In 2014 the Manchester Area Committee of the Co-op Group set up the Co-op Cluster as an experiment in involving local co-op members and staff. It chose the area around Chorlton and Whalley range. These are suburbs of south Manchester with a strong co-operative tradition.
The much-loved and celebrated Unicorn grocery - a worker co-op - is based in Chorlton, attracting trade from across the northwest.
Before WW2 Chorlton was the base for the manufacture of CWS cars (yes, there was once a co-op brand of car).
There are 5 food stores and two funeral outlets in the area, all part of the Co-operative Group. The food stores in Chorlton were originally part of United Co-operatives before it merged with the Group in 2008. The Whalley Range store was originally a Netto store, and the Wilbraham Road store in Chorlton was originally a Somerfield.
Hardy Lane Coop Rooms
The Cluster meets in the coop rooms above the Barlow Moor Road Co-op store on the corner of Hardy Lane. This is one of the few places in the UK that still has coop meeting rooms. The rooms have been used for coop meetings for over 80 years continuously.
Video about the cluster
The Co-op recently made a short film about us aimed at people interested in forming groups like ours in other areas.
Anyone who is interested in co-ops and co-operation is welcome to join us.