The Co-operative Guild

of Social and Community Workers



Last night I was fortunate to be Bringing new values to social care at the House of Lords to witness the launch of a new organization that sets out to present a challenge to much of the current thinking in social care.

At an event hosted by Lord Glasman and organized by Cheryl Barrott from the Change AGEnts co-op, we launched the Co-operative Guild for Social & Community Workers.

This new guild seeks to establish a new framework and context for social care. Rejecting the idea that social care is about tasks ‘done‘ to ‘service users‘, the new guild seeks to establish new principles about ‘community‘ and ‘reciprocity‘, where the ‘carer‘ and ‘cared for‘ are equal partners in a relationship that seeks to promote ‘belonging‘, ‘membership‘ and ‘participation‘ in society. Here ‘care’ becomes the vehicle for these aims.

Within a co-operative perspective everything about social care changes –  our understanding of standards, the rights and responsibilities of both workers and those receiving ‘care’, expectations, roles, management, the organisations needed, even the idea of what ‘care‘ is and can be.

Rejecting the individualism within which ‘personalisation‘ has been framed, and which has resulted in the privatization of despair, loneliness and malnutrition amongst the most vulnerable in society, co-operation locates everyone where they should be – within communities.

This vision is a major challenge to the existing narratives around social care, but as austerity and welfare cuts continue to bite the arguments for something different are becoming louder, and this new organisation might just be the answer!

First Published on SOCIALCAREMUSINGS: Critically exploring Social Care issues in the UK


The Launch of ‘The Guild’ by Mark Redmond