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Praise for talk on economic rejuvenation

Economic model: Walter Roban, left, and David Burt with Julian Manley, who was keynote speaker at an event that looked at how a co-operative framework has helped rejuvenate the city of Preston, in England (Photograph supplied)

David Burt and other ministers of the Bermuda Government were among attendees at a presentation on a community-centred economic rejuvenation model that has helped transform the city of Preston in northern England.

The event was held at the St Paul’s Centennial Hall and was staged by the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation. The keynote speaker was Julian Manley, president of the Preston Co-operative Development Network.

The Premier gave the opening remarks highlighting the Government’s support of the BEDC. He said: “This government’s focus has been to expand entrepreneurship, create greater and easier access to funding for small business owners, remove red tape for entrepreneurs, and to promote co-operative economics in Bermuda.

“We have delivered on our promises by eliminating taxes for start-up businesses while providing more support for entrepreneurs. Now we will promote co-operative economics to usher in a new generation of collective wealth-building in our communities.”

Jason Hayward, a senator who is also president of the Bermuda Public Services Union, spoke at the event and said he supported the work that BEDC is commencing in developing a co-operative framework for Bermuda.

At the event, Dr Manley, a research fellow at the University of Lancashire, in Preston, described various community and co-operative wealth building models.

The Preston Model has developed a strategy for social economic development that has caught the media limelight. The large local institutions that are rooted in Preston have got together to dramatically increase local spending, generating local wealth and employment potential in the area.

Preston is a city that is in the process of reimagining itself through self-empowerment, pride of place, and co-operative democracy. Its ripple effects are being felt nationally and politically.

Dr Manley contrasted the benefits of the Preston Model of anchor institutions partnering with “roots-up developed co-operatives” against the Cleveland model, which in large part consisted of a top-down, heavily non-member financed co-operative structures.

The talk was followed by a question-and-answer session.

William Spriggs, director of economic and co-operative development at the BEDC, said: “Dr Manley did a fantastic job in educating the Bermudian public on a range of local community engagement and co-operative development possibilities. Attendees were very interested in his presentation with many positively commenting after his presentation.

“The BEDC looks forward to having Dr Manley back to partner on new co-operative development initiatives and to also explore the benefits of his social dreaming methodologies.”

The next set of BEDC co-operative educational seminars will take place on December 4 and 5 at St Paul’s Centennial Hall, Hamilton. Admission is free. Contact the BEDC at Sofia House, Hamilton. on telephone 292-5570 or e-mail info@bedc.bm, to reserve a place. Refreshments will be served