Last week I attended a summit which launched the new, multi-agency, ‘public health duty’, to help spot the warning signs that a young person could be in danger; whether that’s arriving at A&E with suspicious injuries, or worrying behavior at school or issues at home.
Attendees from law enforcement agencies, health, education and the voluntary sector heard heartbreaking and humbling stories from young people with experience of living in communities impacted by serious violence.
We also heard first-hand about the work that many do through faith groups, charities or just as individuals to tackle the issue. The passion on display was truly inspiring to see.
I sent a letter of thanks to Victoria Atkins MP for inviting me to the roundtable to represent Co-op and our millions of members, setting out how committed we are about making a difference and sharing the work we’re doing as part of our Safer colleagues, Safer Communities campaign.
We have a role to play
I feel very strongly that businesses have a role to play and real contribution to make in helping give these young people different choices.
We have assets –professional skills, employment opportunities and suppliers we work with – which can do more than just make us a successful business, they can help our communities become stronger.
It’s clear from the £10m in funding we’ve provided through our Local Community Fund to 4,000 local projects working with young people, the partnership we’re just starting with the Damilola Taylor Trust and the hundreds of young people who join us as apprentices each year that as a business, we can make a real difference.
I came away from the roundtable inspired and even more determined for Co-op to live up to our heritage by working with others so we can help make a difference in the communities we serve.
The Government has our full support to tackle this issue and we’re keen to explore ways where Co-op can act as catalyst to bring other businesses together, so we can use all our assets and really help individuals and communities.
Chief Operating Officer, Retail