Sports field with goal posts and houses in the distance

Call for support to further success of co-operatives in Greater Manchester

A NEW report is calling for further support for co-operatives in Greater Manchester to ensure the city-region stays at the forefront of co-operative development and bring even greater economic benefits to the local community.

Greater Manchester is home of the co-operative movement, with The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers being established in 1844. Greater Manchester remains home of the Co-operative Group, the world’s largest consumer owned business.

The A Co-operative Greater Manchester report has set out a number of recommendations to support the development of the co-operative sector in Greater Manchester and make the most of the social, environmental and economic benefits co-operatives bring.

The Commission has recommended Greater Manchester is designated as a Co-operative Zone with a dedicated resource to offer business advice and support for both existing co-operatives and those who wish to start or convert to a co-operative approach.

Other recommendations include:

  • Partners from across all sectors in Greater Manchester should come together to enable an increase in community-led, placed based approaches to co-operation, community ownership and economic development
  • Greater Manchester should lead on developing a city-region version of pioneering work in Europe, drawing together ‘freelancers’ and people in precarious employment into a powerful and functional economic unit.
  • Greater Manchester should set up a Greater Manchester Community Housing Hub to address a gap in the housing market and enable the establishment of co-operative and community-led housing projects
  • Greater Manchester should carry out a place-based pilot programme for the development of community-owned ‘total transport’ business models / community transport to link up with shared modes and mainstream network as part of the ongoing work around bus reform

The Commission is chaired by Cllr Allen Brett and vice-chaired by Cllr Angelika Stogia, the GMCA Portfolio Lead and Deputy Portfolio Lead for Community, Voluntary and Co-operatives. They are joined by nine independent Commissioners, drawn from across the co-operative and business sectors.

The Commission was appointed by the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham in February 2019 to ensure that the city-region stays at the forefront of co-operative development.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham said: “The building blocks of cooperation in Greater Manchester are already strong and more than 160,000 people in the city-region are already members of a co-operative, with co-operatives contributing £73 million to the city-region’s economy.

“The commission has been crucial in drawing on the work that needs to be done to continue and further the success of co-operatives in Greater Manchester. I would like to thank them for all of their efforts in preparing this important report, and hope these recommendations can steer the co-operative community to bring even more benefits to our economy.”

Chair of the Greater Manchester Co-operative Commission and Leader of Rochdale Council, Councillor Allen Brett said: “Our vision for Greater Manchester is one where people collaborate, communities are empowered and co-operatives grow and thrive.

“The Pioneers set up their first co-operative shop in Rochdale and we believe that Greater Manchester should continue to lead the way in co-operative innovation, applying the principles and values to create an economy based in maximising impact and productivity for all.

“That is what this report is all about, using this innovation and harnessing the power of co-operatives for the good of everyone in Greater Manchester. I hope that the co-operative community will use it to help build on all of the success they have already had as we look to build co-operation for a new decade.”

Article Published: 27/01/2020 13:00 PM