Co-operatives Unleashed – A Local Perspective


TUESDAY, 16th October 2018 from 6.00 to 8.30. Registration and refreshments from 5.30.

Culturlann Centre, Falls Road, Belfast

To register for a free place go to


The New Economics Foundation (NEF) has launched an independent report, commissioned by the Co-operative Party, setting out an ambitious vision for a UK co-operative sector double the size it is today.
Co-operatives Unleashed: Doubling the Size of the Co-operative Economy addresses these two fundamental questions. ‘If co-operatives are better businesses that can help create a better economy, society and environment, why they have not thrived in UK? And why have they thrived elsewhere?” The report calls for significant expansion of the UK co-operative sector, bringing it closer into line with other countries.

Co-operative Alternatives have supported the development of the co-operative sector for the past five years and with our successes we also bring concerns for missed opportunities. Interestingly, the report highlights the need for a Co-operative Development Agency in Northern Ireland as one of the key aspects to enable the growth of the sector. Co-operative Alternatives welcomes the recommendations and encourage this local debate. If you are a co-operative, a co-operator, or simply interested in a different type of economy, join us at this seminar. We will discuss the findings of the report with Claire McCarthy who commissioned the report and debate them with local co-operative analyst Paul Gosling.

Download the full report here:


Claire McCarthy: Claire has been the General Secretary of the Co-operative Party since November 2015. She is responsible for implementing key strategic objectives and reports directly to the Party’s National Executive Committee. For 2 years prior to this, she was the Co-operative Party’s Head of External and Political Affairs, leading the Party’s policy, public affairs and communications work.
Claire joined the Co-operative Party from national charity 4Children where she was Director of Public Affairs. Previously Claire was a government Special Adviser in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Communities and Local Government and the Northern Ireland Office.
Claire is a member of the Advisory Panel for the Changing Work Centre and the Labour Party’s National Policy Forum. As a member of the Independent Commission on the Future of Work, co-chaired by Tom Watson MP and Helen Mountsfield QC, she contributed substantially to the Commission’s recent report.
Claire can be contacted at: and on Twitter at @coopClaire

Paul Gosling freelance journalist for nearly 30 years, Paul has written for most quality UK and Irish national newspapers. Paul is also a renowned book author and has a background in co-operative development.

Tiziana O’Hara, Co-operative Development Practitioner at Co-operative Alternatives.

Presentations will be followed by a panel discussion chaired by Tony McMullan Co-operative Party Northern Ireland.