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Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been regularly checking in with Co-op Members to see how they’re coping and to find out how best we can support their wellbeing.   

After almost a year living with social distancing measures, we asked members to tell us again how they were feeling and to share what they’ve been doing to stay as well as possible over the past 12 months. Almost 8,000 members got involved.  

With restrictions ongoing, more than 1,500 members told us they were feeling tired. Similar numbers felt sad, frustrated, bored, lonely, anxious and stressed. Just a few members said they were feeling positive, content, energised and happy.  

Unsurprisingly, the majority of members said they missed visiting family and friends the most. Around a fifth of members missed having close relatives around to the house or going out socialising with friends, while a worrying 13% of members told us they missed getting out of the house without feeling vulnerable.  

How members have boosted their mood  

To help get them through lockdown, the majority of members have been taking walks in nature and boosting their mood by speaking with their loved ones.  

Many have been watching TV and films, reading, and eating good food. Others have found a new hobby or stepped up their exercise routines.  

“I combine a walk with speaking to my friends/family. Before you know it, you have a few miles under your belt – come rain or shine!”  

Diana Crowe, Braintree  

“Take time to explore things you didn’t have time to do before the pandemic.”  

Deborah Sutherland, Kirkwall

“I joined a group in Wrexham called Incredible Edible Wrecsam doing gardening and growing food in public spaces. We get exercise and socialise too.”  

Christopher Hall, Wrexham

“I started painting stones and it is so relaxing. I love it.”  

Judith Hardie, Melrose

“Checking in with friends. I just send a text to say, ‘hey how you are doing?’ Can be really beneficial even if you’re not feeling great yourself and the recipient will feel thought of.”  

Claire Sutton, Stoke-on-Trent  

“Resting and relaxing has made a huge difference to my health. The pandemic and lockdown have taught me a lesson. I shall never be running around 24/7 again!”  

J Martin, Aberdeen

“Being part of a running club that has posted challenges to keep everyone active, involved and talking to each other has been great.”  

Elizabeth Parr, Huddersfield  

“Do something for yourself every day to help you relax. It could be a bubble bath, face mask, make a hot chocolate or light a candle.”  

Abigail Farquharson, Morecambe

“Doing something kind and positive for somebody else each week - an unplanned phone call or dropping flowers off to a neighbour who’s isolated.”  

Sandra Roscoe, Prescot  

How  Co-op has  supported  members’  wellbeing  

Our mental health charity partner, MIND, recognises five ways to support our mental wellbeing - connect, learn, take notice, stay active and give.  

Over the past 12 months, we’ve hosted regular online puzzles, quizzes, wine events and support groups where members could connect, learn more about our products and stay active too.   

The overwhelming majority of members enjoyed the events seeing them as a welcome distraction and a chance to interact with others. More than 90% told us the activities had helped to support their wellbeing.  

“Cheered us up no end and gave us a little time ‘on holiday’ in Chile, Spain and Portugal learning about wine.”  

Elizabeth Jones, Windsor  

“The quizzes lifted my mood and exercised my brain, while the memorial service reached out to me and made me feel I wasn’t alone.”  

Janet Lees, Bradford  

“I’m a key worker, so being able to come and do some puzzles was a fun break from being out.”  

Eliza Perry, Ayr  

“They kept me busy and less time to think when at home alone.”  

Patricia Ridsdale, Middlesborough  

“To see others and join in with something fun gives you a boost.”  

Judith Cooper, Croydon  

“The festive quiz especially helped bring a little bit of excitement and almost normality. Getting the snacks and drinks in and setting a time aside to do this with my partner felt almost like a date night at the pub quiz.”  

Sinead  McRoy, Lymm  

What we are doing next  

Our members have given us some great ideas for what more we could do to help support their wellbeing.  

“How to organise socially distanced events like a walking or cycling group for absolute beginners which could meet when lockdown is lifted.”  

Paul Egerton, Milton Keynes  

“Online discussion groups on issues which matter to people like world events and climate change.”  

Tania Godwin, Aberdeen

“Talks with experts on a variety of topics (crafts, hobbies, singing, gardening) where we can ask questions and get involved and try new things.”  

Emma Sutton, Holmfirth

Members told us their top priorities were to get more active and connect with others. So, with spring just around the corner, we’re inviting you to keep moving by taking part in a virtual Around the World challenge.  

You can also join like-minded members to help us develop a new project to keep people connected, hear the story behind our Irresistible Rioja wine and attend our first online quiz of the year.  

You can find out more about these opportunities and keep an eye out for future events by heading to your online Membership account now.  

Mark Robinson-Field  
Member Participation Manager  

Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. When walking the dog s we make sure that all the older people on our way round we wave to at about the same time am and pm and they all wave back.

    Reply
  2. Lovely to read all the posts here. I have spent much of my time listening to webinars, learning language, learning to play the piano via SimplyPiano app and doing an estate agent diploma course. I am one who will never stop learning.
    I am a NHS responder for check in and chat. It is so rewarding and nice to know all is well.

    Reply
  3. If there are any young people between the ages of 8 to 18 who would like to try some dinghy sailing in the Southampton Area please get in touch on RSYCTrust@Rsyc.org.uk

    The Royal Southampton Yacht Club Trust is a charity which has been supported by the Co-op over several years.

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    Graham Tracey – Trustee

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    Reply
  4. Lovely to read all you’ve said and done. I do voluntary work for a group for the elderly in Leeds . I ring every week to check on 16 people to see how they are. They are all waiting for my call and i get to know so much about them Some just want to hear my voice, some need help with food, some have problems and i can tell them who to ring or just what to do. Now i realize i need them as much as they need me.
    Because its a befriending via telephoning i can carry on during the pandemic.

    Reply
  5. thank you very much, for the post, I was worker in Berlin in the Coop AG  in the year 1988,

    with friendly kinds of regards from me Martin Kuhn, Aronsstr. 50, Germany , Berlin  12057 

    Reply

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