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Meeting at parliament

Co-ops creating a buzz around the Hive

ScotmidCo-operatives will be promoting their value to the economy at an event at the Scottish parliament.

The co-operative economy is being supported by a programme called The Hive, run in partnership with the Co-operative Bank to deliver expert advice, training and resources to 100 co-operatives. There are a further 150 in the pipeline.

It has been established by Co-operatives UK, the umbrella body that promotes and develops a sector worth £34 billion to the UK economy. 

Scotland  has 564 co-operatives contributing £3.3 billion a year to the economy, employing 16,000 people and owned by 1.76 million members.

They include worker-owned businesses like Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative , housing bodies such as Fairfield Housing Co-operative in Perth and ANM Group, a farmer-owned business made famous in BBC Scotland TV series The Mart.

Malcolm Brown, head of corporate communications for Scotmid Co-operative, said: “In these difficult, challenging and uncertain times perhaps the moment is right for politicians and the business world to look at co-operatives and co-operation in order to see what we are doing right – and the fact we are doing it for the right reasons.”

Ed Mayo, secretary general of Co-operatives UK, said: “We are seeing more and more people deciding to just get on and do things themselves, rather than waiting for government or business to do it for them – but crucially, rather than going it alone, they are forming co-ops and doing it together. We are seeing a new wave of inspiring organisations owned and run by local people.

“The Hive is the only programme of its kind that is helping people discover whether a co-op is right for them, supporting new co-op start-ups and advising existing ones. It is a fantastic opportunity, perfect for anyone with an idea they want to make happen.”

James Kelly, Labour and Co-operative MSP for Glasgow, and convener of the cross party group on co-operatives, said: “It is important to show our support to initiatives like The Hive to ensure that network of training and resources is readily available for the new wave of co-operative entrepreneurs.”

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