Award-winning craft beer, expertly refurbished bikes, delicious organic bread and much sought after Lough Neagh eels – what do they have in common?
They are all products of successful co-operatives being run by passionate and experienced people dedicated to running sustainable, community owned enterprises.
Co-operative Alternatives in partnership with Social Enterprise NI has organised a free study tour to highlight the energy and diversity of our co-operatives and offer people the opportunity to talk to those who are running successful co-operative models.
The half day event is on Friday, March 24, with a mini-bus tour from Belfast to Toomebridge, via Ballymena and back to sample products, talk to co-operators and give anyone interested in starting a co-operative the chance to learn more about them.
Starting with a breakfast of fresh baked bread and scones at Loveworks in 130 Duncairn Gardens the tour will talk to the people behind this fantastic co-op which provides handcrafted bread, bike repair and gardening and landscaping services.
The next stop is Breezemount Farm in Connor to talk to co-operatives skilled in Renewable Energy including Northern Ireland Community Energy (NICE), Northern Ireland’s only solar energy co-operative and Drumlin Wind Energy, a co-operative co-owning six wind turbines.
Next on the tour is Harryville in Ballymena for coffee with the Raglan Community Development and Renovation Society, which is working to raise £100,000 in community shares towards an ambitious project to create community hub, with 10 business units and exhibition area in the Slemish n tha Braid Credit Union building.
Then it’s on to Toomebridge, centre of the Northern Ireland eel fishing industry to talk to the Lough Neagh Fisherman’s Co-operative and to taste the product that is a prized delicacy all over Europe.
During the trip, the very successful Lacada Brewery co-op, which is making a big reputation in the rapidly growing craft beer market, will also speak to participants. There will be a chance to sample some of their wonderful products.
Places on this tour are free but must be booked in advance. To book your place go to https://co-operative_tour_2017.eventbrite.co.uk or contact Tiziana O’Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 07858317634.