Co-op educators honoured at College’s Centenary Conference

Winners included Gillian Lonergan, who was recognised for her lifetime contribution to the co-op movement

During its Centenary Conference gala dinner, the Co-operative College presented four awards for different areas of co-operative education at its Centenary Conference gala dinner.

The Innovation in Co-operative Education award was won by Newham Venturers, a group of young people aged just 14 who began 2019 wanting to challenge Europe’s biggest arms fair, DSEI, and ended up establishing a peer education programme, training with Campaign Against the Arms Trade, coordinating the Kitchen at the stopDSEI campaign, and getting involved in the School Strikes Against Climate Change.

The Young Co-operative Educator Award was presented to Ollie Bream McIntosh, an individual with a background in leading citizenship education projects in deprived schools. In 2017, Ollie turned his attention to HE, lobbying Nottingham University to back the UK’s first student-led online education project, titled A Students Guide to the Future, which advocates for critically-informed and inclusive conversations about ‘emerging realities’, from AI to Instagram. The project was voted ‘Course of the Year 2018’ by students and is now expanding overseas.

The Community Education Award was won by Helen Chicot, place lead at Rochdale Council. 

Helen is responsible for forming Rochdale Council’s Integrated Place teams, who work in some of the area’s most deprived and challenging communities. Using co-operation as the basis for their model, the teams have become an essential part of the delivery of Public Service Reform there.

Lifetime Contribution to Co-operative Education Award was presented to Gillian Lonergan, who retired in 2019 after over 36 years as part of the Co-operative Union, Co-operative College and Co-operative Heritage Trust.  Gillian held a number of positions throughout her long and distinguished career, including Head of Archive and Learning Resources, as well as managing a number of high profile projects such as a major two-year redevelopment project of the Rochdale Pioneers Museum.