Promoting Co-ops in times of austerity
Throughout UN “International year of co-operatives - 2012” Artzone Co-op was involved with a number of projects promoting co-operatives in London as an alternative way of doing business, particularly as the impact of the world economic downturn is hitting the South East and the steep rise in living cost is changing the socio-economic profile of London. One of our projects was to get local councils to raise the co-op flag - another was to mobilise local co-op businesses and Fair Trade by setting up a networking website for Tower Hamlets Co-op Forum (THCF). We also joined with THCF, Eco Thames Co-op (ETC - a co-op focussing on ecology and economy) and TH Energy Co-op (THEC) (a mayoral co-operative initiative to provide cheaper energy to local residents) to take information about co-operatives to local markets and community events. Co-op information displays were also set up in the foyer at Tower Hamlets Town Hall. ArtZone also documented a key conference on “Biodiversity” - which was held at the Eco Pavilion in Mile End Park.
During “Co-op Fortnight 2013” ArtZone Co-op was busy producing co-op “rainbow and doves” flags and preparing displays and videos about co-operatives. An information display was set up in the foyer at Tower Hamlets Town Hall in Mulberry Place. Two important conferences took place in the borough during late Spring: “Boost your Business” - organised by TH Mayor’s Business Forum and held at the Marriott Hotel, Canary Wharf - and a conference on “Sustainability” led by the Institute for Sustainability and held at the Eco Pavilion in Mile End Park. ArtZone took the Co-op message to these events by participating alongside TH Co-op Forum (THCF), Eco Thames Co-op (ETC - a co-op focussing on ecology and economy) and TH Energy Co-op (THEC). At both events there was an opportunity to make contact with other businesses working in the borough as well as getting to know lead officers from the local authority.