By Liam Cooper, Member Pioneer for South Hampshire

As Member Pioneers our role is to bring together Co-op members, colleagues and local causes to make communities better places to work, play, live and learn. 

Over the past year, because people haven’t been able to get together physically, connecting online has been a lifeline. 

That’s where Co-operate has shown its value. We call it our ‘online community centre’. It’s given groups a chance to promote all the good they do in their community for free. It’s provided access to online activities for individuals and families, and at the height of the pandemic it welcomed 530 volunteers who signed up to deliver food and essentials to our most vulnerable members and customers. 

The vision for Co-operate has always been to create a range of connected tools to make it easier for people to organise, and participate in, things that benefit their community.  

We’re well on our way to achieving that vision but we need your help to take Co-operate to the next level. 

We need groups and activities in every postcode 

Every time someone enters their postcode on Co-operate and searches for ‘things to do’ or groups to join, we want the search results to reflect all the amazing things that are happening in their area. 

Over 1,000 organisers have already signed up to promote their groups or activities on Co-operate – everything from access to food services, mental health support groups, skills workshops, family yoga classes and virtual pony sessions. 

But we need your help to push that number up. Encourage the organisers you know to add their group or activity to Co-operate. Many of you will attend local activities and groups. Some of you might organise your own thing in the community.  

And if you work in a food store or funeral home, you might want to promote a local event you’re running or encourage one of your local causes to sign up. 

Organisers can use Co-operate to manage Covid-safe activities  

Not only does Co-operate promote groups and activities for free, it’s a place to recruit volunteers and get the donations and equipment groups need to keep going. 

We’ve also recently added a new feature which helps organisers manage and plan Covid-safe activities through Co-operate. 

They can use it to: 

  • manage how many people have booked a place on their activity 
  • update everyone about a change of date, time, place or if they need to cancel 
  • share their activity on social media 

What’s in it for you 

Co-operate has something for everyone. You can use it to find things to do for you and your family, and book a place on an activity you’re interested in.  

Or if you’re thinking about starting a group or activity yourself, check out our ‘How to’ guides which feature tips and ideas from experienced organisers. 

Co-operate has given Member Pioneers a platform to signpost people to. Something tangible that reflects Co-op’s vision of ‘Co-operating for a fairer world’. Something that shows how Co-op is supporting communities in many more ways than funding. 

The most valuable thing we can all do is tell everyone we know about Co-operate. Share with your family, friends, customers and members. And help us make Co-operate the one place to go to make good things happen in communities.