International Year of Co-operatives
Credit unions are co–operative financial institutions, based on the 7 co-operative principles. 2012 was declared the International Year of Co-operatives (IYC) by the United Nations. Credit unions throughout the region acknowledged IYC 2012 in unique ways. Following is information about a couple of celebrations and projects related to IYC.
Tignish Credit Union:
- On April 22nd, Tignish Credit Union hosted a reception to jointly bring community attention IYC and to celebrate its 75th anniversary. The credit union Board and Management invited Board and Management from the ten local co-operatives to the reception. During the evening that featured finger foods and drinks, General Manager Louis Shea presented a short history of the co-operative movement in the Tignish area and introduced those present to David Wight, newly hired Executive Director of PEI Co-op Council who outlined the goals and strategic plans for the council in 2012 – 2013.
- On Tuesday June 5th, Tignish Credit Union Manager Louis Shea was guest speaker at the annual West Prince Seniors Expo held at Rodd Mill River Resort. The expo, which is an annual day for entertainment and presentations for local seniors, bases its theme on some event that is prominent in the news of the day. As a regular monetary contributor to the expo, in celebration of IYC, the credit union Manager was invited to bring information about the impact of co-operatives to the region. Mr. Shea gave a brief explanation about how the theme, “Co-operative Enterprises Build a Better Community” fitted so well in the community of Tignish and how the co-operative model did indeed build a better community in Tignish. He spoke about how the original concept used in the formation of Mutuelle societies and farmers organizations in the late 1800’s and the fishermen’s union (Later Tignish Fisheries Co-operative) of the 1920’s led to other economic co-operatives such as the credit union in 1937, the Retail Co-operative in 1938, etc.
The co-operative model was later used to foster social co-operatives that were established to provide services that the community lacked such as the Tignish Health Centre Co-operative to provide office space to attract a doctor, dentist, pharmacy and other public health services and the Normalization Co-operative to provide opportunities for adults with mental disabilities. With the threat of big corporations taking over most family funeral homes, the first funeral co-operative in PEI was formed to offer a simple, cost effective alternative offered by neighbours. A seniors housing co-operative was also formed to allow seniors who needed some assistance an opportunity to remain in the community where they grew up and raised their families. These were followed by Blue Grass and Irish Folk Festival Co-operatives which provide annual concerts to promote the cultural diversity of the area.
- The 2012 Tignish Irish Moss Festival and Parade was held on the Canada weekend and was dedicated to recognizing the importance of the co-operative movement to the community of Tignish and surrounding areas in recognition of the United Nations declaration of IYC 2012. Local businesses and organizations were asked to plan their parade float around the theme of “Community Spirit,” to honor the 7th Co-operative Principle of “Concern for Community.” The brochure and schedule of events featured the IYC logo prominently on its front cover.
- On July 8th, Tignish Credit Union, Tignish Co-operative and Tignish Fisheries Co-operative hosted an afternoon of celebration in recognition of IYC. The afternoon, held at Fisherman’s Haven Park in Tignish Shore, featured live music, games for children and a barbecue featuring fresh seafood. All proceeds raised from the event were donated to Tignish Co-operative Health Centre to help cover operating costs for the facility.
Bergengren Credit Union:
CU On Screen Video Contest. Prize: $1500 scholarship. (Deadline for submission was March 31, 2012)
Panel discussion, May 20.