Swindon Pulse Wholefood Cooperative began life in 1976 in true hippie fashion from the back of a Morris Minor van in Swindon’s old market, it was the inspired initiative of two members of Lower Shaw Farm at a time when there were no other health food outlets in Swindon.
Aims and Objectives
The most important aims and objectives of Swindon Pulse were, and still are, to promote an affordable and healthy way of living, with minimal exploitation of people, planet, and animals; and to run a business on a non-hierarchical basis with consensus decision making, empowering workers to contribute as individuals whilst learning from each other.
Within the year a cooperative of seven members was formed and short let premises were acquired near the Town Hall, and then in 1977 we moved to slightly better short let premises at 105 Curtis Street, with 9 to 5, Monday to Saturday opening hours and an increased product range, establishing ourselves as a haven for Swindon’s healthy eaters and alternative information seekers.
By 1980 membership had increased to an enthusiastic and lucky 13, products were pure, overheads and wages were low, but spirits were high. Introducing wholefoods to Swindonians was an uphill but rewarding struggle (still is!) and generally it was the older residents who provided more custom than the wary if groovy youngsters. Over the next five years a core membership of 4 or 5 remained constant and a steady stream of new co-op members came and went. In 1985 Pulse received notice to quit 105 Curtis Street (so it could be demolished) and the tricky business of finding cheap rent new premises began and this proved a great strain on the co-op, membership dwindled, but loyal customers (some still shop with us!) and hardcore co-op members urged survival.
Pulse survived those dark days of Thatcherite doom and in May 1986 it reopened at 27 Curtis Street where it operates today and continues to improve and expand its services.
Eat local, act global !!
Current co-op membership stands at 4, and we are one of the oldest continually operating wholefood cooperatives in the country – in 2016 we celebrated our 40th anniversary – we are the workers, the managers, and the directors, all working part time for the national minimum wage, and all of us are totally committed to providing good healthy food for the local community and at a reasonable price.