Delegates from across the continent will gather in Cardiff on 21-22 November to discuss how the movement should evolve to attract a new generation of co-operators.
Young People and the Future of Cooperation in Europe is organised by Cwmpas, formerly the Wales Co-operative Centre, and Cooperatives Europe, the voice of cooperative enterprises in Europe.
Representatives from some of the most established European co-operatives will work alongside younger delegates to explore the ways in which young entrepreneurs can be encouraged to adopt co-operative models. They will also discuss how established co-ops can attract young people to get involved.
Find out about the conference taking place 21-22 November
The summit will bring together panellists and speakers from across Europe, including Berkin Sener from Gençişi Kooperatif, a youth deal co-operative from Izmir, Turkey; and Elsa Brander from Kooperationen, the Danish Cooperative Employers’ Organisation which runs project Ørexund, a business incubator for young entrepreneurs. Joining them from the UK will be Rose Marley from Co-operatives UK, Jonny Gordon-Farleigh from Stir to Action and Pete Westall from Midcounties Co-operative.
Young co-operators (under 40) are particularly welcome to attend the event, with free tickets and free hostel accommodation available. The youth programme will include a meeting of the Young European Cooperators Network as well as a Coopathon, an interactive workshop to stimulate new co-operative ideas.
Discounts are also available for co-operators attending from the UK and organisers are keen for the UK sector to be represented at the event.
Derek Walker, CEO of Cwmpas, believes this is a crucial time to talk about young people’s involvement in the co-operative movement:
"We live in challenging times. The current economic system is failing to tackle the key challenges our communities face today – from climate change to economic inequality, marginalisation, and poverty. Young people are often the most vulnerable to these issues and are seldom heard by the leaders making key decisions about the future. Yet they are the most likely to have radical solutions and the passion to make a difference."
“Many young people are already involved in the co-operative movement across Europe. They understand the benefits that concern for community, collaborative ownership and collective action can bring. But many more are not aware of the co-operative model or principles – they feel powerless and ignored by the institutions and businesses which dominate European society.
“This event should help young co-operators and give them a voice within the wider movement. By bringing together members of Cooperatives Europe and the Young European Cooperators Network, we hope to encourage conversations between current co-operative leaders and the next generation on how to take the movement forward in Europe.”
The conference is sponsored by Cardiff County Council, Coops France, Co-operatives UK, DotCooperation, Midcounties Co-operative, VME Co-op, HSB National Federation, FUNDACION ESPRIU and DGRV – Deutscher.
For more information on the programme and venue, and to book tickets, visit the event website future.coopseurope.coop