Long-established relationship celebrated as loan secured for East End’s radical print and design co-op

A printing cooperative rooted in activism within London’s East End has secured finance as a returning borrower, 44 years after being the first co-op to fully repay its loan to Co-operative & Community Finance, back in 1979.

Founded in 1977, Calverts is a design and printing workers’ cooperative based in Bethnal Green, East London. As a 13-strong equal pay co-op, the business is built on a collective foundation where employees “jointly own and control the company, putting into action the cooperative values of equity, solidarity, democracy, self-help, self-responsibility and equality”.

Calverts members Cherry Haynes and Sam Rogers check quality on a print project.

Calverts offers a range of services including creative design, branding, high end print and bookmaking, as well as creative workshops, teach-ins and team building days for clients. Over its 45-year trading history Calverts has served a wide client base that includes consumer brands, universities, the arts, third sector and campaigning organisations. Famously, Calverts researched and designed the global Co-op Marque.

Working with Co-operative & Community Finance, Calverts has secured a loan to purchase new reprographic equipment. The loan comes some 44 years after Calverts were the first cooperative to fully repay a loan to Co-operative & Community Finance (ICOF as it was then known).

Kevin Lloyd-Evans, Lending and Relationship Manager at Co-operative & Community Finance said: “As a returning customer, we are delighted that Calverts have chosen to work with Co-operative & Community Finance again. Since 1977 Calverts have been part of the worker cooperative movement. In our 50th year it is rewarding to see our relationships with clients standing firm and the continued relevance of our funding across the cooperative movement.”

A recent article described Calverts as a cooperative that has been ‘putting the activism into Bethnal Green since its 70’s punk rock beginnings.’ And with their radical roots running deep in the East End, the article goes on to say the co-op are ‘best placed to serve the community of which they are an intrinsic part, and in an environmentally efficient way.’

Co-operative Director Siôn Whellens said “The new £50k loan on CCF’s unique terms represents good value for money, and helps ensure Calverts competitiveness in a tech-driven industry. Because they’re a lender with a mission to support worker co-ops, we were delighted to renew the partnership with CCF”.

You can keep up to date with Calverts by visiting their website.