Why membership is so important to The Southern Co-operative
As a society we are owned and controlled by you, our members. You have a say... in shaping our future.Therefore, we cannot achieve our goals and continued success without our members. Our members are crucial at every stage of our business' development which is exactly why you also qualify for a share of the profits.
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(Note to Existing Employees of The Southern Co-operative: If you are an employee of The Southern Co-operative please do not join online but call the Membership Helpline on: 0800 587 5009 or 0800 652 0124 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Foreward by the Membership and Customer Services Manager
Welcome to 2013;
The next round of Co-operative Group meetings and members trips are upon us already, the list of the CCG meetings can be found on our Member Involvement page above. Of course you are more than welcome to attend any (or all) of the other meetings and as always you will receive 2500 dividend points for attending. Please bring your membership card with you for registration. Tea and Coffee will be available half an hour before the start of the meeting.
Reflecting back on my first seven months in post I can in all honesty say that it has been an eventful time. The 2012 AGM had record numbers attending, The Autumn local Co-operative Community Group meetings (CCG’s) saw attendance levels over double that of previous meetings and communication between members and The Southern Co-operative (TSC) has increased across the board. The award of ‘Triple Points’ 17th – 23rd December saw a record dividend being awarded to members who shopped with TSC stores. This dividend will be included in the next payout in June. Colleague engagement has also increased significantly and I was delighted to see so many new members as well as colleague members attending the CCG’s and events in 2012.
From speaking with, and more importantly listening to members at every opportunity I have continued to develop membership activity to meet the needs and expectations of the membership. While I cannot always meet the demand I have been able to extend the range of activities available to members. I said it last time and I make no apologies for saying it again; the members of the society are not only vital to the success of the business but are at the heart of what The Southern Co-operative is all about. You asked for an incentive for new members who join on line, we responded by arranging for 2,500 points (equivalent to a £25 spend) to be awarded to all new members who join via the website.
There has been some discussion about the venue’s for the CCG’s and you will see that I have selected a different venue for the North Somerset meeting which will hopefully make travelling easier for members. Again in response to the majority of members requests the times for these meetings have also been moved right by 30 minutes and extended by a further 30 minutes to make it easier to get to after work as well as to facilitate more discussion and time for questions. I have of course also received requests to revert back to the daytime and weekend meetings, but I am afraid that at this time that is neither financially viable nor practical.
If you look at the extent of the activities and educational opportunities on offer this year you will see there is much more to choose from and I sincerely hope that you are able to become involved. Activity must as always revolve around TSC’s values, principles as well as incorporating our local suppliers and corporate partners, ie they are not simply social outings. This year sees a planned trip to Ypres to visit some of the WW1 battlefields; why? I hear some of you ask; well several members commented that they would like to see where so many of their ancestors fought and yes in some cases died. Those relatives many of whom were called up from Co-operative stores to fight for their country are an integral part of the history of TSC and with the 100th anniversary looming in 2014 I thought it would be justified to run such a trip.
Contributions from members towards trips and activities will continue although with prudent budgeting I am able to facilitate more subsidised trips and a tiered level of contribution for travel. In a lot of cases however there is no contribution required at all and some simply require you to make your own way, all of which of course supports a Co-operative approach to events.
It is my intention also to continue to attend as many meetings as my diary permits of such groups as The Co-operative Women’s Guild (CWG), The Retired Employee’s Association (REA) and The Wood Craft Folk all of whom are stalwart supporters of TSC. I commend such groups and associations to you both as social groups as well conduits for information and activity. If you are interested in going along to any of them they will surely welcome you. The CWG meets on a Monday in Bedhampton Hall at 1400 – 1600 and the REA at 1330 on the first Tuesday of each month in Buckland Community Centre.
I continue of course to represent you ‘the member’ at the Quarterly Cross Society Membership Group meetings where Membership Managers of all affiliated societies work together (well most of the time) sharing common knowledge and working towards improving membership benefits across all the societies.
Below is a list of the key dates for trips during 2013 including your local Spring Co-operative Community Group meetings as well as the trips and activities If you would like to put your name down for any of these trips or indeed the AGM then do please give my team a call on freephone 0800 6520 124 or 0800 587 5009.
If you have any thoughts about other trips or venues that you would like to become engaged with and would like me to consider for the future then again please do let me know.
I am, as always, particularly keen to engage a wider cross section of the membership in our activities and to that end I look forward to meeting you at some point in the future. In the meantime if there is anything else that I or my team can do for you please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Membership and Customer Services Manager
The Southern Co-operative
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