452 words approx. 2 minutes to read.

Hundreds of members have been joining in to tell us about the shared spaces in their communities and the value they bring to local people.

This is the latest in a number of conversations that we’ve been having with members as the Community Team and National Members’ Council look to understand more about the difference Co-op can make to UK communities through our future community programme. Members have already shared their thinking on community safety and education and skills for young people, and are now helping us to consider the issues of mental health and wellbeing

Shared spaces are greatly valued by members, with 87% saying that they are very important to them and their communities. Members talked enthusiastically about all manner of different spaces and the role they play in bringing people together and improving wellbeing – from parks and woodlands, to built spaces, such as community centres, pubs and community halls.

“People NEED a place where they can come together, where they are welcomed, feel safe & look forward to meeting up there.”Mrs B Hartshorn, Co-op Member from Mansfield

 “It encourages children to get outdoors and learn about nature while having fun. Also facilities for older age groups to exercise and socialise.”Hilary Barnard, Co-op Member from Peterborough

As in our previous discussions around our future community programme, a significant majority of members agreed that Co-op should get involved in this area and believed that we are well placed to do that. Members were also interested in getting involved as well – with 99% saying that they would be prepared to get involved in any activity to further develop or deliver a programme to support community spaces.

Amongst the key things that I took away from this conversation with members is the need for any Co-op community programme to support as broad a range of community spaces as possible. So many of these spaces play a vital role in promoting the physical and mental wellbeing of people, as well as providing a place for people to learn so we know that our investment in them is likely to have wider reaching outcomes.

Members also challenged us to think about how we might support a range of activities in these spaces, as well as improving them physically. This has given us some real food for thought, so we’re now exploring what this could look like.

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

We’ll continue to involve members as we develop the programme and ensure that we keep sight of what they’ve told us so far. If you’re a member who would like to get involved in your Co-op, head to ‘Join In’ on your member account and see what opportunities are available right now.

Sarah McKenzie,
Head of Community Propositions & Planning

Read more on how members shape our Co-op;

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Communities locally in the UK, Join In