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It’s time to co-operate: celebrating Co-operatives Fortnight

After a year of conflict and division, it’s time to co-operate. For Co-operatives Fortnight 2017 – which runs from 17th June to 1st July – people across the country will be asked to share stories of how working together has made a difference.

In Frome, Somerset Co-operative Services is bringing together members of local co-operatives to tell their stories – how they solved local problems through mutual aid. The event is taking place at the Cheese and Grain – itself run on co-operative lines – from 12.00 noon until 2.30pm, with a free lunch provided.

Other co-ops who will be represented include Freco, Frome’s renewable energy co-operative; Shared Earth Learning, a workers’ co-op providing outdoor education services for primary schools; Radstock Co-operative, which will next year celebrate its 150th birthday; Six Fingers and a Tail, a Glastonbury Housing co-op; and GO-OP, which is hoping to become the UK’s first co-operative train operator with services from Frome every two hours to Taunton and the Midlands.

Alex Lawrie, a local co-op development worker with Somerset Co-op Services said, “This event will be a great opportunity for anyone to find out more about the amazingly diverse and resourceful co-operative movement in the Mendips. We really hope people will be inspired to form their own co-operative social enterprises as a result!”

Co-operatives Fortnight is the co-operative sector’s national campaign, a two-week period when co-ops of all shapes and sizes take the opportunity to promote being a co-op.

For this year’s activity, supporters of co-operatives will be asking their staff, members, customers and friends, to share their stories of co-operation. The stories will be shared on social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using a shared hashtag – #coopstories – and automatically fed into a UK-wide website packed with inspiring stories.

A range of materials are available on the Co-operatives Fortnight website for individuals and co-operatives to join in the campaign, including logos, standard wording, a toolkit for getting involved and a series of images.

Ed Mayo, secretary general of Co-operatives UK, said, “We need co-operation and inspiration more than ever. So for this year’s Co-operatives Fortnight we’re asking people to join us in sharing their inspiring story of co-operation.”