About Chorlton Community Cooperative
What is it for?
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 coops like Stitched Up show the way in a new type of cooperative organising.
As we moved out of the pandemic into even choppier waters, we needed ways to help sustain this spirit of mutual aid and community innovation. Ways to help projects replicate Chorlton Bike Deliveries’ successful move from voluntary group to sustainable business providing work and purpose to many people.
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.
What is it?
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 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, Unity Arts, Chorlton Traders, Our Streets Chorlton, Unicorn Grocery and others.
Chorlton Community Cooperative is starting out as component part of the Innovation Cooperative , a similar platform at a larger scale to support initiatives like ours. The Innovation Cooperative is one of the recommendations in the Greater Manchester Cooperative Commission set up by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, 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.
How will it work?
Chorlton Community Cooperative will be a platform to support independent projects that 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 in their own way, but benefit from sharing facilities. For example, if a group wants to bid for funding, the cooperative can provide a formal name and address to front that bid. If the bid is successful, the cooperative will offer a shared bank account to manage funds on the group’s behalf. We will grow and develop this website to provide a window on the projects and offer information and tools to help them organise.
Chorlton Community Cooperative is supported by members of the Co-op (supermarket) but is independent of the Co-operative Group.