Co-op Fortnight, launched in 2010, is organised and sponsored by some of the UK’s most successful co-operatives and has gone from strength to strength.
In Plymouth there were numerous activities going on across the city throughout Cooperatives Fortnight, each one promoting the cooperative message ans sharing the values that make our businesses stand out.
On the warm and sun soaked afternoon of Thursday 4th July, Food Plymouth took over the Clipper and boy was it a success!!
Huge thanks to the POP+ Esmee Fairbairn ‘Network of Networks’ fund for making this event possible.
The takeover comprised an afternoon of networking, sharing and displays demonstrating aspects of different projects. It also included a profoundly moving and inspiring talk by Fi Graham and Joe Pilkington of No Whey! on the trials and triumphs of setting up their purpose led community catering business and related co-operative activities. This included a glowing tribute to Nudge Community Builders for all their support for and co-operation with No Whey! The evening of the takeover was a time of more informal networking with live music performances and beer form Billy Ruffian’s, Plymouth’s new community owned social enterprise craft brewery. Billy Ruffian’s environmental mission is around reducing the environmental impact of the food system by employing surplus bread products in its brewing processes and its social mission involves protecting live music venues and promoting live music performances. So, all highly appropriate to Food Plymouth’s work. The live music performances were by our faithful supporters Brian Ibbotson and Michael Q Klein and our new friends Paula Thomas and Tom Loveder.
Above:Linking and Sharing – The Clipper Takeover
Having organised the whole event with Laura Kelly of Nudge Community Builders who manage The Clipper, we were keen to gather her impressions. When asked what she found most enjoyable/useful on the day, Laura responded: “I thought the connections that were made on the day were most valuable, from hearing about the COOL food project and being able to include JAR. Being around the Food Plymouth network in general was great. We have realised it is quite hard to get people to take on the bar in doing food pop ups, so we would like to be more involved with overcoming what is holding people back and highlighting the advice and support we can offer from Nudge’s end. Also it was lovely to see Joe and Fi tell their story from when we first met them to now and having environmental health here on the day was very good!”
The Environmental Heath (Food Safety) presence which Laura refers to was in the form of Plymouth City Council training and enforcement officer Dave Lea who joined us on the day offering opportunities for attendees to find out more about food safety in catering and hospitality businesses. Dave said he most enjoyed having the opportunity to talk to new and emerging business about any issues which they or the Council may have in a friendly and supportive environment. Dave added that overall the takeover was a very enjoyable event and that he and the team are always happy to support the food community in any way they can.
Reflecting on the day, Food Plymouth CIC director Ian Smith commented “We were delighted that Cllr Chris Penberthy, Plymouth City Council cabinet member for Housing and Co-operative Development, joined us at The Clipper. We were also pleased to receive a message of thanks from Plymouth City Council’s economic development team to us and our partners expressing the Council’s gratitude for actively partnering with them during Co-operative Fortnight 2019 and looked forward to similar acts of mass co-operation in the future. So, big thanks to all Food Plymouth partners and network members for engaging in this. We look forward to further developing our various collaborations with all of you and Plymouth’s Co-operative City Council during the coming year. In this vein, we are already planning to play an even bigger part in Co-ops Fortnight 2020!”