We are currently delivering Round 6 which started 12th September 2023 and recruiting for round 7 in 2024 – apply via  the dedicated Barefoot webpage.

  • Are you involved in running a co-operative or community business?

  • Could you apply the skills and experience you have developed to help other organisations?

  • Maybe you, or your organisation, are already delivering support to other co-operatives and community businesses. Would you like to do it better and even get paid?

  • Are you working for an organisation that supports co-operatives and community businesses?

  • Could this be the next step in your career?


Apply here  We have transferred management and administration of this programme to another provider, Stir To Action, although we will still be delivering the content for them.

Past achievements

Between Mar 2020 and Sept 2023, over the first 5 runs of Barefoot, Co-op Culture trained a total of 92 members of co-operative and community businesses to deliver specialist business development support, over four training programmes. These “barefoot practitioners” are already delivering support to new and existing co-operatives and community businesses and have already established new co-operative development bodies or joined existing support providers. Brand new support providers established by Barefoot alumni include People Support Co-op and 241 Co-operators Limited.

Who is it for?

The Barefoot programme has been designed for people who have prior experience gained through managing a co-operative or community business and want to support other similar organisations to start and grow. We equip you with knowledge and skills, which combined with your relevant experience, should give you the confidence to provide quality support to co-ops and community businesses. The course would also be suitable for staff of infrastructure bodies or existing co-operative development bodies as part of their continuous professional development.

Who it’s not for

  • If you want to start your own co-op or community business, this course is not for you and you are advised to seek support and resources from a Co-op Development Body, The Hive, Plunkett Foundation, Locality and Power To Change.
  • If you don’t have at least 2 years “lived experience” of management within a co-op or community business, this course is not for you. The course is designed for people who already have an understanding of the underpinning values of co-operatives and community businesses and can bring relevant experience.

To find out more and please the Stir To Action dedicated Barefoot webpage.

Past funder and support acknowledgment

Barefoot would not be in the place it is today without the financial support support and advice of funders who contributed to the pilot and development costs.

Our supporters

We are also grateful for the critical friendship of the following organisations, who helped us evaluate our work and plan our next steps while we were running the programme.