The report, What Would Make Co-ops Matter To Young People, came out of a collaboration between CDS, the social enterprise Space Unlimited and a group of young people from Knightswood Academy in Glasgow.
Over the course of nine sessions held earlier this year the youngsters considered what the word co-operative meant to them, learned about different types of co-operatives — including a visit to a co-operatively-run recording studio — and considered how the Co-operative Movement could best attract the attention and interest of young people.
Within the group there was a general awareness of Co-op stores (and recognition of television advertising) but little understanding of other forms of co-operative. They liked the ‘fairness’ of the co-operative business model but found the language normally used to describe this as confusing.
The youths felt that co-operatives would be good places to work and would like to see more co-operatives set up that would interest young people, such as co-operative clothes stores.
In terms of online communication, the group found little to interest them on the Co-op Group’s website, suggesting that any site for youngsters should include games, competitions, networking/friends features, co-operative job opportunities and special offers.
They felt that young people would be willing to register with such a site, particularly if, linked to registration and continued membership, they were able to gain loyalty points to be redeemed against products.