Co-operatives Fortnight and the Big Co-op Clean

Co-operatives Fortnight 2015 ran from 20 June to 4 July 2015 and focused on the Big Co-op Clean. Over the two weeks, thousands of co-operative staff, members and...

Co-operatives Fortnight 2015 ran from 20 June to 4 July 2015 and focused on the Big Co-op Clean.

Over the two weeks, thousands of co-operative staff, members and customers worked together to demonstrate why co-operatives are ‘local, loved and trusted’ by volunteering to clean up local areas, help local charities or work with elderly neighbours.

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The fortnight, organised by Co-operatives UK, saw events take place across the country, with co-operatives using he the theme to work together to make a difference in their local area.

Volunteers from Lincolnshire Co-operative cleaned beaches and picked litter at Anderby Creek, near Skegness, tackled rhododendrons in Laughton Woods, near Gainsborough, and trimmed hedges, painted a bird hide and created paths at Besthorpe Nature Reserve in Collinghamton make the reserve more accessible for disabled visitors.

Rochdale Boroughwide Housing organised a tidy-up team of residents, volunteers from nearby Q Gardens and RBH employee volunteers to tidy, weed and replant 11 raised beds in The Strand shopping precinct in Kirkholt, just outside Rochdale.

“This was a real joint effort,” said Chris Woodruff from the RBH Neighbourhood Investment Team. “We’re extremely grateful to everyone who gave their time and we hope that it has made a real difference to the local environment for those who live and work in Kirkholt.”

Meanwhile colleagues from the Southern Co-operative swapped the shop floor and office desk for their local streets, parks and beaches in a host of volunteer litter picks. A team of 14 colleagues from the Southern Co-operative’s central support office in Portsmouth joined a beach clean with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust on the River Itchen, and 29 colleagues from the finance department volunteered for the disadvantaged children’s charity Second Chance, weeding, laying paving and clearing a pond area at their new site Solent Nurseries in Titchfield, Hampshire.

Litter-picking events were also organised at the Portsmouth Summer Show and across Wiltshire, while the co-op’s leadership team, including chief executive Mark Smith, filled five large bin bags of rubbish in a litter-pick in Wickham, Hampshire.

“Discarded cigarettes were the most common type of litter we picked up, along with disposable cups and food packaging,” said Gemma Lacey, director of sustainability and communications at Southern, who took part.

She added: “The Big Co-op Clean isn’t just about picking up litter; it’s about achieving more by working together. It might sound obvious, but co-operating is central to our success as a co-operative – and we are part of something much bigger happening across the UK.”

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