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Free event for people or groups interested in community development in the SO postcode area. Free tickets from: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/drop-in-event-for-the-so-postcode-area-tickets-35691162227 Drop in meeting 12 noon on Wed 5th July. 2nd floor, Dukes Keep, Marsh Lane, Southampton SO14 3EX Find out about our Resilience project and how we may help you and your community. Community Social & Economic Development. Mutual-Self-Help. Lottery Funded. Book via Eventbrite
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Preparing for the Italian Students.

Busy and tiring day preparing the course material ready for the Italian students that will arrive on Monday. They are coming for a five day EU funded course on 'Online Marketing'. The course will be delivered by Co-operative Education Solutions CIC, part of The Community Empowerment Co-operative Consortium www.empower.coop/ I'm really looking forward to working with the students who will work in teams and create their own mini-forums to display their work. Keep an eye on The People's Forum for updates.
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Dont Hate, Donate campaign

We need support in the Guildhall Square where we are holding a silent demo to support refugees on the move and to pressure the City council to be more refugee friendly. You may not know that they introduced a measure last month, requiring national Government to remove our city from the cluster list, which we have been paid to be part of over recent years to help welcome displaced people. - Please show your support for these families at risk by coming to the Square between 12.30 and 2.30pm on 10th November, ahead of the next Council meeting. See this from Benedict Cumberbatch about the plight of the families seeking refuge from war.

https://www.facebook.com/Channel4News/videos/10153307903116939/

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Stop Loan Sharks

Community Empowerment will soon be launching a bid to secure funding for a campaign to Stop Loan Sharks in the Portsmouth area, with particular focus on Leigh Park. Currently our plans are set to include handing out leaflets and displaying posters highlighting the dangers of dealing with Loan Sharks, as well as showing alternatives -- particularly Credit union loans.

Unlicensed Loan Sharks are people who are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They frequently, will initially, appear friendly, perhaps professional during their initial approach; but once they have you this can change. Because they are unlicensed they are not compelled to abide by the laws in place surrounding money lending; there are no APR or Interest caps and they often use scare tactics such as Harassment and Physical Abuse. We are all aware of Loan Sharks from movies and their obsessions with breaking legs or kneecaps; these threats not Hollywood fictions! There are even cases where loan sharks have collected their clients' children from school and driven them home.

If you, or a friend or loved one, are currently held in the jaws of a Loan Shark, there are ways around this and people are willing to help you.

For confidental help and advice contact the Illegal Money Lending Team:

Telephone: 0300 555 2222 (local call rate, including inclusive minutes from mobiles).
Text: LOAN SHARK and your message to 60003.
Email: ReportaLoanShark@StopLoanSharks.gov.uk.

Of course if you are in immediate danger then you must call 999.

Finally to dispel a common misconception: It is not a crime to owe money to a Loan Shark.

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Hi my name is Mikkel and i'm from Denmark.
I would like to share my opinion on the topic "The Danish Effect" or why is the Danes so happy?

I have been looking around the internet seeing blogs and such for other peoples opinion.

This is a interesting one i found;

"As I think I mentioned before, one reason my class thought Denmark was one of the happiest countries in the world is because of their low expectations.
From what I’ve observed, Danes are also very level-headed when it comes to life circumstances.
By that I mean they are well-equipped to handle death and illness for example because they understand that it is just a part of life that is out of our control.
In my own life, I have found that it is easy to forget that we are not able to control everything.
Once you realize some things just happen, your expectations are lowered and your reaction to those circumstances is more positive.

The OECD also found that Americans discriminate less between emotional responses than Danes do.
For example, this means that Americans are likely to associate smiling, being proud, and feelings of happiness, whereas Danes can feel either pride or happiness without eliciting a smile.
Or one could be smiling, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he/she is feeling positive emotions.
I’ve noticed this with my host family, because even if my host parents have had a bad day, they still are smiling and carrying on as if they did have a good day.
Or, if something really great happened that day, their demeanor is the same as if nothing really special had happened that day.
I often feel as if I am being interpreted as “fake” because I am enthusiastic if I really like a meal or if I’ve had a good day.
This leads to the next point we talked about in class, that generally Americans are more emotional than Danes.
An interesting point is that perhaps it’s not that American’s are more emotional per say, but they are more likely to express whichever emotions they are feeling.
In the United States, showing emotion and being passionate about something is very much related, so we are positively reinforced when we show our emotions.
However, in Denmark, it isn’t necessary to show every emotion you are feeling."

I personally don't think that he is being interpreted as "fake", but thats just me may just have been some of that type of people.
I think that Denmark is a happy country due to how we do things. I'm a student and the lessons can be rather fun due to the fact that thats just how Danes are, even in school we joke around even with teachers.
A little example, the sun is shining outside and it seems like a good time to be outside, but, we are about to have a lesson. This have happened to me, the teacher would say something like "You know what, let's go outside." just as simple as that.
I can't personally say how other countrys do their education, but i know someone in the UK, she always so jealous when i tell her about something fun we did and she just had 2 hours of math.
As i said i don't know how their education system work but, here we have diffrent kinds of lessons but mainly danish and math evry day but we also have breaks in between.
I can see how she can be jealous when she may just have had science for 3 hours(this is true), that my friends, is what i call a joy killer.

Thanks for taking your time to read my little opinion, i'm new here so i just wanted to post something i'm familiar with, hope you'll have a great day.

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Co-operative candidates in local elections

Hundreds of co-operators will be standing as candidates in today’s English local elections. Of those standing in the polls, 140 candidates are standing under the Labour/Co-operative banner, and are all official representatives of the Co-operative Party through its sister partnership with Labour. There are currently 1,600 Labour/Co-operative councillors in place. The Party also estimates that hundreds more of its members are also standing in elections, but not under the official Labour/Co-op banner. There will also be many other co-operators standing in elections for parties such as the Greens, Lib Dems and Conservatives – but none of these parties officially declare any numbers. .... http://www.thenews.coop/85763/news/politics/co-operative-candidates-local-elections/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=co-operative-candidates-local-elections#.U35d5tq9KK0
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Members of the Co-op Group are asking who might be benefiting from the changes at The society. There are many losers but there are some real winners as well. Members fear that assets will be sold off 'urgently' for which read 'cheaply'. Members are asking for clear transparency of relationships and shared backgrounds of Executives and (any new) Board Members and organisations that will benefit as a result of any fire sale. Any implementation of the changes proposed should only occur after very careful analysis and consideration of potential repercussions. Alternative strategies should be fully explored, including those outlined by Co-operativeUK (Myners Plus) rather than following Myners suggestions to the letter. Nothing should be done in haste. Some members are suggesting that the Co-operative Group has been subject to entryism with a definite agenda.
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BBC warn of terrorists at Co-op Group AGM

Whoops! I hope this was a BBC web posting error... BBC News Business Live: Co-op Group AGM preview BBC News Tour operators, Thomson and First Choice have cancelled all flights to Mombasa until October. Customers already on holiday in Kenya are being flown out. It follows a warning from the Foreign Office that there was a "high threat" from terrorists in the ...
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John Prescott on Myners Review.

'So former City Minister Lord Myners thinks the Co-op Group failed in the past because of "poor governance". Perhaps Myners, who failed to change poor governance at RBS, should now do a report on Barclays - which is axing 19,000 jobs because of, er, poor governance. The Co-op needs reform. But by God it shouldn't look to the bankers in the City as an example to follow. John Prescott.
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There is now a substantial stream of comments and links from the press, as well as contributions from members, which can be found in the info zone "the future of The Co-operative Group" (under shared ideas). Reading through these you will see the different political perspectives of the different news titles. These range from the gloating of certain titles to sympathetic but confused contributions from others. Indeed with the exception of The Co-operative News (the movement's own publication) none of the press display any real understanding of the Co-operative Movement. This is a dangerous reality as much of the public (and Co-op Members) will glean little understanding (but significant influence) from these poor sources of information. This comment is not to lay the blame for the situation in the news/feature rooms of the press. As already stated some of the press are sympathetic but confused by the complexity of what is a very large and (more than acknowledged) significant global alternative to capitalist greed. Much of the blame rests with the larger Co-operatives and in particular their Management and their Boards which fail to insist that Management demonstrate the Co-operative advantages. Too often Management have played down rather than taken advantages from being a Co-operative. There have even been examples of Co-operatives hiding their identity. Given Management drawn from outside of the Co-operative Movement, perhaps we should not be surprised at their lack of understanding. We cannot however forgive those that refuse to learn about this important aspect of their role or worse attempt to change the Co-operative into something with which they are more comfortable. If Management do not understand the nature of Co-operatives and if the Boards fail to hold Management to account for such failure, then how can we blame the media for their lack of understanding. It is clearly the job of the Co-operative Movement to inform. Now, 'here is the rub' and some might say the unfairness of it all.... Although far from perfect, The Co-operative Group have attempted to maximise the co-operative advantages. They have championed the Co-operative brand, they have demonstrated their adherence to the ICA Co-operative Principles and in particular to fulfilling a supportive role with the wider Co-operative Movement. Yet it is the Co-operative Group that finds itself in crises. It is essential to understand that adherence to Co-operative Principles has NOT damaged the Co-operative Group. Those principles have served them and the wider movement well. Without them, the Group would have been in a weaker position at the point that the crises struck. The problems faced by the Co-operative Group are the result of many factors (not all of their own making). The Co-operative Values and Principles are not part of the problem, they should not be sacrificed as they will surely contribute to the solving of the situation. These are factors not known by the media and not understood by many. An unfortunate lack of knowledge for which the Co-operatives are partly to blame. Management must be held to account for their failures and Boards should similarly take responsibility for failures to hold management in line. However this is not a good enough excuse to hand influence to people from outside of the movement, it is the appointment of and failure to control such people that has contributed to the crises. There are vultures circling - we don't want to bring in people that enjoy feeding them.
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Co-operative News - the Global News Hub.In a bid to raise capital, the Co-operative Bank is to issue new shares, which could see its former parent organisation’s stake reduce to 20%. The Bank’s chair has also signalled his intention to step down.

The Co-operative Group, which gave up full ownership of the Bank last year, still retains a 30% share of the plc. The Bank aims to raise £400m through the issue of 200 million ordinary shares at £2 each. The Group’s stake could be reduced to 20%, although the official figure will not be known until the transaction is approved by shareholders at the general meeting in late May....

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Milking the rewards of member engagement

One of Britain’s most innovative dairy co-operatives is setting a gold standard for member engagement. First Milk, the UK’s only major dairy business to be 100 per cent owned by British farmers, now operates according to a members’ charter which formally sets out its commitment to giving 1,500 co-operative members a significant role in how the business is run. The charter includes clarity on how milk prices are set, details of how members can take part in governance and how members’ capital investment is rewarded, as well as information on how it consults and communicates with members and their representatives. Every member has the opportunity to become an area representative and to stand for election to the board, and key decisions are subject to a members’ vote.... http://www.thenews.coop/84792/news/general/milking-rewards-member-engagement/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=milking-rewards-member-engagement#.U2xwttq9KK0
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Co-op successes amid the troubles

For all the troubles that have hit the Co-operative Group and Bank, as earlier with other banks, there are over 6,000 co-operatives across the UK, owned by 15.4 million people (Is there any future for the Co-op?, G2, 24 April). Co-operatives are enterprises that are owned by the very people that are involved in the everyday life of the business. The survival rate for new co-operatives is far higher than for business at large. One in three conventional businesses goes out of business within three years of starting; for co-operative enterprises, that is only one in 20. Worldwide, the co-operative sector has a turnover 54 times the global turnover of Coca-Cola. In farming, 65% of all farmers in Scotland, an expanding sector, are now members of an agricultural co-operative. Co-operative schools have doubled their number every 16 months, with close to 700 co-operative schools in England. There are now 1 million members of credit unions in Britain – financial co-operatives, lauded most recently by the archbishop of Canterbury. Co-operative Energy, challenging the big six retail energy giants, is recommended by 97% of their customers, over three times the market average..... http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2014/apr/24/co-op-successes-amid-troubles
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Eight renewable energy projects approved

Eight major renewable energy projects, expected to support 8,500 jobs, have been given government approval. The contracts, which include offshore wind farms and conversions of coal-powered plants to run on biomass, are the first awarded under the government's energy market reforms. Energy Secretary Ed Davey said the projects would help power up to three million homes. He also expects them to attract £12bn in private investment.... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27121801
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Co-op Bank scoops top international award

London, UK: International Banker magazine held its annual awards for acknowledging the top banking institutions across the Middle East and Africa. The Co-operative Bank of Kenya received top awards in two categories: Innovation in Retail Banking and Best CEO Africa. The International Banker magazine offers a global view of banking and brings in-depth analysis on the people and innovations within financial services that drive the industry forward. Its annual awards recognize banking excellence globally. Honoured with a dual award, to acknowledge and celebrate innovation and leadership, the Co-operative Bank of Kenya topped the awards lists this year. The first, and most prestigious, award was Banking CEO of the Year, Africa, awarded to Dr. Gideon Muriuki (Co-operative Bank of Kenya). As the head of the bank, Dr. Muriuki receives recognition for promoting the co-operative banking model throughout Kenya and his leadership in driving a sustainable growth model. In particular, Dr. Gideon Muriuki has demonstrated remarkable foresight by insisting that the Co-operative Bank of Kenya retain its identity as a co-operative bank even when expanding into additional parts of Africa outside Kenya, in spite of the fact that it would have been easier for the enterprise to proceed as a successful Kenyan commercial bank. Expanding to other African markets, beginning with South Sudan, by way of joint ventures with co-operative societies in those countries is a futuristic business model that is likely to deliver inclusive growth and a more equitable sharing of the benefits of the rising prosperity of African economies.... http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/mobile/?articleID=2000110074&story_title=Co-op%20Bank%20scoops%20top%20international%20award%20/business/
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The Co-operative Food is investing £100m in price this year and launching a ‘Fair and Square’ campaign as part of its strategy to become the leading convenience retailer in Britain through a focus on price, own-label food and store refurbishments.... http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/sectors/retail/news/co-op-food-enters-price-war-with-fair-and-square-campaign/4010241.article
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Poverty has been rebranded as personal failure

I was struck looking at The Mirror's now famous crying, hungry child front page, not only by the poignancy of the image, but its contrast to another headline a few days earlier. A smiling woman looked out from The Daily Mail; a holiday snap of a "benefit cheat", the headline a gleeful breakdown of the thousands she had falsely claimed in disability allowance.... http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/apr/22/disability-poverty-crisis-government-policies
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