Last month Sarah Mackenzie, Community Strategy and Change Lead, told us how Co-op is running trials in Warrington and Bristol to test out new ways of working in communities so that we can achieve our Stronger Co-op, Stronger Communities ambition. As those trials come to an end, Member Pioneer Jade Johnston shares her experience of being involved in Bristol.
I’ve been a Member Pioneer for the Filton area of Bristol over the last year working with Food stores, Funeralcare, and Legal Services – where I work in Probate.
When I was approached to take part in this trial in Bristol I thought it would be a great experience for me to use my digital skills to help.
I’m passionate about working with the community to understand and learn what they need, rather than telling them what we, and Co-op, think they need.
This trial has got everyone talking about what could be achieved together through co-operation.
So what’s been my role?
As it’s all about bringing people together to share their ideas for the community using whatever communication is best for them – it’s been brilliant to combine the more traditional ways of connecting people through drop-in sessions and events, with digital communication.
It allows us to reach lots of people rather than targeting specific groups.
My fellow Member Pioneers Kim and Ruth have been covering the face-to-face events – popping into stores, doing the workshops and drop-in sessions for the local community.
I’ve been more involved on the digital side.
- I’ve been helping stores use social media to connect with the community.
- I’ve set up a Facebook group for the local community so people could liaise together and see what’s happening.
- I’ve been emailing local causes who weren’t able to attend the drop-in sessions and keeping them updated on the ideas being shared.
How it’s gone
For me, the launch event was amazing. I went into it not knowing whether anyone would be interested in the community, and wondered whether anyone would even come.
The amount of people that turned up and really brought their passion and ideas to the meeting, was gobsmacking really.
I expected people to come from local causes but there were local people who just wanted to make things better. I thought it was lovely to see that in the day and age we live in, people still want to come together and change things.
Having the online platform where people can see their ideas come to life on a website – that’s really inspiring for people.
It brings it to life. When you see it on the website you think: This is really happening and it’s driving people to be passionate about their idea and want to take it forward.
Ideas like the Community bike ride for Meningitis UK where colleagues are hoping to raise £1,000 in memory of George Zographou.
I’d really like to see this way of working happen across the UK. It’s great for Member Pioneers to get that buy-in from colleagues locally, and have the support of the wider Co-op and local community.
I’d love to see this happen in every community.
Member Pioneer and Co-op Legal Services colleague