2014 was a big year for co-operative anniversaries – here are few of the most significant milestones
One hundred and seventy years ago saw the establishment of the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society. From its first meeting on 11 August 1844, the 28 pioneers started with the tasks of who should run the co-operative – and later the new directors decided the start day of the business was 15 August 1844. Over the coming months, the Pioneers appointed more responsibilities to directors to ensure the a suitable store was and also stocked. By November, a vacant warehouse was found and on 12 December the first products were purchase: flour, butter, sugar and oatmeal. The store officially opened on 21 December.
The first community energy share offer was issued 18 years ago and saw the birth of Baywind. As well as holding the title for the first wind energy co-operative, Baywind is also the first co-op formed by a community share issue. Ahead of its time, Baywind raised almost £2m from 1,334 members between 1996-1998 to build two turbines at Harlock Hill, and another at Haverigg. Focus of the share offer was on the community, and 35% of shareholders live in the Cumbria region, with a wider number from across the north west of England.
Paddock Housing Co-operative started 25 years ago when a group of residents living in flats who were waiting on the council’s list for a permanent home decided to build their own houses. With support from Birmingham Co-operative Housing Services (bchs), the 10 families set up a housing co-operative. The co-op’s first houses were completed in 1989, but Paddock Housing Co-operative has since built homes in another six local streets. Twelve homes were developed in the early 2000s, after the co-operative acquired the land where a former garage and bakery was situated. All of its 46 houses are within walking distance.
Ethical Consumer has a worldwide reputation for making global businesses more sustainable through consumer pressure. Its magazine was officially launched in 1989, but its origins begun in a council flat in Manchester in 1986 by current editor Rob Harrison. The young law graduate was one of many activists campaigning against apartheid and decided to do something a bit more radical than just boycotting South African fruit. Today, the co-operative has 300 members, 5,000 subscribers and an annual tally of over 900,000 visitors to its website. It offers consultancy and advice to dozens of charities, businesses and NGOs, including Oxfam, Amnesty and Medecins Sans Frontieres, also working with the Co-operative Group on ethical trading projects.
Glasgow-based Media Co-op creates digital media and films for the third sector – and it reached its 10th birthday this year. Media Co-op has a policy of only working with “organisations that are doing good, people who share our values of co-operation, ethical working, focus on service, and environmental sustainability.”
The only co-operative in the UK offering homes to vulnerable children has celebrated its 15th anniversary. In October 1999, Laurie Gregory set-up the Foster Care Co-operative after he saw the opportunity to offer an alternative to private agencies that had been poaching public sector foster carers. The co-operative, based is in Malvern, Worcestershire, has grown steadily with offices now in Cardiff, Bristol, Glasgow and London, and contracts with 59 local authorities. Today, it has more than 50 employee members across the UK and 120 carers looking after around 160 children in London, the West Midlands, Bristol and the South West, Staffordshire, Yorkshire, the East Midlands and throughout Wales and Scotland.
Happy Birthday for 2015
Hundreds of co-operatives are celebrating major anniversaries in 2015, here we list just a few of those . . .
Southampton Allotments and Gardens Association
The Cartergate Social Club
Staffordshire Country Markets
Great North 2000 Credit Union
Metro Moneywise Credit Union
Waltham Forest Council Employee Credit Union
Wimbledon Park Co-operative
The Muir-Walker Medics Co-operative
Bradfield Southend Village Stores Association
Farnborough Supporters Trust
Gloucestershire Printmaking Co-operative
Camberley Cricket Club
In this article
- Baywind Energy Co-operative
- Bradfield Southend Village Stores Association
- Camberley Cricket Club
- Cartergate Social Club
- Credit union
- Farnborough Supporters Trust
- foster care co-operative
- Harlock Hill
- Laurie Gregory
- Medecins Sans Frontieres
- Paddock Housing Co-operative
- Rob Harrison
- Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society
- Waltham Forest Council Employee Credit Union
- North America
- United Kingdom