This week marked the end of our second online Summer School for newer members of the Co-operative Party, and I was proud to lead the final session on our relationship and responsibilities with the wider co-operative movement. Through the course of the Summer School, we have looked at topics such relationship with the Labour Party and movement, becoming a Co-operative Party officer, as well briefings on the work of our elected representatives. We have even put on a film screening on our movement’s founding pioneers.

Over the last couple of years, we have been recruiting new members at a record rate. We want to ensure they are given the opportunities and tools to make the most of their membership. This comes in a wide variety of ways – whether it be involvement in our campaigns, opportunities and training to represent us in elected office, becoming party officers or co-operative activism more generally.

Through activity such as our Summer School, our local and national candidate training programmes, and our ‘Co-operation Live’ events, we are constantly looking to make our Party as open, inclusive and ultimately rewarding place for members to be. Myself and members of the team have been struck by the enthusiasm of our newer members during the Summer School this year, and I think it bodes well for the future. There are many routes and issues which lead people to the Co-operative Party, and we need to make sure we are harnessing and channelling those into our co-operative endeavour.

I know we have plans post summer to roll out further Party Officer training and new member offers. If we are to grow and attract new members of the Party and wider co-operative movement, I know that activity like this will need to be an even greater focus going into the future.