The Foster Care Co-operative, one of the founding Skyrocket organisations, has been shortlisted for a Co-operative of the Year award! The annual Co-operative of the Year awards are organised and hosted by Co-operatives UK, an organisation that works to promote, develop and unite member-owned businesses around the country. Every year, staff, members, customers and the general public are invited to vote for a coop organisation that they feel best represents the ‘co-operative’ model. Being nominated for an award is validation in itself that those associated or familiar with the organisation believe in its approaches, objectives and ethos. This year there are four categories: Leading Co-operative of the Year, Inspiring Co-operative of the Year, Breakthrough Co-operative of the Year and Co-operative Council of the Year. The Foster Care Co-operative (FCC) has been shortlisted for the Inspiring Co-operative of the Year award. Earlier this year, FCC was visited by Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK. He had this to say about the organisation: “For nearly twenty years the Foster Care Co-operative has shown what a difference it makes when an organisation is run by the people most involved, the foster carers and staff. The wider social care sector is gradually waking up to the importance of participation, something that the Foster Care Co-operative has pioneered for almost two decades. There is so much that can be learnt from this inspiring organisation.” FCC’s founder, Laurie Gregory, was a Deputy Director within a local authority and a foster carer himself when he started FCC. “Quite apart from the morality of it, I wanted to give more children the chance of family life,” Laurie said. “I instinctively did not wish to start a 'for profit' company and after meetings with my Chamber of Commerce and invaluable advice from Co-operatives UK, I chose the model of multi-stakeholder and common ownership and registered the company. We have grown slowly by bringing new people to fostering."