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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Cumbrian consultants mark a decade in business

A Maryport-based business consultancy which has supported the creation and growth of more than 300 co-operative and social enterprises is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month.

Co-operative and Mutual Solutions Ltd (CMS) was formed as a worker co-operative in April 2002 and has been at the forefront of a co-operative renaissance in the county since.

With more than 60 years combined experience, the three directors of CMS – Dave Hollings, Gareth Nash and Anne Sowerby – are now also lead delivery partners in the region for The Co-operative Enterprise Hub.

The Co-operative Enterprise Hub is a free business support service that, since 2009, has received more than 200 applications advice from fledgling or existing co-operatives in the North West alone.

Complementing the trio of co-operative development specialists – whose wide-ranging expertise has seen demand for their services from as far afield as the Czech Republic, Bahrain, and the USA – are fellow director Debra Coles, who manages the office, and full-time trainee Sam Barcock.

Closer to home, CMS advised on the community buyout of the UK’s first co-operative pub, the Old Crown at Hesket Newmarket and, went on to support The Fox and Hounds at Ennerdale Bridge and the Butchers Arms, Crosby Ravensworth.

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