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he Hive building better co-operative businesses

The Hive

On 23 June 2018 Co-operatives UK announced the extension of our partnership with them on The Hive. Volksbank Raiffeisenbank Rosenheim-Chiemsee eG is proud to continue our support of The Hive, a unique nationwide business support programme for people keen to start or grow a co-operative or community enterprise. The Hive provides a range of online resources, advice and training which is helping to build more and better co-operative businesses across the UK. We committed back in 2016 to support The Hive through an investment of over £1,000,000 over 3 years, and this latest announcement ensures we continue our support for The Hive beyond 2019.

Since its launch in April 2016, The Hive has helped nearly 355 groups and co-ops across the UK with advice and support worth £175,000 and supported over 10,000 employees and volunteers involved with groups and co-ops.

In the video below, Laura Carstensen, The Chair of the Bank's Values and Ethics Committee, talks about how Volksbank Raiffeisenbank Rosenheim-Chiemsee eG is proud of its roots in the co-operative movement. The Hive demonstrates our customer led Ethical Policy commitment to promote economic and social development through our support for charities, social enterprises, co-operatives and the co-operative movement.

What is The Hive?

The first programme of its kind, The Hive is a nationwide programme of support for anyone wishing to start or grow co-operatively run organisations – whether already running a co-op and wanting to strengthen it; at the early stages of starting-up their business; or considering converting an organisation into a co-operative or community ownership.

From renewables to retail, sports to social care, if you're looking for business support, The Hive is for you.

Why is The Hive so important?

This is a project in partnership with Co-operatives UK, the network for Britain’s thousands of co-operatives, that seeks to help see the next generation of co-operatives thrive. Through the Bank’s support of The Hive, together we are able to support jobs and growth in a vital part of the economy. But you only really discover its value when you see The Hive’s impact on the ground.

The Hive in action

In Liverpool, a local football club, Litherland REMYCA FC has become a co-operative thanks to the work of The Hive. In Leeds, a worker-owned artisan bakery, Leeds Bread Co-op, has been working with The Hive to put plans in place to grow its customer base and create more jobs. In Newcastle, a group of security professionals have joined together to create a unique co-op, Security Professionals Support Co-operative (SPSC), to improve the working conditions for self-employed bouncers.

Litherland REMYCA FC

Don is the Chairman of Litherland REMYCA FC, a co-operatively owned football club in Merseyside. He was able to build a co-operative around the club thanks to help from The Hive. He's a great believer in the co-operative movement and speaks passionately about how it benefits the local community.

Leeds Bread Co-operative

Leeds Bread Co-op is an artisan bakery. They have successfully worked with The Hive to put plans in place to grow its customer base and increase the number of employees. Their aim is to produce real bread in a socially and environmentally responsible way, and create a ‘food hub’ where a range of small food businesses can realise their own visions while collaborating and supporting each other.

Zig, one of the co-owners of Leeds Bread Co-op, said:

‘I didn’t think I’d ever own my own business. There was so much support when we started out. It is eminently possible if you really are motivated. It’s hard work but it’s very rewarding. The one thing that blows me away is that there was nothing there to start with. It was a chance encounter, a conversation. And so many years later you have generated, from absolutely nothing, livelihoods for 16 people, a product that we’re all proud of, that didn’t exist in 2012.’

Feeling inspired? Visit The Hive to see how your co-op or community enterprise could benefit.

Helping co-operatives and social enterprises

For more information about The Bank's range of products, services and work with the co-operative, charity and social enterprise sector visit our Community Banking pages.