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.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Plunkett AGM

Annual General Meetings are often not the most inspiring events if you've helped organise them, but our AGM last week left me with a spring in my step.

It wasn't just the pleasure of sharing a platform with inspiring people from Feckenham Village Shop, Community Transport Association and Thames Valley Farmers Market Co-operative. It was the sense of connecting our past with our future. It was great fun to share some of our future plans, but it was also a privilege to celebrate our Irish roots. Ninety years ago, Sir Horace had planned that we would be based in Dublin and Oxford. Well, we managed both but not at the same time! I summed up our links to the past as being an organisation whose head is in Oxfordshire and whose heart is in Ireland.

So we were delighted that the Irish Government sent Minister Tony Killeen to join us in our 90th anniversary. He spoke warmly of the role of Sir Horace and how he hoped that Ireland could learn from the path that the Foundation has taken. Our roots were also represented by John Tyrell who, as head of the Irish Co-operative Organisations Society, represented an older brother or sister to our own as it was created in Sir Horace's middle years and we in his later ones.

It was a great pleasure to see both John and former Plunkett Chair David Button receiving their Plunkett Foundation fellowship to recognise the enormous contributions.

Some organisations forget their past, other forget that they also need a future. I don't think that we could be accused of either on that day.

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