You may have heard the great news that our members raised £19 million for communities in the last round of our Local Community Fund. A fantastic achievement.

The Local Community Fund is a crucial part of our community plan for the future.

The excitement around the next Payout Celebration Day on 24 November proves that colleagues also see the difference the Local Community Fund is making to their own communities. Peter Batt’s blog post outlines how colleagues can get involved.

We’ve just gone live with our next round of local causes too. Please sign into your membership account and choose the one that means the most to you.

As we’ve always said, giving back money doesn’t make us different from the rest. It’s the way we do it that counts.

We’re always thinking about ways we can improve the fund, and members and customers are beginning to understand the powerful impact it can have on community wellbeing.

Involving members

Without the support and influence of our members we’d just be another business doing a great job of corporate social responsibility.

But as a co-op we encourage our members to make the decisions themselves and help shape their own communities.

We’re doing this through:

  • our 200 Member Pioneers who bring our members, colleagues and local causes together to find new ways to co-operate and get things done in our communities
  • our Join In live member events where members, colleagues and others have the chance to learn more about our Community Wellbeing Index, meet the local causes we support, and chat to Member Pioneers
  • our Join in opportunities where members can give their opinions online

The Community Wellbeing Index

The Community Wellbeing Index – which we’ve started to share with members at our Join In Live events – will help our members understand what their community needs.

It gives an insight into what’s important to people in a local community. From the quality of education, housing affordability, and public transport – to the amount of green space and the number of community centres.

The index has already helped us identify areas that matter to communities across the UK. For example safety and security – which is particularly important to our colleagues in Food.

You’ll have seen Chris Whitfield’s recent blog post on how we’re working with our trade union USDAW and MPs to tackle the underlying causes of retail crime together.

By influencing at government and policy level, we’re able to give our members a strong voice to amplify the work they’re helping us to support on the ground. We’ve seen this already work successfully in our loneliness campaign.

Through our campaigning, the collective influence of our Co-op Academies, our businesses, and our Local Community Fund, we can work with others to improve community wellbeing and build healthier, happier, and stronger communities.

Rebecca Birkbeck
Director, Community Engagement