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What are you doing for the International Year of Co-operatives?

May 22, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: Regions, Span That World

If the answer is “what is it?”, “oh, forgot about that” or “erm… what exactly do you do for an International Year of Co-ops?” then read on my friend. This is the year to be supporting co-ops, learning about co-ops and helping to build on Woodcraft Folk’s relationship with co-ops.

The Board of Workers’ Co-operatives at Co-operatives UK want to support Woodcrafters and our groups to work closely with local co-ops. Getting a member to come to a group night as a speaker or arranging a visit to a co-operative is a great opportunity. If you want to learn about co-operative employment, you might like the chance to get some work experience.  You can find out where your nearest Workers Co-ops are on this map.

You may have noticed that the design on this year’s membership badges refers to the Co-operatives UK logo. For you group leaders out there, co-operatives are a good theme for some sessions with your group, perhaps using the membership badges? At the beginning of a session that I ran, my local Pioneers defined co-operatives as “somewhere you can buy fairtrade stuff”. By the end, they were having a fantastic discussion about why a co-operative model was best for the townspeople of Pignon in Haiti when they wanted to bring electricity to their homes. The resources at are very useful and can be adapted to different group sizes and age ranges.

This year, our relationship with the co-operative movement is developing. Members of Co-operatives UK were so pleased with CoCamp that they invited us to have a member on their Board of Workers Co-ops. Across the country there’s discussion about running co-operative campsites and at Annual Gathering we voted to support the Co-op’s anti-fracking campaign, and discussed co-operative schools and how to teach young people about co-operative enterprise. You can get involved with creating a programme for teaching about co-ops by emailing . Most of all, make sure that by the end of the year, you know more about co-ops than you did before.

Did you know:

Over 1 in 5 people in Britain are members of co-ops

There are 3 times as many members of co-operatives worldwide than there are shareholders