Showcase season for West Midlands co-operatives

A series of summer and autumn events – including a run-past by the Olympic Torch – will showcase and celebrate co-operative enterprises in the West Midlands during the 2012 International Year of Co-operatives.

Midlands Co-operative Society and NHS foundation trusts will be holding an event to introduce co-operatives to medical professionals on Friday, June 29.

Guest speakers at the event, which will be held in Birmingham from 9.30am until 1.15pm include Dr Aresh Anwar, medical director of the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, and Lisa Thomson director of corporate affairs responsible for membership with Hanne Hoeck, chairman, of West Midland Co-operatives Member Education Group.

This will be followed on Saturday, June 30 with an opportunity to Celebrate Co-operatives in the West Midlands at The Studio, Cannon Street, Birmingham.

Doors open at 9am for networking, and workshops on ethical finance, health and social care, saving the planet, starting a co-op, co-operatives and the UN, creative industries, schools, fair trade, and co-op energy and housing will run until 12.30pm, followed by lunch and more networking opportunities.

Ed Mayo, the chief executive of Co-operatives UK

Ed Mayo, the chief executive of Co-operatives UK

Ed Mayo, the chief executive of Co-operatives UK, will be kicking off an afternoon of open syndicates, which will include discussions on delivering the co-operative message, involving and influencing policy formers, challenges to traditional co-operatives, and welcoming co-operative entrepreneurs.

The sessions run from 2.30pm until 3.30pm, with networking until 4pm. Musical co-operative Electric Swing Circus Co-operative will be performing during the afternoon and the organisers of the Olympic Torch Relay have arranged for the torch to pass within 100 yards of the conference, after the close.

For more information about either of these free events, or to book a place, contact Midlands Co-operative Society member relations officer John Boyle on 0121 233 1545 or at [email protected]

Meanwhile the UK Society for Co-operative Studies will be Putting Women at the Heart of British Co-operative History when Rachel Vorburg-Rugh of the University of Liverpool delivers the Ian Pyper Memorial Lecture on Friday, June 29 at the Birmingham & Midland Institute.

The lecture, which is free to attend, starts with a drinks reception at 6.30pm. For booking details log on to

Coventry and Warwickshire Co-operative Development Agency  will be holding a public event at their Gosford Street offices in Coventry on Friday, September 14 to mark the International Year of Co-operatives. The organisers promise a vibrant, engaging and fun event, which will include a wide range of interactive activity including demonstrations, performances and other activities.

And Co-operatives West Midlands  will be holding its annual general meeting on Friday, October 19 ahead of taking part in the The International Co-operative Alliance  Expo in Manchester from Monday, October 29 to Friday, November 2.

To find out more about the co-operative movement in the West Midlands visit