I really love the archive. It sounds simple but believe me, I really do love it. 

The National Co-operative Archive gave me my archives traineeship nearly 10 years ago. For many archivists, there’s one collection (perhaps 2 if you’re lucky), that stays with you for years after you’ve finished with it. For me, it was the archive of one and a half centuries of The Co-operative Group. 

I spent over 2 years ferreting around in the basements and tunnels of the Co-operative Quarter at Shudehill. I loved every grimy second of it. Not just because I was finally being an archivist, but because of the fascinating things I was learning about the most amazing movement.

The idea that by simply working together, consciously and contentiously, working class people could literally save their own lives and the lives of countless others, was a pretty simple one. But that fact that they actually did it? That a group of people stood up to a wrong and fought against an imbalance, and it worked? That blew my mind away.

It really hit home for me just how inspirational archives can be, and how vital they are in helping to inform our present and motivate us into our future. The Co-operative Movement is, for me, one of the most important things the people of this country have ever done. It was an absolute honour to support its legacy and memory.

So, for over 8 years after moving on from my traineeship in the National Co-operative Archive, I stayed in touch.  I kept my interest up and continued to share the amazing stories I’d learned from the archive with anyone who cared to listen – turns out a fair few people! Co-operation is inspirational stuff after all.

Then, when the Co-operative Heritage Trust was looking for new trustees, I knew that this was a great opportunity to be able to help, on practical and strategic levels with the archive’s collections, its service and potential. I am thrilled to be a part of the Trust and to once again be able to support the legacy of this amazing movement.