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Co-op Congress 2024 is proudly sponsored by The Co-operative Bank.

Watch the recordings: Co-op Congress 2024

Graphic with photos of speakers at Co-op Congress 2024, and event by Co-operatives UK, sponsored by The Co-operative Bank

Watch back the main room sessions from Co-op Congress – hear inspiring ideas and be empowered to take action. 

We live streamed the main room sessions from Co-op Congress for FREE, thanks to our event sponsor The Co-operative Bank. Watch back the sessions from the event below.

  • Rose Marley, CEO, Co-operatives UK
  • Councillor Karen McCarthy, Cabinet Member for Finance, Birmingham City Council
  • Gary McDermott, Chief Commercial Officer, The Co-operative Bank
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  • Grace Blakeley, Economics and politics commentator, journalist and author
  • Nihal Arthanayake, Broadcaster and author
  • Kenyatte Nelson, Chief Membership & Customer Officer, Co-op Group
  • Host: Rose Marley, CEO, Co-operatives UK

The economy is not broken... it's working exactly as planned. Acclaimed journalist and economic commentator, Grace Blakeley, will open this session with a provocation designed to inspire discussion about collectivism (and why encouraging it threatens the status quo). Following on from Grace, who has authored several books, including Vulture Capitalism: Corporate Crimes, Backdoor Bailouts and the Death of Freedom, delegates will hear from Kenyatte Nelson on Co-op Group's exciting plans to challenge individualism and bring back 'the true meaning of co-operatives' to the UK. It’s a conversation we need to have so we have invited Nihal Arthanyake, author and award-winning broadcaster, to guide us. This session will be moderated by Co-operatives UK's Rose Marley.

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  • Shirine Khoury-Haq, CEO, Co-op Group
  • Kevin Parry OBE, Society Chairman, Nationwide and Chair of Royal London
  • Shelagh Hancock, CEO, First Milk
  • Jim Islam, CEO, One Family
  • Paul Dover, UK Agriculture Director, Arla
  • Host: Rebecca Harvey, Executive Editor, Co-op News

The Co-operative and Mutual Economy presented a compelling case for harnessing the potential for co-operatives AND mutuals. Annual income is more than doubled to £90 billion when mutuals, building societies and employee owned enterprises are added to co-operative figures. There's also more than 74 million memberships. Mutuals are good for the economy, good for workers and good for the customers they serve. So why can it be so hard to explain? And how do we work more closely together for mutual benefit? Join leaders from leading co-operatives and mutuals for this ground-breaking session. 

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  • Richard Parker, Labour and Co-operative Mayor of the West Midlands
  • Leena Habiballa, not/nowhere
  • Lucinda Broadbent, Founder Member, Media Co-op
  • Ben Philp, Creative Director, Creative Coop
  • Jo Ind, Project Co-ordinator – West Midlands Ownership Hub
  • Host: Lara Ratnaraja, cultural consultant and curator

In the 1990s, Prince – one of the most iconic musical talents of a generation – wrote ‘slave’ across his cheek in protest at the lack of control and ownership of his art. There is an argument that you free up your creativity when you feel like you have control of what happens to it. It’s how creatives ‘wear’ their business, rather than be burdened by it. So how do we better empower people in creative industries? 

We already have powerful examples – be it co-operative or employee owned – in the arts and culture sectors. Opportunities for strengthening the connection between these two worlds are boundless. Whether it's music venues uniting when their very existence is threatened, or freelance creatives joining forces to deliver work that speaks to their creative and moral ethos, we have incredibly inspiring examples.

Join us for this session to explore this natural coming together of two worlds. We will explore a unified ambition to bring ownership more clearly into the language and ethos of the UK creative and cultural sectors. We’ll also highlight a new initiative with West Midlands Combined Authority to invest specifically in this area of work.

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  • Joe Fortune, General Secretary, Co-operative Party
  • A short video from Jonathan Reynolds, Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Business and Trade
  • Jim McMahon, Chair, Co-operative Party

Joe Fortune introduces a short video from Jonathan Reynolds, the Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Business and Trade, on the need for co-operative growth. The video is followed by a keynote from Jim McMahon, Chair of the Co-operative Party.

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Saturday 15 June: Main room

  • Rose Marley, CEO, Co-operatives UK
  • Debbie White, Chair, Co-op Group
  • Harpz Kaur, Broadcaster and DJ
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  • Michaela Cryar, Director, Younity
  • Shaz Rahman, Community Energy Birmingham
  • Dr Vicky Dunn, Board Member, Grimsby Community Energy
  • Eva Murray, Campaigns Officer, Co-operative Party
  • Host: John Robb, Musician and author

This session will explore how communities can wrestle power back into their own hands by owning and controlling renewables like solar panels we'll all be empowered to take action on the climate emergency. In this session panellists will explore the potential for community energy growth – and how co-operatives and their members can make a difference.

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  • Host: Tom McNeil, Social Policy Campaigner
  • Christxpher Oliver, Policy and Research Officer – Community Wealth Building, The Ubele Initiative   
  • Natasha Natarajan, Events and Partnerships Coordinator, SPACE4 and Outlandish
  • Sara Barlow, Secretary, Voice of the Postmasters
  • Isla McCulloch, Co-operatives UK

In recent years we've seen a significant shift in political agendas towards ‘Big Society’, ‘Levelling up’, localism and more. A measure of support - including financial - has filtered through but there is a sense that communities have just got on with it. Communities and ‘save our’ campaigns have stepped up and stepped in. Community ownership has played a significant role, with more than £210m raised to date through community shares. 

In this session – with a nod to the upcoming general election – we'll explore the vision political parties need to have in order to better support this critical part of UK life. And we'll learn from communities that have been 'doing it for themselves'.

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  • Blase Lambert, Chief Officer, Confederation of Co-operative Housing
  • Claude Hendrickson MBE, EDI Associate, Leeds Community Homes and People Powered Homes Leeds 
  • Jaimini Bharakhada, Chair, Belgrave Neighbourhood Co-operative Housing Association
  • Casey Edwards, Community-led Housing Programme Manager, Cwmpas

With soaring prices and growing inequality, the gap between the housing haves and housing have nots is a widening gulf. The availability and affordability of rented and social housing is a further issue in today's housing crisis. Co-operative housing solutions have been around for thousands of years - but what are today's options?

This session puts the spotlight on member ownership and control in housing, while also questioning why co-operative housing isn’t a mainstream solution. We look to international examples and explore the many positive outcomes for tenants and the wider communities served by housing co-ops. Our housing session is chaired by Blase Lambert, Chief Officer from the national co-operative housing body, Confederation of Co-operative Housing. 

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  • Hosted by Debbie White Chair, Co-op Group
  • Nick Crofts, CEO, Co-op Foundation
  • Mya Badhan, Young Gamechangers Fund, Steering Group Member
  • Victor Agbontean, Young Gamechangers Fund, Steering Group Member
  • Ala Ghaderi, Commercial Banking Graduate, The Co-operative Bank
  • Rorey Scriven, Founder, Youth Voice
  • Aaliyah Likuluta, National Youth Voice Ambassador
  • Jasmine Gardosi, Birmingham Poet Laureate

A diverse session bringing delegates from the National Youth Summit and Co-op Congress together to close both events with a session focused on how we give youth a voice across the co-operative movement. 

The session was followed by a performance by Dance Co-operative Birmingham and Jasmine Gardosi, Birmingham Poet Laureate. 

Co-op Congress was closed by Cheryl Barrett, Chair of Co-operatives UK.

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