We’ve long believed it ourselves, but it was good to see hard evidence of the fact that our Co-op members are generally a more optimistic, co-operative and neighbourly bunch than your average Joe.

Throughout Co-operatives Fortnight 2017 members joined in to tell us just how co-operative and neighbourly they really are, as our friends at Co-operatives UK set out to ask the same questions of the UK general public.

Over 800 members completed the online survey. Here’s some of the things we learned:

  • Co-op Members are more likely to endorse co-operation, see opportunities for doing so and believe that people co-operate for reasons beyond self-interest
  • They appear more optimistic in general, but also specifically in relation to the chances we have to be successful in life, and in relation to how society looks after people and the environment
  • This sense of increased optimism amongst Co-op members can also be found in their views towards how friendly people are and how they treat others
  • Members look out for their neighbours and are helped by their neighbours to a greater extent than average
  • Here it seems that the more effort you put into maintaining neighbourly relationships, the more you get back, with Co-op members being more active in knowing, speaking to and visiting neighbours
  • But there were one or two areas where members and non-Co-op members were much more closely aligned. When it came to identifying problems they’d had with neighbours for example, ‘noise’ was the most common bugbear for both.

What the survey didn’t quite reveal is which comes first – the co-op member or the neighbourly optimist? I’m pretty convinced that, in the main, co-ops attract the kind of people who are caring, ‘can-do’ individuals,  who recognise and value the difference they can make when they work with others. But I bet for some members, being part of a co-op and understanding the values that underpin it have shaped their world views in a lasting and positive way.

Either way, it’s a great testament to co-operation!

Head over to Join In to check out the opportunities for you to get involved with your Co-op right now.

Nicola Wylde,
Co-operative Engagement Adviser

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