Our mission is to promote the application of international co-operative principles, to help people establish new social enterprises and to enable social enterprises to work together to be financially, environmentally and socially sustainable. We aim to provide high quality services to our user members and secure, fairly rewarded work to our worker members. We offer specialist support to co-operatives, particularly those bringing different groups together and those that make measurable impacts on the reduction of carbon emissions.
SCS sprang into action in January with a campaign to make contact with all the Transition Towns in Somerset. We believe that the co-operative model is the ideal vehicle for people who want to work together in sustainable projects and enterprises which do not exploit people or the planet's limited resources. We attended the Taunton Transition Cafe to talk about social enterprises, and hope that the contacts we made there will result in mutual benefit.
Somerset Model Rules Seminar at the RISE Business Advisors Network meeting on 8th December was a great success. The seminar aimed to help participants:
Feedback from seminar participants was very positive:
"A dog helps dog world" Ed Mayo, new Co-operatives UK CEO speaks at the launch of Andrew Bibby's "After the Crash" - suggesting that the co-operative business model offers a way to build strong, profitable businesses which are sustainable in the long-term, both environmentally and financially.
Deal Between Mondragon (Spain) and the United Steelworkers (USA)
ACT ! – Addressing the Climate Threat – is a new campaign being run by Cooperatives Europe which will launch on 21 September 2009 to coincide with the UN’s Global Climate Week.
The campaign will co-ordinate and promote the activities of co-operatives across Europe to ensure that their voice is heard and that there is an effective response by co-operatives and their members to the threat of impending climate change.
Bob Burlton, the driving force behind ACT ! and also the Chair of Co-operative Financial Services, explains the reasoning behind the campaign.
Somerset Co-operative Services (SCS) a Somerset based Co-operative CIC announced at its recent AGM the launch of the Somerset Rules - a new and unique set of I&PS Model Rules for a multi-stakeholder co-operative, combining the accountability and democracy of co-ops with the social reporting and investment opportunities associated with social enterprise
"Co-operatives are more resilient to crisis than other forms of enterprise according to a recent study by the ILO (International Labour Office). .. People are increasingly choosing the co-operative form of enterprise to respond to the new economic realities"ICA (International Co-operative Alliance) message on the 15th UN International Day of Co-operatives 4th July 2009
This is a report that we prepared with funding from Co-operative Financial Services, looking at the feasibility of privately funded Housing Co-operatives. We updated it in 2009 for the Commission on Co-operative Housing. It will be of use to anyone trying to start a housing co-op in an area where house prices are more than 75 times the local housing allowance obtainable for that type of property.
There are three sources of capital finance for social enterprises (including co-operatives). All have their advantages and disadvantages and are more or less appropriate according to the stage of development of your co-operative, its profitability and the scope for involving your community as owners as well as service users.
Here are some notes that I took during the Community Investment seminar at Voice09 last week. They're a bit jumbled.
Community investment is investment into our own resources; total investment is £265m with a membership of 5.4m. Median investment is £135k.
Activities - pre-1990 was dominated by consumer co-ops 16, transport 11, but only 1 community finance project; post-1990 has a wider spread incl renew energy, fairtrade, community retail
Somerset Co-operative Services is a Co-operative Development Body. Our mission is:
"to promote the application of international co-operative principles, to help people establish new co-operative and social enterprises and to enable social enterprises to work together to be financially, environmentally and socially sustainable. We aim to provide high quality services to our user members and secure, fairly rewarded work to our worker members."