Katharine Hibbert

“As a colleague member, The Southern Co-operative means many things to me; integrity, family, success, co-operation and value led community, not just my employer. I am proud of what the business has achieved; it has changed immeasurably from when I joined in 2003 – when I couldn’t buy the ingredients to make a chilli on a Sunday from any store in Portsmouth within striking distance of my home.

I feel protective of The Southern Co-operative brand and am keen to preserve it in a positive light. I want us to be leading the way in community responsibility through volunteering, charity involvement, local sourcing and sustainability.

My role as Local Sourcing Manager takes me to some amazing places and I meet some fantastically passionate people. I lead a committed Local Sourcing team, and we are dedicated to helping secure the future of our food producers and their associated communities. I am privileged to have an insight into businesses of varying size, and engage with suppliers wanting advice on products, pricing models, business expansion and sometimes just a friendly ear!

Our local sourcing and wider community strategy is a strong point of difference for our business and critical to preserving our individuality in an increasingly competitive market. Working with over 200 local food and drink suppliers gives me a unique perspective of our business and its impact on the community and I hope that this insight is valuable to the Board when considering future plans for the business. Our strength also lies in our people so the promotion of The Southern Co-operative and our co-operative values to the next generation is imperative to ensure a vital and energised membership for the future. I am keen to support this through my role as Director.

I am a foodie through and through so in some respects my work overlaps my leisure time. I love eating out, cooking, seeking out interesting places to buy food, creating dishes a little out of the ordinary – using locally sourced ingredients of course! My Mum was always a bit avant garde in the kitchen and what I perceive to be quite normal is not always so to my friends, I am experimental! I love the gym, pilates, running, playing tennis, and being outside; walking affords time for quiet introspection. An avid theatre-goer, as a Friend of Chichester Festival Theatre I see pretty much every production they put on. When not in Chichester I like to wander the galleries and museums of London.”

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