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Throughout January, members have been joining in to share with us their thoughts on what more Co-op can be doing to make their communities safer places to live, work and play, as we work with them to shape our future community programme.
We’ve identified three areas in which we think our community programme can make a real difference to UK communities: community safety, education and skills for young people and local spaces. And we’re asking members to help us understand their priorities for each of these during the first few months of 2019, starting with community safety.
Members responded positively to the idea of us developing activity around community safety and the causes of crime within local communities, with over half strongly agreeing that this should be an area of focus, and more than a third strongly agreeing that safety was a significant issue in their community.
Anti-social behaviour topped the list of members’ views on causes of crime, with the issues of drugs, poverty and deprivation and alcohol also being identified by a significant number. We will seek to ensure that any future community programme responds to the root causes of crime in communities.
Over 60% of members felt that the Co-op was well placed to begin to address the issues of community safety and the causes of crime. They felt that we could best achieve this by working with existing community organisations to facilitate closer co-operation and relationships, and identifying and directly supporting organisations already working within the area of community safety. All of which gives us a strong basis from which to start our thinking.
I, and my colleagues in the National Members’ Council, were genuinely impressed by members’ appetite to work with us on this agenda. The majority of members were keen to continue to take part in conversations with us, to hear about our work in this area and even attend an event to hear more about these issues. Asking the view of Members is an important role of the Council and there is no subject more important than the safety of our colleagues. It’s clearly also an area that members care about and on which many are already engaging – almost a quarter saying that they are currently participating in something relating to understanding or addressing crime or community safety. This expertise will be invaluable to us as we move forward.
Throughout February and March we will be exploring with members how our community programme can support education and skills for young people and community spaces. Members can head to their member accounts to join in with these conversations. We’ll then take some time to reflect on what we heard across the three themes before we come back to members with some ideas for next steps and where we need more feedback.
And if you missed the discussion on community safety, and have something you’d like to contribute, please leave a comment below.
President National Members’ Council