Co-ops UK webinars include platform co-ops and people power in Lancaster

Previous webinars from the series are available to view online

A series of free one-hour Zoom webinars from Co-operatives UK and the Hive continues with a look at platform co-ops and a co-op awareness drive in Lancaster.

At 1pm on 25 January, Platform co-ops – your route to an ethical digital business in Scotland will see Co-operatives UK’s Ludovica Rogers give a presentation on how platform co-ops can empower those on the frontline of services – putting them in control of the business, providing better working conditions and fairer pay.

The session will include speakers from platform co-ops Signalise – for deaf people, BSL interpreters and service user organisations – and Open Food Network UK – a co‑op of co‑ops whose members collectively own and control a software platform they use to trade the food they produce.

It includes an overview of platform co-ops, a discussion of how they are set up and run and the support available – including the Hive, the next UnFound Accelerator programme and Co-operative Development Scotland, which is co-delivering the session.

The session is open to anyone in Scotland and beyond who is keen to learn more about platform co‑ops, including individuals, groups, business advisors, local authorities, community leaders and voluntary sector support agencies.

At 1pm on 3 February, How co-ops can empower communities will look at how the co-op model can improve working lives and services in Lancaster.

Delivered in partnership with Lancaster City Council for those living and working in the district, the one‑hour session will be introduced by Daniel Clarke, community wealth building officer at Lancaster City Council, and delivered by Co‑operatives UK’s Petra Morris.

There will also be speakers from two local co-ops – Chris Coates, site manager at Halton Mill for the Green Elephant Co‑operative, which manages a co‑operative office and workspace. The co‑op is part of a cluster of co‑ops at the Mill, just outside Lancaster, including a food co‑op and a car club. Mr Coates has many years’ experience in the co‑op sector, being involved in both housing co-ops and worker co‑ops during the ‘new wave’ of co‑operatives that formed in the 1980s.

Also speaking is Graeme Brown, a member of Single Step Wholefoods, a vegetarian worker co‑op that has been operating in Lancaster since 1976 – and championing zero waste and sustainability for decades. It focuses on making whole foods with a low environmental impact and great taste available to as many people as possible. 

The webinar will also signpost to the help and support available from Lancaster City Council and The Hive business support programme – delivered by Co-operatives UK with funding from the Co-op Bank.

On 9 February, Is starting a co-op right for you? will see Co-operatives UK’s Petra Morris and Dane Pollard present examples of successful co‑ops that do business differently – putting control in the hands of their workers, customers and suppliers – and trading profitably, ethically and fairly as a result.

Click here for more details, and to view recordings of previous webinars in the series.