About Co-operatives

A co-operative is…

…an autonomous association of people or organisations united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.

This short video tells you more and this what_is_a_co-op_leaflet is a good introduction.  More useful links and information can be found below, on our Resources page and on the Co-operatives UK website

Co-operatives range in size from the smallest food buying circle to multi-million pound agricultural businesses. As well as the familiar consumer co-ops like the Co-operative shops and the Co-operative Bank, there are plenty of others: worker co-ops, housing co-ops, credit unions, community enterprises, energy co-ops and marketing co-ops, for example. What all these diverse enterprises have in common is a shared set of values and principles.

Values – Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity.  Co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

Co-operative principles – These are the guidelines by which co-operatives put their values into practice.  The seven principles are

Voluntary & Open Membership
Democratic Member Control
Members’ Economic Participation
Autonomy & Independence
Education, Training and Information
Cooperation among Cooperatives
Concern for Community