A special flag-raising ceremony has been held to mark the start of Co-Operatives Fortnight in Rochdale – the place where the international movement was formed.
The Mayor of Rochdale, Ian Duckworth, Council Leader Richard Farnell, Rochdale MP Tony Lloyd, members of the Co-Op Trust, Pioneers Museum, Co-Op college and other representatives from co-operative partnerships across the borough were among those who attended.
In 1844 the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers formed the Rochdale Principles on which the modern cooperative movement was established and the borough has always remained very proud of its links to the movement. Co-operatives still operate in the borough, including Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, the UK’s first tenant and employee co-owned mutual housing society, and Rochdale Hornets Rugby League Club, a co-operative where fans have a say in key decisions at the club.
Councillor Farnell said: “During Co-operative Fortnight this year all on eyes will once again be on the birthplace of what has become a global phenomenon. We must continue to celebrate and value our unique heritage and I am very proud of our links to the movement. This celebration fortnight shows the co-operative spirit is alive and well in Rochdale and across the world.”
The Co-operative flag will fly outside Rochdale town hall for the duration of the fortnight, during which co-operative examples from across the borough will be highlighted. Events and exhibitions are also being held at the Co-op museum in Toad Lane – the site of the first Co-operative store.