Colleagues Tracey and Michelle outside the Rovers Return Inn

In April we announced the first ever 12 #BeingCoop award winners who were presented with their awards at an afternoon tea party at our AGM.

All winners were also invited to take part in a Co-op experience as part of their prize. We’ll be sharing some of these experience stories over the coming weeks. First up is Michelle Benton (winner of the Co-op Magic award chosen by members) who tells us about her tour of Coronation Street (and One Angel Square).

Winning the award has been a really intense experience.

To attend the Co-op AGM in Manchester and receive my award with my husband beside me was amazing.

I was taken aback by the amount of people who came over and said they loved my story. That really got to me. You don’t realise the little things you do impact on other people because you just do them.

When I realised we also got to choose a Co-op experience – that was the icing on the cake. I sat with my husband looking through the list and as soon as we saw the Coronation Street tour my husband just said: ‘I hope you’re taking Tracey’.

Tracey is my colleague in our Priorswood Place store and we do a lot of community work together. She does so much and I wanted to say thank you.

She’s a much bigger fan of Coronation Street than me and has been watching it since the start.

Co-op on the cobbles

Our guide David was so informative and knowledgeable. We got to go behind the scenes on all the sets including propping ourselves up on the bar at the Rovers Return.

Walking out onto the cobbles of Coronation Street was something else. As soon as we spied Weatherfield’s Co-op we ran all the way to it.

Fantastic is the only word I can use to describe it.

At the end of the day community is what Co-op do, it’s what we’re about. And that’s what Coronation Street is. It’s a brilliant fit and was amazing to see.

We’re proud to work for Co-op. When customers come in we can say: ‘have you seen us on Coronation Street?’ That’s us – it’s where we should be.

Supporting each other

As we’re down in Taunton we don’t get many opportunities to come up to Manchester so I asked if we could do a tour of the Support Centre at One Angel Square.

When you’re in your own little shop, you’re in your own little bubble. We don’t realise how much effort goes in at the Support Centre.

To see what’s happening on a national level was amazing. It makes you realise that we need the Support Centre as much as they need us.

I think it’s brilliant they’re continuing with the awards next year. It’s been a fantastic experience for me and my colleagues. The ripple effect of the awards is bigger than Co-op realise. I’ve had my customers come in and say: ‘You’ve put our Co-op on the map’.

The awards have given everyone a sense of being one Co-op. To know that it’s also about funeral, legal and insurance colleagues makes us feel like we’re all in this together.

Thank you to everyone who’s made all this possible.

Michelle Benton
Store manager, Priorswood Place

Would you have picked the Coronation Street set tour as your prize? Look out for the October issue of Let’s Talk About Food magazine – you just might get the chance.