Co-op Members have been amongst the first to explore a new tool that we’ve created to measure wellbeing in communities throughout the UK.

The Community Wellbeing index provides a snapshot of how communities score in nine key areas – everything from education and skills to equality, participation and trust. We’ve built it as a resource for communities to use, but it’s also been extremely valuable to Co-op as we set out to develop the next phase of our community programme.

Well being index example

Members were invited to visit the site and enter their postcode to find out how their community shaped up. They then fed back to us their thoughts about the index overall and how they might use it in their communities. The majority of members found the Index easy to understand, felt that it reflected their understanding of the needs of their communities and said that it was something they would share with others who might find it useful. It also gave us some useful pointers about what we should do next.

“It was very interesting to see where there are ‘gaps’ in the community, things that need improving. Where I live it appears to be ‘Voice and participation’ which is lacking whilst others were relatively high.” Elliot Reed, Co-op Member, Nottingham

“Maybe there could be more information on how we can improve scores as a community. It tells us how they are calculated but not what would work as prevention/stabilisation measures. (Also what the government can and should do to support communities).” Mark Mordak, Co-op Member, Gravesend

Take a look at the Community Wellbeing Index to see how your community scores.

Q4 - Payout - Community Wellbeing Index Banner

Emerging community themes

The Index has already helped us to identify three areas where we think Co-op community investment can make a difference;

  • community safety
  • education and skills for young people
  • community spaces

It was good to give these an initial sounding with the 1,500 members who tested the Index, before we start to look at them in greater depth with members early next year.

83% of members said they liked the themes, which is an encouraging start to our planning.

We also asked members to tell us which of the three community themes they thought we should prioritise. Attracting the support of 41% of members, ‘community spaces’ emerged as the most popular, followed by ‘education and skills’ with 31%.

Next steps

I was pleased to hear that many members found the Index to be a valuable tool, It’s also been great to use it to work through what our priorities should be as a business, and I’m looking forward to joining conversations with members throughout early 2019 to delve deeper into the issues of community safety, community spaces and education and skills.

Head to your member account now to join in the conversations.

Co-op Members shape our Co-op by joining in #TheCoopWay

Rebecca Birkbeck
Director Community Engagement

Read more on how we’re building stronger communities at our Co-op;

Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. It would be helpful if you gave a fuller account of how of how people responded to your original call for feedback on your Wellbeing Index. I do not think highlighting just 2 comments is enough to give a picture of how people responded.

  2. Not sure the size of an area, (e.g. everything here is within walking distance if you are physically fit or have the time), the age group of the population/ratios, rural isolation, transient working patterns…seasonal work, cost of buying a property/ amount of housing available to families & workers to rent in a largely tourist area, limited accessible internal transport options due to having no public transport system; no theatre or cinema, (various health & safety issues, licencing etc. make even the voluntary led events a major chore to achieve), the almost prohibitive cost of going anywhere outside of the area, high energy bills, a complete lack of trust in Governance (despite a high voting population), and more, are really reflected in this type of survey!

    The environment would score very high here, it’s a beautiful place mainly taken care of by The Wildlife Trust (who also have to fund-raise for their existence), but if you are sick, elderly, immobile you are unlikely to be able to access it.

    Most of our health provision locally is very good…but specialist health care can prove very costly for families if a course of treatment is required on the mainland.

    The Co-op fares well here because there is no alternative large store. Having said that they do a pretty good job in supporting the community given the difficulties in getting food to the shelves…some of which are mentioned above and the good old British weather. Products stocked are beginning to meet people’s needs but sometimes things disappear from the shelves never to be seen again and that can be frustrating if you are following a particular health regime for example.

    Membership of the Co-op here is particularly high, I understand, although there is always room for improvement. Given the influx of tourist to this area, on occasions this must impact on the overall spend in the Co-op, but is unlikely to result in higher membership. Is there some way people can automatically become members and be given the option to opt out? (I haven’t thought that one through and it might give rise to all sorts of problems, but bottom line is that you are a business and increasing membership/trade is probably high on your agenda.)

    The Community Fund has been a boon in a small community such as ours as most fundraising is geared toward the big national charities such as Cancer Research etc. and local groups are generally the poor relations.

    So thank you.

  3. Using my post code to search for my local Well being index brought up results on the combination of two adjoining towns, but very different communities. When will this indexing resource be available for smaller community organisations to use?

  4. more co-op banks and pharmacies needed

  5. It would be useful to link the information obtained through the index to local community iniatives such as the Community Action Meeting in my local town.


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