The society, which has more than 430 trading outlets across 16 counties in the region, runs six regional councils made up of co-op members. Each council is given funding and support by the society to organise activities and events ranging from keep fit and gardening to educational visits, school workshops and dance classes.
With nominations open, Central England members can put their name forward for elections on the councils. To be eligible, candidates have to have been a full member of Central England Co-operative for at least six months, be a regular customer and spend a minimum amount per year.
Society secretary Jim Watts said: “As a strong, independent co-operative business and community retailer, the participation of our members is a key point of difference that sets us apart.
“Our Membership & Community Councils (MCC) allow members to join with others to make a difference in their local community while being supported by the society. Each council acts as a link between Central England Co-operative, its members, colleagues and their communities.
“We are looking for those who have great people skills and knowledge of their local area. Spending a few hours every month can make a real difference to the people on your doorstep.”
Successful candidates will receive an activity fee and expenses for attending meetings and events on the MCC’s behalf.
Selina Watts, who sits on one of the councils, talked about her experience. Her interest in the membership started after becoming a stay-at-home mum in 2014.
With her husband and brother-in-law working for Central England Co-op food stores, she was aware of some of the projects carried out by the society.
“With my oldest son, Oliver, starting school it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get involved,” she said.
“I became a member around four years ago and was elected to the MCC in April this year. I have supported community events, including going to Selly Oak School and working with pupils with special educational needs.
“The three MCCs run weekly classes for members who want to get involved. Furthermore, even though I have not hosted my own presentation, I have approached my local school with the intent to work on a project for packed lunches with them, as well as the Christmas fair.”
For 2017, the society has 30 vacancies
(22 member positions and eight employee member positions) across the six MCCs. Council members tend to meet every other month for two hours. The society is looking members who are passionate about their community and want to make a difference within it.
Nominations are open until 5pm on 24 February and the results will be announced following the completion of voting on Friday, 28 April. To apply, visit: www.members.coop/society/elections