From bouncers to songwriters: 3 surprising co-ops

You may have heard of co-operatively run supermarkets, banks and even energy companies, but the co-op model has been taken up by all sorts of organisations. We’ve picked three that may take you by surprise

Songwriters in northern England

No Masters, a songwriting co-operative, was formed by John Tams and Jim Boyes in 1990. It sought out writers, performers and musicians involved in the ‘radical’ folk music arena, and celebrates issues-led songwriting that is “rooted in communities”. “We pay homage to its traditions by reworking them; and we’re unafraid to take sides while eschewing propaganda,” they say.

Image: Dan Gold

Shellfish farmers in Scotland

With 16 member farms in Scotland, the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group says the quality of its mussels, oysters, lobster and crab comes down to the passion of its farmers. Their produce is sold in 7,962 supermarkets in the UK and Europe, and the business’s co-operative structure means that farmers are involved in all aspects.

Image: Eskil Svensson

Bouncers in Newcastle

Dealing with alcohol-fuelled confrontation isn’t easy, and the training and support for door staff is often inadequate. So, a group in Newcastle clubbed together this year to form the Security Professionals Support Co-operative. Members will get enhanced training, legal support and health insurance: security for security, in other words.

Video produced by: Blake House Filmmakers’ Co-operative


Main image: Blake House Filmmakers’ Co-operative

Read more: Uber and out – here come the co-ops


This series is guest edited by Vivian Woodell, founder of The Phone Co-op and head of The Phone Co-op Foundation for Co-operative Innovation

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