What is a co-op?
A Co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.
Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others. The co-operative principles are guidelines by which co-operatives put their values into practice.
What is our mission?
“East Clare Community Co-operative Society aims to provide an inviting space within the community to generate viable and sustainable activities which support the development of the individual and the community”
East Clare Community Co-operative Society Ltd has been in existence for 30 years and has been the starting point for a number of educational, community, social, cultural, developmental and entrepreneurial activities and has a strong track record of being able to deliver useful and lasting change in the community to all members of the community.
It is a social enterprise co-operative with a number of interdependent activities from support provision to training and cultural events, to facilitating new enterprise creation. It partners with a diverse range of people and organisations to combine skills to create change and welcomes vistors to meander through the garden, browse in the bookshop and eat in the informal atmosphere of the Garden café.
The Co-op’s 8 main activities are:
1. The Garden Café-vegetarian café offering low cost, nutritious food with salads and vegetables grown on site.
2. The Second Hand Clothes and Book Shop-Offering low cost pre-loved items on the main street of Scariff.
3. Counselling and Support Services- Offering counselling play therapy and a range of other support measures both from our central premises and in partnership with Ciunas.
4. Scariff Community Garden -a garden where food grows organically and cultural events take place from festivals to mini theatre productions. There is a compost area, rain water harvesting system and several places to shelter. The Garden is well worth a visit and tours can be arranged in advance for groups-perhaps combined with a cookery class.
5. Provision of Community Market, Space rental & Wood Fired Pizza Oven-Spaces are rented at low cost and through this a diverse range of activities occur from the premises from singing classes, to children's yoga camps, tai chi, meeting spaces and even conferences all of which help to build community. The wood fired pizza oven was construced through a mens shed project and is available for rent for gatherings.
From 2017 the Friday community market will become a year round market. It started as a small-holders market but has expanded to include additional stall holders and offers a range of home grown and produced goods to fairly traded crafts and goods from other countries.
6. Sustenance – Food Training & Enterprise Centre-two kitchens providing the backdrop for new enterprise creation, pop up bistro's, accredited food based courses and food safety training.
7. Cothú Cookery School -to be launched formally in 2017- offering a mix of courses to suit every budget. The focus will be mainly on local, sustainable and healthy food.
8. European youth exchanges: for the past few years we have expanded our activities to include hosting european visitors under the Gruntvig programme and also offering young people the chance to expereince youth exchanges in other countries through support from the Erasmus programme. These offer opportunites to up skill young people for leadership, enterprise creation and active citizenship. We believe young people are the future and need the chance to experience non formal education to develop fully for a rapidly changing global environment.
The Co-op is an Industrial and Provident Society (registration no. 4425R). The Co-op functions within the legal framework of its Rules and currently has 184 shareholders. The Co-op has secured a long term lease on a property centrally situated on Scariff’s Main Street with the Community Garden at the rear.
The board of management committee is supported by a manager and 11 part time staff who are funded through the Department of Social Protection’s “Community Service Programme”, FAS and TUS.