By Cheryle Waters, Funeral Arranger and Member Pioneer
As a Funeral Arranger, getting involved in the local community feels really natural to me. When the chance to become a Member Pioneer came up, I jumped at it. I was probably already doing some aspects without even realising, so I saw it as a great opportunity to get stuck in and open some doors.
I work closely with members, spending time networking and supporting local community groups. I’m the catalyst, working to identify things members need, then linking them up with our colleagues and local causes who have the required skills and expertise.
We have a Member Pioneer Co-ordinator who arranges regular catch-ups for each area. These are the perfect opportunity to share ideas, celebrate successes and discuss any challenges. We all work differently, so there’s no right or wrong way to do this role. I find it contagious when we get together, we always leave feeling really energised with lots of new ideas.
People say it feels better to give a present than it does to receive one. That couldn’t be more true – I feel really lucky to be able to do this role. There’s a huge sense of reward from facilitating activities, helping people become involved in their communities and making a real difference.
One of my standout moments was being able to demonstrate how members’ contributions have been spent. We arranged a coffee morning at the local funeral home, inviting members and a range of local causes to attend.
It was really useful as some Co-op members had actually joined with the sole purpose of supporting the local causes last year. By attending this session, we were able to show who they’ll now be supporting when they shop at Co-op. All of the local causes interacted with each other and are now in regular contact. In fact one of the newer ones has access to a mini bus and now spends time helping another group of elderly gentlemen get to their bowls tournaments!
Social media is also amazing when it comes to being a Member Pioneer, it’s a great tool for this kind of work. I certainly wouldn’t have my network without it. I follow other Member Pioneers to see the inspiring work they’re doing, and it’s perfect for getting new ideas. You can always ask them for advice too.
Currently there are around 300 Member Pioneers across the country all doing fantastic work in their communities. We’re recruiting for more Member Pioneers, so if this sounds like the role for you, or maybe you know a colleague who’d be perfect at inspiring others to co-operate and make a difference, take a look at www.communityspirit.co.uk.
The application process includes sending a copy of your CV and a short assessment to determine if the Member Pioneer role is right for you. Don’t be put off though, it’s a straightforward process and your results don’t affect your current role. If you have any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org and the team will be able to help you further.