Well over 30 people turned out for the Chorlton and Whalley Range "cluster" meeting on Saturday 7 February.
Thanks to the Co-operative Group membership team for sending a letter to local members that had attended Co-op meetings in the past. This helped bring in new members that did not attend our first cluster meeting on 29 November.
Staff from the Co-operative Group stores came along, and there were also a couple of interested visitors from other regions in The Co-operative Group.
The meeting was short - one hour - and very business-like.
We talked briefly about the changes taking place in the Co-operative Group and how the South Manchester Co-op Members group and the Manchester Area Committee of the Co-op decided to experiment with the idea of "clusters". The idea is based on three principles:
- Smaller and more local than the old Area Committees (which are being phased out anyway)
- Involving employees, not just customer members
- Informal but aiming to make a direct difference
Then the meeting split quickly into three groups to talk about three themes drawn from the first meeting:
The "range" group discussed how best to have some influence over what the local stores are stocking. The group talked about products that would sell well but that the local managers could not get into stock because of the way the Co-op works - along with other products that did not sell well locally but which they were obliged to stock. The group agreed to use a survey and suggestion boxes set up in the local stores to draw up a list of 10 priority items, and then campaign for them.
The "community" group discussed how the stores can work with local groups. They decided to pursue the idea from one member of organising a craft market in the car park of the Whalley Range store. A member of the membership team agreed to see what could be done.
The "local co-ops" group talked about the opportunity to reach younger people with two local co-operative academy schools in the area (Chorlton High and Whalley Range High).
All three groups left with actions to carry out before the next meeting on 18 April.
Click here to read the page where the meeting was advertised on this site, with more about the background