Taking stock at Rootstock

Rootstock occupies its own special (and important) niche in the British coop world, taking in money from supportive investors and investing the capital in radical cooperative ventures, particularly housing coops.  The Spring newsletter from Rootstock has just arrived through my letter box, and I see it’s also available online, here.  Worth a peruse.

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It’s good news week, evidently

Two separate envelopes through the letterbox here today, both in different ways bearing encouraging news of the health of the cooperative movement.

One is the Spring 2015 newsletter of Rootstock, the ‘social investment’ cooperative society which offers withdrawable shares to its members as a means of raising capital to help cooperatives (mainly housing coops) working for social change. Rootstock was set up through the efforts of the Radical Routes network of coops and deserves to be better known. Rootstock investors’ money has since 1991 been used to make sixty loans to coops. Their website gives all the information investors need.

Valley Organics is a West Yorkshire based workers’ cooperative running an organic food shop which they purchased two years ago from its previous private owners. Valley Organics’ very attractively produced Annual Report seems to me a model of the sort of way that workers’ coops should share information with their friends and customers, with details of both the business’s financial performance and its ethical policy. The good news is that turnover is 35% up on projections. (“To be perfectly honest, we are a bit surprised to find ourselves running such a successful enterprise!” they say with refreshing candour.) Good for them.