Co-operatives UK’s newly appointed CEO, Rose Marley, is offering one to one surgeries to talk all things co-operative.
The surgeries will run on the last Wednesday of every month and can be booked by anyone who wants to start a co-op, runs a co-op, works with or buys from a co-op to discuss ideas and issues, or ask questions.
Ms Marley, who took up her role on 4 January, said: “In my experience it can be really difficult to reach CEOs and raising questions publicly at events can sometimes be a daunting task. But actually it’s those voices – the ones you don’t always hear – where you get the insight, the best ideas, the reality of what’s happening on the ground.”
The 45-minute surgeries will be an opportunity to bring sector-specific issues to the attention of apex body Co-operatives UK, or an opportunity to share a vision. Initially they will take place by video call due to lockdown restrictions but appointments will be available in person at the Manchester based HQ, Holyoake House, as soon as visitors are permitted.
Ms Marley added: “It’s not possible to get out and about visiting members at the moment but I still want to meet and hear from the amazing co-operative communities across the UK. It’s what drives me.”
Head of membership John Atherton said: “This year we’re repeating the Big Co-op Census that we last ran five years ago. This will help us to establish what issues and challenges our members face in the current economic climate – and how we can best support the sector to thrive by providing the advice, support and lobbying that our members need.
“The census will provide us with quantifiable data and we’re excited to see the results. These surgeries are another way for our members to engage with us on a more personal basis.”
Ms Marley said: “We now have an opportunity to position co-ops as a way to build back better. Our recent YouGov poll showed that trust in co-operative businesses is high – with nearly two thirds of consumers saying they trust co-ops, compared to just 35% for plcs. And at a time when major high street giants are folding, nearly half said they are likely to choose a co-operative business over a conventional business when shopping for goods or services. I’d love to hear ideas on how we can all capitalise on this trust that consumers have in co-ops in these challenging times.”
You can request a surgery appointment by completing a short online form on the Co-operatives UK website.