General News

Brighton locals co-operate for a better life

Alice Blezard May 30, 2016

A free event for people wanting more control over the way that they live and work will take place in Brighton.

WEB.600Cooperative Alternatives for Work, Housing, Energy, Food and More will take place on June 11 at the Synergy Centre, 78 West Street from 10.30am to 7pm.

Brighton and Hove is well-known for its high cost of living, which can make life a challenge for many of the city’s residents. The city has some of the most deprived areas in the country, and housing costs, homelessness, fuel poverty and food bank usage are all currently at an all-time high.

Cooperative Alternatives for Work, Housing, Energy, Food and More will be organised by Mutual Aid in Sussex and Free University Brighton, and aims to showcase the benefits of a co-operative as well as offering talks, workshops and advice.

Brighton & Hove is one of the UK’s co-operative hot spots, with around 100 co-ops and social enterprises throughout the city including Infinity Foods, The Bevy Co-op Pub, Magpie Recycling, Brighton Energy Co-op and several housing co-operatives.

Co-operatives tend to pay better wages to their employees, and can also reduce inequality due to much lower wage ratios between low and high earners within them.

They can be more resilient in economic downturns and take issues that affect local people more into account. Housing co-operatives also play a small but growing role in providing more affordable housing in Brighton and Hove.

At the one-day event, attendees will learn how to set up a workers’ or housing co-op, find out how to access funding for their ideas and learn how to resolve conflict. There will be plenty of opportunities to get advice from experts, explore and take forward ideas with others.

Amy Hall, an organiser with Mutual Aid in Sussex, said: “The event is about introducing local people to co-operatives and social enterprises to show them how they can have more ownership and control over their housing, work, energy, media, land, technology and much more. It’s also an opportunity for people already in co-operatives and social enterprises in the city to meet and help each other.”

Food and drink will be available from local co-ops Hail Seitan! and Bartleby’s Brewery, and there will be an after-party with entertainment from 7pm.

The event is free and open to all. (Donations welcome.)

For full schedule of workshops and booking, click here:

Event: Cooperative Alternatives for Work, Housing, Energy, Food and More 

Where: Synergy Centre, 78 West Street, Brighton,

When: Saturday, June 11

Time: From 10.30am-7pm

Cost: Free entry, donations welcomed