The Chorlton Community Cooperative is a brand new initiative aiming to help local groups of people to bring ideas to fruition and work together - ideas to make Chorlton a better place to live and work. It draws on the experiences of the groups that are launching it - and lessons learned during the pandemic.
This page briefly explains:
And it gives links to further documents and information, and tells you how you can get involved.
Chorlton is very cooperative place. It's a place where people work together to make things better in our community.
The community response to the Covid-19 pandemic was dramatic and meaningful. People across the community pulled together to help meet each other's needs, through groups like Chorlton Connectors and Chorlton Bike Deliveries.
And Chorlton has a proud history of cooperative business and organising. Unicorn, recently celebrating its 25th birthday, is nationally known as a successful cooperative business providing quality food. The Co-op itself has been trading continuously from the same shop at the corner of Barlow Moor Road and Hardy Lane for almost 100 years. Our Community Land Trust has been at the forefront of challenging issues like what to do with the Funeralcare (Picture House) building, Rye Bank Fields and the centre of Chorlton. And co-ops like Stitched Up show the way in a new type of cooperative organising.
As we move out of the pandemic into even choppier waters, we need ways to help sustain this spirit of mutual aid and community innovation. Ways to help projects replicate Chorlton Bike Deliveries' succesful move from voluntary group to sustainable business providing work and purpose to many people.
Our new initiative - the Chorlton Community Cooperative - aims to build on this and provide a supporting framework on which initiatives can build fast by sharing resources and focusing on what's important: what they do rather than how they are structured. So that they don't have to worry about creating legal bodies, bank accounts and websites - unless and until they want to.
The Chorlton Community Cooperative is a platform to support independent projects run by people who want to get on with their projects - providing they agree to a simple set of shared values and principles. It uses a formal cooperative structure called a 'neutral host'. This means groups can organise their own way while sharing facilities. If they want to bid for funding they can have a formal name and address to front the bid. If they win the funding there's a shared bank account to store the money and spend it from - providing they spend what they have got and no more. And we will grow and develop this website to provide a window on the projects and tools to help them organise.
It's a cooperative. Open to anyone - people or organisations - who share our simple aims, values and principles: we want to make Chorlton a better, kinder, greener, healthier and more prosperous place. All of Chorlton.
We'll do that by sharing ideas and resources and working on making things happen. We won't try to represent any one view or speak for Chorlton. We welcome any organisations and businesses that share our aims and values and want to get involved. We want to work with and alongside our councillors, Manchester City Council, our MP, the mayor and the GMCA. In line with internationally-accepted cooperative principles all members count for the same. Chorlton Community Cooperative is first and foremost neutral.
The cooperative is being set up now by local people from local groups including Chorlton Alliance, Chorlton Community Land Trust, Chorlton and District Co-ops, Let's Reimagine Our Chorlton, Our Green Chorlton, Our Streets Chorlton and Unicorn Grocery.
Chorlton Community Cooperative is starting as component part of the Innovation Cooperative - a similar platform at a larger scale to support initiatives like ours alongside others. The Innovation Cooperative is one of the recommendations in the Greater Manchester Cooperative Commission set up by Andy Burnham. The Innovation Cooperative includes initiatives like Middleton Cooperating - which is working on similar ideas to ours. It's supported by people with expertise in social enterprise, cooperatives, law, business and technology.
Chorlton Community Cooperative is supported by members of the Co-op (supermarket) but is independent of the Co-operative Group.
Or perhaps you'd like to join us. As with any proper cooperative, membership is open to anyone who shares our values and aims. If you're interested, just pop us an email at email@example.com
If you're interested, here are links to some background documents