The Co-operative Councils Innovation Network this week is a great example of the co-operative movement in action. The Co-operative values that we all share are vital if we are going to create a fairer society, ensuring that ALL residents are well-equipped to realise their full potential. In these times of political uncertainty, we need to make the case for progressive, co-operative politics as loud as possible and I am delighted to be able to do this through the Your Oldham festival.
In Oldham our co-operative approach has seen us actively encouraging residents to take part in decision making, using our spending power to secure added social value for residents, as well as live streaming our Full Council meetings, allowing residents to join in from the comfort of their own homes.
The Your Oldham Festival (3rd – 9th September 2017) is a series of transformational events that will bring people together to share stories about where we have come from and to provide inspiration and ideas as we take the next steps on our co-operative journey. We are bringing together an extraordinary line-up of change-makers and visionaries who can help us think creatively about our big challenges, as well as inspiring us to think differently about how we work together to tackle them.
Your Oldham is about encouraging and motivating residents, businesses, and employees to reconnect with what Oldham means to them and invite them to consider how they can ‘do their bit’ for Oldham.
The programme has stimulated conversation and celebrated co-operative work taking place in Oldham as well as debating what we could do differently. Our EPIC talk series (Engaging People and Inspiring Conversation) invited speakers including Professor Ruth Lupton, Inclusive Growth Analysis Unit; Tracy Fishwick, Managing Director at Transform Lives Company (TLC) and Lord John Bird MBE, founder of the Big Issue magazine speak. We have had some very impressive contributions, and they will help to shape some of the co-operative work we will be doing going forward.
It is still not too late to get involved. We still have our Co-operative Market Street, Your Green Oldham and digital workshop events to come. This will all culminate in Oldham Live – a music festival with an impressive line-up held in our very own Parliament Square. I hope to see you there!