Cluster 18 April meeting report

There was a great turn out for the Chorlton and Whalley Range "cluster" meeting on Saturday 18 April. People who have attended previous meetings plus some new faces. Thanks again to Roy and the rest of the Co-operative Group membership team for sending a letter to local active members.

As at previous meetings we had local customer members along with staff from local stores and the head office in Manchester. We also had Dan from Unicorn, the well-known local wholefood co-op. Unicorn had already said they wanted to get involved but couldn't attend the first two cluster meetings.

As has now become the convention with cluster meetings, the meeting was kept to just one hour, with a session broken into three groups. Some people stayed behind after the main meeting to discuss the process for elections to the Group board.

Before the meeting split into groups, there was a discussion about the new Co-operative Local Forums which the national Members' Council of the Co-op is piloting and which local self-organised groups are being invited to form. The Chorlton and Whalley Range cluster was itself effectively a pilot for the forum idea and the meeting welcomed the fact that the ideas we have been promoting have been taken up by the National Council and will now be tried across the UK. The meeting agreed unanimously that the Chorlton and Whalley Range cluster would like to take part formally in the pilot.

There was also a discussion about whether the cluster should grow to take in other stores in south Manchester. Members felt that we should not expand yet and should see first whether members in those areas would prefer to form separate clusters. It was agreed however to invite the two local Co-op Funeralcare outlets to take part in the cluster.

The three subgroups picked up two of the themes from the previous cluster meeting and started a new project to look after and maintain access to the co-op rooms above Hardy Lane store - where the cluster meets.


  • The products subgroup discussed next steps in creating a list of 10 most-wanted items in local stores. It was agreed that following the success at Wilbraham Road, we would visit the Whalley Range store and ask shoppers what items they would like to see. Members were also asked to complete the on-line survey and get friends also to do so. A member also raised the issue of parking - or lack of it - at the Barlow Moor Road store. It was agreed that we would pass this to management.
  • The local co-ops subgroup discussed ways of sharing ideas on-line as Unicorn does. The group is interested in the idea of a south Manchester co-ops festival.
  • The group looking at the Hardy Lane rooms will set up a group of volunteers to look after the room and make sure it is well used.

All three groups left with actions to carry out before the next meeting on 27 June.

Click here to read the page where the meeting was advertised on this site, with more about the background