Celebrating Co-operatives Fortnight For Co-operatives Fortnight 2017, running from 17 June to 1 July, we want to encourage people to share stories of how working together has made a difference. Together we can create a wealth of stories to inspire people to think differently. From the outside a co-operative might look like any other business. It is what happens inside that makes them different. They are businesses that are owned and run by the people who are most affected by them. Whether they are customers, employees, suppliers or local residents, the members of a co-operative have an equal say in what it does and decide how the profits are shared. Further details on Co-operatives Fortnight can be found at www.uk.coop/fortnight or by following the hashtag #coopstories on Facebook or Twitter. Plunkett Foundation will also be posting updates on both our Facebook Page and Twitter Feed across the next fortnight. Below we have put together some of the ways we are supporting community co-operatives in 2017 including news articles, upcoming events and information on our national networking groups for community enterprises: 13 ways to change your community This year, thirteen organisations, including Plunkett Foundation, are focusing on setting up and expanding peer networks aimed at increasing connections between community businesses to improve their local areas. As part of this Power to Change funded project, thirteen leading peer network practitioners from these organisations have also formed a ‘Community of Practice’ to learn from each other. Over 18 months, the organisations involved in the project will explore ways to implement and improve network models helping co-operatives and community businesses to share ideas, plans and inspiration with each other more effectively. The Peer Networks programme aims to strengthen the networks supporting community businesses, as they continue to grow in size and scope. There are now more than 7,000 community businesses in England, each serving the social needs of local people and recycling money back into the local area. Read the full article here. Join our online network As part of the Peer Networking programme we have established two Facebook networking groups. The aim of these groups is to establish a national platform for those involved with both community shops and co-operative pubs to discuss ideas, share events and have somewhere to ask questions and find support with day-to-day issues. If you are involved with your local community shop or co-operative pub and would like to talk to people from similar enterprises on a national scale, the Facebook networking groups are ideal for you. We know that a lot of our members would like somewhere to discuss ideas together, in a friendly and safe environment, so the community shop and co-operative pub online networking groups are the perfect opportunity. Become part of the online network today Request to join the Community Shops Network Group -https://www.facebook.com/groups/communityshopsnetwork/ Request to join the Co-operative Pubs Network Group -https://www.facebook.com/groups/cooperativepubsnetwork/ First community-owned pub in West Sussex set to open after £300,000 campaign Plunkett Foundation is proud to be working with 109 co-operative pub groups this Co-operatives Fortnight, aiming to follow in the footsteps of projects such as The Half Moon Inn which is set to re-open under community-ownership this year. The Half Moon Inn at Balcombe was put up for sale on the open market in April 2016 by Enterprise Inns. After word spread about the alarming prospect of losing the beloved village pub, a working committee was formed to investigate the prospect of community purchase. The committee quickly set about listing the Half Moon Inn as an ‘Asset of Community Value’, giving them a 6-month period to prepare a prospective bid to buy the pub for the village. After a public meeting in October, there was a clear show of local support for the campaign as pledges were received to help back the cause to turn The Half Moon Inn into a community-owned pub. Since then, a determined group of locals have set up a Community Benefit Society, the Balcombe Community Pub Limited, and have been hard at work raising the £300,000 plus needed to buy the pub through a community share offer. The group has received advice on community engagement and setting up a co-operative, including a £2,500 bursary, from the More Than A Pub: The Community Pub Business Support programme, a two-year project delivered by Plunkett Foundation and established to help support community ownership of pubs in England. The Half Moon Inn will become the third pub to open after receiving this support, which is funded by The Department for Communities and Local Government and Power to Change. Read the full article here. Plunkett’s work in 2016 Plunkett Foundation produced an infographic, detailing our work and achievements reached, across 2016. As well as seeing a large volume of new members join the Plunkett Community Co-operative Network (PCCN) programme, we were also able to have an impact on the lives of 54,000 vulnerable people who now benefit from a community co-operative: Inspire With 327 community groups currently being inspired by the idea of community ownership, we feel this is a great thing to shout about as it means there are more groups joining our potential list of community co-operatives! (Updated June 2017). Volunteering We were pleased to announce that 8,500 volunteers were working in community co-operatives at the end of 2016. Volunteering is a vital part of the community co-operative network as they are responsible for the day-to-day running and sustainability of the community co-operative model. Read the full article here. Co-operative pub takes CAMRA Pub of the Year crown We were excited to hear, in March 2017, that the George & Dragon in Hudswell were crowned CAMRA Pub of the Year winners as it was an excellent achievement of the co-operative pub sector. We have continued to voice our praise for this community group as it requires dedication and hard work to be crowned the best pub in the country, among both the privately and community-owned pub sector. Additionally, they also won CAMRA Yorkshire Pub of the Year award back in September 2016. When the George & Dragon pub in Hudswell closed in 2008 it left the small North Yorkshire village with no other facilities for its residents apart from a village hall. Within two years, the community banded together to form the Hudswell Community Pub Ltd group and bought back the pub, re-opening in June 2010. The community was determined that the George & Dragon would offer far more than a traditional pub. As well as acting as a meeting place and venue, it is also home to the village library, a local shop staffed by volunteers and community allotments. CAMRA was particularly impressed with the pub’s welcoming atmosphere and strong community ethos. James Alcock, General Manager at Plunkett Foundation, which provided support and funding for the George & Dragon, said: “Community-owned pubs such as The George and Dragon are an exceptional example of how a community can succeed in running an enterprise. Within a short space of time, a community has rallied together in order to save a vital village resource and have now been rewarded for all their hard work. Let this award be a credit to all who are involved with the project and we wish all at The George and Dragon success for the future.” Read the full story here. Upcoming events Being Well Event – Oxfordshire Tuesday 11 July, 10.30am – 3pm (Islip Village Hall, Church Lane, Islip OX5 2TA) Join us for a one-off 'Being Well Project' taster session to explore and be inspired by examples of co-operative, community-led solutions to health and wellbeing challenges! Across the world and the UK, communities are already helping people lead healthier, happier lives. Every place and person is different, of course, so our aim is to help you find out what might work in your community. This could be anything around health and wellbeing, from addressing loneliness or walking groups and exercise, learning how to eat or cook more healthily, to supporting older people to stay in their community. Until the end of this year, 2017, we can offer you a one-off opportunity to receive specialist support and a small pot of funding, for example for visiting existing projects. For further details please visit the Event page here. Members’ Meeting and Being Well Event – Lancashire Monday 17 July, 10am – 3.30pm (The Dog Inn, 61 Belthorn Road, Belthorn BB1 2NN) Join us in Lancashire on Monday 17 July from 10am for a Plunkett Members' Meeting hosted by the Dog Inn Co-operative Pub team. Plunkett Foundation is holding two meetings, with a summary of our 2017 AGM, for our members in Lancashire and Somerset so if you are located around these areas please do join us. You will meet other Plunkett Foundation members in your region, all bringing their knowledge and expertise from a range of community co-operative models - all welcome! There will be a small charge (with a discounted rated for members) to attend the meeting to help cover organisational costs for both Plunkett as well as the meeting host. Non-members are welcome to attend in order to discover the benefits of Plunkett membership! For further details please visit the Event page here. Members’ Meeting and Being Well Event – Somerset Tuesday 18 July, 11am – 4.00pm (Kingsbury Community Centre, Thorney Road, Kingsbury Episcopi TA12 6BG) Join us in Somerset on Tuesday 18 July from 11am for a Plunkett Members' Meeting hosted by the Kingsbury Episcopi Community Shop team. Plunkett Foundation is holding two meetings, with a summary of our 2017 AGM, for our members in Somerset and Lancashire so if you are located around these areas please do join us. You will meet other Plunkett Foundation members in your region, all bringing their knowledge and expertise from a range of community co-operative models - all welcome! There will be a small charge (with a discounted rated for members) to attend the meeting to help cover organisational costs for both Plunkett as well as the meeting host. Non-members are welcome to attend in order to discover the benefits of Plunkett membership! For further details please visit the Event page here. CWA & Making Local Woods Work National Conference Friday 20 – Saturday 21 October, 12.30pm – 2.00pm (Westerwood Hotel, 1 St Andrew’s Drive, Cumbernauld G68 0EW) Information and booking details have been released for the Community Woodlands (CWA) and Making Local Woods Work Conference on Friday 20 & Saturday 21 October in Cumbernauld. A limited number of rooms are available at the Westerwood, where we would like to fit in as many delegates as possible so please make sure to express interest as soon as possible. We anticipate being able to support Woodland Social Enterprise delegates’ travel costs. Community Woodland Association (CWA) will manage delegate bursaries for Scottish community groups while Plunkett Foundation will manage travel bursaries for MLWW groups from the rest of the UK. For further details please visit the Event page here.