January has seen us kick off our Join us campaign with the fabulous set of films by award-winning director Shane Meadows. The films showcase community groups being supported by the 1% earned through the use of our membership cards.
I was privileged to be at the premiere of the films last week in Manchester which was also attended by Shane who addressed the 400 plus audience. It was good to learn he comes with Co-op credentials – his father worked for us when Shane was a youngster. Watch out for these films if you’re visiting the cinema over the next few weeks. You can view the full version here.
In the spirit of supporting our co-op sisters and brothers, I attended the AGM of the Co-op Credit Union. Last year it provided £2.5m of affordable loans to members. I’m very proud to be a member – credit unions play a vital role in our society and I would urge you to support your local credit union. They are often viewed as a lender of last resort in a crisis – but they actually play a key part of financial planning for many ordinary people.
Looking forward to Renew
Whilst we are in the last year of Rebuild we are now turning our thoughts and energy into planning our Renewal phase which starts in 2018. I’ve agreed with our chief executive, Richard Pennycook, that Council members will join Exec workstreams to develop the thinking for this phase. We’ve arranged a special Council meeting at the end of February to kick-start our thinking. Allan Leighton and Rod Bulmer will both be joining us for this.
I spoke at the Co-op Ways Forward 5 conference – looking at ways to make our economymore democratic. It was great to debate ways forward for our Co-op with longstanding co-operator (and Council member) Iain Macdonald.
We had our first Council meeting of 2017 in January – please have a look at the newsletter to see what went on.
We also welcome Ed Moss, former chair of the Young Members’ Board, to our Senate meeting. Ed is a talented Council member and it’s great to be able to extend opportunities like this to young people – we need more Eds.
I wanted to reiterate my thanks to Richard Pennycook who last week announced he’ll step down as chief executive and from our board on 1 March. Our Co-op survived the crisis of 2013 largely down to his foresight and leadership. Steve Murrells our new CEO is Co-op through and through and a fantastic choice to lead our business into the future. I was delighted to have been part of the appointment process and look forward to working with Steve to strengthen and grow our membership.
President of the Members’ Council