The current draft programme. Please note that this is subject to change.

Thursday April 4th

Pre-conference social event at The Eighth Day. More info…

From 9pm we’ll head over to Sand Bar, (heads up, apparently it doesn’t take cash)

Friday April 5th

9.00 am: Registration and refreshments

9.45 am: First workshop sessions:

  • Co-operative & Community-Led Housing – Kevin Wan (North West Housing Services), Sarah Hughes (red Coop), Jo Bird (Co-operative Business Consultants) and David Alcock (Anthony Collins Solicitors)
  • Sociocracy & Governance – Abbie Kempson (Unicorn Grocery)
  • The Challenges of the New Municipalism and Co-op Development – Gareth Nash (Preston
    Co-op Development Network and Co-operative & Mutual Solutions), Cllr Martin Judd (Oldham Council and Co-operative Councils Innovation Network), Grace Brown (Centre for Local Economic Strategies)
  • The New Lucas Plan & Co-operativising a Green New Deal – Ian Hewitt & Dave King (New Lucas Plan) and Ben Aylott (Carbon Co-op)

10.40 am: Morning plenary

Welcome from Jo Bird on behalf of Co-operative Business Consultants and the Ways Forward team

Keynote speakers:

  • Where are we now? Molly Scott-Cato will set out the challenges that society faces and lay down the gauntlet for the co-op movement to rise to those challenges.  Molly is a Green Party MEP, economist and member of UK Society for Coop Studies advisory board
  • Climbing back up the Value Chain: Shaun Fensom (The Digital Infrastructure Co-operative and Save Our Bank) on how the Coop Movement can build more economic power and autonomy
  • New fields for co-operation: Pat Conaty (Synergia Institute, on how collaborations beyond the co-op movement are generating community, financial and labour innovations.

12.10 pm: Refreshment break

12.25 pm: Second Workshop sessions

  • Open Space – the hall will be available for extra participant-led discussions or presentations that we haven’t managed to squeeze into the programme
  • Secondary co-operatives as Financial Enablers for Housing – Ai Van Kok (Student Co-op Homes) and Aneaka Kellay (Alliance of Cornerstone, Castle Rockdove and Equinox) talk about how pooling resources means small co-ops of people on low incomes can manage to afford more property and help new co-ops succeed.
  • The Greater Manchester Co-operative Commission: Commissioners Shaun Fensom and Cllr Angeliki Stogia give an overview of the ambitions and progress of this wide-reaching initiative
  • Union Co-ops: Solving the problems of conversion and co-ops at scale: Pat Conaty (Wales
    Co-op Centre, Co-ops UK & Synergia Institute) and Cilla Ross (Co-operative College) present the concept and global examples of Union Co-ops and discuss their potential for the UK

1.20 pm: Lunch

Sheffield Co-operative Development Group host a lunchtime fringe session with Paul Bell (Unison), Cheryl Barrott (SCDG and ChangeAGEnts) and Leslie Huckfield

2.20 pm: Third Workshop Sessions

  • Co-operatives as Tools of Liberation: Jo Taylor (Co-operation in Mesopotamia) hosts Sacajawea Hall (co-founder of Co-operation Jackson, Mississippi) and Huriye Semdin (general representative of Real Economy in Northern Syria for Aboriya Jin, Women’s Economy Committee) presenting and discussing their strategies and challenges via the internet.
  • Financing the new economy – Graham Mitchell of Platform 6 Development Co-op on crowd-sourcing money & knowledge, Leo Sammallahti on the Co-op Exchange co-operative micro-investment app and Dil Green of Open Credit on co-ops as the backbone for a mutual credit network for the UK.
  • Co-operatives Unleashed: doubling the size of the Co-op Economy – Alex Bird ( and Cardiff Institute of Co-operative Studies) and David Alcock (Anthony Collins Solicitors)
  • Why Co-ops Go Wrong and What we might Do about it – Bob Cannell (Co-operative Business Consultants & ex-Suma Wholefoods)

3.15 pm: Refreshment break

3.30 pm: Afternoon Plenary

Mark Simmonds (Chair, Co-op Development Forum for Co-operatives UK) gives an update on Co-operatives UK’s National Co-op Development Strategy

Martin Meteyard (Co-op Business Consultants) hosts a panel of speakers giving reflections on the day and any key proposals they’ve identified, followed by general discussion

  • Jo Bird – founding member of Olive Coop and Co-operative Business Consultants
  • Vivian Woodell – Vice-President, Mid-Counties Co-operative Retail Society, founding member of The Phone Co-op and of the Phone Co-op Foundation for Innovation
  • Mark Simmonds – founding member of Co-op Culture and Platform 6 Development Co-operative

4.30pm: Close

Retiring to the Turtle Bay Caribbean Bar further North on Oldham Street.