Co-op directors

Andrew Birchall

founding director and secretary

Andy started his working life in the Coal Industry, first in Deep Mines and then Opencast, he then later became a Tutor in Trade Union Education working in several Colleges in the North West. 

He is passionate about worker ownership and control in the economic sphere, and believes working people have the capabilities and capacity to create and develop workplaces that share the benefits of the production more equitably.

Preston Cooperative Education Centre is such a democratic workplace and aims to develop courses with people to support them in their endeavours to create a more democratic and inclusive economy through Cooperative businesses. 

Lynne Brooks

founding director

Lynne Brooks is a local councillor for Preston City Council and an active trade unionist. She spent many years as a Branch Secretary of Public and Commercial Services Union PCS and as an official of Preston and South Ribble Trades Union Council.  She believes in democratic accountability and socialist principles which are the core values of trade unionism. 

She is also a keen supporter of the Preston Model which offers an alternative economic model based on Community wealth building. This is a fairer and more sustainable system which creates more local opportunities and enables members of the communities to thrive. 

Lynne lives in Preston and studied at UCLan obtaining a BA hons degree in Applied Social Sciences. 

Aniela Bylinski Gelder


Aniela is a local Borough Councillor and Cabinet Member for Communities Social Justice and Wealth Building in South Ribble.

Aniela has a keen interest in supporting a move towards a mixed economy of worker-owner co-ops where democratic decision making may exist outside just the political sphere. In order to improve this mix of business models Aniela has become a Director of the PCEC to encourage the incubation of ideas across Preston and South Ribble educating and encouraging future business owners to consider cooperative principles when setting up their businesses.

Aniela has implemented a CWB agenda in South Ribble ensuring Social Value procurement is in place and wealth and skills stay local benefitting the local communities.

In addition, Aniela has modelled the five Community Hubs in South Ribble around cooperative principles. They have been modernised, increasing autonomy to members and local communities, giving residents and members more of a say over community projects and budgets in their area, empowering local people to become involved in the democratic decision making process. A recent review of the five Community Hubs saw a fantastic response; 93% of respondents stating they feel as though their Community Hub has the autonomy to identify and act on local priorities.

Julian Manley

founding director

Julian Manley researches and teaches at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in Preston. He is the Co-ordinator of the Preston Model Project Committee and was a founder member and first Chair of the Preston Co-operative Development Network.

He was a member of the Interim Academic Board of the Co-operative University project, and is currently a member of the Co-operative University Federation Steering Group.

Julian has a lifetime commitment to education, and before joining UCLan, he was teacher and a member of the Senior Management Team of the British Council School in Madrid, Spain.

He has a long standing relationship with the co-operatives in Mondragón, where he has provided training and consultancy services to Otalora, the Mondragon Centre for Management and Co-operative Development.

He has co-authored a chapter on co-operative education in the recently published book ThePreston Model and Community Wealth Building (Edited by Manley and Whyman, published by Routledge, 2021).

Mick McKeown

founding director

Mick McKeown is professor of democratic mental health, School of Nursing, University of Central Lancashire and trade union activist with Unison, playing a role in union strategising on professional nursing.

He has taken a lead in arguing the case for trade union solidarity and alliances with service user/survivor groupings and is active in promoting union interests in cooperative solutions linked to organising.

Mick sees union renewal as inextricably linked to aspirations for workplace democracy and views unions as key within wider systems of community action, civic engagement, and fair economic regeneration.

His is a board member of Preston Cooperative Development Network and a member of Union Co-ops UK.

Janet Newsham

founding director

Janet Newsham is chair of the UK Hazards Campaign which is an occupational health and safety campaigning organisation and organises the UK Hazards Conference which is one of the largest health and safety conferences for safety reps in Europe. 

She is coordinator of Greater Manchester Hazards Centre which supports workers and trade unions across the North West on occupational health and safety issues.  This involves delivering training sessions on all aspects of health, safety and welfare to trade union and community groups and working closely with trade unions and other groups.

Sits on Employment Tribunals as a member and has previously worked in Trade Union Education as a lecturer, she has worked for UCU on a Union Learning Fund project and for BAe as a programmer/analyst at Samlesbury. 

Janet lives in Preston and is an active member of Preston and South Ribble Trades Council and the Unite Union branch. 

Cilla Ross

founding director

Dr. Cilla Ross stepped down as Principal of the Co-operative College in 2021 and is currently working in a freelance capacity.

Cilla has taught, researched and supervised adult learners across the UK and internationally in interdisciplinary higher, adult and labour education. Her interests range across labour history, radical/critical education and work sociology. 

Cilla is currently involved in the Co-operative University Project, thinking about Union Co-operatives in the UK and exploring new ways of thinking about co-operative learning as radical pedagogy/political education. 

Recent publications include Noble, M, Ross, C (Eds.) (2020) Reclaiming the University for the Public Good: Experiments and Futures in Co-operative Higher Education London: Palgrave. 

Cilla was a Commissioner on the Centenary Commission on Adult Education and has been appointed to an Honorary Professorship in Co-operative Education at the University of Nottingham.

Cilla is also an Honorary Fellow of the Co-operative College; an active member of a number of education/worker co-operatives, and a Trustee of Lipman Miliband.

David Savage


Dave Savage is Preston born and bred. He took a degree in History from University of Manchester before joining the Civil Service in 2001.

He has been a trade union activist in the years since, setting up the Unite-Community, Lancashire and Branch during a period of unemployment, as well as having various roles over the years with different branches of the civil servants’ trades union, PCS.

He re-founded Kingston TUC during a spell living and working in London and is currently the elected Organiser of Preston & South Ribble TUC, an organisation he has been involved with since 2008.

Dave is editor of his own websites, including Sodalis, and editor of Preston Red Thread, an online quarterly magazine. He is a member of the Labour Party.