Are you frustrated by the lack of really good shops in Rochdale town centre? Would you like to see a retail revolution that brought you back to shop in town again? Would you like to see a total cultural revival of the town centre with new clubs, societies, family activities, festivals and exhibition areas in abundance? Would you like to see hi-tech 'smart' industries that would contribute to a real economic revival and with real jobs for local people? Would you like to play your part in a mammoth five-year effort to re-create Rochdale? If so, we'd love to have your support for a brand new group called 'Dale Co-operative'. Set up by ex-Councillor and Rochdalian Mark Birkett in July 2015, the group's purpose is to raise funds from the people of Rochdale in exchange for lifetime shares in the retail and cultural outlets we plan to build.
Here's the thinking behind this;
No-one who lives in Rochdale is under any illusion about the dismal retail experience Rochdale currently offers. Sure, a few good businesses have survived, but most are struggling. Far too many offer poor-quality goods instead of the things you'd really like to buy. And many others have closed for good, leaving store fronts empty all over Yorkshire St and Drake St. In short, it's simply not a viable town centre, hasn't been for some time, and is likely to remain that way unless we all work together to get it sorted out. Moreover, with so many poor-quality shops packed in side-by-side, it's also clear that no orthodox entrepreneur is likely to risk his / her shirt on a stunningly high-quality retail outlet on Yorkshire St or Drake St; there's simply too much risk for that one individual.
So our proposal is about sharing that risk across many thousands of Rochdalians. We are asking every single person in Rochdale to pledge either £100.00 in cash, or ten hours of time and effort, in exchange for their lifetime share in our co-operative. We want to build one stunning new retail or cultural outlet in the centre. The profits from that wil fund another. Then another until we have created a critical mass of quality that will change the tone of the centre for good. At that point, many of the orthodox entrepreneurs we need will return too and we can reclaim our town for good.
But it's a numbers game. We need a LOT of supporters for this to work. There are some 200,000 people in the Borough. If half contributed £100.00 each, and the other half contributed ten hours of effort each, we'd have over £10 million pounds and no less than 100 years worth of elbow grease available to make this all happen. We have already signed up the first 28 NEW Rochdale Pioneers, as was seen in the Rochdale Observer last Wednesday. Rochdale Online have been brilliantly supportive. So has the Facebook forum YOUR ROCHDALE and its founder John Nokes. We have the full support of our MP Simon Danczuk. And we have raised no less than £6,000 of pledges in just one week. A stunning start!
But now we need to spread the word. We want EVERYONE in Rochdale to come along to our meeting this Saturday 8th August, 10.30 am to listen to what we have to say. All are welcome. The meeting will be held at:
St Mary's Church in the Baum,
Saturday 8th August
Bring a friend with you too!
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