Nick Crofts, The Co-op Member Council President, shares his thoughts.
“We are now fast approaching 21 September, which marks the launch of our new member benefits announced at our AGM – just to remind you it’s 5% back for you and 1% for local community groups when you use your Co-op card to buy our great own-brand products. This is something that really excites me – because it sets us apart from our competitors.
I genuinely think that we might have the ingredients for alchemy here – a compelling membership scheme that everyone can easily understand, and that puts worthwhile rewards into the hand of our members.
The Council has been involved in the thinking behind the brand relaunch, of which the membership scheme is a huge part. Council members and colleagues have been trialling the new scheme now for a couple of months, and I have found that I am both spending more, and buying more of our own-brand products. If this is replicated more widely when the scheme goes lives from 21 September the results could be quite dramatic. Watch this space – and keep your eye out for your new card!
We are one movement
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being invited to speak to the Board of the ScotMid Co-op. The Scottish Midland Co-operative Society is the largest independent co-op in Scotland, and has been trading now for almost 150 years.
I always enjoy visiting other co-ops to talk about the work of the Council and the progress we have made since we were ‘born’ in May 2015. Two senior members of the ScotMid Society serve on the Council, John Dalley and David Patterson. Council is immeasurably strengthened by the involvement of representatives of Independent Societies. My visit was a great opportunity to present on mine and the Council’s priorities for the year ahead.
We’re also heading in to party conference season and we will be and we will be hosting events to gather views and opinions across the main parties on our campaign to tackle loneliness and isolation. This is something the members voted for us to look at last year – it certainly fits with the co-op model – people coming together to solve a problem.
Later in the year I’ll be doing my own fundraising challenge, to try and raise much-needed money to support our charity partner British Red Cross.
Rolling out our new look
Over the summer I was able to visit a number of our stores and can report that our newbrand is landing well with shoppers and colleagues – but we all know that the co-op is much more than a brand above a door or a logo on our packaging – we’re a different way of doing business. We’re different to the capitalist model which has seen the collapse of big names such as Woolworths and Blockbuster. Being owned by the people who trade with us means co-ops aren’t driven by short-term returns to shareholders or subject to the whims of private owners. The ability to take that long-term approach is a big part of our co-op difference.
GCSE success for our academies
I would like to congratulate the students at our Academy Schools for their recent exam results. All four secondary schools that are part of the Academies Trust have seen significant improvements in their results – against a backdrop of pass rates falling nationally.
Here’s how they got on:
- The Co-operative Academy of Stoke-on-Trent (CAS) has recorded its best ever set of results
- The Co-operative Academy of Leeds (CAL) has seen similar results to last year with strong student progress overall
- The Co-operative Academy of Manchester (CAM) which was already one of the best performing schools in North Manchester has yet again seen improved performance
- Manchester Creative and Media Academy (MCMA), which joined the Co-operative Academies Trust earlier this year, has seen a significant improvement in attainment and progress scores
So a giant congratulations to the students at the schools that did so well. We’re proud of our schools, and their results. The students will be the next generation of co-operators – congratulations again.”
President, Co-op National Members Council