If you work it, you should control it


The cost of living crisis has once again shown the need for the building of a solidarity economy as an alternative to failed neo-liberalism. We desperately need coops in housing, energy, food, and many other areas of the economy to give democratic and economic control to workers and consumers.

We are delighted to have Les Huckfield as a guest speaker on 23rd February (7pm on Zoom). Les’ political and academic work has shown how coops have moved from being aProfessor Les Huckfield mainstream part of the political agenda, to being politically marginalised. Many of us in the cooperative movement are involved in great work to keep existing coops going, and to set up new coops.

But despite the hard work of many people, it still feels like coops are not part of the mainstream political agenda in the UK. In this webinar Les (pictured) will share his experience to show how we can once again get coops back on the mainstream political agenda to help us to thrive once more.

This event is Pay-As-You-Feel. Please contribute if you can.







If you work it, you should control it



We’re really looking forward to welcoming Les Huckfield, formerly MP for Nuneaton, to talk about the history of workers coops in the 1970s, on the 23rd February 2023.  We make no apologies about learning from the past.  As workers across the world face austerity, war and the impacts of climate change, more than ever we need an alternative to the failed neo-liberal capitalist model.

Les Huckfield will entertain and inform us about the history of workers coops in the Midlands in the 1970s and provoke a discussion about what we can learn from them to make sure that we build a thriving cooperative movement in the 21st century.  All those with an interest in cooperation are welcome to attend, in the Midlands and beyond.  

This online event is pay as you feel – please contribute if you can.  You will be sent joining instructions a few days before the event.  



climate emergency protest

Can Coops keep the lights on? 10 November 2021


Do you want to do something about climate change?

Are you concerned about rising fuel prices affecting households and businesses?

At this free event we will look at what climate change means for us all, and how cooperative models offer solutions.  BOOK NOW!

Speakers include:

– Nadia Smith (South East London Community Energy) 

– Mike Pickering (Midcounties Cooperative)

– Laurie Duncan (Community Energy Birmingham).

You will be sent the event link when you have booked.

This event coincides with COP26 – a large international conference on climate change being held in Glasgow in early November.  COP stands for Conference of the Parties.  It’s the 26th time they have met.  




Top 5 reasons why you should go to the Robert Owen Museum

Serial cooperator  Robert Owen was a serial cooperator.  He understood the need for a cooperative commonwealth, in which people could meet all their economic and social needs by being members of a cooperative.  Owen was involved in cooperative housing, education and health care as well as his famous mill in New Lanark.

Social enterprise journey Robert Owen started off as a social entrepreneur.  He set up businesses with a social purposes.  But they weren’t cooperatives.  They weren’t owned by their workers or cooperatives.  Owen became interested in the cooperative model as a way of increasing the democratic and economic participation of working class people in the communities they lived in.  Nowadays it would be called inclusive growth.

Rochdale Pioneers Robert Owen greatly influenced the Rochdale Pioneers, widely regarded as the founders of the modern cooperative movement.  

Beautiful building  The Robert Owen Museum was built in 1902 in the Arts and Crafts style.  Most of the items in the museum are from Robert Owen’s time and have a direct association with him.  

Newtown, Powys is a charming town on the border between Wales and England, nestling alongside the River Severn.

Book now for our study visit to the Robert Owen Museum on 25th September 2021. 



our future in our hands

The Cooperative Party have published Our Future In Our Hands – A co-operative plan for the next mayor of the West Midlands.

You can download the report here.

As the election for Mayor approaches, Cooperatives West Midlands will work with the wider cooperative movement in lobbying all mayoral candidates to implement the recommendations of Our Future In Our Hands.

Dr Gregory Roberts

A guest post by Dr Gregory Roberts (pictured)

The Cooperative Movement has had a long and enduring tradition in many countries from which the Black, Asian and Ethnic minority communities are drawn. In the days of the colonial times, the formal arrangements of the movement, whether credit unions or marketing/purchasing groups, met with the informal but entrenched and largely successful group approaches to tackling problems. It is rather unfortunate that the Coop movement is barely visible and nowhere near as active in the BAME communities of the UK as in the mainstream White communities. 


This year has brought to the fore the many intractable problems of inequities and inequalities that affect BAME communities in the UK society. While some are not restricted to BAME communities, their stark display within these communities cannot be ignored. Government at the various levels, business firms and third sectors organisations have scrambled to address these issues. I, for one, believe the maxim, that where there is a problem, there is a cooperative solution waiting to be realised and utilized. Coops have proven effective in arresting decay while bringing sustainable development and progress to communities up and down the country. By addressing issues in food security and justice to employment, housing, health and education, among others, it has been shown that individualism and direct state action are not the only active options for solutions to local and national problems. 


It must also be appreciated that  cooperative action and mindset are already present within BAME communities. Cooperation between neighbours, religious groups, within extended families and by individuals coming together to effect strategies and changes has been the story of migrants in the UK and the world over. In the 1940s, many graduates of Rochdale College went to countries like Jamaica to train young men and women in the tenets of the Cooperative Movement. It was this generation that responded to the UK’s call for help to rebuild the urban areas left devastated by the War. It was also this generation that started the credit union movement and were in the vanguard of the trade union movement and housing associations. It is also this generation, within the BAME communities, that has been most affected by COVID-19. 


Given the history and realities of BAME communities, the seed of cooperativism are very much present and proven. It is time that the wider movement grab the opportunity to engender, support and grow cooperatives within BAME communities, up and down the country. Many first and second generation BAME people would love to farm more than inner-city allotments. Many would like to see coop shops selling food that they eat and being made to feel that they are welcome on arrival. 


If cooperation is good for the UK, then it must be good for BAME communities. There is the need and opportunity for the cooperative movement to engage on a totally different level and a definitely higher plane than it has done to date.

by Dr Gregory Roberts

Cooperative Stories podcast

In our latest podcast, Mani, one of the founders of the Warehouse Cafe, a workers coop, talks to Steph Vidal-Hall about the difference that being a member of a workers coop makes to people’s lives, and helps them to find meaning in the world.

Listen now



Coops rock


  • A guided bike tour of coops and social enterprises in South Birmingham
  • All cycling abilities welcome
  • Includes a stop for coffee and cake at a workers-owned cafe
  • Delightful bike ride along the Rea Valley cycle route
  • Tuesday 31 March 2020, 1pm
  • Starts and finishes in Stirchley

Coops rock