Monday, 30 November 2009

Hydro Scheme For Stockport

Two hydro power schemes have been given the go-ahead in Stockport. Otterspool Weir and Stringer Weir are archimedian screw setups which together will generate over 500MWh/yr. H2oPE a social enterprise is developing the two sites for construction in 2010.

Both schemes will be owned by the community with surplus profits funding further environmental schemes in Stockport.

The schemes are to be funded by a mixture of grants, a share offer and bank loan. Share prospectus are due out early next year and there will soon be a web site for your to register your interest in receiving a copy. We will announce this when it is online.

H2oPE is funded by the Co-operative Group, Joseph Rowntrees Charitable Trust and Key Fund Yorkshire.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

New Toy Shop Co-op

After a bit of a wait the new toy shop opens as a co-operative in Chorlton. The former owners retired from business life and a great effort has been made to re-start the shop but this time as an Industrial & Provident Society. Official opening is Saturday 11th July at 517 Wilbraham Road, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 0UF.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Development Plan

At today's Manchester Area Party AGM much was made of the Development Plan. Essentially it's the future structure of the Co-op Party in an area beyond just Manchester and Warrington and for the first time we had delegates from Stoke-on-Trent. It's an unwieldy area and one that will increase expenses for travel and mailings.

The guest speakers who stepped in at the last moment where two chaps from the new Staffordshire Credit Union. They'd obviously done the Powerpoint Presentation many times before. But it was no flaky wouldn't it be nice approach they talked about the grim realities of loan sharks, UK Christmas Hamper rip-off (£40 of goods for £90 - Farepak went bust even at those exorbitant rates) and the lack of thrift. We wish them every success to their members. The mutual offer for micro credit has a lot going for it - cheaper, safer savings - but not an instant fix. But long term solutions take time to deliver.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Co-op Backing Films

"two-way partnership will see Dogwoof and The Co-operative jointly financing the marketing and distribution costs associated with campaigning films on important issues, starting with BURMA VJ and THE VANISHING OF THE BEES."

Not the sort of stuff your PLC would touch, Burma regime politics and the threat to food supply by having no bees. More.

Showing films is still controlled by a less than a handful of distribution companies but you can still reach a large audience with the web, DVD and organised showings by voluntary groups. It's good that The Co-operative have seen the alternative distribution methods.

Thursday, 11 June 2009


An online channel that hosts film clips and programmes relating to the co-operative campaigns and its broader aims. What's available? The Plan Bee campaign, Fairtrade, Young Film Makers showreel that runs for 20 minutes...Most of the clips are 4 or 5 mins and play on full screen. A good venture. It continues the Co-operative tradition in the moving image that's dates back over 100 years.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Compass Conference

Want banks to put you before profit? The feeling's mutual! with Michael Stephenson, Co-Operative Party.

The Co-operative Party has got itself onto The Compass Conference on Saturday 13th June. It's down in London and they've got some well known names doing spots on the podium. The Agenda.

Watch the 1 minute advert on YouTube, where else? Here.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Co-ops & TU Event

It's not often you get one of these - a "Co-operatives and Trade Unions in the UK" conference all in the same room.

Friday 22nd May 2009, 1000h - 1500h
the Mechanics Institute,
103 Princess Street,Manchester, M1 6DD.

Speakers from both movements, include:
Hazel Blears, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Dame Pauline Green, Chief Executive of Co-operativesUK
David Jenkins, Chair of Wales Co-op Centre, former General Secretary of Wales TUC
Neil Buist, General Secretary of the National Association of Co-operative Officials
Mick Taylor, founding partner of from Mutual Advantage
Guy Collis, UNISON

All the usual conference arrangements - coffee, registration, time for questions, and the open debate. The event is organised by Co-operativesUK with Unions21 and Ruskin College, Oxford.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Members Meetings in May

After a quiet few months got two meetings to go to in one month...
The Co-operative Group round of regional annual general meetings is currently happening around Britain. The one in Manchester is at Co-op HQ - New Century House on Tuesday 26th May at 1930h. The next night is the final of the Champions League so am not sure how many will be going to the meeting in Eccles that night.

Nearly half of meetings are being broadcast live over the internet. You can see the full list of dates at Members Meetings.

Our own Co-op Party meeting is this Friday - see previous post - photos to follow after the event. There should be something worth snapping and posting.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Next Meeting is in town

This will be a first for Withington Co-op Party but the next meeting is in the city centre
The Euro Election Meeting
Arlene McCarthy MEP and Anthony McCaul from Hope Not Hate
Friday 15th May 2009 at 2000h
Friends' Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, Manchester M2 5NS

Euro Elections on Thursady June 4th are critical for Labour. In the North West we are hoping to return at least 3 and maybe 4 or even more MEPs (Arlene Mc Carthy, Brian Simpson, Theresa Griffin, Steve Carter or Claire Reynolds ) all of whom are Co-op Party members. The BNP do pose a threat under the proportional representation list system being used. We are grateful to Anthony McCaul from Hope Not Hate for agreeing to say a few words.

Monday, 27 April 2009

FC United join Co-ops UK

Football Club United of Manchester, owned by its members has joined Co-operatives UK. They are in the Unibond Northern Premier League, which is three divisions below the Football League, and playing at Gigg Lane, home of Bury..

Andy Walsh, General Manager at FC United says: “We are proud to be an Industrial and Provident Society and it felt like a natural progression to join Co-operatives UK."

Story at Crain's Manchester Business.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Spy Who Came in From The Co-op

What a great title? What a story - not that I've read it yet. Do the washing, pop down to local Co-op for some groceries, bit of espionage, put kids to bed. Maybe not in that order.

You can get the publisher's details at Boydell & Brewer. It's just out in hardback.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Read Paul Gosling

Paul Gosling writes a fortnightly column for the Co-operative News. It's a good informative read about financial matters of co-operatives and mutuals. You can see for yourself as the writings are available online.

He also writes, researches and broadcasts for lots of other titles.

Hardy Lane Co-op History Talk

Thursday 23rd April 2009 at 1500h
(yes an afternoon meeting)
Tilley's Coffee Shop, Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton
(opposite Southern Cemetery).
Chorlton History Group

Talk about the Hardy Lane Co-op Store and the possible last co-op meeting rooms above in shop in the UK. You can read about the project to record the history of Store & Meeting Room at
Hardy Lane Scrapbook. Photographs, video footage, posters are being collated. Lots of material still needed.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Olive Co-ops Come to Chorlton

Chorlton's Big Green Festival on Saturday 4th April.
The Olive Co-op will be there :-
Olive Co-operative seeks to raise awareness of the difficulties faced by Palestinians, and to support those working for a just peace in Palestine and Israel. It aims to do this by three main means: sponsorship of new olive trees, arranging tours to Palestine and Israel, and selling Palestinian fairly traded goods in the UK."
There is a lot of events, food, bicycle parade, films etc... on at the Green Festival so you need to check their website.

Unicorn Co-operative Grocery in Chorlton on Sunday 5th April.
Sindyanna of Galilee will be there
"this is an organisation based on co-operation between Palestinian and Jewish people, founded on a mutual belief in equality and Palestinian right to self-determination.
Sindyanna founders, Samia Nasser and Hadas Lahav, will be offering samples of their range of high quality, popular products including extra virgin organic olive oil, olive oil soap (plain and with four blends), olive wood soap dish, za'atar herb mixture, carob syrup, baskets and artwork."

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Trees for Life

"Trees for Life was launched in 2006, a joint project from the Olive Co-operative Ltd in Manchester and Zaytoun, a community interest company and member of Co-operatives UK. In the first six months the campaign had raised £20,000 to plant more than 5,000 olive tree saplings in Palestine..."

Greater Nottingham Co-operative Party have adopted this campaign with some vigorous fund raising activity. You can read about it at their website.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

AGM done and dusted

The AGM was held a couple of Monday's ago and forgot to post....We predicted a low turnout but come the Monday a good muster. The usual people stand for office and the usual people let them. The highlights are the refreshments - some home made Fairtrade crunchy banana slice, beers and crisps. Then a chat about a future programme. Settled on a realistic three meetings this year :-

1) An event at an ambient venue in the City Centre for the new members who have recently joined in that part of Manchester. Going to leave to cosy world of the Co-op Rooms of Chorlton, about time we got out more. A theme based around the forthcoming European Parliamentary Elections with a notable speaker and refreshments.

2) An update on The Co-operative's new Fairtrade products which is a heavy hint on New World wine tasting and some accompanying short video clips.

3) A meeting about the campaign to erect a statue to mark Peterloo. It might be 190 years after the event but it still provoked a lively discussion in the room.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Tory Porkies

From LabourList channel on YouTube. Only a minute - if only party political broadcasts were this short and featured food.

Monday, 16 February 2009

New Co-op Advert

If you missed the new 2 minute 39 second Tv advert for The Co-operative - the one with the Bob Dylan "Blowin in the Wind" soundtrack then you can see it at :

Don't know for how long it will be available.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Fairtrade Fortnight 2009

It's that time of year again ,23rd February thru 8th March, when Fairtrade issues are highlighted. 2008 saw lots of events, film showings and publicity. This year with economic bleakness dominating the media things are bound to be a little less exuberant.

A view is that consumers generally trade down to cheaper options, and budget supermarkets in a recession. Confectionery, tea and coffee sales have been pretty much recession proof as they are the one luxury customers console themselves with...

Events noted so far in Manchester are at the 8th Day Co-operative, 111 Oxford Road with fair trade games, tombola (don't you just love that Italian word - from tombolare - to somersault) and tastings. Details here.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Cameron "Bring Back The Job Clubs"

David Cameron addressed the Social Enterprise Coalition Conference today. He does a nice line in buzz words - enterprise, more training, empower individuals - that's what all politicians do. Put me down as naive but I thought he'd be offering support for all the social enterprise / third sector organisations given that was his audience. But no it's the same story of market forces, laissez-faire and bring back the Thatcher-era Job Clubs. The last one around here met in the Tory Club on a Thursday, don't know if it was like the one in the film "The Full Monty".

Not so sure about his take on capitalism :
"So if we want to make capitalism a success again, we need to make it popular again."

"It means shaping capitalism to suit the needs of society; not shaping society to suit the needs of capitalism. And it means being clear about the social goods we want our market economy to achieve - a society that is fairer, greener and safer, where we save more and waste less, and where we create good-paying and rewarding jobs for all."

History shows that capitalism does not create fair societies with well paid jobs for all. It can do wonders but that isn't one of them.
Full text.
BBC Report

Monday, 9 February 2009

No canvassing

Co-op Elections12 places up for the taking and 15 candidates on the ballot paper for the first Area Committee of this region. Co-operative Members have until Saturday 14th February to make their choices. Under the rules no canvassing for or by any candidate is allowed. Don't know what would happen if such a dastardly act took place. Obviously the online voting process is the quickest and easiest. The old school pencil, envelope and walk to the post box method is still available. You know you've been involved in this Co-op stuff a while when you've met most of the people standing for office. But I can't say who to vote for. Photo of election poster taken in my local store next to the adverts for unwanted electric guitars, buggies and other bric-a-brac...

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Turn failed banks back into mutuals

"Turn failed banks back into mutuals Labour is told", and the Co-operative Party makes it into a story in the Observer business pages, which might be a first. It is possible says Martin Weale, director of the National Institute of Social and Economic Research, but it will take time. Thanks to our Secretary for drawing attention to this article.

Cameron at Social Enterprise Conference

David Cameron is to make a keynote speech at the Social Enterprise Coalition conference fashionably called Voice09 and that room will be in Birmingham on Tuesday 10th February.

We'll await what he has to say, though you can't help being a little sceptical. These days you'd want to put as much clear blue water between the your party and the City institutions, hoorah capitalist speculators and the boom that went surprisingly bust.

Social enterprises are businesses set up to tackle a social or environmental need - more info. Co-operatives UK, Supporters Direct, New Economics Foundation, The Big Issue all have board members on the Coalition.

Friday, 6 February 2009

AGM Season

Hardy Lane Co-op 2008February thru March is the AGM season. I've got about five written in the diary and the Withington Co-op Party is in there.

Monday 23rd February 2000h
at Hardy Lane Co-op Rooms
. (that's above the shop in the picture. Entrance is the black door on the left hand side and up the steep stairs - never seen anyone use the chair lift but it is there as a trip hazard)

All the usual business, plus some refreshments purchased from the shop on the ground floor. Wrap it up just after 2100h and retire to the pub. Keep it brief and make it informal. We also plan our programme for the coming year. No local elections so that frees up April.

Our Secretary points out "More and more of our members live outside the ‘Withington Constituency’ particularly in the City Centre so we will be looking at organising at least one event in central Manchester this year."

There is a Plan B

The Co-operative has launched Plan Bee, a new campaign and 10-point plan to help reverse the worrying decline in the British bee population.

Better than that you can join in with positive action if you have a garden or allotment. All simple practical steps like letting a patch of grass grow long, buying a bee box at a subsidised price, planting some patches of wild flowers (I'd certainly recommend borage as they little blighters spend summer buzzing all over them at my allotment).... More info

Thursday, 5 February 2009

New Co-op Ventures in South Manchester

A story in the local free sheet about two new planned co-operative enterprises has prompted a revival in blogging after an overlong seasonal layoff. A food store / cafe over in Longsight taking over from an existing business. Nearer here a co-operative toy shop in Chorlton, again taking over from a business that recently closed through retirement of the owner. All very encouraging in times of economic woe. The toy shop was a local institution though I suspect it didn't have enough customers. No indication in the story which form of co-operative ownership model is going to be used....

Co-ops: Together we can save our local shops
in the South Manchester Reporter 5/2/2009

Cherished Toy Shop
in the Manchester Evening News 6/2/2009