Meet the team

Alex Lawrie
Co-op Development Consultant

Alex is a long-standing co-operator, as a founder member of many societies including Stepping Stones and Cornerstone Housing Co-ops, Footprint Workers Co-operative, Somerset Co-operative Community Land Trust, Ecological Land Co-op and GO-OP, and SCS itself.  

Alex studied Politics at Leeds University. In 2018 he gained a Masters Degree in Strategy, Change and Leadership from the University of Bristol. Alex also became a SFEDI accredited-operative advisor in 2008. Alex is also the author of ‘Empowering the Earth’ (Green Books, 2000), and Simply Finance (Co-operatives UK,2011).

Talk to Alex about: Alex’s role in SCS includes work on housing co-ops, community rail, car clubs, local complementary currencies, secondary co-operatives, and co-operative development infrastructure.

Contact:, 07963 917472

Steve Howell
Co-op Development Consultant

Steve has a background in housing co-ops, and community development and regeneration. His housing experience covers both housing co-ops and community land trusts, and the development of new-build affordable rent homes for people in housing need. 

Steve has led on the development of innovative models of community involvement and development in deprived areas. He has also worked on large-scale community-led regeneration schemes – developing cross-sector partnership working – as well as supporting small scale community initiatives.

With over 30 years of experience in community development, and cooperative and partnership working, Steve recognises the importance of team building and engagement of stakeholders to success. Along the way he gained extensive experience and expertise in fundraising from grants, government agencies and crowdfunding.

Steve Howell has a degree in physics.

Talk to Steve about:  Steve leads on Community Land Trust support, housing development, community engagement and the sustainability projects.

Contact:, 0300 456 2265

Joanne Elston
Co-op Development worker

Jo started her journey with cooperatives by working for SHRUB Coop, a multi stakeholder community cooperative in Edinburgh, where she coordinated the Sustainable Fashion programme and gained a lot of experience facilitating meetings and workshops. Through this, she was introduced to other local community organisations and the wider coop sector.

After leaving this job she went on to do the Barefoot Cooperative Development course with Coop Culture as well as Facilitation and Conflict Resilience training with Navigate. She is now excited to put all of these skills into practice with SWCD.

Contact:, 0300 456 2265

Katrina Cox
Administration Assistant

Katrina has 14 years experience in administration work. In her career she has also worked in the care sector and has been a teaching assistant. She is a caring and enthusiastic person, and enjoys supporting and helping people.

Katrina has learnt sign Language.

Talk to Katrina about: Katrina is often the first person you will talk to and will help you with your enquiries.

Contact:, 0300 456 2265.

Iona Rowe
Co-op Development worker

Iona’s background is varied: growing up in Glastonbury, she started working life as an apprentice with a small financial planning firm in Wells. After 5 years Iona was almost a fully certified regulated financial planner but found herself with an urge to change direction.

This lead to spending time as a volunteer research assistant in Peru for an independent non-profit team. Iona has since worked in Bristol and Somerset, supporting the needs of those with complex learning difficulties and mental health challenges, and children in the care system. Iona joined the Southwest Co-operative Development team at the end of 2022 and is enjoying marrying her skillsets in this role. 

Contact:, 0300 456 2265

Somerset Co-operative Services CIC
Registered as a Community Interest Company: 06018662
Registered office address: 10 East Reach, Taunton TA1 3EW
Office phone: 0300 456 2265