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Over the last week we have been searching for meaning. With a small group now in place in the Chester area able to start working along cooperative lines, we feel that it will soon to be time to spread the gospel about this different way of doing things.

But what would we say? We know what a Care Cooperative might “look” like, how it might be organised and structured and what “rules” it might work by, but all that tells us is how it compares with other care provision. What excites us is how it contrasts, as it is that which gives it meaning.

We could search for the meaning of life for a Care Co-Operative. But this would fail to understand that a co-operative approach to care is the meaning. A Care Cooperative brings that meaning to life.

How does it do this? Well it allows people receiving direct payments/personal health budgets for their care to control that care. Control allows them to define the quality of the care, how safe they feel receiving it, and how to improve it. And it allows these definitions to be set by their own lived experience, and not by an organisation on their behalf.  So that is what it does, for a direct payment/personal health budget recipient but what does it mean – what difference can it make to their lives?

Well we think it puts the “cart” of care, firmly behind the “horse” of living. The provision, organisation and direction of care ceases to be a burden, and instead becomes a way to enable -the “living” of life (and living it “well” at that)- rather than merely surviving it.

So, the meaning of a co-operative approach to care must be that ‘together we can live life well’.

After all – Is that not the meaning of everything…?

For further information on the project please follow the link http://www.drilluk.org.uk/north-west-care-cooperative-social-enterprises/