Ways you can help your community

Week notes 18 October 2019

Posted on 18 October, 2019

This week...

  • People in Bollington have told us what they think about our website 

  • 20 more events added for Sale and Urmston 

  • New Stretford event categories update 

  • Ideation workshop with the Community and Shared Values team 

  • Tackling Poverty in Trafford 

  • Where’s Natalie been? 

Co-operate background 

Stronger communities are at the heart of the Co-op strategy, so we’re going to completely reinvent what commercial, community partnerships should be. 

Being a co-op we believe that more co-operation will improve our local communities. 

Co-operation is harder than it needs to be, so we're going to make it easier. 

The idea is that we build an initial range of tools or features and learn which ones Stretford and Bollington use and which they’re not interested in. These tools need to be as real as we can make them so we can really understand what users do, instead of what they might tell us. 

Find out more on our About us page. 

What do Bollingtonians think? 

We set ourselves up in the Bridgend Community centre and invited the good people of Bollington to tell us what they think about our website. We talked to 11 people and got some valuable insights that can help us continuously iterate the What’s Happening part of Co-operate.   

Some of the key learnings are: 

  • People are apprehensive to ‘commit’ to an event so they often shy away from clicking the “Yes I’m going” button. 

  • People need to see up front on the events listing page if an event was recurring otherwise they would often not click into the event because the date of the event shown at the top level was not suitable for them. 

  • Price is a key motivator and should always be clearly shown. 

  • People do not understand what the “Featured this week” row of events is. 

  • People want to refine their results to better suit what they are looking for based on date, if they have children, time, and distance. 

  • People’s motivations for going to an event include; doing something they have always wanted to do (e.g. dance), socialising with existing friends, take time for themselves, charity/helping people. 

  • How people find out about events is very diverse with a fairly evenly spread across Facebook, Posters/Leaflets, Google, word of mouth, websites, and direct mail. 

Trafford expansion 

19 more events have been added across Urmston and Sale this week, so that’s just over 100 in a couple of weeks. There’s a real nice mix of events appealing to all ages and genders. If that’s your ‘hood then have a butcher’s... 

All of these events benefit the community in some way, even if we encourage a couple more people to attend some of these, we are starting to have the impact that we are aiming for. 

Testing new event categories in Stretford  

Since updating the categories a few weeks ago here is how they are performing in priority order: 

1. Health and wellbeing

2. Children’s activities 

3. Meet new people  

4. Free events (NEW) 12% of category traffic 

5. Music, arts and book groups 

6. Markets and Fairs (NEW) 5% of category traffic 

7. Over 50s (NEW) 5% category traffic 

8. Park and outdoors (NEW) 4% of category traffic 

9. Local groups and clubs (NEW) 2% of category traffic  

It’s useful so gauge what categories appeal but we are also looking into how we can filter and sort events, giving users the ability to view all and categorise if and as they wish. 

Ideation Workshop

On Thursday we got back together with the Community and Shared Value team to generate and prioritise ideas on how we might develop the Co-operate platform in line with the Co-operate 2022 programme and goals. 

We generated loads of ideas on the themes of skills, spaces, hosting our own Soup event and how we might be able to include Co-op's chosen local causes. We then prioritised where we thought we could collaboratively have the most impact. 

It was a great session and we’re excited about starting to put some of the ideas into action with the help of the Community and Shared Value team. 

Dot voting (I think I’m balding faster than I thought!)

Tackling Poverty workshop in Trafford 

This week Anne went to a workshop addressing the issue of poverty in Trafford. The event brought together a strong, passionate collection of community-based initiatives, organisations, charities, the housing trust and the local authority. They are working together with a common bond to evaluate what poverty means and how they can begin to tackle this as a collective with a cohesive approach. 

There are different types and levels of poverty, different causes, huge impacts on a persons’ physical and mental health and a complex range of potential ‘solutions’ needing to be delivered across the whole community. 

Thanks to media coverage, poverty is frequently acknowledged as the need for someone to visit food banks for food parcels to feed their families, but the reality is far greater than this. 

There are lots of ways that Co-operate could help with this type of initiative in the future and we can help right now, by listing events and activities that are designed to prevent people from slipping into poverty. 

Where’s Natalie been? 

This week started off with meeting Jane who is the founder of the Mile Shy Club that run beginners running groups across the Trafford area whose main aim is to improve people’s health.  

She talked about the challenges of starting up these clubs in different areas of Trafford and how the club has had to adapt to be inclusive, for example there are a group of BAME women attending the group in Old Trafford that have said that many Muslim women are unlikely to attend if the volunteer running coach is male. This is an invaluable insight that we can use to ensure we show the right kind of information in our events listings. 

Jane also talked about how social prescribing has influenced a number of the participants attending the running group, and how she has developed relationships with GP surgeries in the area to let them know that all her volunteer running coaches are fully qualified Mental Health First Aiders, which she feels allows them to be more equip with dealing with the some of their needs. From this we are going to talk directly to local GPs to see whether Co-operate is useful to them, and are there any enhancements we might need to make for them to use it. 

I then attended a FuneralCare colleague session regarding helping build colleague confidence and skills in delivering memory box sessions out in the community. This was delivered by an expert in the dementia field and a colleague who is championing the memory box in his community in Scotland. They used several interactive quizzes and demonstrations in order to engage with colleague and help build their confidence. This approach could be adapted by Co-operate to help upskill local organisers to set up their own memory box schemes, or even adapt the techniques to help give people the confidence to deliver other initiatives. 

And finally... 

Following our user research sessions in Bollington we thought we’d do a little bit of team exercise and took a jaunt up to see White Nancy.    Once we’d made it up there we cracked open a bottle of fizz (Bolly in Bolly! - well Co-op Irresistible Prosecco, £8 😉).

The combination of fresh air, bubbles and a stunning view clearly went to our heads!

We also welcome Rob to the team this week, he’s a designer who will be focussed on ways to grow Co-operate. Say hi Rob: 


We’re off to the Junior Hack Manchester this weekend, enjoy yours. 


Posted by Ben on 18 October, 2019