workers.coop co-host, encourage and support others to host Local Co-op Meetups in their town, city or region. This is in line with our commitment to promote worker co-operatives and run different types of events. So far there is the Glasgow Co-op Meetup, Edinburgh Co-op Meetup and Leeds Co-op Meetup, which are organised locally.
While aimed at worker co-operators, we have found that these meetups work brilliantly as open events to bring together different co-operative and community-based audiences, allowing mutual support and networking.
If you’re a worker co-op, employee-owened enterprise, large organisation or charity who wants to support democratic and worker-controlled business by co-hosting, organising or providing funding towards an event, get in touch. Particularly cooperators in Birmingham, Manchester and Suffolk, where meetups are in the pipeline!
Below we outline key elements from what has worked best in our members’ experience, some practical things to consider as well as suggested formats for running the event.
Local Co-op Meetups are aimed at worker co-operators and employee-owned enterprise members, but we have found them to be most successful when open to other types of co-operative such as housing, multi-stakeholder, consumer, society, CIC, etc. We’ve found this helps to ensure numbers of attendees, increases knowledge and experience in the room, strengthens local connections and increases opportunities and networking.
Running an open, free, public event and including all types of co-operatives has shown us that this often results in a wide level of knowledge and experience amongst participants, who are then able to answer questions. We have found those attending are able to direct, signpost, and advise those attending who are new to co-operatives or looking to start a co-op, without requiring paid staff or a facilitator.
One off or Recurring
Whether you run a one-off event or recurring event will depend on your circumstance. For recurring events, members have found that choosing a recurring consisent time aids attendence and enables drop-in. For example, the Glasgow co-op meetup takes place on the third Friday of every month, whilst the South Birmingham Co-op Meetup used to reccur every 3 months. Most meetups take place in the evening on a workday, so people can drop by after work.
We can promote your Local Co-op Meetup on our Events listing on our website, just give us the details, and we can include it in our Newsletter that is sent to our mailing list.
Where else to host a co-op meetup than in a local worker co-op cafe or event space? Other options might include approaching a large local housing co-operative, as the one in Edinburgh does, or hosting it in a cafe, community building or hall that has bookable room space. The more central location the easier it will be to get to on public transport, but this will entirely depend on your context and could rotate. This will also depend on your local group’s capacity for room hire, or whether you’d want to ask participants for a donation to put toward this.
It might be worth approaching local organisations in your area that you know might have some funding available for supporting co-operative activities! This could be spent on room hire, refreshments or food for the meetup, etc. We sadly can’t provide this ourselves due to our very limited resources in our first year. However, currently local groups are organising their local meetups without financial support that we know of, if you meet up in a cafe or bar for instance you can buy drinks there to use the space.
Worker Co-op Codes
If you’d like a stack of Worker Co-op Codes to have at the event, email <email@example.com>, or download and print yourself.
Worker cooperators have differed in how they have organised local meetups. This could be a loose, informal and conversational event, or one with an agenda or more structured format. We will upload suggested formats in due course, but briefly:
Attendees turn up, tend to be more milling around and speaking with whoever is there, conversation and networking is unstructured and played by ear.
Instead, the group might like to prepare and share an agenda ahead of time with a plan of what will be discussed during the meetup, with people sitting around a table. Alternatively, there might be no agenda as such but an organiser who has planned a schedule and contents, such as a go around and introductions from attendees, or conversation around a particular matter. This is how the South Birmingham co-op meetup was run, for instance.
For help to organise an event in your area email firstname.lastname@example.org, or if you are in Scotland email@example.com.