New generation and new services for design co-op

Alpha-promoA long-established marketing and design co-operative has taken on a new generation of workers and is developing new services with help from the Co-operative Loan Fund.

Alpha Communication, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, has launched two new services – video production and graphic animation – and is already working on projects for several clients involved in community development, faith networks and fair trade. The Co-operative Loan Fund is providing finance for working capital and the purchase of video equipment.

The co-operative, set up in 1987, has changed significantly in recent years. Key workers have left and a new team was recruited in 2011-12. In 2013 Alpha Communication relocated from Durham to Newcastle – a very positive move that has resulted in new business.

David Parker, the only original member of the co-op still working at Alpha Communication, said: “Although there have been big changes in our industry over the last 27 years the core of our business has remained the same – we help our clients to communicate with the people they want to reach. When we started we mostly used print to do this – now we use websites, video and social media.”

Fen Frances, the youngest member of the co-op, said: “The Co-operative Loan Fund has helped us realise a collective dream by allowing us to move into other creative arenas and offer an even wider range of products and services to our customers. We’ve already completed several video projects, which our clients are delighted with. We’re excited to expand on this work, and confident that our business will continue to grow over the next few years.”

Ian Rothwell of the Co-operative Loan Fund said: “It’s very encouraging to see an established workers’ co-op with a viable business plan that should enable it to flourish long after the founder members have retired. I was most impressed by the determination of the younger members of Alpha to drive the business forward into new markets.”