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At the Co-op we value diversity and one of the ways we try and make sure people feel supported is by our colleague networks. We have two at the moment – Aspire and Respect, but we’re open to adding new networks if colleagues tell us there’s a need for new ones. Here’s what they do:

Respect

Respect is the Co-op’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) network. It’s an inclusive organisation, open to anyone who’s interested in getting involved, or who wants to know more about what we do to support colleagues and champion LGBT issues.

Respect helps our members to make contacts, collaborate and share skills – developing them professionally and personally. It’s also a completely confidential port of call for those who are going through a difficult time because of their sexuality or gender identity.

Recently the Co-op was named the 31st most LGBT-inclusive employer in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index 2017. Respect was also recognised with a ‘highly commended network’ award. During Digital Pride, Respect’s interviews with Vicky Beeching and Amy Collins were streamed and had thousands of views online.

To join Respect, email respectlgbt@coop.co.uk

You can follow all the news from Respect on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT

Aspire

Aspire is a women’s career development network. It was founded after a survey in 2011 showed that female colleagues wanted more informal support to develop their career and make new connections.

Aspire holds regular events, networking and skills-based sessions and also produces a quarterly newsletter. The group is fully inclusive, and men are welcome too.

Aspire had a busy 2016, holding over 40 events for colleagues and external supporters. Since Jan 2016, membership has also increased by 50%.

To join Aspire, just email aspire@coop.co.uk

You can follow all the news from Aspire on Twitter  @aspire_co_op

In 2017 we’d like to make sure that our networks are available to all colleagues across the Co-op.  If you’d like to support an event, have any ideas on how we can do things differently, or you’d like to get involved, please get in touch.