Peer mentoring – by co‑ops, for co‑ops

Starting or running a co‑op? Learn from other co‑ops!

Running a co‑op can be a challenge. Even with the right group of people in place, there will always be unknown issues and challenges ahead.

Don’t go it alone. The Hive offers new co‑ops the chance to meet and learn from others – co‑ops that have had similar experiences, made mistakes and learnt a lot along the way.

After all, we are linked up to a network of thousands of co‑ops across the UK, working in everything from healthcare to housing, renewables to retail, sports to social care. One of the key principles of co‑ops is 'co‑operation amongst co‑ops' – fill in our short form and find out how another co‑op could help yours.

"Meeting other co‑ops through peer mentoring is a learning opportunity for both parties. As an experienced co‑op with a good understanding of the ins and outs of running a co‑op business, our most valuable insights, shared knowledge and encouragement has come from one‑to‑one conversations with members of co‑ops like our own." Sion Whellens, Principle Six and Calverts

More about peer mentoring

What support is available?

  • Three days mentoring support – four days for community energy co‑ops.
  • The content of support is agreed between you and your peer mentor.

How does it work?

Mentoring activities are likely to be undertaken using a range of interventions: 

  • Face‑to‑face meetings (one-to-one or group).
  • Telephone calls.
  • Email exchanges.

Who are the peer mentors?

Co-operatives UK, who run The Hive, is the UK's network of co-ops, so has access to co‑ops across the UK, working in everything from healthcare to housing, renewables to retail, sports to social care. Watch a short film:

How will a peer mentor help my co‑op?

Our peer mentors will:

  • Every mentoring relationship is different; but all mentoring relationships present the opportunity for both mentor and mentee to learn from each other.
  • We aim to match you with a mentoring organisation from a similar industry sector or business model.
  • Our mentors are passionate about co‑operative ways of working and democratic ownership models, helping you to adopt processes around consensus decision‑making and effectively engaging with and managing members.
  • Mentors can introduce you to other similar co‑ops or networks or sign‑post to sources of information, advice or further support when appropriate and they can help you to make more efficient use of such professional or technical advice and support.
  • If appropriate, the mentoring could involve a visit to the mentor’s business or premises to see at first hand how they do things or perhaps meet with board members etc.
  • Mentors will draw on their own experience to help you to spot problems, how to avoid  and how to co‑operatively work through them.

Our peer mentors will not:

  • Be expected to replace the role of consultants or support providers and will not provide specific business advice or technical support which the group will rely on.
  • If you require detailed business support or advice planning or registering your co‑op, please see our one to one support package and our preferred support providers.

    If you have any questions, please contact us.

Is there a cost?

  • Successful applicants will be asked to pay a fee of £100 for 3 days peer mentor support – 4 days for energy co‑ops.
  • Members of Co‑operatives UK receive a 25% discount on all support packages. Find out about Co‑operatives UK membership.

"Mentoring is essential to the development of a start‑up co‑op."

"Mentoring SE24 proved to be an extremely interesting and rewarding two‑way learning process."

Register your interest in peer mentoring

If you want to find out about peer mentoring, fill in the form below and a member of The Hive team will be in touch to discuss your needs in more detail. If you want to speak about something else relating to The Hive, please contact us.

Please provide your phone number. This is the best way for us to chat through your needs and the process. However, if you would rather give an email address at this stage, please do so below:

By submitting information via the application form I agree that Co‑operatives UK may use the data provided. Wherever your personal information is held by us, we will take reasonable and appropriate steps to ensure the information that you share with us is protected from unauthorised access or disclosure. If you would like to discuss how your information is stored and used by Co‑operatives UK and our providers and partners in the The Hive programme please contact us. If you want to know what information we hold on you, you are welcome to contact us.