Welsh Water in NI


The All Party Group on Co-operatives and Mutuals invites you to contribute to the water debate on Wednesday, the 27th February 2012 in Parliament Buildings, Stormont between 1.30 to 3.30.

Guest speaker is Mr Nigel Annett, Managing Director of Welsh Water. Prof Paddy Hillyard, an expert on water policy in Northern Ireland and Chair of the Independent Water Review Panel, and Ms Jo Aston, Water Utility Regulator in Northern Ireland will also be speaking.

In Wales, Welsh Water is owned by Glas Cymru which is a single purpose company formed to finance and manage Welsh Water. It is a ‘company limited by guarantee’ and because it has no shareholders, any financial surpluses are retained for the benefit of Welsh Water’s customers.

If you are interested in this event. Please contact tiziana@nicoop-forum.co.uk for an invite.




L-R Angela Davies, Jo Bird, Brian O'Neill, Anna McAleavy, Tiziana O'Hara, Dave Hollings, Michael Fairclough

Neighbourhoods across Northern Ireland are set to receive an enterprising boost with the launch this week of The Co-operative Enterprise Hub to support the creation and growth of community-owned enterprises.

From pubs to post offices and retail to renewables, resilient communities are turning to co-operatively-owned solutions to operate business and services that are set-up, run and controlled for the benefit of the community.

For further information about how to set up a co-operative enterprise and the free specialist and technical support, advice and training available, contact The Co-operative Enterprise Hub by visiting www.co-operative.coop/enterprisehub or emailing the NI Co-operative Forum here. For a brief explanation on how the Co-operative Enterprise Hub works click here . For the PowerPoint presentations at the launches, please click here.

For the short animation movie “the New Pioneers” shown at the Derry launch please click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYPe5xJAm5w . The New Pioneers animation was commissioned for the Rochdale Pioneers Museum and Co-operative Heritage Trust as part of the Co-operative outreach work ongoing in the North West.

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The Co-operative Revolution – A Graphic Novel

The Co-operative Revolution is a graphic novel that vividly explores the history of the co-operative movement from its birth in 1844 to its spread across the world today. It journeys into the heart of nature to discover the astonishingly diverse examples of co-operation found there, an then it takes an optimistic look at the world of 2044, 200 years after the Rochadale Pioneers.

Lush illustrations by cartoonist Polyp create unique and engaging stories that reflect the dynamism and diversity of co-operation and will inspire a new generation to join the revolution.

The book published by New Internationaliston behalf of The Co-operative is now available in Northern Ireland at JUST BOOKS COLLECTIVE at

www.justbookscollective.org and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Just-Books-Collective/324144417685 .


The first cross-community workers co-operative in Northern Ireland, the Belfast Cleaning Co-operative, is one of the case studies at the launches of the Co-operative Enterprise Hub both in Derry and Belfast on the 2nd and the 3rd October respectively.

The Belfast Cleaning Co-operative are a group of professional cleaners who came together to answer a request from MVT Awards in November last year. The coop grew out of a project within Trademark, the anti-sectarian unit of the ICTU, who had decided to promote the idea of interface worker cooperatives as a means to both create employment and resist and challenge sectarianism. .

At last year’s much vaunted MTV showcase in Belfast where Lady Gaga and Justin Beiber took the headlines, a perhaps more significant event was taking place back stage as a group of worker-owners from the Falls and Shankill quietly and doggedly set about establishing Belfast’s first Interface Worker Cooperative.   

Since then it has won other contracts, including this year’s Tenants Vital gig with the Foo Fighters and Stone Roses, it cleans the offices of the ICTU in Belfast and other union organisations. The BCC is an anti-sectarian workers cooperative, it is unionised, it is worker controlled, it is democratic and the workers pay themselves above the industry average whilst re-investing profits in their future.

With the support and expertise of the Co-operative Enterprise Hub, the “Belfast Cleaning Society – A Workers Co-operative” was legally set up and registered. Alice McLarnon, one of the founder members, said “It was hard work at first, taking all those decisions together, but being a workers co-op made our business stronger. All members have equal say and this is in our co-operative rules but we are also very proud that we are women from the West of the city from both side of the divide”.

On the 2ndOctober, the Co-operative Enterprise Hub is officially launching in Northern Ireland, Derry on the 2nd  and Belfast on the 3rd. This is an innovative service dedicated exclusively to co-operative development with free expert advice, training and access to finance to help set up and grow co-operative businesses.

At the launches, case studies from Cloughfern Community Credit Union, Just Books Collective and the Causeway Coast Artists Co-operative will be presented. For more information and/or attend the event please visit http://nicoop-forum.co.uk or phone 028 90230296.



Co-operative Enterprise Hub launch in Northern Ireland

Launch Event Programme BELFAST               Detailed Programme – Belfast

Launch Event Programme DERRY                   Detailed programme – Derry

Thinking of setting up a co-operative business? Developing an existing one? The Northern Ireland Co-operative Forum is pleased to invite you to the launch of the Co-operative Enterprise Hub in Northern Ireland, an innovative programme for the development of co-operative businesses available now in Northern Ireland. The Co-operative Enterprise Hub offers expert and free advice, training and access to finance to help set up or grow co-operative businesses. Angela Davies from the CEH said “We believe passionately that the co-operative way is a better way of doing business and want to help build a new generation of sustainable co-operatives”.

We will launch in Belfast and in Derry/Londonderry on the 3rd OCTOBER and the 2nd OCTOBER respectively. Please book your free place at http://cehlaunchbelfast.eventbrite.com for Belfast and at http://cehlaunchderry.eventbrite.com for Derry/Londonderry by the 22nd September.

For further information email tiziana@nicoop-forum.co.uk and visit www.co-oprative.coop/enterprisehub .

Northern Ireland Contributes To UK Co-operative Economy Outperforming Market For Fourth Consecutive Year

DOWNLOAD REPORT The UK co-operative economy 2012

The 251 co-operative enterprises in Northern Ireland with a turnover of £860m have contributed to the UK co-operative economy worth overall £35.6bn. The co-operative economy in UK is again outperforming the UK economy for the fourth consecutive year, with a growth of 1.5% in 2011 compared with 0.7% in the UK economy, twice the rate of the UK economy.

Annual figures released today in Belfast by Co-operatives UK, the trade body for co-operative businesses, at a major conference “Co-operatives: a Model for Sustainable Development” organized by the Northern Ireland Co-operative Forum, show that while the real level of GDP in the UK in 2011 is 1.7% lower than in 2008, the turnover of the co-operative sector has grown by 19.5% over the same period. The number of co-operatives in Northern Ireland has grown in 2011 from 239 to 251.

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Drumlin Wind Energy Co-operative – Launch


An exciting opportunity to own a genuine stake in a new Wind Energy Co-op has been created for people in Northern Ireland.   Drumlin Wind Energy plans issue a public share offer, to build and operate up to five 250kW wind turbines, at 5 separate locations across N.I, which will generate enough electricity to power the equilivant of 523 households per annum[1].

Locations are:

  • BallyboleyRd – Larne
  • BallyrobertRd – Ballyclare
  • ParkgateRd – Kells
  • AghafadRd – Pomeroy
  • CavanoneillRd– Pomeroy


The project has been created by local company NRG Solutions in partnership with Cumbria based Energy4All, whose proven track record in co-operative wind projects is second to none.

[1] Figure based on typical usage per household of 4700kWh and a predicted energy generation based on GaradHasan energy yields

Housing : a Challenge that Demands a New solution

L-R Niall O'Keefe NABCO, Steven Agnew, MLA Chair of APG, Tom Woolley, Chair of Co-operative Party, David Rodgers, CDS, Nic Bliss, CCH

On the 9th May 2012, the All Party Group on Co-operatives and Mutuals invited three experts in the field of housing co-operatives. Mr David Rodgers form CDS, Nic Bliss from CCH and Niall O’Keefe from NABCO encouraged present MLAs and senior civil servants to consider the co-operative way. They brought a wealth of information consisting of new reports and international publications on housing co-operatives which then they presented to Mr Steven Agnew, the Chair of the All Party Group on Co-operatives.

The Forum has collected that same information and made it available on this website. For publications and the Powerpoint presentations, please click here.

Finally, Mr Tom Woolley, Chair of the NI Co-operative Party reviewed the event with an article on “Modern Builder Magazine”. You can read the article online at http://www.modernbuilder.co.uk/ezine.php .

CONFERENCE “Co-operatives: a Model for Sustainable Development”- 28th June, BELFAST

A major conference on Co-operatives was held on the 28th June 2012 at the Europa Hotel, in Belfast. Co-operatives are an alternative way of doing business and whether the members are workers, customers or residents they offer a democratic, shared and sustainable alternative. As well as benefiting their members, co-operatives act together to build a better world through co-operation.

The United Nations have designated 2012 as the International Year of Co-operatives. In this crucial year, this conference in Belfast explored the potential of a strong co-operative sector in regenerating local communities and creating sustainable work with case studies and discussions with co-operators from across Britain and Ireland.

Co-operators, community and voluntary activists, statutory agencies, trade unionists, political representatives and the business community found out more about existing and emerging local co-operatives and the global Cooperative Movement.

Speakers included representatives of International Co-operative Alliance, the Plunkett Foundation, the Co-operative Group, the Co-operative Electrical, the Unicorn Workers’ Co-op, NI Co-operative Forum and Trademark.

Speakers’ Profiles          PROGRAMME                 E-flayer

To view all Powerpoint presentations please click here

MLAs discuss Housing Co-operatives

On the 9th May 2012, the All Party Group on Co-operatives and Mutuals have invited three experts with national and international experiences to discuss “housing co-operatives” in Stormont. Mr David Rodgers from CDS Co-operatives, Mr Nic Bliss from the Confederation of Co-operative Housing and Mr Niall O’Keefe from NABCO will bring the debate up-to-date in Northern Ireland.

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