Prior to joining Cooperatives UK as the Project Manager for the Ownership Hub programme, John has been working in the charity and development sector, since graduating in 2006. John was one of the founders of Performers Without Borders, working with young people across India and South America, before focusing on Youth Development work in the UK.
John became interested in the co-op movement through living at Sanford Housing Coop – one of the largest purpose built co-ops in the UK, of which he has been Chair for the last two years.
Bethan works in Co-operatives UK’s Development Unit, focusing on the Empowering Places programme which is working to build a network of community businesses to tackle social and economic exclusion. Bethan has a passion for creating vibrant peer learning networks, collaborative events and working in relationship focused partnerships. Alongside her day-to-day work in the Development Unit, Bethan is studying for a MA in Political Economy at Manchester University, giving her the opportunity to apply the on ground learning of place based economic development to academic theories and is another space to champion the co-operative alternative! Before joining the co-operative sector Bethan worked in Student Unions and Local Government. Outside of work, she is happiest on her bike or hanging out with her two cats, Edgar and Luna.
Isla manages our community shares standards work. Community shares are a popular way to raise finance to save and create much-loved community spaces and businesses. She oversees training and licensing for practitioners and the Community Shares Standard Mark, which recognises high quality community share offers. She also leads on our research and market intelligence on the community shares market and supports Alice Wharton with the groundbreaking Community Shares Booster Programme, which provides match investment for share offers with high levels of community engagement. Based in Scotland, Isla is the Chair of Dig-In Bruntsfield, a community owned greengrocers in Edinburgh and loves cycling, surfing and cooking.
Petra has run her own business and spent many years in local government promoting tourism, economic development and supporting local communities. As part of the busy Development Unit Team at Co-operatives UK, she leads on the delivery of our externally funded support programmes including The Hive and Bright Ideas – and is proud to have supported thousands of co-ops. She’s busy co-operating elsewhere too, as a voluntary Director (Secretary) of Friends of Stretford Public Hall, a historic multi-purpose building owned by its 800 investor members.
Ludovica is a designer and has worked as an architect, process designer, researcher and campaigner. She mainly operates in the overlapping spaces between the commons, tech and finance. As part of Co-operatives UK’s Development Unit, she leads on the Unfound programme that supports and promotes platform co-operatives in the UK. On the side she runs her own design practice and is an active member of the worker co-op Research for Action.
Jess has been working around community and movement building for the last 10 years, working in a range of roles from leading oral history projects to training programmes for campaigners and activists. Jess brought this experience into the co-operative movement, joining Co-operatives UK in 2017. Jess is the senior programme lead for Co-operatives Places in the Development Unit. She is currently overseeing a number of programmes including flagship placed-based programme, Empowering Places, funded by Power to Change. The five year programme is centred on a place based, action led approach to developing enterprise in community ownership in six places of high deprivation across England. She also oversees the delivery of the Ownership Hub, which aims to raise awareness and deliver support for worker and employee ownership, in partnership with the Employee Ownership Association.
As part of the Development Unit, Alice promotes ‘community shares’, to enable effective local economic development and citizen empowerment. She manages the Community Shares Booster Programme, which has already invested over £2m into community-owned businesses, with more to be invested soon. The connections between spaces, places and people fascinate Alice. She has managed projects in a range of sectors, working in public transport and tourism across Europe. Beyond work, Alice enjoys improving her French and Spanish, while coaxing plants to grow!