Approx 800 words.

It’s been an unprecedented year for everyone, with measures introduced to reduce the spread of coronavirus leading to big changes in our daily lives.  

As restrictions begin to relax and normal life slowly resumes, we thought it would be a good time to reflect on how we’ve been helping Co-op Members stay as well as possible.

Throughout the past 12 months, we’ve been regularly checking in with members to see how they’ve been coping and to explore what Co-op and other members could do to help support their physical and mental wellbeing during these uncertain times.

In our first check-in last May, the majority of members told us they were looking for new ways to connect with others, learn something new and stay active.  

So, we’ve hosted regular quiz nights, online puzzles, wine events and set up support groups to help bring members together.  

Quiz nights   

More than 1,300 Co-op Members pitted their knowledge against each other on screen as we hosted five exclusive member-only quiz nights - including a dedicated event to mark World Mental Health Awareness Day.  

Held via Zoom, the hour-long quizzes enabled members to interact and have some fun while remotely answering four, 10-question rounds on everything from food and drink to general knowledge and sport. 

And, in true Co-op participatory style, all the questions featured were submitted in advance by members.  

The breaks also provided members with the chance to feed back on live issues being considered by Co-op.  

“Loved the quizzes, best online ones I’ve found. The time limit and multiple choice and scoreboard systems are really good, and the prizes add more incentive too. It also gives an extra opportunity to bring the household together.”   

Laura Monk, Kent

“I live on my own, so I was completing the quizzes with my sister and her family via text at the same time.”   

Penny Kirby, Whitstable

Wine and beer events   

There’s lots of evidence to suggest that learning something new can be good for our mental health, so we explored ways to enable our members to learn about the stories behind Co-op products.  

Working with our wine buyers, suppliers and producers, we launched a series of exclusive online wine and beer events.  

More than 1,400 members joined in on Zoom to hear the inspiring stories behind our Co-op Fairtrade wine, White Port, Cava Brut and Spanish Garnacha.  

Members also had the chance to chat with other members, put their questions to our experts, and learn more about how to create the perfect food pairings too.   

“So very interesting to see who, where and how these wonderful wines, ports and Sherry are made. Lovely way of being able to share the country in which they are produced.”  

Judith Langfield, Cumbria  

“Really good fun. Informative but light enough to engage with. It was lovely to see the ‘chat’ going on in the typed chat box as well as the main event.”  

Claire Winfield, Derbyshire

Members also got involved to hear experts from Brewgooder and Toast Ale share the stories behind their beers and explain how these social enterprise breweries invest their profits for social good as we celebrated Buy Social Weekend in October.  

Online puzzles   

We’ve helped members stay mentally active by putting their problem-solving skills to the test with a collection of online puzzles – including some seasonally-inspired conundrums to keep them busy over the Christmas holidays. 

Our catchphrases, anagrams, visual, number and logic puzzles offered some welcome distraction to more than 2,500 members during these unprecedented times.   

“I really enjoyed trying to work out the answers and challenge the brain.”  

Sarah Phillips, Inverness  

“I enjoyed the Christmas puzzles online with my partner which got us into a guessing game.”  

Serife Arif, London

Support groups  

We’ve also helped connect members to others who are going through similar life events.  

Our online bereavement story groups, run by members for members, have enabled members to get together online to talk, share experiences and provide each other with mutual support in a safe space at a time when we’ve been unable to physically meet up.  

“It sounds odd to say that I enjoyed a bereavement group, but it was helpful to be able to talk about my loss with strangers.”  

Lisbeth Baron, Warrington

We held discussions on loneliness in November and were surprised to learn how many members would be spending Christmas alone due to the pandemic. So, we arranged several online get-togethers to enable members to connect and chat about their favourite films, music and books over the festive period.  

“I was completely alone at home but joining in the events made me laugh and feel part of a community.”   

Audrey O’Driscoll, London

There are always ways for you to get involved with your Co-op. Head to your online Membership account to find out what’s available now.  

Mark Robinson-Field  
Member Participation Manager  

Join the conversation! 8 Comments

  1. Hi Christine, be sure to keep an eye on emails from Co-op about Join In opportunities. We send an email each month highlighting opportunities to get involved. You can also take a look at any time by logging into your membership account online. ^Cat

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  2. Hi Rebecca, be sure to keep an eye on emails from Co-op, this is where Join In opportunities such as these appear. You can also find the latest opportunities online when you log into your membership account. ^Cat

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  3. I took part in one quiz before Christmas but I didn’t know about subsequent ones! I had also put forward a question for the quiz as suggested in the invite email.
    Would have been nice to have been informed about these other quizes.

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  4. I am disappointed that I didn’t know anything about the support groups, quizzes, etc. Are any of these still taking place?

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  5. It would be nice if a holiday club could be set up for people on their own who would like someone to travel with.Why be lonely ?
    I am thinking of the age group 60 to 75 ish.

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  6. Most other supermarkets do home deliveries on line. I would use your service

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#TheCoopWay, Food, Funeralcare and Life Planning, Join In