We are so proud to be a CoOperative – run by and for local people working to make Florence Park and Cowley a better place to live,  meet, work, eat and play.

 In 2018, local people came together with the view to taking on the running of the former children’s centre after it was left empty. We wanted to bring back life to the centre and make it an inclusive, vibrant hub that was run by and for the community. We decided that setting up as a Co-Op  would mean there was a democratic and resilient way to run our organisation.

Why is Flo’s a CoOp?

We started Flo’s  to create a place that could be a central place for people in Cowley and Florence park to connect to each other and to nature. We wanted to respond to local needs, provide useful services, create change and create community! But to ensure that true power remained in the hands of  local people, we also needed to establish ourselves as an organisation that is not owned by any individual, but by the people who work, volunteer and live here.  Anyone can be a member of Flo’s  and this makes sure we are:

  • owned BY the community, FOR the community
  • A member-led organisation where local people can vote on how the CBS is run
  • All income generated flows back into our community – it keeps wealth local and creates real change. 

The legal status of the CBS protects Flo’s so that all income generated must be used for community use by law. You can join us and become a member too! 

CoOps local and global

There are a huge number of CoOperatives around the world– workers coops, housing coops, community coops. CoOperatives are owned by their members who democratically elect a leadership board and where all members vote on key decisions. It is a resilient form of doing business because it puts power into the hands of many. 

There are 10 values that all co-ops are based on

  1. Caring for others
  2. Democracy
  3. Equity
  4. Equality
  5. Honesty
  6. Openness
  7. Self help
  8. Self responsibility
  9. Solidarity
  10. Social responsibility

Inspiring CoOps around the country

There are loads of amazing CoOps big and small across the UK. Last week Flo’s were lucky enough to be invited to speak at the annual CoOps Congress- sharing how we raised £50,000 through community shares to open Flo’s. You can watch some of the inspiring speeches on their website here– for example hear the Shadow Minister for Leveling Up talking about why CoOps are an important part of putting power into the hands of  economy for a fairer future. 

Some of the brilliant and inspiring projects we met were:

There are also lots of CoOpS in Oxford too-  like CAG, Dragonfly and the Digital Commons Cooperative, as well as lots of organisaitons that support CoOps like CoOperatives UK, CoOps Future and the Owned By Oxford project.

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