The Guild are Co-operative Development Body (CDB) members of Co-operatives UK. We are also the Eastern Region consultants for the Co-operative Enterprise Hub, and can advise on setting up and managing all types of co-operatives. This is a tough economic climate for all enterprises, but in Bootstrap Britain, it is co-operative businesses, which are providing an option for growth, for fairness, for innovation. From food retailers and foster carers to energy providers and child-care providers, the people behind these member-owned businesses are sowing the seeds for long term strength and resilience. Homegrown: the UK Co-operative Economy 2013 report provides a full picture of co-operative activity in the UK today.
If you are interested in knowing more about coming a co-operative then use our free consultation service to find out more.
We are also an approved deliverer for the Co-operative Enterprise Hub, a national initiative which provides business support to new and existing co-operatives and other businesses that want to adopt a more co-operative approach to doing business. Current applications for Hub support have been suspended but we are hoping the initiative will be re-established soon. The following organisations have all received support from us to get their co-operatives up and running:
- Diss Community Farm
- Wells Fishermen
- Kesgrave Allotments and Leisure Gardeners Association (KALGA)
- Station House Community Connections
We are also providers to the Mutuals Information Service. A public service mutual is an organisation which has left the public sector (also known as ‘spinning out’) but continues to deliver public services.
Mutuals are organisations in which employee control plays a significant part in their operation and mutualisation can provide committed public sector workers with the autonomy to do what they do best, providing the freedom to innovate and improve their services. Examples of Mutuals that we have supported are:
- Suffolk Libraries IPS – The Guild contributed to the development of an innovative and practical solution to the requirements of local libraries in Suffolk resulting in the establishment of Suffolk Libraries IPS. We promoted the IPS structure to Suffolk County Council and contributed to the extensive Options Appraisal that led to the decision to spin-out. We trained the first Directors, provided models for branch structures and supported the communities with their structure requirements.
- Leading Lives – The Guild provided support for the divestment of the adult learning disabilities team in Suffolk to enable the spin-out of the service from local authority control, We supported and promoted the development of the legal structure and assisted with the governance arrangement that provided a mutual for 350 staff to transfer to ‘Leading Lives’ which is now, one of the largest worker co-operatives in the UK.