Monday, 1 December 2014

Calling all cyclists

Anyone who has ever wobbled on two wheels appreciates a good cycle shop. They've got the funny shaped spanners, the lycra shorts, and ten different kinds of cycle pump. They'll sell you a sit-up-and-beg or a sleek racer, and they won't just give it to you in pieces in a box; it'll actually work.
There are some great cycle-based social enterprises out there: cycle repair workers co-ops, Edinburgh Cycles Workers Co-op chain, and Roll for the Soul CIC (which is also a cafe) in Bristol. But in Somerset, the picture is more gloomy.
I've visited two cycle shops now that are closing, and there is a swathe of mid- to south- Somerset where substantial towns lack a specialist cycle dealer. Buyers for market town retail businesses are always few and far between, and years of underinvestment has made some a particularly unappealing proposition.
We always make the case for co-operative succession: workers, customers and the community banding together to buy out the proprietor, leaving a co-operative enterprise to deliver a valued local service in perpetuity.
But cycle shops are often run largely or solely by the proprietor, and the staff that there are may be more at home with a wrench and an allen key than with meetings and spreadsheets. They're going to need some help.
Could you be involved in building a chain of co-operatively run cycle shops - either as a customer or worker? If so, get in touch. With the numbers of people cycling rising steadily, there's an opportunity here.

Friday, 10 October 2014

What's happening at Citizen Finance 2014

Come to Taunton on the 23rd October for...
- The Co-operatives SW AGM
- An in-depth exploration of the relationship between investors and recipients led by French workers co-op Oxalys
- Case studies of Citizen Finance in action
- Community shares best practice seminar
- Launch of 'Raising Together': the report from the FEED project
- Networking and mutual aid with co-ops and social enterprises from across the SW
Detailed timetable coming soon - see the conference page (to right of this post) and our Facebook event page

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Our Newsletter for June 2014

You'll find below our June Newsletter, with information about a number of forthcoming events.
In particular, please do come along to our Co-operative Business Lunch (and our AGM beforehand) on July 2nd in Taunton.