Radical Routes, a network offering support to people who want to set up housing and worker co-ops, joined 120 other co-operatives at Co-operatives United, the global culmination of the International Year of Co-operatives.
At Co-operatives United, Andrew Martin, spoke of the Radical Routes’ principles and values and the co-operative housing sector.
He said: “Radical is something that is alternative, different, progressive. Routes, in plural, is used because there are a number of routes for our path in life, whether trying to achieve housing, employment or community involvement.”
Radical Routes' network comprises of 35 UK housing and worker co-ops. The organisation aims to encourage people to set up housing and worker co-ops and provides them with guidelines and financial support to make their co-operative project come true.
“In over 20 years of Radical Routes, no loans have failed – we are talking about between half and three quarters of million pounds to help people set up co-ops,” said Andrew Martin.
Radical Routes has also published various books offering guidelines on how to set up housing or workers co-ops, with information on co-operative legislations, governance or members’ involvement.
Referring to what Radical Routes has gained from attending Co-operatives United, Andrew Martin said: “We are here for these three days to meet other people, do some networking and help to spread our ideas and our understanding of how co-ops work within the UK.
“I have met people from Sweden who have taken copies of these books and I have attended some workshops on social housing in Britain and on how the model has gone from local authority council and homes towards the co-op model.
Andrew said the event “has given us the chance to meet with other people. We are particularly interested in how people deal with finance.”
He continued: “This period of three days is the one time these years when housing co-ops actually have a voice amongst multinationals and the British co-op movement. I have met people from Pakistan, Sweden, Canada, from all over the world and we are sharing ideas among each other.”
Radical Routes is a network of co-ops and individuals seeking to offer an alternative model of housing, education and work by helping to establish housing and worker co-ops and co-operating as a network.