Many closed pubs have reopened as co-operatives. The Old Crown in Hesket Newmarket, said to be Britain’s first cooperative pub, is co-owned by over 100 local people and has an onsite brewery. Read more here.
Mary Holmes was unfamiliar with the sector until she was commissioned to update the database of ICOM supported worker co-operatives – now part of Co-operatives UK. She set out the advantages of the worker co-operative structure – very different from top-down management of most retail co-ops (see this site passim) – in this informal feedback.
The writer decided to revisit the listed worker co-ops but after searching for Cumbrian Farmers – the first entry – got completely side-tracked by an article in the Times and Star – a weekly published in Workington, covering West Cumbria.
The highest ratio of co-operative businesses to people in England
It stated that two local authority districts in Cumbria – Eden and Allerdale – have the highest ratio of co-operative businesses to people in England. The sector includes community energy organisations, farming co-ops, housing associations, community-owned pubs and shops, credit unions and sports clubs. Below are brief vignettes of worker co-operatives in Cumbria with an online presence.
VistaVeg is a small vegetable grower’s co-operative in the rural village of Crosby Ravensworth in Eden. It grows high quality, responsibly grown vegetables year-round distributed through a veg box scheme which currently feeds 175 families within a 12-mile radius of our fields & polytunnel sites. Read more here.
The Butchers Arms, in Crosby Ravensworth, near Penrith was reopened by a group of local people who invested funds to buy the property, which has been renovated with the help of volunteers. Cameron Smith, treasurer of the new co-operative, said, “Our aim has always been quite simple, to buy, refurbish and re-open a traditional Cumbrian pub that will source locally and support the local community and economy wherever possible, selling good quality food, real ales and offering a warm welcome to all.”
Cumbria-based wool workers using yarn & goods from local wool are members of the Wool Clip. Above: the thriving Wool Clip shop in Caldbeck
The Cumbria Farmer Network is an agricultural co-operative based in Penrith, run by farmers for farmers. It was created during times of hardship in the years following the foot and mouth epidemic of 2001 to provide help and support to farmers.
The Baywind Co-operative’s aim is to promote the generation of renewable energy and energy conservation. To date, members have received a competitive return on their investment from the sale of electricity. To encourage more community owned wind farms, Baywind has formed a development company, Energy4All Ltd. Click here to read more . . .
Energy4all office is based in Barrow-in-Furness and owned by the co-operatives it assists, providing a package of sector, admin, and financial services to co-ops country-wide in return for an annual fee. These co-ops have been created to enable individuals to do something practical about climate change and to create and own some ‘green’ generating capacity.
Edgars Garage Cumbrian Co-operative, repair and programming of electronic engine control units, dealer level engine diagnostics.
Gritstone Publishing is the first author-run co-operative publisher in the country. It specialises in publishing non-fiction and fiction titles relating to the countryside. Its seven members are experienced outdoor writers and journalists who established Gritstone as a co-operative to exercise more control over the way their work is published.