Fifty years of friendship and finance – meet Dave Hollings

As part of our 50th birthday, we’re chatting with people who have known us, worked with us and been supported by us over our fifty years so far.

Today we meet Dave Hollings, Director at Co-operative & Mutual Solutions Ltd 

“I first got involved with ICOF when I was a coop development worker. My first loan application went in back in 1990 when I was with Avon Cooperative Development Agency (CDA). Later, through time with Bolton NEDA, and then Lancashire CDA, I stayed connected and involved.

Ian Taylor asked if I’d come onto the Board 2002/3 and I stayed until 2021. I stayed a bit longer than I intended to as every 10 years, we had to do a share issue for the PLC. In 2017 I realised as we were coming up to do the 2022 share issue and that there wasn’t much continuity in terms of people. There were only a couple of Trustees left from the previous share issue, and only one staff member, and share issues are an area I specialise in – so I stayed to help.

Because I was on the board for so long, it was interesting to see how things changed. I can remember a strategy meeting at Wortley Hall in Barnsley, where a key part of our discussion was that we weren’t lending enough – we had shed loads of money in the bank and as interest rates were high then, we were making loads of interest. Fast forward to the 2010s and then the conversation was ‘we’ve got all this money in the bank and it’s earning almost £0′ as interest rates were so low!

Perspectives also changed over the years. Initially ICOF set up to support worker coops and that was the brief. Later, we expanded to include democratic owned business of all types – and of course a key lending group now for CCF is community owned pubs. I  was instrumental in that, in over 40 loans and in developing the More Than A Pub programme with Plunkett, including lending as part of the package. I rang up Ian Rothwell, and said this could be a very interesting partnership – and it was! CCF came on and handled the loans in the south and Key Fund handled the loans in the north. What came up as a conversation planning the programme ended up being a major part of the business. I love community pubs and I’m Chair of my own local community pub – the Dog Inn at Belthorne, 4 miles south of Blackburn. We had a fantastic bank holiday weekend recently with over 68 dogs at our dog show, up from 20 last time!

There’s no-one left from the ‘old days’ and that’s healthy. It changes and transitions and that’s how it should be.

Well done on reaching 50 – we told you you could manage without Ian Taylor :)”