Castlecuffe Co-operative Society

We are doing a competition called " Cooperation is Cool". It's all about learning about the Co-operative movement and how we can learn to work together from it. We started this project the 14th of February 2006. We wanted to do a project on something that has helped our community in the past and today, so all of us together decided to do it about Clonaslee Co-op because it helps a lot of our farmers in our village. The pig farm in the Co-op is closing down soon because the fields are being sold to build houses. We made a plan first to figure out what we were going to do. This is a picture of our committee.

The first thing we did was decide on a name for our co-op. After a lot of discussion we came up with a name Castlecuffe Caring Children Co-operative and we designed the logo that is shown at the start of this section.
We elected a chairperson, secretary, assistant secretary, treasurer and public relations officer and had a meeting in the school to decide what we would do. We have other members as well.

Our aim is to raise money for a secret project in our school (we will reveal all later) and a charity of our choice. We are going to be doing a lot of projects. They first thing we are doing is a St. Patrick's Day sale. We made badges, cards and bands ourselves. We will sell them on the 10th of March. Some of our other projects are a Bric - a - Brac stall, cake sale, non -uniform day and a loose change bottle. We will be also making vases from glass and hope that they will turn out very well. There will be a great selection of badges, bands, cards and vases. We will be having the vase sale a different day. We hope to raise a lot of money for our school and a charity out of all these. We decided to pick a charity to help people in need. Our chosen charity is Laois Down Syndrome. We will also be keeping money for our school. We want to learn how a Co-op works and how it can help everyone in the area. Our aim is to make a profit but not for ourselves. All we want back is our shares and to pay back Mary.

We read about the Co-operative movement on the Internet and we read the book about Donghmore Co-op called " A triumph of Co-operation over Adversity". It was interesting.
We had no money for share capital so we got a loan of 8 euro from Mary who was helping us to plan.
Each committee member bought a share for 1 euro to help. We now had 20 euro. We bought paint, wool, pins and paper. We were ready to start working. Every one in sir's room helped to make bands and badges. Our teachers encouraged us and gave advice (lots of it).

We decided to visit Clonaslee Co-op and there we meet with Mr Matt Barrett who was acting as manger at the time and he told us a lot about the Co-op and why it is closing down. He showed us a lot of things in the Co-op. We got to see the pig houses.
We even saw some piglets being born. This was a great experience as very few of us would ever have been near pigs before. We saw every stage of a pigs life from birth to the time they left for the factory. We saw the piglets, weaners, sows and boars. We found they smell very over powering. It would not be a good idea to have a piggery to close to a lot of houses.

Then all of us went back to school where there is a room for us to work and make things for the Saint Patrick's Day sale. We all were given a job and we all worked together.

We are making the bands out of green, yellow and white wool for St. Patrick's day and for a basketball match that some of the past pupils from Castlecuffe are playing We are making the badges out of card. We cut the card and made it into a shamrock and harp badges. Mary (our teacher) comes every day to help us make the stuff and gives us ideas. We only have a few days left and we are all working very hard. We had lodes more help. These are our main helpers Miss, Della, Mary and Blathnid.

Every day for a least an hour and a half we are down with Mary and we are getting great ideas from her. Everything that we made is recyable so it will not harm the environment.

We are so lucky to have Mary because she is great help and keeps us under control.

This is a picture of us making bands, cards and things. We are very pleased with the things we have done. We hope that everybody will buy what we have made. We put a lot of work and time in doing this.

We wrote a note to each family telling them what were doing and asking them for their support.

On the 10th of March we were very excited. It was the day of our sale. We wondered if anyone would buy anything. We set up our stall in the hall. It looked very well. We were very proud of ourselves. Our first customer was Mrs Digan. Then there was a big queue. Everything was sold. We made ninety four euros. We were all very pleased with this as we had no idea how much would be sold. We had sold out in one hour.

Mr Tom Flynn was the first stockman in Clonaslee Co-op and he came in and told us that when he was working he got paid very little compared to today and that the noise was awful and the smell was bad but after a while you do get used to it and there was no way that they had a machine to give them food or give them drinks they had to do everything by hand and worked all day and sometimes all day Saturday and Sunday, it was a lot harder than it is today, now they have machines to do all the work for them and they get a lot more money then they did back then it was though never easy working in the Co-op back then or today.

Mr Fred Matthews was the first manger of the Co-op. He told us it was very hard in the beginning of the pig farm because there wasn't much money and there was a lot of work to be done. He told us that he shouldn't really have taken on the job as he had his own farm to run and a quarry on the mountain so he was very busy. He had to travel up and down the country to learn about pig farming as it was new at that time. He resigned in 1968. It was a very interesting interview as he told his stories very well.

Mr David Brickley came in and told us about his Dad who was a founder and the first secretary of Clonaslee Co-op Society. We never knew Mr P.D. Brickley but he taught some of our parents in Clonaslee Vocational School who had great respect for him. It was because of the discussion group that he formed that the idea of a Co-op in Clonaslee came from. Mr David Brickley is looking for the minute book and the list of shareholders for us. We would love to see this important piece of history.

Two of our girls went to visit Mr Ned Smith the first employee of the pig farm. He ploughed and tilled t he Davis Farm and got it ready for the building. He lives in Chapel St. Clonaslee.

We hope to put all this information on the internet so everyone can read it.

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