‘Revolutionary’ move to bring co-ops to city

From left, Mikel Lezamiz of Mondragon Co-operative Corporation, Councillor Peter Rankin, Dr. Julian Manley of Uclan and Councillor Matthew Brown at the meeting in Preston Town Hall
From left, Mikel Lezamiz of Mondragon Co-operative Corporation, Councillor Peter Rankin, Dr. Julian Manley of Uclan and Councillor Matthew Brown at the meeting in Preston Town Hall
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A “revolutionary” scheme could come to Preston, designed to encourage co-operatives across the city.

City council leaders hope the community wealth building initiative will encourage spending within the local economy, and support the formation of co-operatives where there is a market gap.

The project is one of three initiatives designed to promote co-operatives across Preston, and will aim to engage “anchor institutions”.

Councillor Matthew Brown, cabinet member for community engagement and inclusion, said the council hoped to engage seven local institutions to adopt the scheme.

He said: “We are identifying the top 300 suppliers and we are trying to encourage them to shift the spend on the local economy. So instead of buying in London or Birmingham or abroad, buy from Preston or Lancashire.

“And where there’s a gap, we are looking at the potential of filling that with new co-operatives. It is quite a revolutionary way of thinking.”

Coun Brown said the scheme, inspired by an initiative in Cleveland Ohio, would mean wealth was returned to the local community.

He said: “We are hoping that by doing it we can create new employment opportunities, which obviously is needed in this day and age.”

He said it would also benefit the environment, and could be linked to the expansion of apprenticeships and the number of people who receive the living wage.

Last week Mikel Lezamiz, director of co-operative dissemination with the Mondragon Corporation in Spain, told councillors how Mondragon works with local government to promote co-operative and local economic development.