Green campaigner Chris Packham heads line-up for UK Co-op Congress

The event, free to all co-op members, will look at how the movement can help the country rebuild

Co-operatives UK has announced the speakers for this year’s national Co-op Congress, which will be held online on 25 June with a focus on the movement’s role in the post-Covid rebuild.

Naturalist, broadcaster and environmental campaigner Chris Packham will lead a session on the role of co-ops in campaigning for social change.

Mr Packham said: “I’ve been campaigning on environmental issues for over 30 years, and at Congress we’ll hear about the issues you want the co‑op movement to campaign about.”

He’ll be joined in the session by Paul Gerrard (Co-op Group); Gemma Lacey (Southern Co-operative); Pete Westall (Midcounties) and Hannah Gallimore (Central England).

Dan Jarvis, Labour/Co-op mayor for the Sheffield City Region, will discuss ways to drive regional economic recovery and renewal through worker co-ops and employee ownership.

Simon Borkin (Stretford Public Hall) and Jess Thomas (Co-operatives UK) will join representatives of new food co-ops in Preston to look at how co-ops can rebuild communities and local economies.

Urging people to “share the UK’s best kept secret” as the country goes through a new wave of co-operation will be a panel featuring Melissa Johns (actor and co-director of TripleC); Rose Marley (Co-operatives UK); Cilla Ross (Co-operative College); Liz McIvor (Co-operative Heritage Trust); Rebecca Harvey (Co-opNews) and Lord Victor Adebowale (SEUK and Co-op Group).

And a panel featuring Rose Marley (Co-operatives UK); Steve Murrells (Co-op Group; Andy Burnham, (mayor of Greater Manchester); and Shekinnah Wilberforce, Annabelle Cook and Tommy Kirkwood (Our Pass) will look at how the co-op movement can engage the next generation.

Rose Marley, CEO of Co-operatives UK, said: “We’re tackling some big questions at Congress including how to rebuild the economy, the big issues facing our society and a call out to invest in our youth. We’ll also be taking a good look at the movement’s ‘best keep secret’ – co‑ops! And how a new era of co‑operation is emerging once again at the cusp of an industrial revolution that will provide a beacon of hope for a fair and equitable future for all.” 

Tickets are free and open to anyone who is a member of a co‑op – thanks to support from the Co‑operative Bank. 

Click here for more details and to book your place.