The Big Society and the co-operative contribution to Sustainable Communities

The Robert Owen Society/Marches Hive announces the second Robert Owen Annual Lecture

A virtual event via Zoom on 2nd July 2022 from 11.00 am to 2.00 pm.

Following the considerable success of the Inaugural Lecture in 2021 we would like to invite you to join us at the second Robert Owen Annual Lecture.

The Robert Owen Academy was unique and highly innovative in both it’s community co-operative ownership, it’s curriculum offer and it’s mission to regenerate rural communities. Once the Government announced its closure it was the members’ initiative to hold an annual lecture to encourage innovative approaches to the creation and maintenance of sustainable communities.

Our people understood the scale of the challenge to create and maintain sustainable communities because sustainability must be at the core of all future community planning. Their vision which they seek to develop is that by 2050 most, if not all, rural communities will have:

  • Access to clean air and water
  • Sound economic opportunities
  • A safe and healthy place to raise their young people
  • Adequate, affordable and environmentally sound places of shelter
  • Universal opportunities for high quality lifelong learning
  • A strong sense of community and a commitment to mutual support & responsibility
  • A meaningful democratic say in the decisions – macro & micro – that affect their lives

The Covid 19 pandemic has highlighted many community challenges and shortcomings as well as encouraging some radical solutions. To this must be added the impact of Brexit as well as the current standards of living crisis against a back drop of war in Europe.

We cordially invite you to join us at this seminal lecture to hear from speakers who will propose a range of possible solutions as well as raising new issues. We have every confidence that this will contribute to our mission to seek new approaches to developing and maintaining sustainable communities in a challenging environment.

The Robert Owen Society also refers you to our website at which provides many examples of thriving co-operative communities in the UK and beyond. We

aim to increasingly make it home for new, existing and emerging co-operative and social enterprises in the two countries comprising the Marches area either side of Offa’s Dyke.

These organisations will offer solutions to the international challenges of sustainable communities.

As member owned, values led organisations co-operatives seek to offer effective support to their Marches communities. We live in unprecedented times where innovative ideas have never been more necessary if our communities and our people are to survive, prosper and offer hope for the future to our young people.

This event will be chaired by Geoff Hughes, Consultant and former Director, Herefordshire Council and led by speakers who have a wealth of community, co-operative and mutual experience:

  • Jesse Norman, MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire
  • Amelia Washbourne, Community Activist, Fresh Start South Wye, Director
  • Baroness Sue Hayman, The Co-operative Party, Rural Co-operative Commission

We hope that you will join us, support our vision and mission and engage with us as we offer co-operative solutions to current and future challenges. There will be a Q&A and discussion seeking pointers for the future.

To book please click on here: The Big Society & the co-operative contribution to Sustainable Communities Tickets, Sat 2 Jul 2022 at 11:00 | Eventbrite. On the page click on register and enter your details.  Alternatively, you can go and search for “Big Society”. Click on register and follow the instructions. If you have any problems please email us at

Co-operatively Yours,

Chris Morgan

President and Secretary of the Robert Owen Society  

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