*Catching up on my liveblogged notes from last week’s Meaning Conference – I ran out of laptop battery, so couldn’t post them at the time. *
In 1976, Margaret and friends set up a workers co-operative called the Little Women Shop. They learnt new skills, that changed people’s lives. Everyone learned all aspects of running the business from each other. They sold up in 1980, because the economic climate was terrible, and they wanted to pay back their startup loan.
Once you’ve worked in a co-operative, you get the bug. They moved on to setting up a home care co-operative, based on the system for granting additional payments on benefits for home care. Those additional requirements payments were withdrawn, and the business petered out. She went to work for the [Prince’s Trust](http://www.princes-trust.org.uk/ "The Prince's Trust").
But the co-operative bug was still in her system. Next up: Sunderland Home Care Associates. They’re serious both about the co-operative ownership – and about business success. They started in 1994 with 20 people, now it’s 440. They have £170,000 profit on £5.5m turnover. They help older, disabled and vulnerable people remain in their homes as long as possible. They provide academic support for students with disabilities.
Independent Futures – helping people with learning disabilities live on their own, and use micro enterprise to give them meaningful lives.
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