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Our latest Co-op National Members’ Council meeting was held on Sunday 20 May in Manchester. Council Members Shane and Jan share what happened on the day.

(Transcript) Shane: Today’s meeting was interesting because it was focussed on the role of the Co-op in the community and how we put our values and principles into action to be that really positive role model for businesses across the UK but also to live up to the expectations that our members have and be that campaigning voice in everything that we do.

Jan: We’ve had an update about the community strategy. They’ve done loads of research, they’ve spoken to a hell of a lot of people, been out in the communities because that’s what we want, we don’t want anything top down.

Co-op council wise, they’ve listened to us, they’ve changed the application for local causes. Previously only registered local charities could apply, now that’s been opened out to not-for-profits organisations and we’ve seen a lot more applications come through. We can now support the not-for-profits community projects, the smaller ones, the more local ones, if you like, and have a bigger impact – it’s fantastic. Just a few hundred pounds can make such a difference in our communities.

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Shane: We had a brilliant update today about the work of the Co-op Foundation. One of the projects, in particular, that was interesting to hear about was around youth loneliness which is sort of a hidden epidemic in a lot of our communities.

Jan: We’ve seen the issue of young parents. They would walk into our store and speak to our staff and that’s the only adult voice they’d hear all day and we’ve seen that as an issue that we want to address.

Shane: I think it’s really transformative work that the Co-op is playing a leading role on in terms of trying to raise awareness that there are actually people who might walk past on a daily basis, people you know through your circle of friends, that are likely to be lonely. So I think it’s really important in terms of making people aware of the support networks that are out there and the ways that people can get involved in the local community as well.

Shane Brogan and Jan Hale
Members of National Members Council

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  1. Sounds good – it is a lot of work, but the hidden cost of isolation and disempowerment in our communities must be astronomical. Very rewarding personally for those involved and makes sure that the Co-op remains “the caring, sharing Co-op”.


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