Members’ questions raised at heart of Co-op

500 words approx. 3 minutes to read.

Members responded with hundreds of questions when our National Members’ Council asked them to get involved in their next two meetings.

As Council Members, we’re here to be a voice for our members and communities around the UK, so it was great to hear from so many members about what matters most to them and have the opportunity to put some of their questions to Co-op Directors. A big ‘thank you’ to everyone who took the time to share their thoughts with us.

Our members wanted to know more about what preparations our Co-op has made ahead of Brexit to protect our quality of service, financial performance, members, customers and colleagues.

We were pleased to hear that there’s lots going on across the Co-op to understand and assess the impact of Brexit. We learnt that the business has been as ready as it’s possible to be for a no-deal since the end of March.

For example, we’re very closely connected with our suppliers and we’re making sure that we have stock and space to continue operating in a way that doesn’t massively impact our service or shoppers.

It’s also reassuring to hear that protecting our colleagues is a huge priority for us and always will be, so we’re doing everything we can to support EU nationals working around our Co-op too.

Another key priority for our members was around our membership proposition. Members wanted to know if people recognised the local community fund, and the contribution it makes to causes in the local community, as something different to loyalty schemes offered by other retailers. We found out that it was valued by members, but that our members also wanted to feel connected to a cause in their community. When they have this connection, they will shop more to donate more, which creates real commercial and community value.

The final question that we raised on behalf of members was around how we are raising awareness of Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities with festival-goers through our presence at summer festivals, particularly around the issues of alcohol and drug abuse.

We found that our move into festivals is still at a very early stage of development, so our priority has been to get the basics right in terms of our food offer and customer service so that we’re recognised as a leading retailing partner for the most high-profile festivals. There are plans afoot to shout even louder about our campaigns, including raising awareness of drinking responsibly as part of our presence at festivals in 2020. We’re committed to building a lasting relationship with festival-goers so they see us as more than just a convenience retailer.

In November, we’ll be back in Manchester to hear the latest from around our Co-op and will be raising more of our members’ questions with senior leaders on topics like greener funerals and community focus. In the meantime, take a look at September’s Council Newsletter for our highlights from the weekend or visit your member account to see what opportunities are currently available for you to join in and shape your Co-op.

Jan Hale,
Council Member for Cymru Wales