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Plymouth celebrates Co-operative success on International Day of Co-operatives

This International Day of Co-operatives on Saturday 6 July the Council is proving that significant growth of the co-operative economy responds to the challenges facing communities, and demonstrates the city’s readiness for the new Government’s ambitions.

Recent research found that 14 new co-operatives set up in Plymouth since 2018, has achieved sector growth nine times faster than the UK average and more than doubled employment in the sector. These include Studio Skein architects, health and care organisations Plymouth Independent Living, The Firestone Society and Plymouth Lighthouse Project, and community organisations The Village Hub in Stoke and Cliik in Stonehouse.

Plymouth’s commitment to supporting good growth business models such as co-operatives, ensures that companies like Plymouth Energy Community are already established and ready to partner with the new government’s Great British Energy Plan.  Plymouth Energy Community is already providing innovative approaches to housing, solar energy and tackling fuel poverty.  Its work building networks of partners and suppliers, provide the new government with investment ready opportunities.

This year, Co-operatives Day takes place tomorrow (6 July), with the theme of "Building a Better Future for All." This annual event, supported by the United Nations globally, highlights how cooperative businesses, through democratic governance and shared ownership, serve as a model for promoting peace and stability.

Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet Member for Housing and Co-operative Development, said: “We are incredibly proud to be a co-operative council and are working hard to grow Plymouth’s co-operative economy. Co-operatives empower people, offering them greater control over their own jobs and livelihoods. Importantly, they help to keep money within the city, ensuring that everyone benefits from economic growth. Co-operatives are firmly woven into the fabric of Plymouth's economy and are recognised in our Economic Strategy as a ‘good growth model’.”

The day coincides with interim research by national organisation Co-operatives UK reviewing progress on the Council’s 2018 Co-operative Development Action Plan that set an ambition to double the size of the sector. 

The research found Plymouth is now positioned as a national leader in the co-operative movement, ranking in the top 10 per cent of local authority areas for co-operative formations since 2018. The latest review reveals that Plymouth is home to 34 thriving co-operatives, owned and controlled by 8,265 members. These co-operatives employ over 600 people and generate a combined annual turnover of around £4.5 million.

The United Nations has declared 2025 the International Year of Cooperatives, providing a global platform to showcase local contributions to building a sustainable future.

Building on this strong foundation, the Council will be implementing a refreshed action plan to further accelerate the growth of its co-operative economy, working towards exceeding the ambitious targets set six years ago.  Plymouth is committed to cementing its position as a national leader in the co-operative movement, demonstrating the power of collaborative enterprise for a better future.