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Little book of sharing

Co-operatives Fortnight is the co-operative sector’s national campaign. From 25 June to 9 July co-operatives up and down the country highlighted how co-operatives share their profits, give people an equal say and help build a better world.

2011 was the UK’s second Co-operatives Fortnight, but the sheer energy and variety of activities shows it’s a firm part of our co-operative calendar. With the co-operative sector getting so many people involved, both online and off, and generating so much positive media interest, this year was a real success.

This little book – a reminder of our shared achievements – is a thank you to the co-operative and mutual businesses that sponsored the activities and to the thousands of people across the UK who took part and made the two weeks such an event.

Ed Mayo Secretary General Co-operatives UK 1

Co-operatives Fortnight highlights Whether online or in store, co-operatives everywhere used Co-operatives Fortnight to show how co-operatives share.


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In the two weeks of Co-operatives Fortnight, over 290 organisations ran events, activities and promotions that together reached over 4 million people.


“ Co-operatives Fortnight really helps us to focus on activities and drive member engagement. The number of our members that we engaged during Co-operatives Fortnight this year is equal to the total number of members we engaged in the whole of 2007.� Di Bateman, Membership Manager, The Midcounties Co-operative.


Online and social media is all about sharing. During Co-operatives Fortnight over 1.7million people heard or talked about co-operatives online. For the first time ever, co-operatives trended on Twitter – it was the second most popular topic, after Cheryl Cole.


Over 100 media outlets covered co-operatives during the Fortnight – from BBC Radio 5Live to the Financial Times. The combined reach of these is over 145 million, meaning that every person in the UK will have been able to read or hear about co-operatives two or three times during Co-operatives Fortnight.


“Having a social conscience is all well and good – most blue-chip companies worth their salt make an effort. But the real lesson the City can take from co-operatives is one of customer service.” Ben Griffiths, City News Editor, Daily Mail.

“Britons are turning to co-operative businesses as trust in mainstream companies plummets.” Josephine Moulds, The Daily Telegraph.


“Mutual ownership beats shareholder democracy.” Andrew Bounds, Financial Times.

“As high street banks struggle to regain their credibility, the public’s increasingly turning to co-operatives. In fact, the turnover of all UK co-operatives grew to £33bn last year – that’s 4.4%.” Stat of the day, Management Today.


With receptions, lectures and new reports, every UK politician had at least three opportunities to learn more about co-operatives.


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The Co-operatives Fortnight campaign was supported by 38 organisations – national businesses, charities and campaigning organisations such as Groundwork UK, NUS, Nationwide and Friends of the Earth.


“Journalists are conscious that the current styles of management and ownership media are crying out for reform and this clearly must include a greater role for co-operatives.” Jeremy Dear, Secretary General, National Union of Journalists.

“We are delighted to be lending our support to Co-operatives Fortnight. Co-operatives have an integral role to play in building the good society, as they promote social justice and inspire people to make a positive difference to their communities.” Sir Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive, NCVO.


Little acts of sharing During Co-operatives Fortnight people showed how they shared on our online Little Book of Sharing. Here’s a small selection.


Co-operative Futures shared their lunch. Jo White, Co-operative Futures.


I shared a drink with a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time. Gareth Thomas MP, Chair of Co-operative Party.


WiRE network leaders are always sharing ideas – there is no point in keeping good stuff to yourself, lots of sharing lots of good networks. Fiona Davies, WiRE Women in Rural Enterprise.


I met some outstanding and inspirational women co-operators at the 2012 Women’s Challenge Launch in Leeds on Saturday. Lynne Franks, Seed.


We shared double membership points with all shoppers at our Quadrant Department Store! Kevin Bennett, Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society.


We shared 500 ‘I’m co-operative’ badges with all staff. Vladi Harris, HF Holidays.


I shared my father’s life and experiences with a church packed full of friends. Simon Randall, Chair of Conservative Co-operative Movement.


We share volunteers with a local visitor centre. Gareth Morgan, Co-operative Energy.


After lunch, I shared the washing-up water with the garden. Does that count? Austen Cordasco, Co-operative Assistance Network.


I share crazy ideas with my Brownies. Elizabeth Brook, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.


I share my politics with others to do what we can for co-operation. Baroness Glenys Thornton, Labour Party.


I shared my favourite Bruce Lee quote with my son: “I’m not Bruce Lee, but I could be, with a little time and a little practice. I got the outfit, I’ll learn the accent ‘cause I’m the only one to do him justice.” Joe, The Co-operative Group.


14 days 14 bloggers Business leaders, innovators, thinkers, activists – we had brilliant guest blogs from all of them for Co-operatives Fortnight. Here are some snippets.


Every day in this country, co-operative organisations continue to demonstrate that there is a caring, democratic and socially responsible alternative to the plc model. Now more than ever, co-operatives have a key role to play in creating a more equitable society. The Co-operative Group is already proving, in so many ways, just what can be done. Peter Marks, Group Chief Executive, The Co-operative Group.


It is not all about me. That would be a nice epitaph, I think, for anyone after a career in business, because sharing and teamwork is the key to lasting success. Yet business schools, business book shelves and business pages tend to give the opposite view. Ed Mayo, Co-operatives UK 29

I’d speculate that organisations embracing the principles of mutuality and co-operation may prove more resilient and adaptable than those who don’t. And be more inclined to think and act for the long term good of society. I’d like to think the Trust is recognised as being one of these organisations. Dame Fiona Reynolds, Director-General, National Trust. 30

Not only do co-operatives have a major part to play in making UK society more equal, they are here for the long haul and they provide a living, breathing example of the alternative economic model that we can look to for inspiration. Bill Kerry, Co-director, The Equality Trust.


We are also seeing growing interest in the role of co-operation and employee ownership across agendas, from public service delivery to carbon reduction and internationalisation. The message is clear – co-operatives have the power to go further in delivering sustainable economic growth – now and in the future. Sarah Deas, Chief Executive, Co-operative Development Scotland.


Often you will hear teachers joke that teaching would be a great job if it weren’t for the pupils. Well it can be a bit like that within co-operatives. Our members challenge and question what we do, which doesn’t always make life easy. But it does lead to better results. Derek Walker, Chief Executive, Wales Co-operative Centre. 33

‘Resilient attitudes’ relate closely to the core values that guide the way the co-operatives operate in the UK. The consistent levels of performance achieved by co-operatives in recent years may well be a product of the type of ‘resiliency’ that these values encourage. Alex Davda, Ashridge Business School. 34

The worldwide co-operative movement has been quietly working away for the best part of 100 years at very local levels trying to put in place practical solutions to everyday needs – building homes, local enterprises to create jobs, give training, create financial products, develop sustainable farming and fishing. Dame Pauline Green, President, International Co-operative Alliance.


We have to temper the way enterprises are run with a balance of interests, by bringing the genuine commitment and long-term interests of the workforce and the local people. Maurice Glasman, political theorist and community organiser.


Sometimes we worker co-operative people wonder if life wouldn’t just be simpler if we were simple employees. Funnily though, very few of us ever do go back. Being a self-managing co-operatively involved member is addictive. Being in control of our working lives but also dependent on our colleagues; working it out together. This is my business AND our business. What a challenge! Bob Cannell, Suma Wholefoods. 37

160 years ago, when food retailers were similarly failing their customers with expensive, adulterated food, the Rochdale Pioneers came together to put their customers at the heart of their business model. I am convinced that if those worthy gentlemen were around today they would recognise the energy market as one that needed addressing. Ben Reid, Chief Executive, The Midcounties Co-operative. 38

If ever the time was ripe for an explosion in awareness about, and enthusiasm for, the role of co-operatives and employee-owned mutuals and social enterprises in the UK, this surely is it. Nita Clarke, Director, Involvement & Participation Association.


The founding mothers and fathers of fair trade were clear that if we are going to challenge all the injustices of trade, smallholders will have to be organised. Alone, selling small volumes from small plots, they can never change their position in global supply chains. But working together, they most certainly can. Harriet Lamb, Chief Executive, Fairtrade Foundation.


To mark Co-operatives Fortnight 2011 in the UK, and in the lead-up to the International Year of Cooperatives in 2012, I would like to make a modest and reasonable proposal to help today’s capitalist economy share wealth and ownership more efficiently and fairly. Shann Turnbull, Principal, International Institute for Self-governance. 41

Thank you for taking part. Co-operatives Fortnight is yours to share.

Co-operatives Fortnight is the co-operative sector’s national campaign. Co-ordinated by Co-operatives UK, the trade association for co-operative enterprises, it is supported by ten founding sponsors: The Co-operative Group The Midcounties Co-operative Midlands Co-operative The Southern Co-operative Anglia Regional Co-operative Society East of England Co-operative Society Benenden Healthcare Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society Lincolnshire Co-operative Channel Islands Co-operative Society Two co-operatives have also joined as supporting sponsors: HF Holidays CDS Co-operatives

The Little Book of Sharing  

The Little Book of Sharing from Co-operatives UK's 2011 Co-operatives Fortnight

The Little Book of Sharing  

The Little Book of Sharing from Co-operatives UK's 2011 Co-operatives Fortnight