first co-operative primary school by yaoyufang


									                       issue 60 • februar y/march 2004

first co-operative primary school?
                                                          also in this issue
                                    scottish social entrepreneurs
                         craft co-operatives breed excellence
             new rules for industrial and provident societies
                                     fair trade producers in asia
              plus news from community and co-operative projects in the UK

    New Sector aims to promote the principles
    and practice of collective enterprise,                                       Community Business Scotland Network
    common ownership, co-operation and                                      Princes House, 5 Shandwick Place, Edinburgh EH2 4RG
                                                                                    tel 0131 229 7257 fax 0131 221 9798
    community control.                                                            

    In particular, it will promote enterprises
    whose governance, management and
    ownership are characterised by democratic
    and participative structures at worker,
    community and member levels. This is how                                                Co-operatives UK
    it defines its sector.                                                  Holyoake House, Hanover Street, Manchester M60 0AS
                                                                                  tel 0161 246 2900 fax 0161 831 7684

           New Sector is a joint venture between
           Community Business Scotland Network,
                     Co-operatives UK,
                    Plunkett Foundation,
          Social Economy Agency Northern Ireland
              and Wales Co-operative Centre.
                                                                                          Plunkett Foundation
                                                                    23 Hanborough Business Park, Long Hanborough, Oxfordshire OX29 8SG
                                                                                  tel 01993 883636 fax 01993 883576

                           Published by
                 Community & Co-operative Enterprise
                     Publishing & Research Ltd.
                       ISSN No 09662197

                  Subscriptions and registered office:
               Princes House, 5 Shandwick Place,
                       Edinburgh EH2 4RG
            tel 0131 229 7257 fax 0131 221 9798
                                                                                      Social Economy Agency NI
                      Editorial and production:                                       2 Bay Road, Derry, BT48 7SH
               1 Red Hill Villas, Durham, DH1 4BA                               tel 028 7137 1733 fax 028 7137 0114
            tel 0191 375 0101, fax 0191 375 0202                            

         sponsored by poptel 0800 4589465,
                                                                                  Wales Co-operative Centre Ltd
          Editorial team: Alan Tuffs, Anne Malloy, David Parker,
              Graham Mitchell, Helen Seymour, Ian Hunter,
                                                                                  Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru Cyf
                     Jeanette Timmins, Richard Moreton,
                      Sarah Louise Taylor, Simon Harris                                 Wales Co-operative Centre
           Editing and design: Alpha Communication, Durham                     Llandaff Court, Fairwater Road, Cardiff CF5 2XP
        Printed by: Russell Press, Nottingham, on recycled paper.                 tel 029 2055 4955 fax 029 2055 6170

                   New Sector is grateful for the support of the Co-operative Group

2 • NEW SECTOR • issue 60 • february/march 2004
EDITORIAL                                                                                                                                    NEWS

inclusive - exclusive                           new co-op hopes to
The work of the Benarty Regeneration            save village school
Action Group (BRAG), featured on the
centre pages of this issue, is a classic        The villagers of Lowick in the Lake District are
example of how community economic               planning to take control of the primary school
development can and should be done.             and run it as a community co-operative, with
                                                funding from the local authority that is trying to
  BRAG was started some 15 years
                                                close it. Their campaign has just been helped by
ago by local people as a response to            a £28,000 grant from Co-operative Action to
the closure of coal mines. Their                develop a legal model for a co-operative school that
community, like many others in the UK,          could be used by many other communities in the UK.
has experienced fundamental social                Local people were outraged by Cumbria County Council’s decision, in January 2003, to close
and economic change. Today BRAG                 the 150-year-old school, which provides education for 21 children aged 4 - 11 and employment
is a very effective local agency                for two full-time teachers and five part-time staff.
providing a range of development                  “It was so unjust. There was no criticism of the school’s educational standards. The decision was
                                                made purely on numbers,” said Rose Bugler, the chair of the school governors. “In small rural
services including business support,
                                                communities the numbers of children are bound to fluctuate from year to year, and this makes the
training and flexible learning                  schools vulnerable to closure.
programmes. It helped to establish the            “The committee refused to take into account the wider benefits to the community that a village
first School for Social Entrepreneurs in        school brings, or to consider the detrimental effect its closure would have.”
Scotland, and its busy internet cafe has
over 800 members, mostly aged under             CHALLENGE
16. It has succeeded because it began
as, and has remained, an integral part            The residents formed Lowick and Blawith Educational Trust (LBET) and mounted a legal challenge
                                                which resulted in the closure being delayed until September 2004. Then they began to consider
of the community it serves.
                                                how they could run the school better as a community co-operative. They knew that the school - its
  Our feature on craft co-ops (on pages         pupils, parents, staff and facilities - had a bigger role to play than just educating young children,
14 and 15) demonstrates that                    and that without it the community would slowly crumble.
community enterprise and co-operative             LBET plans to demonstrate that by running the school as a community enterprise, providing
enterprise       -    the   two      main       primary education, community education, recreational facilities and other services, it can spread
preoccupations of New Sector - are              the fixed costs of keeping the school open and benefit more people. LBET believes that local
not the same. Co-operatives exist for           schools can contribute to regeneration as well as to education.
the benefit of their members, and in              Co-operative Action, the foundation which supports the development of new co-operative
                                                projects, is backing LBET because it is likely that many other rural communities might follow this
many craft co-operatives the main
                                                example. The Lowick school governors may become the Rochdale Pioneers of the 21st Century.
benefit      is      joint     marketing.         The grant will be used to develop a co-operative model that makes sense in legal, financial and
Consequently some craft co-operatives           educational terms. This will lead to fresh dialogue and consultation with the DfES, Cumbria
will only accept new members whose              education authorities and other organisations including the Church of England which owns the
work is of a certain quality - the              building.
opposite of the inclusiveness of                  “In the spring the community plans to make a formal proposal to the Cumbrian Schools
community enterprise.                           Organisation Committee for a Voluntary Aided School,” said Rose Bugler. She is well aware that
  Our international article (on page            they will be negotiating for funding with the very people who proposed the closure of the school.
16) reminds us that craft co-operatives
are very much more common in parts
of Asia. It describes how fair trade              Rose Bugler works for Enterprising Communities, a project managed by Voluntary Action
        producers from eight different          Cumbria, and she acknowledges that LBET has received support from various interested
            countries co-operated to            professionals and agencies (including Cobbetts solicitors, Co-operative and Mutual Solutions,
              bring their handicrafts to        Enterprising Communities and Co-operative Action), but the local community remains firmly in
                one of the biggest              control. “There is a core of about 30 local people who are actively involved, and many more who
                international trade fairs.      are interested,” she said. “at the moment we are holding a series of ‘Design a School’ workshops
                                                which are very popular.”
                Yours in co-operation,            At the end of February LBET is holding a reunion for former pupils and parents to get their input
               David Parker                     into the proposal for the co-operative option. “Very few things can unite a community like a school
            Editor                              can,” said Rose Bugler. “People instinctively know that a local school is a key part of the past,
                                                present and future of a community.”
Front cover picture: professional songwriter
Rob Ellis, a former pupil of Lowick school,     Contact Lowick & Blawith Educational Trust 01229 885256,
rehearses a song specially written to support;
the school’s campaign - full story on this      For more on Enterprising Communities see page 13.
page (photographer Sheila Rainbow).             photo: Lowick School, Cumbria; photographer Clare Lavender

                                                                                          february/march 2004 • issue 60 • NEW SECTOR • 3

            CO-OPERATIVES UK
                 Co-operatives UK has
                 announced that Ben Reid,
                  chief executive of West
                  Midlands Co-op, is to be
                  the      new     chair   of
                  Co-operatives UK.
                  Ben Reid has been on the
              Board of Co-operatives UK for
           seven years and has led West
Midlands Co-op as chief executive for the
last 10 years.
  Speaking about the appointment, Pauline
Green, chief executive and secretary of
Co-operatives UK, said, “I am confident that
Ben will be an excellent chair as he has a        Residents running their own local chip shop.
wealth of co-operative, business and
community experience”.
  Ben Reid says: “I am very much looking
forward to working with Pauline, my fellow
                                                                         community chips
Board members and the team at
                                                 Sheffield’s first community-run chip shop,Park Hill Community Fisheries, was
Co-operatives UK to ensure that
                                                 opened by Park Hill Tenants and Residents Association on 12 December 2003.
co-operation, in all its forms, remains a key
                                                   The association took action to purchase its local fish and chip shop after it was closed down
element of business, service provision and
                                                 following the death of its owner. Denise Ford, chair of Park Hill Tenants Association, says: “No
political debate in this country.”
                                                 one seemed prepared to take it on. We haven’t got another chippy within walking distance, so
                                                 the tenants‚ association decided they would run the shop as a community business.”
                                                   The association is now leasing the shop and has received a £5,000 grant along with business
                                                 support from Sheffield Community Enterprise Development Unit. It has also received a £15,000
                                                 grant from Manor and Castle Development Trust which enabled it to purchase necessary catering
                 Simon Harris, a member of
                  the New Sector board
                                                   In accordance with the terms of the grant supplied by Manor and Castle Development Trust, the
                   and editorial team, has
                                                 association has employed local people to run the chip shop. Each member of staff has been
                   been appointed as the
                                                 trained by a former owner of the business, and shifts suitable for single parents have been
                  new chief executive of the
                                                 arranged. Any profits made by the shop will be used for the benefit of the local community.
                 Wales Co-operative Centre.
                                                 Contact Denise Ford at Park Hill Tenants and Residents Association on 0114 275 1457
                 Simon Harris says: “Having
            worked with the Centre as deputy
   chief executive since 1992, I have gained
a clear understanding of the co-operative         record profits for phone co-op
and social enterprise sectors. However, we        The Phone Co-op reported record profits and a record increase in turnover at its
are now operating in a different climate to       annual general meeting 0n 17 January 2004.
that of 1992 with a Welsh Assembly                  Turnover increased by more than £1 million to £3.4 million for the year ended 31 August
Government positively promoting co-               2003, while profit before distributions for the UK’s only consumer-owned telecommunications
operatives and social enterprise through its      business increased more than threefold to £132,000. In the light of the results, the Board
Social Enterprise Action Plan, the UK             recommended an increased members’ dividend equivalent to 2% of the value of their purchases.
Government working towards the delivery of        A further £18,232 was allocated to The Phone Co-op’s special co-operative and social economy
its social enterprise ‘Strategy for Success’      development fund which provides loans to help other co-operatives to get started and to develop.
and the social economy is now seen as a             Vivian Woodell, chief executive of The Phone Co-op, commented: “These outstanding results
key part of the work of the Welsh                 reflect the continuing success of our co-operative business model and of The Phone Co-op’s
Development        Agency      through     the    customer-led ethical approach. As well as achieving an excellent trading result, we also
Entrepreneurship Action Plan for Wales..          completed an important acquisition when we took over Poptel’s ISP retail customers and
There are many opportunities for                  consolidated our position as a provider of internet services.”
co-operatives to develop under these                In addition to reporting on financial matters, The Phone Co-op’s new annual report reports on
programmes and strategies and in Wales, I         environmental and ethical issues for the first time. For example, business journeys made by less
see the Wales Co-operative Centre as the          environmentally damaging transport modes (train or bus) now represent 52% of all journeys
lead agency in delivering against these           made. The Phone Co-op also offsets all the carbon dioxide emissions resulting directly from its
opportunities.”                                   activities via a voluntary levy paid to Climate Care.
                                                  Contact The Phone Co-op 0845 458 9000,

4 • NEW SECTOR • issue 60 • february/march 2004

                                                                                                       turnover tops £1m
                                                                                                       for fair trade co-op
                                                                                                       Businesses don’t have to exploit
                                                                                                       workers and the environment if they
                                                                                                       want to bring in real profits – that’s
                                                                                                       the message from Equal Exchange,
                                                                                                       one of the country’s longest-running
                                                                                                       fair trade co-operative businesses.
                                                                                                         With an annual turnover now topping £1
                                                                                                       million, Edinburgh-based Equal Exchange is
                                                                                                       a key contributor to the current boom in the
                                                                                                       UK’s organic and fair trade food markets,
                                                                                                       where growth is running at over 50% a
                                                                                                       year.       According to the Fairtrade
 LCCDA staff receiving their certificate.                                                              Foundation, shoppers spent over £63
                                                                                                       million at the checkout on Fair trade foods in
                  balance achievement                                                                  2002.
                                                                                                         Sam Roger at Equal Exchange
                                                                                                       co-operative explained: “Organic and fairly
Leicester & County Co-operative Development Agency (LCCDA) has been awarded                            traded foods have been
Work Life Balance (WLB) status by the East Midlands Quality Centre. LCCDA not                          making real inroads into
only develops co-operatives but is also a co-operative itself. It is thought to be the                 the mainstream over
first UK social enterprise to achieve WLB status.                                                      the past few years,
  The Department of Trade and Industry accreditation is awarded to companies and organisations         thanks to changing
that follow guidelines set by the WLB initiative to help people combine their work with other          consumer concerns
responsibilities or aspirations. The strategies of the initiative promote improvement in human         and         increasing
resources and actively encourages businesses and organisations to offer benefits and such as           support from major
flexi-time, staggered hours, time off in lieu, self-rostering, etc.                                    supermarkets. Recent
  The CDA sees the WLB as an important principle to promote and achieving the status seemed            surveys show that over a
the next logical step once it gained its Investors in People accreditation. Dorothy Francis, agency    third of British consumers are
manager said: ‘We have a low turnover of staff, our employees are happy in the knowledge that          concerned about the ethical records of the
they can juggle commitments to both family and work and come up with a happy compromise,               companies that they buy from. As a result,
which benefits all concerned.”                                                                         shoppers are becoming increasingly active
Contact LCCDA 0116 222 5010, for information on Work Life Balance go to                 in rewarding businesses willing to take the
                                                                                                       risk and provide ethical and sustainable
                                                                                                         “We’ve also been finding that customers
                                                                                                       are prepared to pay a little more for ethical
                                                                                                       products if they can see benefits for
                                                                                                       themselves as well as for farmers in the
                                                                                                       developing world. For instance, they tend to
                                                                                                       view organic food and free-range eggs as
                                                                                                       much healthier products, and fair trade
                                                                                                       coffee as being of higher quality.”
                                                                                                         Equal Exchange co-op offers the UK’s
                                                                                                       widest range of fair trade and organic
                                                                                                       coffee, tea, cocoa, honey, nut butters, sugar
                                                                                                       and confectionery. All Equal Exchange
                                                                                                       products are fairly traded, and most are
 T-shirts part of the Pinkfish range.                                                                  also organic. Products are supplied by
                                                                                                       farming families in countries including Peru,
organic, fair and fashionable                                                                          Mexico, Colombia, Ghana, Ethiopia, South
Bradford-based design and screen print co-operative, Fingerprints, has launched a                      Africa and India.
range of ethically produced, organic, fair trade t-shirts.                                               Equal Exchange began in 1979, when
  The co-operative, established since 1986, has created the clothing range in response to              three voluntary workers returned to
increasing consumer demand for t-shirts that have been made and printed ethically. Fingerprints        Edinburgh after working on aid projects in
uses water-based, self curing inks and organic cotton to produce the range of ‘Pinkfish’ t-shirts.     various parts of Africa. As a worker
  It hopes the garments will appeal to companies and organisations that want their own designs         co-operative, the business is owned and
printed onto the t-shirts, as well as fair trade shops and e-tailers. The co-operative has already     democratically controlled by its employees.
supplied the t-shirts to several clients which include university eco-groups, a theatre company, a     Contact Equal Exchange 0131 220 3484,
design agency and a sustainable development forum.                                           
Contact Fingerprints 01274 732773,

                                                                                              february/march 2004 • issue 60 • NEW SECTOR • 5

  more support
   in the east
 Norwich-based consultancy The Guild is
 celebrating the award of a £500,000
 contract from the Small Business Service’s
 Phoenix Fund to support social enterprises
 in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.
   The Guild, founded by Nicky Stevenson
 and Sally Kelly in 1991, has expanded
 steadily over the years and is now one of
 the UK’s leading sources of expertise in
 the development of social enterprises -
 businesses that have social as well as
 commercial objectives.
   The Guild has a long partnership with
 Business Link in Norfolk and is
 acknowledged nationally as being at the
 forefront of work to develop social
 enterprises. In future it will also be
 sharing its experience with colleagues to
 develop trading initiatives with community     Members of Fitzrovia Youth in Action’s drug peer research project at the opening of its
 organisations in Suffolk and Essex.            new premises
   Nicky Stevenson says: “This contract
 shows that we have won national
 recognition for our innovative approach to           new premises, new projects
 community development. Together, we
 have put Norfolk on the map in what has       Fitzrovia Youth in Action, a youth project that involves young people in addressing
 become a key focus for the government’s       tensions in the community, recently held a formal opening of its new premises.
 regeneration strategy. The new contract         The Mayor of Camden joined local residents and youngsters in the celebrations, in which project
 represents the second round of funding        members showed off their work and achievements made since it was established in 1997.
 that we have received and we are                Fitzrovia Youth in Action has won national acclaim and many awards for tackling issues of anti
 delighted with this latest award.”            social behaviour and conflict around the Warren football pitch in Whitfield Street, West London.
   The award will be used in a number of       Recent projects run by members include a drug peer research project, a youth tenants association
 different ways over the next two years.       and the Camden Unity Cup, Camden’s largest football tournament aimed at addressing
 Part of the funding will be used to look at   territorialism between opposing groups of young people.
 the current and projected needs of social       The group has also planned a number of projects for next year aimed at bridging the gap
 enterprises which are already established     between local residents and young people who spend time in the area. Projects planned include:
 and help them to identify new markets for     • A residents’ survey which will involve young people trained in research skills asking local
 their products and services.                      residents about their views on young people, the environment, the work of Fitzrovia Youth in
 Contact The Guild 01693 615200                    Action, and what other projects they would like to see happening.
                                               • A street planting project enabling young people and local residents to plant flower beds in their
                                               • A street party with food and entertainment.
 Suffolk ACRE, the primary community
 development charity in Suffolk, has been
                                               Contact Andre Schoot, Project Co-ordinator, Fitzrovia Youth in Action, 020 7388 7399
 recognised as an approved supplier of
 Business Link services to social and
 community enterprises.
   This follows the successful assessment of
                                               food on the move
 Suffolk Community Enterprise, a business      A new co-operative is being formed thanks to support from CDA Dorset. The new
 advice and support project lead by Suffolk    venture, Dorset Food Moves, will be set up as a community co-operative with local
 ACRE, against the Small Firms Enterprise      food producers as its members.
 Development Initiative standards for            The co-operative will supply a wide choice of local food to suppliers and enable its members to
 business advisers.                            work together to maximise their returns and have a greater control over their buying and selling of
   Suffolk ACRE also provides advice and       produce. Dorset Food Moves is currently planning on building a warehouse unit from which it will
 support for co-operatives and has recently    distribute high-quality Dorset food direct to trade customers, public bodies, and individual
 become a member of Co-operatives UK.          consumers. The co-operative will have social as well as economic aims, and will sponsor
 Contact Suffolk ACRE, 01473 242514            community projects related to its trading activity.
                                               Contact CDA Dorset 01202 620050

6 • NEW SECTOR • issue 60 • february/march 2004

                                                                                                          join co-opnet
                                                                                                          Co-opNet, the award-winning online
                                                                                                          discussion forum relaunched at the end of
                                                                                                          last year, is actively seeking subscribers (it’s
                                                                                                          free) and sponsors (it’s worth supporting).
                                                                                                            Co-opNet has been run by the design
                                                                                                          co-operative Total Coverage since 1998.
                                                                                                          In December 2003 it changed to a web-
                                                                                                          based format, which not only looks more
                                                                                                          modern but also has many additional
                                                                                                          features to encourage and focus
                                                                                                            “We wanted to change from the email
                                                                                                          format because we were experiencing
                                                                                                          technical problems with hacking and
                                                                                                          spamming that were taking up a huge
                                                                                                          amount of time,” said Guy Phillips, one of
                                                                                                          the founder members of Total Coverage.
                                                                                                          “We haven’t had any of those problems
                                                                                                          with the new Co-opNet, mainly because
                                                                                                          people have to register and log in. We
 Cleddau Press Directors Dawn Williams, George Hobbs and Tim Bonwick.                                     have just registered our 100th subscriber.”
                                                                                                            Total Coverage does not receive any
                                                                                                          payment for running Co-opNet. “We do
              buyout boosts turnover                                                                      this because we want to help the
                                                                                                          development of the co-operative movement
                                                                                                          and the spread of co-operative education
A West Wales printing firm is set to double its annual turnover just two months after
                                                                                                          across geographical boundaries,” said
becoming an employee owned company.
                                                                                                          Guy Phillips.
  Cleddau Press in Haverfordwest celebrated an employee buyout in September after its owner
                                                                                                            “We want to actively promote Co-opNet
decided to retire and approached the Wales Co-operative Centre for help, which presented the
                                                                                                          to get more people taking part in the
employees of Cleddau Press with the option of buying the business for themselves. Since then the
                                                                                                          discussions, and we want to plan for future
company has seen a 100% increase in orders and is on course to double its current annual
                                                                                                          development. All this takes time and
turnover of £103,000.
                                                                                                          money, which is why we are now looking
  New director and company secretary, Dawn Williams, said: “We may be quite a small company
                                                                                                          for sponsors.”
but in a rural area like Haverfordwest, jobs are scarce and securing them becomes even more
                                                                                                            In 2000 Co-opNet was a regional winner
important because of this. We were keen to take over the running of the company so we could
                                                                                                          and national finalist in the Co-operation
be sure to maintain its excellent reputation.”
                                                                                                          Awards for Innovation and Excellence.
  The Wales Co-operative Centre helped the employees raise the finance and develop a business
                                                                                                            New Sector uses Co-opNet and
plan for the new company. It also provided all the legal support work As well as two of the three
                                                                                                          encourages readers with an interest in the
full-time employees investing in the company themselves, funding for the business was provided by
                                                                                                          theory or practice of co-operation to visit
the Industrial Common Ownership Fund (ICOF) and Co-operative Action.
  There are plans to take on two more employees and expand the business even further within the
next six months. The Wales Co-operative Centre will continue to provide advice, consultancy and
training throughout this period.                                                                          broadband network
                                                                                                          The new Community Broadband Network,
Contact Cleddau Press 01437 763809                                                                        previewed in the last issue of New Sector,
                                                                                                          was launched on 27 January 2004.
                                                                                                            CBN is the result of a partnership
community account                                                                                         between Ruralnet, the Phone Co-op and the
Triodos Bank has closed a new account, fully subscribed, that links savers with                           Access to Broadband Campaign. The idea
disadvantaged communities within only two weeks of opening.                                               is to use social enterprise approaches to
  The Community Investor Account generated extraordinary demand on its release raising £3                 broadband provision, particularly in hard
million. Ethical banking specialists, Triodos, has already made its first loan and is actively looking    to reach rural areas.
to lend the remaining finance to charities and enterprises that qualify under the rules of the              CBN’s job is to help organise the
Community Investment Tax Relief (CITR) scheme.                                                            expertise needed to support community
  Triodos Bank is actively looking to identify charities that could benefit from competitive loans,       endeavour and to work with community
from homelessness initiatives to organisations helping with children with physical and learning           groups to overcome some of the challenges
disabilities. Under the rules of the scheme these charities or enterprises must work with                 they face in organising broadband
disadvantaged groups or be based in deprived areas. Loans cannot exceed £250,000 and will                 services.
need to be secured with property or guarantees.                                                           Contact CBN 0845 456 2466
  Organisations looking to take advantage of competitive loans, under the terms of the scheme,  
should call Triodos Bank free on 0800 328 2181.

                                                                                                 february/march 2004 • issue 60 • NEW SECTOR • 7

                                                                    To advertise on this page and on the New Sector web site

the specialists                                                     please telephone 0191 375 0101
                                                                    or email

  CMS             Co-operative & Mutual Solutions                             Report writing, research and
  CMS is a worker co-operative which provides advice                          copywriting for social enterprises
  and business support to co-operatives and social
  enterprises.                                                                Tel: 028 71 287 173
  Contact: Gareth Nash                                              
  Mob: 07967 815321

            J OA N G E A N Y                                                                                UpStart Services Ltd
                                                                                                            Co-operative and Community
                                                                                                            Enterprise Advice and Support
     social economy consultant
   neighbourhood renewal adviser                                              YOUR VISION IS OUR BUSINESS
                                                                          Training - Accountancy - Research and consultancy -
    policy • planning • delivery • evaluation                                         Developing new enterprises
           0191 373 4599 or 07870 646722                                     Group work and facilitation - Service contracts
                                              CO-OP ACCOUNTS SPECIALISTS
                                                                      The Polishing Room, Flax Drayton, South Petherton, Somerset TA13 5LR
    enterprise • communities • partnerships                               0845 458 1473

                                                                    can Co-operative Assistance Network
                                                                    can             Worker co-operatives

                                                                                                        Employee ownership
                                                                                            Credit Unions
     exper tise in co-operative and
        community enterprise
                                                                    can             Housing co-operatives
                                                                                                          Community Finance

            Latton Bush Business Centre,
                                                                    can                                   Food co-operatives
                                                                                    Community co-operatives
      Southern Way, Harlow, Essex CM18 7BH
         t 01279 838213 f 01279 450812                              can             Service/marketing co-ops
                                                                                                            Social firms


                 Visit                                                   Co-operative Business Consultants
     Co-opNet                                                            Sustainable structures for social enterprises

  The international co-op discussion forum                             Bob Cannell            David Dean            Kate Whittle
                                                                                         0845 456 0238
               sponsored by   total c ove r a g e                              
                              the co-operative design consultancy

8 • NEW SECTOR • issue 60 • february/march 2004
                                                                                                       supplement BRAG ENTERPRISES

                                               A New Sector supplement sponsored by the innovative Scottish local
                                                                 economic development agency BRAG Enterprises.
                                                Written by Tracey Muirhead, David Parker and Sarah Louise Taylor

serving the community                   something to brag about
• Supporting and developing
  community businesses
• Supporting local communities,
  organisations and individuals in
  accessing funding support
• Active partnership engagement in
  the local regeneration process
• Delivering local economic
  development activities as part of a
  service-level agreement with Fife
• Promotion of, and assistance with,
  small grants’ schemes
• Supporting growth                      Students of BRAG’s SVQ Level II Information Technology course on a day trip with BRAG
• Developing new managed workspace      BRAG Enterprises (Benarty Regeneration                centre and childcare facilities following the
                                        Action Group), based in the Crosshill                 purchase and renovation of two properties in
• Assisting with business planning
                                        Business Centre, Crosshill, is a voluntary,           Lochgelly.
• Signposting to other agencies
                                        not-for-profit organisation, acting as the              BRAG has developed a portfolio of
LEARNING AND TRAINING                   lead agency delivering economic                       successful funding applications in partnership
• Providing vocational training         regeneration and community-based                      with Fife Council, the further education
  programmes                            learning provision in the Central Fife                sector, Scottish Enterprise Fife and with other
• Delivering community-based            Coalfields Area.                                      voluntary sector organisations that has
  learning opportunities                  As a Local Economic Development Agency,             enabled it to draw down considerable levels
• Encouraging employee development      its vision is ‘to assist in the creation of a         grant from a number of sources including
  programmes                            vibrant economy in Central Fife - an economy          European Funding for capital and revenue
• Encouraging business development      in which all the key indicators are at least on       projects through the Objective 2 and 3
  programmes                            a par with Scotland as a whole.                               Programmes; National Lottery; Rural
• Provision of flexible learning and
                                          BRAG        was         originally                                Challenge;             Coalfields
  drop-in facilities
                                        established in 1988 by the                                             Regeneration Trust; Capital
SCHOOL FOR SOCIAL                       people of Benarty in                                                     Modernisation Fund and
  ENTREPRENEURS                         response to the Coal                                                      Scottish Homes.
• Support for project and business      Industry closures to assist
  development for community and         in     addressing        the                                              SPIRIT
  social benefit                        subsequent high levels of
                                                                                                                     The     Central     Fife
• Provision of individual and group     unemployment prevalent
  learning packages                                                                                               Coalfields area, where the
                                        in the area. Those who
• Mentoring                                                                                                      organisation is based,
                                        were and still are involved,
• Personal and peer support                                                                                    remains one of very high
                                        recognise the importance of
• ‘Learning by Doing’                                                                                       unemployment,           multiple
                                        diversification, flexible re-training
                                                                                                       deprivation and disadvantage. The
NEW DEAL                                options, the provision of locally-based
                                                                                              local communities still face many of the
• Jointly managing and delivering the   learning opportunities and in the
                                                                                              traditionally-associated barriers to accessing
  Voluntary Sector Option for Fife      development new skills that meet with learner
                                                                                              training and employment opportunities,
• Delivery of 18-24 year olds and 25+   interest and employer demand.
                                                                                              namely, low income, difficulties with
                                        SIGNIFICANT                                           childcare/dependant care, lack of self-
• Joint delivery with Fife Council of
                                                                                              confidence and self-esteem, poor educational
  the ‘Progress Fife’ project
                                          BRAG has a significant track record in the          attainment, lack of car ownership and poor
GATEWAY PROGRAMMES                      delivery and successful management of a               transport links. However, it is also an area of
• Jointly managing ‘Gateway to Work     range of innovative local projects linked to          tremendous community spirit, co-operative
  Programme’ in partnership with        economic and area regeneration. This                  effort and amazing potential where we see
  Jobcentre Plus from bases in          includes    the     re-development        and         progress being made every day.
  Dunfermline and Glenrothes            refurbishment of the Crosshill Business
                                                                                               Photo: Student taking part in a team
                                        Centre, new training and meeting facilities,
                                                                                               building exercise organised by BRAG
                                        units and workspace, and the creation of a call

                                                                                          february/march 2004 • issue 60 • NEW SECTOR

                                                 Two years ago BRAG Enterprises was instrumental in the opening of the
                                                 first School for Social Entrepreneurs in Scotland

                           learning by doing
 nurturing development
 I look back on how far my students have
 come from when they were originally
 interviewed for a place on the course.
 Some lacking in confidence, some not
 being able to work a PC, never mind
 being able to open an Excel spreadsheet,
 some with little knowledge at all of
 running their own business, but all with
 a passion and belief that their mission
 was to succeed in bringing their ideas to
 Ideas have been shared and bounced off
 each other, good times experienced, and
 all the projects have grown; some so
 quickly that we’ve had to tighten the
 reigns for fear of losing them
 completely to enthusiasm.                        Students Mark Kelly and Ann Smith at the School for Social Entrepreneurs
 But it’s not just the projects that have
 developed in leaps and bounds. One              The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE)           encouraged by conventional teaching. The
 student was hospitalised four years ago         based at the Crosshill Business Centre is a         learning programmes aim to create a climate
 after suffering mental health problems          partnership between BRAG Enterprises,               and structure where learning involves a
 due to stress caused by his position as a       Scottish Enterprise Fife, Fife Council,             process of experience, inquiry and discussion
 top sales manager of a high flying              School for Social Entrepreneurs and the             where students are challenged to use their
 organisation. He has now returned to            community.        The main programme                creative abilities to the full.
 his farming roots and managed to secure         supports 12 students from across Fife to              An opportunity to develop networks and
 land through a partnership with a local         develop as social entrepreneurs, by                 contacts is introduced by offering mentors
 ecology centre. This has enabled him to         providing them with a supportive                    and allowing guest speakers from the public
 create a social firm that promotes rare         environment within which they can                   and private sectors to share their experiences.
 breeds of animals in his own locality,          develop            their                                                    Opportunities       are
 working alongside volunteers with a             individual projects.              Students report great leaps in             created to nurture
                                                   One       of      the         confidence and many say that the             personal learning in a
 view to creating employment and                                                 programmes have opened up new
 educating children.                             fundamental aims of                                                          self-management
                                                                              opportunities that they once deemed as
 Another student who began the course            the SSE is to enable                   unavailable to them                   approach. The aim of
 with no keyboard skills, no knowledge           energetic, committed                                                         the School is not to
 of business plans and a fear of delivering      individuals to understand                                                 study     entrepreneurial
 presentations, is now standing tall with        the power of building new institutions.             activity but to create it.
 the local Heads of Education because of         Whether students work towards creating a              SSE is a network of schools running learning
 her beliefs and drive that have                 new charity, mutual or social business, they        programmes across the UK and Ireland that
 flourished on the course. She is now            come to understand that these forms help            support and encourage people to act
       often asked to sit on various             them attract political and financial support,       innovatively for social benefit. It is also a
            committees       determining         mobilise volunteers and under-used assets           learning community of like-minded people
               Council Policy.                   and become a key part of their community.           who provide each other with lasting support.
                Lord Young of Dartington,
                                                 PRACTICAL                                           ETHOS
                 the Founder of the SSE,
                once famously said: “Just          The course offered by the SEE is practical
                do it!”. In Fife, that’s                                                               Setting up the school appealed to BRAG
                                                 rather than academic. Students learn by
              exactly what we are doing!                                                             Enterprises because of its ethos of taking
                                                 doing and are provided with access to
                                                                                                     action and it encourages people to take risks
         Tracey Muirhead, co-ordinator at Fife   information, contacts and resources. SSE
                                                                                                     and act entrepreneurially to solve
 School for Social Entrepreneurs                 believes that entrepreneurial behaviour is not
                                                                                                     long-standing problems.

NEW SECTOR • issue 60 • february/march 2004
                                                                                                               supplement BRAG ENTERPRISES

 Students on a team building weekend in the Cairngorm mountains

  The SSE programmes are based on an                child schooling that may not be
approach to learning that is mostly based on        adequately handled by schools themselves,
observation, interaction, questioning and           such as bullying and support for children                NOW RECRUITING!
analysis. This approach enables active              with dyslexia and AHDH.
experimentation and nurtures the creation of      • Green Life Oasis Project is being
worthwhile projects that actually blossom           developed by Scott Young to set up a                      Have ever thought that yo
rather than remain pipe dreams on paper.            creative space for people who have                                                      u
                                                                                                             can improve the area that yo
  The first intake of 12 students were              suffered from depression and addiction.                                                 u
recruited in 2002, and another 12 were                                                                      live in but don’t know how
recruited for the 46-week programme, which        IMPACT                                                    go about it?
commenced on 1 April 2003.                                                                                    Would you relish the
                                                    The SSE programmes have already had a                  opportunity to learn ne
PROJECTS                                          beneficial impact. Students report great leaps                                         w
                                                  in confidence and many say that the                      skills?
  The practical projects being undertaken by      programmes have opened up new                              Fife School for Socia
the present students at the Fife school include   opportunities that they once deemed as
                                                                                                           Entrepreneurs is now lookin
the following:                                    unavailable to them.                                                                   g
                                                                                                          to recruit students to comm
• Robin Harvey’s project, entitled ‘A Rare          Although many of the affects of SSE                                                  it
   Breed’, aims to develop a community            programmes are internal or intangible, the              to its new course, wh
   supported agriculture (CSA) farm. The          success of the SSE students can also be                 commences 1 April 2004.
   farm will aim to promote all aspects of        demonstrated by the number of jobs and                    For further infor matio
   healthy and sustainable food production,       opportunities that SSE students have created:                                         n
                                                                                                         about the course and how
   reconnect the local community with the         • 75% of SSE students have created between                                           to
   land, preserve, protect and promote rural         1 and 5 jobs                                        apply for a place contact
   living heritage including rare breeds and      • 8% have created between 6 and 10 jobs               Co-ordinator Tracey Muirh
   heritage crops, create supported work          • 8% have created more than 21 jobs
                                                                                                        on 01592 860296, em
   placements.                                    • 15% have mobilised between 1 and 5                                               ail
• Student Russ Whittaker is developing a             volunteers
   drop-in centre for disabled ex-service         • 31% have mobilised between 6 and 10                   Alternatively you can vis
   personnel.                                        volunteers                               
• Ann Smith’s project, CAPS (Carers and           • 15% now work with over 21 volunteers.
   Pupil Support) aims to deal with aspects of

                                                                                                   february/march 2004 • issue 60 • NEW SECTOR

                                      surfing safely
Twelve years ago most people hadn't even           Membership to the cafe is free, and the         software also has a screen grab facility, so a
heard of the Internet, but in 1992 BRAG          charge for using a computer is extremely low      member of staff can see at any moment what
Enterprises successfully provided its            - 30p for 15 minutes - enabling a wider           is happening on a particular PC. We actively
community with its own internet cafe,            number of people to participate. As a result it   monitor the chat of under 16s and would
which is still running today.                    currently has an impressive total of around       intervene to prevent sex chat. But the kids
  The cafe, established as a result of funding   800 members of whom at least 60% are              know the rules and it doesn’t often happen.”
earmarked by BRAG for replacement PCs, is        under 16 and 20% are aged 16 to 24, with a          Such actions are appreciated by the parents
situated in BRAG Enterprises’ premises at        similar number of male and female members.        of young members who, in a recent survey
Crosshill's Learning Centre - a refurbished                                                        conducted by BRAG Enterprises, expressed
Victorian primary school. It offers the use of          There is a lot more to running an          very little concern over the risks of their
modern PCs installed with a high-speed            internet cafe than just plugging in a few PCs.   children using the internet cafe.
broadband connection and was recently               There are huge issues to do with security,
upgraded with 14 new PCs suitable for online      social responsibility, education and our place   PROMINENT
                                                                in the community
                                                                                                     Since it was established, the cafe has evolved
VALUE                                              The internet cafe has quite specific terms      into an important community asset and as a
                                                 and conditions issued with membership             result there are very, very few issues with
  Unlike high street internet cafes, BRAG's      explaining what the computers may and may         vandalism or abuse. The respect for the
venture doesn't offer an on-demand service to    not be used for. Also, with such a                service from its members is so high that the
anonymous clients. Instead it works on a         predominantly young membership the main           only item ever to go missing during opening
membership basis that enables it to provide an   perceived risk is in the use of virtual chat      hours is a ball from a mouse.
added value service by offering information      rooms and the safety of young people using          Unfortunately, a laptop was stolen from the
and education that appeals specifically to its   them to communicate with strangers. To            premises last year, but thanks to community
members.                                         tackle this and ensure that young members         support the item was returned, undamaged,
  Mark Cullens, centre manager for BRAG          are using the PCs in a responsible manner,        two months later. As Cullens says: “That is
Enterprises says: “There is a lot more to        BRAG has taken precautions and implemented        one of the advantages of being a prominent
running an internet cafe than just plugging in   specific procedures in the cafe, such as access   facility in a small community.”
a few PCs. There are huge issues to do with      blocks to certain websites by classification
security, social responsibility, education and   rather than content.
our place in the community. We chose the           Cullens explains: “This system allows us to     BRAG Enterprises, Crosshill Business Centre,
membership route because it is more in           block pornographic sites but allow access to      Main Street, Crosshill, Fife, KY5 8BJ
keeping with what we are trying to do.”          information about sexual health. Our              telephone 01592 860296,

 Members making the most of the facilities at BRAG’s internet cafe

NEW SECTOR • issue 60 • february/march 2004

                                                                                                       David Parker reports on the
                                                                                                   thriving co-operative enterprise
                                                                                                         culture in Alston, Cumbria

business with altitude
Alston, the highest and most                   interested in social enterprise, both          Jules Cadie is also a member of Cultural
remote market town in England, is              practitioners and policymakers. One of         Concourse, a co-operative consortium of
also a hot bed of co-operative and             the aims is to improve networking and          freelance consultants working in arts and
social enterprise. Situated in the             harmonise objectives. The event will be        cultural development. “I suppose the
Pennines on the borders of                     used to compile a toolkit for building and     concentration of co-ops in Alston is
Cumbria,             Durham           and      maintaining successful social enterprises.     unusual, but it reflects the open nature of
Northumberland, Alston is home to                The co-ordinator, Jules Cadie, is hoping     the inhabitants,” he said. “Alston has
eight community-based businesses               to attract participants from across the ‘far   always had a lot of incomers - I’ve only
which together have over 1,000                 north’ of England.                             been here two years - and people who’ve
members or employees.               That’s                                                    lived here longer seem to accept and
nearly half the population.                                                                   even welcome that.”
   The enterprises include baking/catering,
wholefood sales, arts and crafts, transport                                                   ENTERPRISING
museum, cultural consultancy, community
fitness club, heritage trust and Cybermoor                                                      The Enterprising Communities project
(the UK’s first community broadband                                                           started in May 2002 and so far has been
co-operative, featured in the last issue of                                                   instrumental in the setting up of 13 new
New Sector). At least three more social                                                       social enterprises. Programme manager
enterprises - community cinema, childcare,                                                    Viv Lewis said that one of the first tasks of
and school catering co-operative - are in                                                     the project was to map and understand the
the early stages of development according                                                     social enterprise sector in the county. “We
to Howard Long, the Enterprising                                                              have produced a directory of 150 social
Communities project officer for the area.                                                     enterprises. Many of them were surprised
   Enterprising Communities is a major                                                        to learn that they were part of such a large
project run by Voluntary Action Cumbria                                                       group.
(the rural community council for the                                                            “Social enterprise is very much about
county). The primary objective is to                                                          connecting with people and social
provide business advice and development                                                       enterprises need to connect with each
                                                ‘Weaving with waste’ workshop at the
support to social enterprises in rural          annual December craft fair organised by       other. We are very keen to build a
Cumbria. The nine person team has               Alston Craftworkers’ Co-op.                   network of social enterprises, whether this
secured funding until 2007 from a variety       Photograph by Sue Sharp                       would be county-wide or area-based we
of public and private sources.                                                                don’t know yet. It will depend on what the
   Most of the social enterprises in Alston      “Alston Town Hall will resemble a            social enterprises themselves want.”
were set up before Enterprising                colourful fairground of displays for             Enterprising Communities is contracted
Communities started (in May 2002), but         delegates to browse before the start of the    by Business Link to provide specialist
the project has been building on existing      formal     programme”       Jules    Cadie     support for social enterprises in Cumbria.
foundations to expand the sector.              explained.         “After some short           “We see the way ahead as working with
                                               presentations to set the context, delegates    local regeneration initiatives, such as the
EVENT                                          will go workshops. There will be a long        market towns initiative and local strategic
                                               lunch, with opportunities to network and       partnerships,” said Viv Lewis. “We want
  The success of co-operative and social       browse around the social enterprises that      to bring social enterprise development into
enterprise in Alston will be the focus of a    Alston has to offer, followed by more          the mainstream by working together in a
public event on 27 March 2004 called           workshops, questions and a panel debate.       joined up way.”
‘Business with Altitude - celebrating social     “Watch out for artists and performers for
enterprise in England’s far north’. It is      their take on the day. We're also hoping       For information about the Business with Altitude
being organised by Enterprising                to find enough sponsorship to host a           event contact Jules Cadie 01434 381941
Communities but in keeping with the ethos      cabaret review in the evening, with a bar,
of the project, a steering group of Alston     live music and dancing, for those who
co-operatives is very much in control.         won't want to leave the friendly               Enterprising Communities 01768 210044
  The event should appeal to everyone          atmosphere of Alston Moor.”

                                                                                    february/march 2004 • issue 60 • NEW SECTOR • 13

                                                                        As Co-operatives UK and partners are preparing to
                                                                        publish a guide for craft co-operatives, Sarah Louise
                                                                        Taylor reports on two excellent examples.

crafting excellence
Creative vocations are often riddled with pitfalls.                     are available to buy. Crafts on display include glass, leather,
Competition is high, and only a chosen few in every                     ceramics, textiles, wood, jewellery, baskets, book binding and
artistic industry will receive much-sought acclaim and                  ironwork.
funding that enables them to progress their talent in                     Craft in the Bay is also a regular venue for incoming
a direction of their choice.                                            international exhibitions and workshops in several craft
  The rest are often faced with the option of working for               disciplines. The classes are held by the most qualified members
somebody else, and consequently losing ownership of their               of the Makers Guild as well as guest specialists, and the tutorial
creations, or becoming self-employed with all the dangers,              is targeted towards everyone from absolute beginners to those
burdens and high expense that it entails.                               with a little more experience.
  Some however have discovered that co-operating can enable
economic and creative opportunities that may be otherwise               MEMBERS
unavailable to them. In particular, craft co-operatives are proving
that by working together, artists can establish themselves                         Anybody can apply to become a member of the Makers
in their own right and still be part of a group                                           Guild in Wales, but it will only accept those with
large enough to make a difference to their                                                     exceptional craft skills.
industry.                                                                                            Molly Curley, co-ordinator and one of
                                                                                                      the founding members of the Makers
CRAFT IN THE BAY                                                                                        Guild in Wales explains: “Work
                                                                                                           must be of a very high standard,
  Craft in the Bay is a                                                                                     aesthetically               and
successful retail gallery that                                                                               technically...and it has to be
has been running as a                                                                                         original. To apply and be
co-operative business since                                                                                    rejected is horrible, but
around 1997. The not-for-                                                                                      being on the selection
profit company is also a                                                                                       committee is horrible too
charitable trust.                                                                                              because you don’t like to
  The       gallery       was                                                                                  hurt people’s feelings.”
established by the Makers                                                                                       Once accepted, applicants
Guild in Wales which formed                                                                                  become associate members
in 1984 to bring together and                                                                               and then full members after a
promote Welsh talent in the craft                                                                         period of two years. This brings
sector.                                                                                                 responsibilities and members must
  The Makers Guild had a humble                                                                      work in the gallery, free of charge, for
beginning; each of the initial 40                                                                  an agreed number of days every year.
members donated £50 each to raise the                                                           “In some cases it actually costs members
capital to open their first gallery in 1989. It was                                      £20 or £30 per day for them to travel to work in
fortunate enough to find a space in a Victorian library that                   the gallery,” says Curley “but they find that it’s worth it
was let to them at a subsidised rate, but it also heavily relied on     because of the profit they make from the sale of their work in the
donated exhibition equipment.                                           gallery and the prestige of belonging to the best guild in Wales,
  Although the original gallery wasn’t formed as a co-operative,        and possibly the world.”
in theory it had the same principles, and so the step to make an          This seemingly strict selection process meant that before the
official co-op company was a natural progression that led to the        Guild opened its first gallery to the public, there were some bad
creation of Craft in the Bay.                                           feelings harboured towards it because it had turned down many
  Today, Craft in the Bay is situated in Cardiff Bay in a refurbished   applicants. But, once it had opened, the reasoning behind the
dockside warehouse, with an impressively modern extension.              elite selection process became very quickly evident. The gallery
Even the building itself has received wide acclaim due to its           and its work has achieved an international reputation for
imaginative structure, and it is recognised as a main tourist           excellence and challenges the perception of craft as a mere
attraction.                                                             ‘hobby’. Curley says: “Our aim is to raise the standard of craft
  On show in the gallery are a wide range of contemporary crafts        in Wales and show that crafts are an applied art form. Standard
created by some of the 70 members of the co-op, most of which           is everything for us.”

14 • NEW SECTOR • issue 60 • february/march 2004

 The new premises of Craft in the Bay in Cardiff

POTTERS                                                                    achieve greater spending power and receive discounts on
                                                                           materials by buying in bulk as opposed to buying materials
  Another successful and highly regarded craft co-operative is             individually. Also, operating as a co-operative enables members
Potters. Established in 1996, Potters is essentially a marketing           to interact and share their knowledge and experiences to
co-operative with 50 members who are all independent                       strengthen their skills base.
professional potters and ceramic artists.                                    Advice for artists hoping to join or form a co-operative will be
  The co-operative runs a shop in Whiteladies Road, Bristol, that          soon be available in the form of a new booklet entitled ‘Introducing
provides the widest range of handmade decorative and functional            Arts and Crafts Co-operatives: What they are, and what they can
ceramics in Britain.                                                       do for you’.
  As with Craft in the Bay, members of Potters are obliged to work           The booklet is currently being produced by project partners
in its retail outlet for a specified number of days every year which       Co-operatives UK, Plunkett Foundation, Co-active, CMS, Economic
helps it to keep costs down and ensure that its staff are experts who      Partnerships and Voluntary Action Cumbria. It outlines key
are able to offer excellent customer advice.                               information such as how arts and crafts co-operatives work, how
  Potters is also committed to informing the public about art and          they can benefit individuals, and gives examples of successful craft
craft ceramics and organises special events throughout the year            co-operatives.
that gives members of the public an opportunity to try their hand at         It also offers a general outline of how arts and craft co-ops can
making pottery.                                                            be legally structured, how to find existing ventures and the initial
                                                                           steps of setting up a craft co-operative.
ADVICE                                                                       Further guidance can also be found in the Co-operatives UK
                                                                           guide (funded by the Small Business Service), ‘Helping Rural
  Whilst both Craft in the Bay and Potters are enjoying success,           Businesses Thrive, a How-To Guide for New Start Rural Business
setting up a craft co-operative involves a lot of commitment and           Co-operatives’ which covers the main factors that should be
hard work from its members.                                                considered before starting an arts and crafts co-operative.
  Following her extensive experience, Curley would advise
anybody hoping to set up a craft co-op to “very carefully work out         Contact Craft in the Bay 029 2048 4611, Potters 0117 9737380
your business plan. Business plans can be crazy, which is why so           Also Helen Seymour at Co-operatives UK 0161 246 2921,
many projects fail because they’re being unrealistic...and be    
prepared to work your socks off for next to nothing.”
  Despite this, the benefits of being part of a craft co-operative still
greatly outweigh the negative elements. Together, craftspeople can         Opposite: Bird by Jan Beeney - a member of Craft in the Bay

                                                                                        february/march 2004 • issue 60 • NEW SECTOR • 15

                                                                            David Parker reports on a remarkable example of
                                                                            international co-operation between fair trade producer
                                                                            organisations in Asia

big co-operation in asia
Mention fair trade and we think of coffee, tea,
chocolate and maybe the Fair trade Mark or even the
Co-op’s bold marketing initiative. But that’s a very
British view, fuelled by our fascination with foreign
food and ignited by some inspired campaigning.
  The first fairly traded products to be regularly sold in this country
and elsewhere were handicrafts - jewellery, ceramics, carvings,
textiles etc. And today there are many more fair trade producer
groups involved in making handicrafts than in growing foodstuffs.
A much higher proportion of women are engaged in handicrafts,
and many have had their lives transformed by fair trade.
  Last October in Thailand there was a remarkable example of
international co-operation between fair trade handicraft producers.
By joint marketing they aimed to have a substantial sales presence
at one of the most commercial craft markets in the world - BIG
2003, the Bangkok International Gift and Houseware Fair.
                                                                             Part of the Asia Fair Trade Pavilion. Photo courtesy of Thaicraft.
  Sixteen fair trade marketing organisations from eight countries
exhibited in a specially designed fair trade pavilion. It was the
                                                                            was a remarkable improvement in the level of professionalism and
largest stand international non-government stand at the event.
                                                                            marketing competence,” said Stephen Salmon of Thaicraft, one of
  These 16 organisations where representing 234 producer
                                                                            the exhibitors.
groups. By co-operative marketing they were bringing the work of
some 6,000 artisans to the attention of major commercial buyers.
  This was the culmination of nearly 18 months of planning,
training and hard work by members of the Asia Fair Trade Forum.
                                                                         Stephen Salmon believes that the Asia Fair Trade Pavilion
Six members of the Forum had mounted a joint exhibition at BIG
                                                                       demonstrates two of the developing trends in the fair trade
in April 2002. It had been a success and they had learned a lot,
                                                                       movement: the growth of regional initiatives and the increase in
so they planned a much bigger presence for the following year.
These plans had to be postponed at the last minute because of the
                                                                         “Producers and their in-country agents can no longer rely on their
SARS epidemic, but the wait until October seems to have been
                                                                       long-term fair trade customers and partners to absorb their
worth it. A total of 704 buyers were registered by the fair trade
                                                                       growing market needs,” said Stephen Salmon. “It is increasingly
exhibitors, nearly 50% more than their target.
                                                                       necessary to make inroads into commercial markets for sustainable
                                                                                           orders to make a long-term difference to artisans.
                                                                                                  “Participation in trade fairs is a training
                                                    the marketing objective was
                                                                                                ground as well as an opportunity to achieve
  One of the lessons learned from the 2002            to promote the products
                                                                                                orders from entirely new sources. Not every
fair was the importance of design. For 2003 themselves rather than concept of
                                                                                                organisation is successful from the outset but
the Forum engaged a designer whose role                        fair trade                       by working together within a group and
was to
                                                                                              receiving the assistance, help and advice of
• visit participants and advise on the development of the most
                                                                       fair trade colleagues with more experience, helps to sustain the
   suitable products to exhibit
                                                                       morale and realise that we all have growing pains and frustrations
• design the layout and style of the pavilion
                                                                       and that this experience is the only way forward.
• supervise the actual set up of the pavilion and display of
                                                                         “It could all be so lonely, arriving in a strange country and trying
                                                                       to make an impression in an unfamiliar marketplace,” Stephen
  The marketing objective was to promote the products themselves
                                                                       Salmon continued. “But the mutual support of many like-minded
rather than concept of fair trade. The 2002 pavilion had featured
                                                                       organisations together with the help of those with commercial
a special display about fair trade. This was not included in the
                                                                       market knowledge, offers a guided experience, not only at the
2003 design. Instead the only references to fair trade were in the
                                                                       trade fair but also the vital preparation and follow-up work.”
name and signage and the strapline ‘Fair Trade - Quality that
  Another very significant improvement was in the selection,           A similar article was first published in Quarterly Return, the newsletter of
training and preparation of the stand managers. “This year there       the Shared Interest Society Ltd.

16 • NEW SECTOR • issue 60 • february/march 2004

                                                                               Malcolm Lynch is concerned that the useful legal
                                                                        structure of co-operative and community benefit society
                                                                        has no future unless fundamental problems are tackled

time to reform ips legislation

In the Prime Minister’s office, there            There has been a long term decline in the
is a Strategy Unit which conducted             use of the co-operative and community                      the introduction of the
an excellent review of charities               benefit society legal form as evidenced by           community interest company ...
and the wider not-for-profit sector            the number of new registrations of                  is likely to accelerate the decline
in September 2002. This review,                societies. At the same time, anecdotal                    of the co-operative and
entitled ‘Private Action, Public               experience demonstrates that there is                    community benefit society
Benefit’, included the first review            continuing growth in registrations of
                                                                                                 co-operative and community benefit
since 1998 of industrial and                   community enterprise but as companies
                                                                                                 societies, starting with the banking division
provident societies.                           limited by guarantee and having no share
                                                                                                 of the Treasury being the responsible
  The review was not extensive but it made     capital. This is an issue of concern
                                                                                                 Government department instead of the
a number of proposals for reform of            because many organisations which are
                                                                                                 Department of Trade and Industry as the
industrial and provident society law. Since    registering using the legal form of
                                                                                                 promoter of enterprise; registration by the
then, some private members bills have          company limited by guarantee for their
                                                                                                 Financial Services Authority rather than the
introduced some reforms of industrial and      community benefit activities, ought to be
                                                                                                 Registrar of Companies; and a system
provident society law, and the Treasury        registered as community benefit societies.
                                                                                                 which relies on sponsoring bodies to seek
now will shortly be consulting on further      Community enterprise needs capital.
                                                                                                 to obtain the cheapest form of registration
changes. The changes which have been           Sometimes this can be obtained by way of
                                                                                                 conspire to ensure that progressive
introduced, and those on which there will      grants but there are many occasions when
                                                                                                 obsolescence will continue and the costs of
be further consultation, do not leave me       this is not possible and they should be
                                                                                                 using this legal model will increase.
with any comfort that the legal form of        seeking share capital from the community
industrial and provident society will          or from other community enterprises to
blossom and flourish as a legal structure of   further their aims rather than collapse. This
choice for persons wishing to establish        is one of the advantages of the community
                                                                                                   The contrast with the very active role
co-operative and community enterprises.        benefit society.
                                                                                                 played by the Social Enterprise Unit of the
                                                                                                 Department of Trade and Industry in
CHANGE                                         CAPITAL
                                                                                                 bringing forward the community interest
                                                                                                 company could not be greater. The
  A welcome change is the proposal that          The more limited restrictions on the issue
                                                                                                 introduction of the community interest
instead of referring to industrial and         of share capital by co-operative and
                                                                                                 company, which may well be in place by
provident societies, reference is made to      community benefit societies is a distinct
                                                                                                 April 2004, is likely to accelerate the
co-operative and community benefit             advantage over the form of the company
                                                                                                 decline of the co-operative and community
societies which are the two legal forms        limited by shares whose shareholders have
                                                                                                 benefit society form for not very good
regulated under the Act. This change           enormous difficulty in satisfying legal
                                                                                                 reasons unless the fundamental problems
should help remove some of the confusion       requirements for issue of shares to third
                                                                                                 are tackled.
which has existing in explaining this legal    parties in order to raise capital, and the
                                                                                                   If you want a democratic co-operative or
form for many years.                           company limited by guarantee which is
                                                                                                 community benefit enterprise then you
                                               limited in the forms of capital it can attract.
                                                                                                 should register as one. However, it is likely
                                                 Regrettably, the co-operative or
       many organisations ...                                                                    that many will take and convert into the
                                               community benefit society legal form is not
  registering [as] company limited                                                               form of a community interest company in
                                               a first choice because the manner of
       by guarantee for their                                                                    the absence of fundamental reform.
                                               registration is costly, awkward and slow.
    community benefit activities,              All of which are factors which should not
      ought to be registered as                                                                  Malcolm Lynch is head of the charity and
                                               be in the way of community enterprise.            social economy team at Wrigleys solicitors.
     community benefit societies                 The whole system of governance for    

                                                                                       february/march 2004 • issue 60 • NEW SECTOR • 17

                                                                          by David Martin MEP for Scotland
                                                                          and vice-president of the European Parliament

people-driven business at
the heart of a social europe
By the time of the European elections on Thursday 10                       I believe it is time to change the tide again in Europe and put the
June 2004 I will have been an MEP for 20 years. There                    citizen firmly at the centre of the new Europe. Community and
have been a lot of changes in attitude to the European                   co-operative enterprises in Europe have an important role to play
Union in those years.                                                    in helping to turn that tide.
  When I was first involved in European politics, like a lot                         Co-operatives are a hugely important part of European
of my friends and colleagues in the labour                                                economic life and industry; the 132,000 co-
movement, I was opposed to what at that time                                                  operative enterprises in the EU have 83.5 million
was called the European Economic                                                                 members and employ 2.3 million people. The
Community. As far as we could see the EEC                                                         performance of co-operatives has a major
was a banker’s Europe, a Europe for big                                                             impact on the lives of the citizens of Europe.
business, not a Europe for the people.                                                               They deliver improved quality of life to
  Several people and events changed my                                                               citizens, wealth to nations and promote
opinion: Jacques Delors’ speech to the                                                               entrepreneurship and participation.
British TUC at Blackpool calling for a
peoples’ Europe, several discussions I had                                                       DYNAMIC
with John Smith (one of the best Prime
Ministers Britain never had) on creating a true                                                European research has shown that
European Community, the creation of the                                                    organisations that have an entrepreneurial
European Social Charter and the implementation of                                      dynamic and a social aim are expanding in many
the European Social Chapter.                                                      EU countries. These enterprises not only enhance social
                                                                         services in welfare states, but also supply an additional and often
CHANGED                                                                  innovative provision, mixing public and private resources and
                                                                         voluntary and paid workers. Social enterprises deserve serious
  Europe changed from the European Economic Community (EEC)              promotion in the EU.
to the European Community (EC) to the European Union (EU) - a
union of the peoples of Europe, a social Europe.                         CO-OPERATIVES
  But as Europe, and opinion in the UK, was moving towards a
social Europe there were forces pushing in the opposite direction.         Co-operatives are enterprises that exist to serve the needs of their
Namely a British Prime Minister                                                                             members who own and control
who told the Assembly of the                The performance of co-operatives has a major                    them, rather than to provide a
Church of Scotland that there was         impact on the lives of the citizens of Europe. They               return to capitalists.          All
“no such thing as society”. If deliver improved quality of life to citizens, wealth to enterprises exist to serve the
Thatcher was against the                     nations and promote entrepreneurship and                       interests of their cardinal
European social model then it                                   participation                               stakeholder groups. For capitalist
must be a good thing.                                                                                       companies this means investors,
                                                                                                         however, in a co-operative, returns
NEW RIGHT                                                                on investment are always be put in the service of others interests.
                                                                         In fact a non-co-operative enterprise might be called an association
  Unfortunately the ‘new right’ ethos seemed to be in the ascendancy     of capital (or investor-driven business) whereas a co-operative is an
and social Europe in retreat. There was a move to make the EU            association of people (or people-driven business). This is the kind
more like the US: a low tax, low welfare, free enterprise economy        of enterprise that should be at the heart of a peoples’ Europe - a
with the strong to the fore and the weak to the wall.                    social Europe.

18 • NEW SECTOR • issue 60 • february/march 2004

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  New Sector is published six times a year and mailed directly to
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range of collective enterprise, reports on recent conferences,
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                                                                                                                      february/march 2004 • issue 60 • NEW SECTOR • 19

                                                                            For latest information go to
                                                    Please send information for events in April and May for inclusion in the next issue to:
                                  New Sector, 1 Red Hill Villas, Durham DH1 4BA fax: 0191 375 0202 email:

5 February 2004                                   20 - 21 February 2004                             24 March 2004
Financial awareness for social                    Social Accounting for Co-operatives               Group facilitation skills
enterprises                                       LANARKSHIRE                                       MANCHESTER
SHEFFIELD                                         Two day training course organised by the          A one day module organised by the Institute of
A one day event aimed at identifying              National Centre for Business and Sustainability   Cultural Affairs (ICA).
appropriate finance solutions for developing      and the Co-operative College.                     Contact Martin Gilbraith 0161 232 8444
social enterprises.                               Contact Ceri Chamberlain 0161 834 8842
                                                                                                    25 March 2004
Contact Alison Robson 0191 245 2315     
                                                                                                    Meeting the People who Grow Our
7 February 2004                                   27 - 28 February 2004
Know your co-op                                   National Association of Co-operative              LONDON
CROYDON                                           Transport Officials Conference                    An event to discuss the establishment of a
Training module on Co-operative Behaviour         MANCHESTER                                        Community Supported Agriculture Scheme for
and the Co-operative Movement for                 The conference will look at environmental         London.
Co-operative Group SE members.                    issues that affect co-operative transport         Contact Peter Lang 0208 809 2391
Contact Co-operative Group SE Members’            functions.                              
Dept 0800 015 1147                                Contact Neil Buist 0161 351 7900
                                                                                                    27 March 2004
10 February 2004                                  1 - 14 March 2004
                                                                                                    Business with Altitude
Financial awareness for social                    Fair trade Fortnight                              ALSTON
enterprises                                       Many events throughout the UK.                    Event celebrating social enterprise in England’s
LONDON                                            Contact www.fair                     far north. See page 13.
A one day event aimed at identifying                                                                Contact Jules Cadie 01434 381941
appropriate finance solutions for developing
                                                  10 - 11 March 2004
social enterprises.                               Social Accounting for Co-operatives
Contact Alison Robson 0191 245 2315
                                                                                                    23 - 25 April 2004
                                                  MILTON KEYNES
                                                  Two day training course organised by the          Co-operation in Partnership
11 February 2004
                                                  National Centre for Business and Sustainability   STRATFORD-UPON-AVON
Training for business advisers: values,           and the Co-operative College.                     Co-operative Retail Trading Group (CRTG)
missions and objectives                           Contact Ceri Chamberlain 0161 834 8842            annual review and National Association of
LONDON                                                         Co-operative Officials (NACO) conference with
A one day training module organised by                                                              discussion of future business strategies.
Social Enterprise London (SEL).
                                                  23 March 2004
                                                                                                    Contact NACO 0161 351 7900
Contact SEL 020 7704 7490,         National Cares Convention - Making
                                                                                                    21 - 23 May 2004
                                                  Cares Work For you
18 February 2004                                                                                    Co-operative Congress 2004
National Council for Voluntary                    The day’s events will examine how businesses      MANCHESTER
Organisations annual conference                   and community groups can work together to         A wide range of events and activities will be
LONDON                                            get positive results.                             featured at the annual gathering of
The conference will examine the challenges        Contact Fiona Hague       co-operatives. The event is being hosted by
faced the by voluntary sector and look at how                                                       Co-operatives UK and held at Manchester
they may be overcome.                                                                               United’s football ground - Old Trafford.
Contact Gillen Knight 020 7520 2446                                                                 Contact Rita Butler 0161 246 2908

     finance for co-operatives
       and social enterprises
                                                                                   Industrial Common Ownership Finance
                                                                                        227c City Road, London EC1V 1JT

                                                                           tel 020 7251 6181       fax 020 7336 7407
        established 1973

20 • NEW SECTOR • issue 60 • february/march 2004

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