Join us for FREE tour of NI co-ops

Award-winning Craft beer, expertly refurbished bikes, delicious organic bread and much sought after Lough Neagh eels – what do they have in common?

They are all products of successful co-operatives being run by passionate and experienced people dedicated to running sustainable, community owned enterprises.

Co-operative Alternatives in partnership with Social Enterprise NI is going back on the road to highlight the energy and diversity of our co-operatives and give you the chance to talk to the people who are running successful models. This follows our very successful study tour of co-operatives in Belfast in October 2015.

On Friday, March 24, we are taking a mini-bus tour from Belfast to Toomebridge, via Ballymena and back to sample products, talk to co-operators and give anyone interested in starting a co-operative the chance to learn more about them.

Starting with a breakfast of fresh baked bread and scones at Loveworks in 130 Duncairn Gardens we will talk to the people behind this fantastic co-op which provides handcrafted bread, bike repair and gardening and landscaping services.

We will then board the bus to Breezemount Farm in Connor to talk to co-operatives skilled in Renewable Energy including Northern Ireland Community Energy (NICE), Northern Ireland’s only solar energy co-operative and Drumlin Wind Energy, a co-operative co-owning six wind turbines.

Next on the tour is Harryville in Ballymena for coffee with the Raglan Community Development and Renovation Society, which is working to raise £100,000 in community shares towards an ambitious project to create community hub, with 10 business units and exhibition area in the Slemish n tha Braid Credit Union building.

Then it’s on to Toomebridge, centre of the Northern Ireland eel fishing industry to talk to the Lough Neagh Fisherman’s Co-operative and to taste the product that is a prized delicacy all over Europe.

During the trip, we will be talking to the very successful Lacada co-op which is making a big reputation in the rapidly growing craft beer market. There will be a chance to sample some of their wonderful products.

If you are interested in coming on our Co-op bus tour, which is sponsored by Social Enterprise NI, on Friday, March 24, book your place on or contact Tiziana at or call 07858317634.