Peter Couchman is the Chief Executive of the Plunkett Foundation.

The Plunkett Foundation is the organisation which promotes and supports co-operative and social enterprises in rural communities both in the UK and internationally. It provides support, networks and knowledge which offers practical solutions for rural communities that helps to create thriving places where people live and work now and in the future.

Monday, 29 June 2009

A Magic Moment

Last week was an incredibly frantic, but inspiring one. Yet despite the variety (visits to the Lake District, Oban and Co-op Congress, as well as meetings with Energy4All, Community Retailing Network and Reading University), one moment stood out.

That moment came at Co-op Congress (Co-operatives 2009 in new money). Jo White from Co-operative Futures and I were running a workshop to share the launch of the Co-operative Development Network with delegates. Rather than just launch into a stand-and-deliver lecture, we asked the audience to share in groups all the co-operative eneterprises that they'd be proud to see formed over the next ten years. It was only a warm-up activity, but the passion it unlocked was incredible. Groups filled up flipcharts with incredible ideas (many of them designed to tackle rural issues) and could have filled many more.

It showed how much could be achieved if we could line up the right resources. Jo shared the current barriers and I introduced the new network which will see a wide range of organisations committing to work together to create new co-operatives and support existing ones.

Working at the front, the energy from the audience was incredible and Plunkett looks forward to helping making some of those flipchart ideas become real.

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