We’re sharing the amazing stories of our 12 winners of the first ever Co-op-wide Thank you for Being Co-op awards.
Adel store team are an incredible bunch of people. They faced one of the most difficult situations you can imagine with dignity, courage and togetherness. Here’s their story.
“The team felt pretty unbelievable when they found out they’d won. It’s given them a real boost in what has been a very difficult year.”
22 May is a difficult day for many people. Just over a year ago the Manchester attack took 22 lives and left hundreds injured. Many of our colleagues were affected by what happened on that day.
But one team more than most. Devastatingly, a colleague in our Adel store lost her daughter and was seriously injured herself.
Our colleagues who’d worked in the store for a long time had grown up with the family. Many of them were in emotional turmoil when they heard the news, but as a team they somehow pulled through.
“When some of my colleagues first found out they were obviously devastated,” says store manager David Brook.
“I offered for them to go home but they wanted to stay. Even in the most difficult circumstances they wanted to still be working and helping.
“No matter how they felt they still wanted to serve our customers and keep the store going.”
The team were determined to make the store a focal point for the community to grieve and come together.
“They maintained a professional appearance to the public but were not afraid to talk openly in private as any good team should,” says David.
“They had to deal with press enquiries and also the ordeal of camera crews wanting to film their every move but remained resolute throughout – in how they supported each other and how determined they were to be there for our colleague and her family.”
Remembering with respect
The desire from the whole team to pull together and do something for the family was so strong. In only a week, after talking to their colleague about a tribute to her daughter, the team had raised £3,500.
“We wanted to create an area for the family to come and visit,” says David. “What we’ve created is so much more than a memorial bench. It’s now a community space where our customers come themselves, sit quietly and lay flowers for their own lost loved ones.”
“Every single team member had some sort of involvement in what we’ve done. We’ve kept it really personal. I sourced the bench with the blessing of our colleague. Tracy – who works in our Post Office – her relatives have done all the landscaping. And the wooden planters were made by Jan’s husband.
“The reaction from the community has been amazing. I’m so proud of this team. They’re not here just for a pay cheque. They’re here for each other and to serve our community in whatever way they can every single day.”
What colleagues said about Team Adel
“If there was ever an example of Being Co-op – this is it – there for each other and our community during the darkest times.
“The team were instrumental in feeding back delicate news to the area manager so that the business could offer the right level of support for the family and were quick to identify further opportunities where support could be offered.
“And the bond continues – the team visit their colleague regularly during her recovery from her physical injuries – and provide emotional support for the injuries you can’t see.
“This has included involving her in every step of the process from designing the memorial for her daughter which the store team have completed all the fundraising for by co-ordinating all the stores in the local area.”