In Honiton and across the country, a group of community-minded people are making a real contribution to the welfare and well-being of neighbours and residents thanks to the work they carry out through the local Co-op store.
As part of its nationwide commitment to the communities it serves, the Co-op launched a scheme to employ members of staff at its stores to strengthen links with worthy local groups and good causes. It has proved a huge success.
The role of a Member Pioneer is to make communities a better place to work, play, live and learn. Whether you are a shopper or a Co-op staff member, they can put you in touch with like-minded people, offer practical advice and help.
The role of a Member Pioneer can vary slightly from store to store depending of the size and nature of the local community, but basically the mandate is the same – to forge links and help others.
And the community ethos has never shone brighter than in recent times as the coronavirus pandemic has taken toll on spirits but Member Pioneers have been at the forefront of lifting morale.
These local heroes have been going above and beyond in supporting their local communities.
Day-to-day they have co-operated with their community to identify what could really make a difference. They have brought together Co-op members, colleagues and local causes to help their community through tough times as they harder than ever before during this pandemic.
They have carried out a wide range of activities. One pioneer joined a group of local volunteers to make scrub bags for NHS workers. She’s also supported grieving families by knitting hearts to give to hospitals for when a loved one dies of coronavirus. One heart is given to the patient and another one stays with their families as they can't be with them.
She was also instrumental in developing a Facebook page to help the vulnerable in her community.
In the South Wales area Co-op Area Manager, Giles Jenkins and Member Pioneer Coordinator Graham Craven arranged the collection of food from 18 Co-op stores across Cardiff, every day.
The food is delivered to the Waterloo Tea Rooms who in turn arrange for chefs from closed local restaurants and cafes to make meals for NHS Staff at the University Hospital of Wales and others.
These local chefs are currently producing more than 400 meals per day and have plans to step up production to a staggering 1,000 meals per day within the next couple of weeks.
It’s a scenario of achievement echoed across the country where every effort to help has been made.
Pioneers have run video bingo games for old folk, worked in care homes, produced online cooking videos to help create healthy menus and raised thousands and thousands of pounds to help local good causes.
You can find out more about the role of a Member Pioneer here – and even apply for a post.
The last word goes to Fay Bowden, National Member Pioneer Manager, who says: “Thank you to all of our Member Pioneers.
Thank you for the incredible ways you’re supporting your communities.”