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Lupine Adventure co-op: A real say in your work

Case study

17th June 2021
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Lupine Adventure
Lupine Adventure organises outdoor activities (photographer Robin Mitchell)

Lupine Adventure is a not-for-profit workers’ co-op offering fell and mountain based outdoor recreation, education and training. 

Trading for more than 10 years, the Leeds-based co-operative works mostly with young people, delivering Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award expeditions, as well as National Citizenship Service activities.

Lupine’s instructors also teach climbing skills to adults and provide mental health support with outdoor activities. The co-op offers bursaries for DofE Gold expeditions for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

David Lyons is the Expedition Delivery Manager and one of the co-op’s four members. “For the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, the young people have to complete a self-sufficient expedition in the countryside,” he explains. “They have to navigate, camp, feed themselves, carry everything they need. We’re the supervisors checking in on them.”

Forming a co-op was a natural move for David. He set it up with his friend Andy Godfrey. “Andy was working for a printer co-op, we both lived in housing co-ops, so it was the obvious choice” he says. “We’re leftie co-op type people – we’re not interested in making money out of others.”

For him, working co-operatively aligns with his principles – and David is proud to pay a living wage to the freelancers the co-op contracts.

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We have pay parity, we are all paid the same amount. It feels good to run a business paying a decent rate.
– David Lyons, Expedition Delivery Manager

Lupine also promotes equality in its working practices – something else David is fiercely proud of. “Outdoor education is historically a male industry,” he says. “We play our role in changing that in seeking out good women freelancers and people we want to mentor. Our teams are mixed-gender and that’s really good for the clients in terms of representation.”

The control that comes from being a member of a co-op is important to David too.

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Watch a short video clip of Lupine Adventure
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You have a real say in your work. You get to form the ethos of the company as well. You have a stake in it. If you want the company – and the world – to be a better place, then you can influence that.
– David Lyons

He also enjoys the great sense of camaraderie that comes with co-op membership. “There’s something really nice about working with people you’ve been friends with for years and years,” he says.

“And living in a housing co-op, there would always be an evening meal,” he recalls. “There would always be a sense of family. There are lots of different co-housing projects in Leeds and there were parties. It was social – politics and having fun!”

Want to learn more?

Check out Lupine Adventure's website