The value of a co-operative approach

Posted On 26 Jun 2021 at 9:13 pm

I am writing this on the fourth national Windrush Day, dedicated to honouring, educating and inspiring future generations about the contribution to this country of the Windrush generation.

Sadly, it took a huge scandal involving forced deportations and denial of human rights, such as healthcare, pensions and housing, to get to this point.

Let’s hope that this will not be repeated in future – for our European or any other residents.

Last Sunday I attended a lecture about Alice Hawkins, a Leicester suffragette and lifelong socialist, as part of the Brighton Fringe.

German Doner Kebab

Her story was brought to life by her great-grandson Peter and actress Ruth.

Alice was a working-class woman who came to the suffragette movement via her activities as a socialist and trade unionist.

I was fascinated by her story – how determined she was to win votes and equal pay for women in this country.

We have the vote but have not entirely achieved the latter as yet!

Our own Mary Clarke was also mentioned – and the Mary Clarke Statue Appeal chair was there to show me the maquette and tell me a little about Mary.

I can’t wait to see the statue in Pavilion Gardens. Please join us in contributing to the fundraiser for this important memorial. You can find details on their website at maryclarkestatue.com.

I also learned that Alice Hawkins worked for one of the very early co-operatives in Leicester – Equity Shoes.

Co-ops share community wealth and are run by their members for their members.

This week is the start of co-operative fortnight when we celebrate our many and varied co-operatives and community enterprises here in the city.

In addition to the supermarkets we all know, we have local co-ops like Infinity Foods, housing co-operatives, our energy co-ops, a recycling co-op and our credit union.

We even have a co-operative pub – the Bevy – and Exeter Street Hall community venue. There are too many to mention – and now is the time to go and find out more.

Mutual Aid in Sussex has a list of local co-ops. Look them up on maisnetwork.net.

Councillor Carmen Appich is the joint Labour opposition leader on Brighton and Hove City Council.

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