04 June 2013

2012 Annual Report

5 Our ‘added value’
Volunteering. Fifteen Members and Associates attended our events, Management Meetings, and AGM, contributing 159 hours of voluntary work. In addition, more than 350 volunteer hours were spent representing the Forum, organising activities, etc.
Education and training. 178 adults and children took part in our events.
Sharing with others. 166 non-Members attended our events and meetings.
Inclusion. 136 of the adults and children participating in our events and meetings were women, 18 were disabled, and 73 were BME.
Involving stakeholders. The Forum worked with the Co-operative Group, Co-operatives North West, Link4Life, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, Rochdale Council, and CVS Rochdale.

6 Our Members *joined in 2012
·       3R Project t/a Fabric For Life
·       Arts and heritage
·       Back Door Music Project
·       Cartwheel Arts
·       Castlemere Community Centre
·       Community Engagement Pioneers
·       Crescent Community Radio
·       Earth Café
·       Everyday People*
·       Fair For All
·       Fair trade crafts
·       FCUM Radio
·       Just Poets
·       M6 Theatre Company
·       Manchester Credit Union*
·       Maracuja
·       MoorEnd Trust
·       Multicultural Arts and Media Centre
·       Peace Parade International
·       PEARLS Co-operative
·       Peopleprint Community Media Workshop
·       RCT-Training
·       Rochdale and District Mind
·       Rochdale Training
·       Skylight Circus Arts
·       Spiral Dance
·       Sunshine Care CIC
·       Tanzeem Co-operative
·       Training and Consultancy Initiatives
·       Youth 21
·        CVS Rochdale
·        Andrew Jessop
·        Andy Wiggans*                                    23/05/13 aj

Rochdale Borough Social Enterprise and Co-operative Forum

Annual Report

1 Chair’s Foreword
2012 was a massive year for the co-operative movement, and the Forum played its part. On a personal level it was a privilege to represent the Forum in meeting international delegations, most memorably a large party from Emilio Romagna in Italy.
Rick Walker
Chair, Rochdale Borough Social Enterprise and
Co-operative Forum

2 About the Forum
The Social Enterprise and Co-operative Forum is a network of what are increasingly called ‘mutuals’ (businesses owned by the communities they serve and/or their employees, run by their members, with no external shareholders) and people working on ideas for them in the Borough.

We exist to promote co-operatives and other forms of community owned businesses, meet the needs of our Members, develop opportunities for mutuals, and work in partnership with other ‘stakeholders’ (people, organisations, businesses, and public bodies) to help make Rochdale a better place.

We are an unincorporated co-operative, with a  Management Committee elected by our Members at our Annual General Meeting:
·        Rick Walker (Cartwheel Arts), Chair
·        Jan Hicks (Fair For All), Secretary
·        Steve Bewick (FCUM Radio), Treasurer
·        Nick Andrews (MoorEnd Trust),
‘Fourth Official’
·        Chris Bailey/Edwina Lennon (Sunshine Care)
·        John Swallow (Community Engagement Pioneers and Youth 21).

We held six Management Meetings, open to all Members. Main topics were Membership and financial matters, ‘Twelve (actions) for 2012’, International Year of Co-operatives, economic development, and support for mutuals.

We do not employ staff and rely on our Members and Associates to plan and deliver activities, represent the Forum, and organise meetings and events on a voluntary basis.

3 Our activities
We adopted ‘Twelve for 2012’ actions at the start of the year.  Here’s how we did:
1 Set up a website. We set up rocseforum.blogspot.com.
2 Promote commissioning/ procurement from local mutuals. We met with Council staff but made little progress. We hope to do better in 2013 and plan an event in 2014.
3 Encourage Members to trade. We hired meeting rooms and purchased catering from our Members and will hold a networking event later in 2013.
4 Produce a listing of ‘back office’ services.  Members shared information about suppliers.
5 Campaign for community energy. Our Co-operative Community Energy Challenge expression of interest failed. We have held an event and helped set up a group in 2013.
6 Encourage local buying and supplying networks. We promoted GMCVO’s ‘Market Place’.
7 Create training and employment opportunities, especially for young people. We discussed ideas with RCT Training. We will do more. It is the reason for our local economic strategy.
8 Explore the potential for mutual enterprises in schools and colleges. We commissioned a workshop for our International Year of Co-operatives celebrations.
9 Support staff and/or community public service mutuals. We produced proposals for the Council Leader and are developing arrangements in 2013.
10 Explore the potential for managed workspace. The idea of a ‘co-operative enterprise centre’ emerged at our ‘Be the future Pioneers’ event.
11 Advocate for mutuals to be a focus for economic development. This is central to our strategy presented to the Deputy Leader of the Council.
12 Promote ethical finance. Credit unions were part in our ‘Meet the new Pioneers’ event.
4 Our International Year of Co-operatives events
‘Co-operatives Dale: International Year of
Co-operatives Festival’
We promoted activities put on by partners in September and October:
·        ‘Co-operatives around the world’ at Falinge Park High School
·        Langley Writers, From the Pioneers to the Wheatsheaf
·        Rochdale Boroughwide Housing celebration
·        Touchstones Creative Writing Group, ‘Spirit of co-operation’ anthology of new writing
·        Touchstones ‘Co-optastic Family Fun Day’ and ‘Big Draw’
·        Wardle and Smallbridge History Group ‘Pennines Village Co-op Stores’ exhibition.

‘Co-operatives around the world’ school workshop
We commissioned Cat Jessop and Vicki Lomax to deliver a  workshop for pupils to learn about the history of co-operatives, how communities in the developing world benefit from co-operatives, and how Fairtrade works by taking part in food sourcing activities to create a ‘Fairtrade cafe’.

‘Meet the new Pioneers: What local co-operatives can do for you’
Opened by the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Peter Rush (see photograph), our family-friendly celebration of the Borough’s
co-operatives, showcasing their products and services, was held at Touchstones on 25 October, and attended by 100 people.
Community Engagement Pioneers, Fair For All, FCUM Radio, Manchester Credit Union, Maracuja, Metro Moneywise Credit Union, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, Tanzeem
Co-operative, and Youth 21 took part. The Co-operative Area Committee and Members Group also had a stand.

An activity based on ‘Co-operatives around the world’ was delivered and activities for children were provided throughout the day.

Co-operative business advice was provided.

The event ended with a performance and presentation of ‘Spirit of co-operation’ by Touchstones Writing Group.

‘Be the new Pioneers: What co-operatives can do for Rochdale’
Our event later on 25 October at Maracuja was hosted by Forum Associate Andy Wiggans. Attendees were tasked with helping the Forum decide on its priority for developing the local economy. This was in response to a request from the Deputy Leader of the Council, in turn in response to the Forum’s local economic strategy. A proposal for a ‘Co-operative Enterprise Centre’ to support future
co-operation and co-operatives in Rochdale was identified as the priority.

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