Co-operative Springboard was set up in February 2014 by the Manchester Area Committee of the Co-operative Group. The Co-op was in crisis following the catastrophic losses at The Co-operative Bank and a debate was beginning about how to reform the way the Group was run. We welcomed the chance to reform the organisation. We weren’t much impressed by the old structure and we thought there was a chance to make something better.
We came up with seven propositions - all based on the idea of a ‘co-operative spring’ — a change in tone and culture to a more open, collaborative model, making full use of the Internet to engage members. We wanted a 21st century co-op.
You can read the seven propositions here.
After the Co-operative Group adopted a new constitution in September 2014, we argued that the ‘forgotton reform’ was the way that ordinary members could get involved. Working from our original ideas on the co-operative spring, getting closer to communities, and treating employees as partners, we put forward the idea of an ‘edit button’.
But rather than just talk about it, we decided to try it in practice. Working with the South Manchester Co-op Members group, we launched the Chorlton and Whalley Range Co-op Cluster.