A brighter and more interesting one if Future Co-operatives 2009 is anything to go by. I attended this inspiring event with about 70 other people, mainly from Co-operative Development Bodies and Worker Co-operatives, an impressive number considering it was held in Swindon. This event looked at the future for co-operatives and discussed issue affecting the movement.
The Co-operative Group spoke about their marketing campaign and unveiled their plans to improve Co-operative development. It looks like they will be building on the C-Change fund (that covered the old united trading area) to other parts of the country. This should increase development support available to new and existing co-operatives. I will post more details when they are available.
The main debates over the weekend were: Co-operatives third sector or private sector, Co-operatives Act vs Co-operative Standards, and whether there should be a co-operative quality mark?
The main things I took from this event were:
Co-operatives maybe classified as first, third, social enterprise or any other number of terms, but first and foremost we are co-operatives. This is our unique selling points and makes us a better form of business.
In the present economic climate Co-operative values are an increasingly useful marketing tool and should be deployed more often. More than this we should promote what these values help us achieve.
We should convince other co-operatives to display their co-operative status and participate more in the movement. Together we are stronger.
For co-operatives wanting to have external verification of their co-operative status; something that can be done now is to display our "Members of Co-operatives UK" Logo on websites and publications. If you are not a member or want a high resolution logo, please contact me directly.
I am very grateful for all the feedback given by members at this event and will be passing these on internally.