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Co-op Congress, 17-18 June

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Co-op Congres 2022

Our flagship annual event Co-op Congress, sponsored by The Co-operative Bank, is back as an in-person event with an online element. Join us at The Eastside Rooms in Birmingham or online on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 June 2022.

Empowering Co-operation

Co‑op Congress brings together those working to build a fairer economy to share ideas, get inspiration and take action. Under the theme of Empowering Co-operation, at Co-op Congress 2022 we will empower our members and our members' members to build a better world through co-operation.

This year's event is sponsored by The Co-operative Bank. After two years of virtual events Co-op Congress 2022 will take place in person over two days – with some online elements.

Great speakers and content...

Co-op Group's Interim CEO Shirine Khoury-Haq; Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham; Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire; Andy Street – former boss of employee-owned John Lewis, now Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority; Denise Scott-McDonald, Co-op Group; Ian Adderley, FCA. Plus LOTS more sessions and speakers.

We're offering a range of tickets options for in-person and online

Programme – Friday 17 June

10.30-11.00: Registration desk and refreshments

11.00-11.30: Welcome to Co-op Congress (in-person and online)

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands (via video)

11.40-12.40: Making membership meaningful (in-person and online)

Denise Scott-McDonald, the Co-op Group

What does membership of a co-op or mutual mean in modern society – and how do we harness the incredible potential of members? Our members are our greatest strength, but meaningful engagement isn't always easy. In this session we'll explore how to tap into this extraordinary resource, including a focus on engaging younger members.  

11.40-12.40 – Joining the dots: How can tech enable a stronger co-operative economy?

Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-operative; Emma Howard, Open Data; Viloetta Nafpaktiti, Domains.coop; Ludovica Rogers, Co-operatives UK

Digital has revolutionised all aspects of our lives, from how we do business to how we interact with loved ones. The pandemic accelerated this process, highlighting shortfalls as well as benefits. Tech could play a huge role in transforming and strengthening the co-operative movement. But where do we start? What are the biggest challenges our movement is facing? And how can tech enable us to tackle them? 

This workshop will invite provocations from a diverse group of speakers, followed by an open audience discussion. The themes that emerge will inform Co-operatives UK’s next steps in using tech and digital to build a stronger and more sustainable movement.

11.40-12.40 – Advice: An introduction to co-operatives for those new to the movement 

John Atherton, Co-operatives UK

This session is an introduction to all things co-op. What are they, where did they come from, what are the different types, how many do we have now? All this and more will be answered.

12.40-13.40 – Lunch break

13.40-14.40 – Music: It’s not fair – the role of co-ops in creative industries (in-person and online)

Paul Stokes (moderator), Music Journalist; Terry Tyldesley, Music Tech Consultant and artist. More panellists to be announced. 

Is the music industry in tune with the needs of artists? Our excellent panel will discuss how co-operatives can address unfairness in the music industry. From digital distribution to social mobility – there’s a lot to discuss.

We’ll look at solutions are already in place via co-operatives and discuss the potential for one of the most exciting new coops to be launched this century.

13.40-14.40 – Time to Share: Funding growth for worker and multi-stake holder coops 

Speakers to be announced shortly

The session will outline the new fund and opportunity it presents. Participants will have the opportunity to share the challenges they face around funding co-operative growth.

Please note, this funding is suited to worker co-ops and/or multi-stake holder co-ops that recognise workers as members and are either actively looking to grow or considering future options.  This discussion is also suited to those stakeholders exploring opportunities and ways to fund or match-fund co-ops.

15.00-16.00 - The future of the democratic economy (in-person and online)

We've a special announcement to make for this session. Watch this space.

16.00-16.20 – Closing keynote (in-person and online)

Shirine Khoury-Haq, the Co-op Group

The first opportunity for the Co-operative Movement to hear directly from Co-op Group Interim CEO Shirine Khoury-Haq.

17.00-19.00 – Co-operatives UK AGM. Click here for all the details.

19.00-23.00 – Drinks reception and supper with an international flavour

From the incredible work to support female workers in India, to empowering farmers in Malawi, you'll hear about international co-operation – while enjoying buffet-style food from around the world. The International Co-operative Working Group and Central England Co-operative will provide information and insight on the movement's overseas work while delegates enjoy food from around the world.

Co-operatives UK AGM
Our AGM is taking place during Congress on Friday 17 June. Join us to ask the questions that matter to you and your co-op.

Programme – Saturday 18 June

9.00-9.30 – Registration desk and refreshments

9.30-9.40 – Welcome (in-person and online)

9.40-10.40 – Share the benefits: Community shares and transforming lives

Dave Boyle, Community Shares Company; John Dawson, Co-operatives UK

£200 million has been raised to support, save and set up hundreds of vital businesses – with an impressive 92% still trading! How can you and your community take advantage of this unique form of finance. You'll hear from experts and community shares practitioners in this informative and engaging session. Together we can achieve great things!  

10.40-11.00 – Refreshment break

11.00- 12.00 – Care co-ops: What are the regional opportunities (in-person and online)

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire; Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester

This panel will look at the opportunity in the care sector for co-operative working to establish greater parity of voice featuring regional Mayors Tracy Brabin and Andy Burnham. The panel will discuss the value of ‘having a stake and a say’ for the workers, patients and commissioners in care-based organisations; and whether more co-operative working would stimulate a more sustainable and equitable approach to care.

11.00-12.00 – Women's voice through co-operative history

Liz McIvor, Co-operative Heritage Trust

Women have played a central role through co-operative history. From the first female member to the numerous achievements of the Co-operative Women's Guild - leading to the influential positions held be women in today's co-operative movement. This session will highlight these historic moment and how and why it's important to capture women's voices now so we have a rich history for the archive.

11.00-12.00 - Tackling the capital conundrum – whose afraid of capital gains?

Tony Greenham, Mutual Banks Association

Why has the number of co-operatives remained broadly the same for years? And what can be done to change the status quo - particularly in the finance sector?

Capital intensive co-operative start-ups are hard to fund, especially in financial services where capital is highly regulated. To address these barriers, the Mutual Banks Association has developed a new co-operative structure under the Companies Act 2006 that does three things: legally embed a common good corporate purpose; create a multi-stakeholder ownership structure with active participatory governance; and create a form of co-operative equity capital that can deliver fair returns to early stage high risk investors (while remaining aligned with co-operative principles). This area is still a work in progress - so come and join the discussion.

11.00-12.00 – Advice: Member engagement

John Atherton, Co-operatives UK

Building on our webinar on membership engagement this participative session will focus on understanding and analysing the membership engagement journey within your co-op. 

12.00- 13.00 – Lunch break

13.00-14.00 – Co-operative Identity (in-person and online)

Ian Adderley, FCA; Emma Laycock, Co-operatives UK; Sarah Alldred, The Co-operative College

Co-operatives all over the world agree to a common identity; sharing the same definition, values and principles. The original 'Rochdale Principles' were set down in 1844 and now overseen by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), have been updated over the year (in the 1930s, 60s and 90s in particular). The ICA will carry out a formal consultation in the future. This session is the first phase in gathering views from UK co-operatives on the current co-operative identity, values and principles. Are they fit for the future? Come along and take part in this discussion.

13.00- 14.00 – Young people as co-operators and activists 

Debs McCahon, Woodcraft Folk

For nearly 100 years Woodcraft Folk has empowered young people to explore and live co-operative values; taking action in communities locally and globally to create a fairer world. Come along to this workshop to find out how! During this participative workshop Woodcraft Folk will share: Examples of youth led social action; impact of our unique co-operative approach to youth work; tools for creating leadership in young people.

14.20-15.20 – Panel Discussion: Working together to grow the co-operative movement

Robin Fieth (chair), The Building Societies Association (BSA); Robert Kelly, ABCUL; James Alcock, Plunkett Foundation; Blase Lambert, Confederation of Co-operative Housing (CCH)

There are around 7,000 co-ops in the UK. This figure has remained broadly the same for years. Our panel of leaders from housing, credit unions, supporter clubs and community co-ops will share challenges from their individual sectors – but also the opportunities if we can work together more effectively as a movement to grow the co-operative economy.

14.20-15.20 – Advice: Code of governance

Emma Laycock, Co-operatives UK

The Co-operative Corporate Governance Code offers a set of principles that all co-ops can reflect upon and use to encourage and enable good governance practice. In this session, our Head of Advice, Emma Laycock, will work through a case study with Co-operatives UK member Regather. It will focus on the practical implementation of the Code and how co-operatives can benefit through improved governance and performance.

Secure your place at Co-op Congress 2022
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