Becoming more Member led using Loomio

Following our recent strategy review and AGM,  we have started using a tool called Loomio to get communication going among Members and between Members and the Board. Loomio was established by a worker co-op from New Zealand and is used by the Worker Co-op Solidarity Fund.

All Members will have received an invite to sign up to the Loomio group.  If you didn’t receive it or lost it, please let us know, but bear in mind that only Members of Co-operatives South East can sign up.  [Contact details]


  • Use of the Loomio platform will be trialled for six months to see if it enables better engagement with members.
  • Discussions will be set up using this platform, including consultation with members about an event to accompany out 2017 AGM.
  • We will encourage members to share contact details, vacancies and events through the group.

We have decided to limit the number of physical events we hold.  In previous years, in areas where there are few existing co-operatives we tend to get an unsurprisingly low turnout.  To make best use of  resources we will target areas where there are existing clusters of of co-operatives and co-operative activists that we can support to spread the word and increase their capacity.    As such we identified Brighton & Hove, Oxford and the Solent (Portsmouth and Southampton) as areas to direct our energies and resources.


Reviewing our strategy

The Board of Co-operatives South East want to ensure that what we do reflects the needs and desires of our member co-operatives, whilst also promoting and building the co-operative movement in our region.

What do you think?

We surveyed members through a number of different means: a direct survey and a series of internet chats.

Members of the Board had conversations with member co-ops on Twitter and Facebook for an hour every Wednesday morning during July and the outcome of these discussions will be used to pull together some key themes.

At the AGM we used the feedback as a way for members to prioritise and inform  the Board what we should be aiming to achieve and how members will help us do that.  Our findings will be posted shortly.


Community Shares Conference Report

P1000784 We had a great event in Brighton on 7th June and were joined by people looking to take over a community asset; people who are already involved with a co-operative or community share project; people who’ve been there and done that and who shared their experiences and also by people who may be able to assist with raising finance.

We heard from practitioners Peter Couchman from the Plunkett Foundation; Dave Boyle from the Community Shares Company and Alice Wharton from the Community Shares Unit.  We also heard about the experiences of Warren Carter from The Bevy and Rob Stark from the Fox and Hounds who took over their local pubs and created communities.

95% of attendees told us that the conference had met their expectations well or very well and here are a few quotes from participants

  • “combination of theory and real life examples and plenty of time to network was useful”
  • “the history of the co-op movement that underpins community shares was an unexpected but interesting element”
  • “really informative and useful day”
  • “pacing of event was really good and great to have a chance to network in the pub afterwards”
  • “well done on putting on such a great event. I’ll certainly come to future events”
  • “well organised and very informative”

View some of the presentations:

Peter Couchman – The Plunkett Foundation  

Alice Wharton – Community Shares Unit  

Rob Stark – Fox and Hounds

Visit the speakers’ websites:


Alice  www.




Thanks to The Brighthelm Centre in Brighton for looking after us so well and for the delicious food.



Promoting and strengthening co-operatives in the South East of England