As a fan of supporter owned football clubs I was delighted when FC United, won the #coops2012 Award, for the co-operative which has actively used a variety of media (radio, press and social media) to promote their co-op. Their innovative use of social media to engage with its fan base is quite stunning. To date they have raised over £1.7million in a Community Share Issue by using every channel to talk to their members and supporters. Their communication strategy has real purpose as Andy Walsh, FC United's general manager, said: "The club's media work not only helps spread the word about FC United and supporter-ownership, but also gives many of our co‑owners the chance to be involved, develop their own skills and take responsibility for running an important element of the club."
The final major event of the International Year, Co-ops United in Manchester, was great fun and attracted almost 12,000 visitors with 200 Co-ops exhibiting including the Peoples Press Printing Society. The history of the sector was not neglected in the year with a super Lottery Heritage Fund refurbishment of the Rochdale Pioneers Museum and a new version of the film of the Pioneers.
One last highlight in a year of highlights was the publication of the, The Co-operative Revolution, a graphic novel that vividly explores the history of the co-op movement and its spread across the world and then takes an optimistic look at the co-operative world in 2044 the 200th anniversary of the Rochdale Pioneers. Published by co-operative New Internationalist with the support of the Co-op Group at just £5.99 it makes a great stocking filler.
There is no doubt that this year people have started taking the co-operative business model more seriously and as Victor Hugo said, there is nothing more powerful than an idea when its time has come. And after the satire of the Nobel Peace Prize, being awarded to Henry Kissinger, Menachim Begin, Barack Obama and now the European Union we should campaign in 2013 to get the Prize for a genuinely peace promoting international body, the International Co-operative Alliance, they could certainly make good use of the prize money!