Their trip was a celebration of a monumental achievement of the power of democracy and membership involvement with real political change.
Last year, Co-operative Group members in the South and West, as well as across the UK, successfully campaigned for the introduction of the Marine Act which included the requirement to introduce the Marine Reserves Bill, allowing Lundy Island to have reserve status.
Lundy was the first marine reserve in the UK, and has already shown how quickly our seas can recover if they are given the chance.
The South and West Membership team linked up with the Marine Conservation Society to provide 250 members with the opportunity to visit peaceful and
unspoilt Lundy Island and learn about the island’s special status as a Marine Nature Reserve Zone.
The trip, from Ilfracombe, gave members the opportunity to see what their collective action has helped to achieve. We are also delighted to announce that by running this activity, members have helped to donate more than £2,000 to the Marine Conservation Society to further its excellent work.
Members wishing to learn more about Lundy or support up to 73 other similarly beautiful and diverse sites can do so through the Marine Conservation Societies campaign via www.yourseasyourvoice.com.
Among the other Co-operatives Fortnight activities in the South and West Membership area was a members’ education event organised by the membership team in conjunction with the Robert Owen Society in the West Midlands.
Robert Owen is considered by many to be the father of the Co-operative Movement, as he promoted equality and education for all at a time when these were very radical ideas.
In Southampton, there was a performance of The Burma Play: A Comedy of Terror, which highlighted the plight of the Burmese people in a country where the democratically elected Prime Minister, Aung San Suu Kyi, is denied the right to govern by the military
regime. Democracy is a cornerstone of all co-operatives, so it is right that we raise awareness of this issue.
Co-operatives Fortnight itself is an illustration of how grassroots ideas are put into action in our Movement and how our ethical values underpin all our businesses and support all the work we undertake in our communities.
Co-operatives Fortnight was an idea from South and West members which was taken to Co-operative Congress last year. It was voted a good idea and actively supported by many co-operatives, large and small, around the country.
That is how the first Co-operatives Fortnight was born. We hope members saw something of it and were able to enjoy it — it will be round again next year, bigger and better, with even more opportunities to join in.
• Sam Grayston is South and West Regional Co-operative and Membership Manager for the Co-operative Group. This feature is sponsored by the Co-operative Group.