Joanne Bale - Community Star award winner

We’re sharing the amazing stories of our 12 winners of the first ever Co-op-wide Thank you for Being Co-op awards.

Jo has worked at Co-op for 36 years and is a store manager at Petrol Thorne in Doncaster. Here’s her story.

“I’m absolutely blown away. I enjoy doing what I do so I don’t feel I need thanks or praise. I couldn’t do it without my team.”

NOTE: we know videos can’t be watched in store – but you can watch them from your own device, anytime, by searching for ‘Co-op Colleagues’ on YouTube.

Jo is a remarkable lady. She’s worked for Co-op since she was 16 years old and has given her life to helping the community where she lives and works.

Jo had more nominations than any other colleague in our awards this year. Her humility, selflessness and warmth shine through as soon as you meet her.

Only recently she raised money for a special wheelchair to help a local disabled boy play football with his brother and friends. The boy’s mum said Jo had changed his life. Before he didn’t want to get out of bed but now he’s excited every morning.

She helped a local lady Kim go to Mumbai for pioneering stem cell treatment to help her walk again, and made young Ebony’s dreams come true by helping her be a princess for a day.

These are just a handful of people she’s supported over the last 36 years. She’s also a treasurer for the Pride of the Isle charity which raises money to create memories for the terminally ill (it’s also one of our local causes in this round).

Jo helped set it up in memory of Lex Strong, a young boy who lost his fight to cancer at just seven years old.

“We’ve done an awards night in his memory for the last five years,” explains Jo. “My team are heavily involved and even run the bar – all giving up their own time.

We do something nearly every week for the community. I just see it as part of who I am. To me, that’s what working for Co-op is about. It’s all part and parcel of the rebuild that’s got us where we need to be.”

It’s not just her devotion to supporting individuals who need help, Jo puts her heart and soul into helping her store’s three local causes.

“I think the Local Community Fund is a great thing – we embrace it as a team. We keep in contact with our local causes regularly and make sure they’re part of everything we do. It’s a two-way thing. The more members know about them, the more they’ll choose them.

“We also make sure we involve our local Funeralcare and other stores in the area as doing things together means our Co-op has a much better reach.”

What colleagues said about Jo

“I am so proud, humbled and privileged to know this colleague who is one of the kindest women ever to walk this earth. Without her and Co-op so many families would not have a better quality of life and memories for life!”

“This colleague consistently lives and breathes all of the Ways of Being Co-op, leading and inspiring her peers within the area team with her community and charity efforts – often supporting the co-ordination of events for other stores and the area as a whole.”

“While always keeping herself in the background, she always considers how she can promote our Co-op alongside her activities.”

“I’ve worked with her for the best part of 19 years and continue to be in awe of her completely selfless hard work and determination in terms of community.”


Join the conversation! 14 Comments

  1. As a parent of a child helped by Pride of The Isle, I can’t even begin to put into words the difference that Jo has made to our family. Well done. Much deserved.

  2. Jo
    How time flies – I remember my visits to Epworth store as a Fresh Food Specialist probably 20 years ago , it was a pleasure to visit you and your team – just shows your commitment and energy has stood the test of time – its in your DNA I know, we are so lucky to have you as part of our Co-op family, Ill give you a call to get the kettle on the next time I’m near Thorne

  3. Well done Jo ,I enjoyed many years working with at Epworth , You were always there for me when times were tough no need for details without your friendship not sure how I would have coped working and looking after Bryan as well . Even now I am retired I know I can ring you at any time

  4. I have known Jo for many years. Not only is she my best friend but also the person who I admire above all others. She is the most selfless person always putting others before herself. One in a million!!

  5. Jo is 1 very special lady. Jo and her team has played a big part towards getting Kim stem cell treatment in Mumbai which has now been done and now 12months of physio to go at. Without people like jo this would not have happened. Me and Kim are so pleased you won this award you so much deserve it and from the bottom of our hearts we thank you for your kindness and your help and we now have found a special friend thank you xxx

  6. Well done, you are amazing, everyone knows it! You do so much and I’m so pleased that you have received this award and have been acknowledged for everything you do.
    Amazing lady xx

  7. What a spectacular achievement.
    Always been fond of Jo and the work she does.
    Well done to that girl!

  8. Well done Jo! Really well deserved x

  9. So proud of you Jo.
    You’ve done incredibly well x

  10. Well deserved Jo,
    You’re amazing! X

  11. What an AMAZING lady Jo is.
    After knowing Jo for several years it is a shock to see her speechless!
    A well deserved award and despite her being overwhelmed with the amount of nominations received I wouldn’t expect anything less. She spends her days selflessly helping others in and out of work and I feel blessed to know such a humble and honourable person.
    Well done Jo!

  12. So we’ll deserved. Well done No.

  13. Jo is brilliant at organizing things and we are so proud to have her as our work colleague as we work in Funeral care Jo always includes us in any fund raising and is always there to support us.
    well done Jo your one in a million
    Hazel and Tracy X

  14. Jo is a cracking manager and a great advocate for community work I previously worked along side Jo in my former role as regional admin when I worked in food before moving over to Funeral Care she is a talented lady who is passionate about her team and customers alike and is a very humble person who deserves this recognition. Well done Jo proud to know you.

Comments are closed.


Awards, Being Co-op, Food, Great place to work, Stronger Co-op, Stronger Communities


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