As a co-operative, we’re part of a whole sector of similar businesses, and last weekend Insurance Partnerships Manager David Hampson got together with many of the others at the annual Co-operative Congress in Wakefield.

Dave’s role was to head up the Co-op Pitches section of the event, a ‘Dragons’ Den’ type panel where three start-up co-ops pitched to him for a £2,000 investment.

The pitches came from:

  • Woodhouse Community Growers – a collection of food growers and producers based in inner-city Leeds
  • Bristol Co-operative Gym – a not-for-profit, community-run space for non-judgmental fitness and strength training
  • Careshare – a platform that matches people for care at home. Both the givers and receivers of care choose each other based on interests and expertise, and care workers set their own rates.

Careshare was the ultimate winner, but Dave liked all the causes so much he awarded £1,000 each to the two runners up.

Dave (furthest left in the main picture, in the Peter Jones position) put the day in his own words:

“It was a really inspiring day and there was lots of discussion about how co-ops could benefit the world we live in.

“I chaired a session where 3 young people made pitches about their start-up co-ops and how they would benefit their communities.

“I was so impressed that I doubled the amount of funding we were giving so nobody went away empty handed!”

To find out more about co-operatives, visit the Co-ops UK website.