Mon 12 Feb 2018

Hello! Please introduce yourself.

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Nathan invited me on here as I've expressed a few ideas in the past about the role of co-ops in solving problems in various industries. I've tried to keep abreast of some discussions on here and send apologies for not participating as much as I would like.

Some context: I set up this multi-stakeholder co-op www.retrofitworks.co.uk having identified this legal model as ideal for the aims of the business, not with an eye on setting up a co-op of its own sake. The model seems to be working; recent contract award to renovate 1,000 privately owned homes from the Mayor of London and starting large schemes in Devon and Oxfordshire this year. Turnover likely to be £0.5m this financial year with income for our members up at £5m.

I have been thinking on your question about the role of cooperative development programmes. I’ve also been dwelling on the void left by C and Local Government in many sectors. My view is that this is actually about ‘cooperation’ rather than it being about ‘cooperatives’. In one of Nathan's workshops we are asked ‘why are lots more co-ops not being created in the face of government roll back and the failure of capitalism?’, and ‘why are co-ops not seen to be a standard business model from which to choose’. Why not go with this situation rather than try to change it – much like I did with RetrofitWorks i.e. realise that there was a need to bring together the organisations or people around the market failure, then happily found the cooperative model as the answer.

So change the whole narrative from

‘We love co-ops, come and start one’
‘Let’s solve problems together, seek creative ways to collaborate, and we offer some commercial models to make it work (which is v likely to be a cooperative)’

I've got ideas on how to do all of that, but given my limited time available will need pointing at the most useful thread here on Loomio?

Cheers all.
07904 224410


A Waterhouse Fri 2 Mar 2018

A fellow traveller to things coop, now retired, formerly, a founder member of Calverts, worked at Spider Web, experimented with Asset Democracy, Interested in coop finance, a neccesery but not suficient element in w coop and others, formation . ( Tony or Anthony) Thought experiment : https://mutualsforecondemocracy.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/ and : https://mutualsforecondemocracy.wordpress.com/2015/09/10/


John Atherton Mon 5 Mar 2018

Hi All, I'm on here two, but mostly as an observer as Solidfund is my first love :hugging:


Just realised that I've yet to do this introduction and there are people in the group I don't know too well. This project is something we've been talking about and skirting for years. As the tools we need to create more than a fund are just lying there to use, it now seems like the time to actually do something has arrived.

I'm prepared to devote significant time to this in making things work in the back-office of the early platform - Wizard of Oz style. I'm also prepared to stand up and talk about it enthusiastically.

If you want to know more about me: https://culture.coop/about/members/services/


Graham Tue 27 Mar 2018

I've been working in, with and for cooperatives since the mid 1980s. Co-founded a marketing services worker co-op in Southampton in '87 and went on to work in it for about 12 years. Then a spell at ICOM, then Cooperative Union/Cooperatives UK where I managed the rebranding and did membership work and organised Congress. Then left and set up MC3 as a small cooperative partnership doing digital work mainly around use of Drupal and CiviCRM for cooperatives and others. Led a community buyout of my local greengrocers, went to live in Catalunya for a few years. Now in the Pennines plotting the next wave. Always been a big fan of the potential of the mix of digital and cooperation.


A belated Hi from me (I had Loomio authentication problems), I'm from Webarchitects and we might be able to help with some web hosting for this project if it is needed.


Fabian Tompsett Sat 7 Apr 2018

Hi, I am another veteran of the London radical print co-op scene having worked at Rye Express, Little @ and Union Place 1979-1994. I was also a member of the video co-op Despite TV 1995-9 and Salamander Press (London) 1990-2014. I went to the University of East London and gained a BA in Social Enterprise (2013) and MSc in ICT and Development (2015). For my dissertation I looked at the work of Otto Neurath (1882-1945) in terms of laying the grounds for subsequent information theory in the context of his economical work predictive of the impact of technology as regards unemployment and the development of a non-monetary economy in kind.
I have experience in community development having worked as a Tenant Participation Officer and in user participation for mental health services. I am interested in co-ops as learning organisations and can contribute in terms of how we get community engagement for the platform co-op.


Welcome to recent arrivals. If you haven't already, please can you post a short introduction to yourself in this thread, so we can all see who is in the room. @andrewwoodcock @nathanbrown @austencordascocan @bill30 @bob857 @cathcornerstone @garethnash @iansnaith @jobird @jowhite @jonnygordonfarleig @patconaty @richardbarbrook @russellsmith1 @shaunfensom @simoncarter


Andrew Woodcock Thu 19 Apr 2018

Hi, I'm Andy, been involved in co-ops since the late 90's, started in housing and now do lots of co-op development work. Also involved with @marksimmonds and @nathanbrown in Co-op Culture a consortium of co-op development workers. Main interest is finance and have been heavily involved in Radical Routes and the management of its loan fund, very interested in replicating this.


Austen Cordasco Thu 19 Apr 2018

Hi, I'm Austen. There is a bit about me here: http://www.can.coop/index.php/about-us/2013-11-20-17-40-57. I have been doing co-operative development since 2005 and have been involved with co-ops since the 80s. I instigated and co-authored the discussion paper that gave rise to this initiative.


Nathan Brown (Co-op Culture) Thu 19 Apr 2018

Hi, I'm Nathan. Came to co-ops via squatting/housing co-ops & music collectives then in late 90s started delivering support to housing co-ops, moving onto worker co-ops, social firms, credit unions etc. Full time co-op and social enterprise support provider, usually to be found on a train. Member of Co-op Culture and Co-operantics. Some blurb here: https://culture.coop/about/members/nathan-brown/


Ian Snaith Thu 19 Apr 2018

I write, research and engage in legal consultancy work around co-operatives. I've been doing that since the mid-1980's. I'm interested in this but am not sure how much I could help.


Currently co-op activist/developer for love not money, largely with a Radical Routes (UK rad coop federation) hat on, via my housing coop (Cornerstone) and workers coop (Footprint). I am also an Associate of Cooperative Business Consultants via Footprint, and did a tiny bit of paid work through the Coop Enterprise Hub.

Lurking here to keep myself informed while i'm out of the country, doing a tour of Catalan and US coops/coop federations/coop development projects. Hopefully there'll be some useful info to swap. Here's the blog: www.leedscath.wixsite.com/northamericantour


Pat Conaty Thu 19 Apr 2018

Hi All, I am Pat Conaty and a research and development person. Recent work has been with Co-ops UK and the Wales Co-op Centre on social co-ops and on co-op and trade union solutions for precarious workers. But before that 12 years of work on Community Land Trust development since 1998 and earlier in the 1990s on Community Development Finance development. I am a founder member of the Solidarity Economy Association co-op and I am a new member of the Consultancy Co-op.


Emma Sun 22 Apr 2018

Hi everyone, I'm Emma and I'm in the midst of keeping a tiny baby happy and well fed together with starting a social care platform co-op called Equal Care Co-op (eccoo). I'm mostly here to read and keep connected to the initiative and grow my input once eccoo is actually a thing!


Rory (FSA) Wed 25 Apr 2018

Hi all,

I’m Rory - a cooperator since 1989, and now Professor of Cooperative Social Entrepreneurship at
Sheffield Business School. I have a particular interest in the governance and development of multi-stakeholder cooperatives using the FairShares Model, and drafted the model rules used to constitute www.resonate.is, www.anyshare.coop, evolutesix.com and www.fairshares.coop (amongst others). Sheffield Business School will shortly become the first university to offer FCA Accepted Model Rules for
FairShares Cooperatives (agreed in principle, subject to a few changes)


Graham Tue 22 May 2018

Hi Russell. Apologies for the late response - I must have missed your original post. I hear what you are saying about cooperation rather than cooperatives, and I think that - for me at least - this is what we are setting out deliver. You mentioned questions about why there are not more cooperatives being established. I think that in large part the answer is about visibility and accessibility: for the vast majority of people the option isn't even on their radar as there is very little exposure given to cooperation, and for the small number that make it past that hurdle, actually finding someone with some knowledge and expertise is another needle in a very large haystack.

I think we also have a tendency to focus too much and too early on legal structures and governance models and not enough on honing the core business model and getting some traction. Our plan to use OpenCollective shifts the focus very firmly on to the latter, enabling good ideas to develop and gain traction before any energy needs to be invested in choosing corporate structures and getting buried in admin.


Graham Thu 15 Jul

Welcome to a new Platform 6 member @emmahoward1 ! Hi Emma. Maybe you'd like to introduce yourself here and talk a bit about what you are working on?


Emma Howard Fri 16 Jul

Hello all!

My name is Emma, and I've been in the co-op movement for over ten years now. I work at East of England Co-op in their finance team, studying data analysis. I'm also a board director there, and a board director at Co-ops UK too. More recently I've joined Co-op Group's National Members Council.

However, the reason I'm here is that I'm passionate about co-ops growing in the digital and online world, so I'm looking to find similar minded people to talk to and help, and eventually I want to start my own data co-op!


Graham Fri 16 Jul

Sounds really interesting Emma, many thanks for coming here and posting. I've seen some stuff about data co-ops and am interested in the possibilities. I participated in a webinar a while back hosted by Open Data Manchester, and I've also spoken to the folks running https://polypoly.org/en-gb/ about the idea of setting up a UK-based cooperative as part of their ecosystem.

Coming at it form a slightly different angle perhaps, I also think that there is huge potential in the sector for cross-marketing (co-op A marketing its services to the members of co-ops B & C, and vice versa, through a data sharing mechanism, and I've been talking with some others about how that might happen - some intriguing ideas ion that space. I'd be keen to explore this more with you if you are up for a call?


Emma Howard Wed 21 Jul

Hi Graham,

Sounds fascinating. This is exactly why I signed up, I don't have any of this network at all yet coming from a retail background. For all I know the co-op I want to create might already exist!

I also never considered until the last year or so being responsible for actually starting an organisation - it clashes with my need for stability haha.

I'd happily have a call to find out more and what's next.


Graham Fri 20 Aug

Hi Emma. Apologies for not getting back sooner.Would you like to suggest a couple of dates/times in the next couple of weeks that might work for a conversation? Please send me email at graham@platform6.coop - I'd be keen to learn more about the sort of things you are up to with respect to data, and I can share what I know about some possible opportunities.