK in the support and development of smaller co-ops which can do so much to retain vital services, maintain community cohesion, and offer innovative solutions to today’s challenges in housing, food and social care.”

The co-operative movement in Northern Ireland has not had the same government support or economic backing as other parts of the UK. The seminar and networking dinner will discuss how co-ops here are working hard in difficult circumstances to make a huge impact on local communities, jobs creation and wealth generation.

“This is a great opportunity to hear from Ed Mayo who is a real authority on the co-operative movement and has written extensively on economic and social issues that affect co-operatives in books and on his blog The Power of Co-operation,” added Ms O’Hara.

“In addition, many of our local co-operatives will be discussing the state of play in Northern Ireland.”

The networking dinner with the keynote speech by Ed Mayo will be held on 22 November at Belfast Castle and the seminar will be at Girdwood Community Hub on 23 November.

Both events are open to any interested individuals, organisations or businesses. For further information or to book tickets visit


In this article

Join the Conversation