Event co-ordinators Co-operatives UK is appealing to co-operators and co-operatives around the country to support the initiative and has announced that four founding sponsors — the Co-operative Group, Midcounties and the Southern and Anglia societies — have pledged to contribute a total of £87,000.
A campaign theme ‘There is an Alternative’ has also been agreed and a Communications Director, Rachel Griffiths — formerly Head of External Affairs at the Association of Mutual Insurers — has been appointed to help deliver a wide range of events and activities aimed at showcasing the co-operative business model and the depth and diversity of the UK Movement.
A dedicated website — www.thereisanalternative.coop — is now available online to provide resources and ideas for anyone interested in getting involved.
Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, told the News: “The Fortnight is going to be truly collaborative. We want all co-operatives to do something during the Fortnight, no matter how big or small.
“Whether that’s putting up posters; holding a meal for members; hosting an open day for the public or collaborating with other nearby co-operatives, it’s taking part that matters.
“Co-operatives Fortnight is going to be very powerful and the more people that take part, the bigger impact we’ll have.”
Co-operators are being urged to spread the word about Co-operatives Fortnight among colleagues and members, as well as sharing information on social networking sites. Twitter users are encouraged to append their Co-operative Fortnight posts with the keyword #coops14 to help the organisers monitor the campaign’s effectiveness.
In addition to the Co-operative Group — who have pledged funding to the tune of £50,000 — and the three other founding sponsors, Co-operatives UK said several other co-ops and organisations have expressed support and are planning to stage events and promotions during the Fortnight.
Russell Gill, Head of Membership at the Co-operative Group, said the society was delighted to be among the founding sponsors and would be working closely with Co-operatives UK to develop the concept.
Said Mr Gill: “The initiative will enable us all to celebrate the relevance and success of the co-operative sector. We need to take every opportunity to make our collective voice heard.”