Mon 12 Feb 2018 3:26PM

Hello! Please introduce yourself.

LHB Loomio Helper Bot Public Seen by 97

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


Graham Mon 16 May 2022 12:25PM

Hi Douglas, welcome and thanks for posting here. Intrigued to learn more about

Brickless. and would very much welcome your involvement with the planning for the Ways Forward 2022 conference, if that's of interest. Don't know if you will be at the Union Co-ops event at Wortley Hall this Fri/Sat?


Douglas Racionzer Sun 15 May 2022 9:25PM

Good evening comrades. Really inspired to attend the recent Workers Coop Weekend and to be a proud founder of the Brickless Coop. I work at Hackney Cooperative Developments supporting social entrepreneurs in the borough and am currently supporting the formation of Cooperate Islington, a new CDA in London.


Graham Wed 4 May 2022 9:01AM

Hi @Kayleigh Walsh Outlandish - good to see you here. Platform 6 is something of a cooperation lab where we can try new things and different approaches. There is a thread here https://www.loomio.org/d/itDsIGbf/cooperative-ways-forward-2022 where most of the conversation about Ways Forward has bene happening, and a few of us have been having some live conversations also about the event. The next one of those should probably happen next week - currently trying looking for a slot in my calendar, but will post a link and date/time in the Ways Forward thread, or feel free to contact me directly. I'm very keen to get lots of input on content and programme design.


Graham Wed 4 May 2022 8:53AM

Hi @Mothiur Rahman and welcome to this place. Really enjoyed our conversation yesterday - thank you again for taking the time. Looking forward to working with you to help make the Ways Forward programme a success.


Mothiur Rahman Tue 3 May 2022 8:22PM

Hi everyone - I'm Mothiur, like @Kayleigh Walsh Outlandish I've just finished the Barefoot Cooperative Development course (2.0) run by Coop Culture and was invited onto this Loomio after having a chat with @Graham about the Ways Forward conference. I'm a solicitor by training and have been trying to use my legal background (planning, governance, environmental) to support community resilience/local stewardship and championing the cooperative business model as well as campaigning on earth rights/supporting XR in its early days. I teach at the University of Law p/t to subsidise my consultancy practice. Couple of links below 🙏




Kayleigh Walsh Outlandish Fri 29 Apr 2022 2:41PM

Hello team, I'm Kayleigh from Outlandish. We're a tech worker co-op in Finsbury Park, North London and I have been there for over six years now. I've just finished the Barefoot Co-operatives course, I think we were the second cohort...? And Mark mentioned this group/Way Forwards conference, so I thought I'd come and say hiya. HIYA!


Sophie Corporate Watch Mon 13 Dec 2021 5:54PM

Hi all, Sophie here from Corporate Watch. We're a workers' coop which investigates and reports on corporations & capitalism in support of grassroots campaigns. I'm here because I'd like to get Corporate Watch more connected to mutual aid networks so we can learn from each other & share resources. Thanks for the add :)


Chris Funnell Mon 18 Oct 2021 11:49AM

Hi comrades, I am another of the CAN team https://www.can.coop/index.php/about-us/2013-11-20-17-40-57 always seeking new collaborative ways to advance co-operativism


Graham Fri 20 Aug 2021 12:45PM

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.


Emma Howard Wed 21 Jul 2021 10:19AM

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 16 Jul 2021 10:40AM

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 Fri 16 Jul 2021 9:54AM

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 Thu 15 Jul 2021 11:45AM

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?


Graham Tue 22 May 2018 9:41AM

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.


Rory (FSA) Wed 25 Apr 2018 9:44PM

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)


Emma Sun 22 Apr 2018 12:55PM

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!


Pat Conaty Thu 19 Apr 2018 4:43PM

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.


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


Ian Snaith Thu 19 Apr 2018 2:11PM

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.


Nathan Brown (Co-op Culture) Thu 19 Apr 2018 10:29AM

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/


Austen Cordasco Thu 19 Apr 2018 9:55AM

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.


Andrew Woodcock Thu 19 Apr 2018 9:00AM

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.


Mark Simmonds (Co-op Culture & Platform 6) Thu 19 Apr 2018 8:37AM

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


Fabian Tompsett Sat 7 Apr 2018 7:52AM

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.


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.


Graham Tue 27 Mar 2018 9:08AM

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.


Mark Simmonds (Co-op Culture & Platform 6) Mon 26 Mar 2018 3:39PM

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/


John Atherton Mon 5 Mar 2018 11:48AM

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


A Waterhouse Fri 2 Mar 2018 10:45AM

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/