Ways you can help your community

Week notes 24 January 2020

Posted on 24 January, 2020


I hope you got through blue Monday OK. If you didn't, we have loads of activities on Co-operate that could lift your spirits. Personally, I worry more about beige Fridays.

This week... 

  • Last few things added to the How to guides...for now  

  • Free location search box is now live  

  • Great British Spring Clean activation planning  

  • Skill sharing interviews and analysis 

  • 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 truly impact a community. 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 page. 

🚀Free location search box is now live 🚀 

When you visit a location category you can now enter a new location. If we’re in that area, great, you can flit between the communities you’re interested in. But if we’re not, sign up and we’ll let you know when we are. 

This will help us understand real demand in a location before we move there and also build a database of users who will be our advocates. We’re really excited about this. Give it a whirl here. 

Franchise kits priorities and ideas 

We spent some time this week choosing our favourite project ideas we could create starter kits for. We also checked each project had a great community project franchise that could be connected to it.

We made sure our choices would create impact across a broad range of the issues monitored on the Wellbeing Index.

We also spent time generating loads of great ideas about how we can make it easy for organisers to replicate a tried and tested community project in their area. 

We’re turning these ideas into concept cards we’ll be taking to a volunteer fair in Leeds on Tuesday to get feedback on what people love and what they don’t. This will help us shape what we design and build in the coming weeks. 

We’ll report back with what we tried and what we found next week.

Great British Spring Clean activation planning 

We’ve been working with the Community Shared Value team to help activate their first community campaign of the year, the Great British Spring Clean.  

It aligns to many of our values from helping to improve community spaces to bringing people together to increase health and wellbeing.

But, it also opens the door to our Membership database and that’s really exciting. We think we’re ready to get more people using Co-operate so we can learn from a larger audience if what we’ve got is right. And what better way to do that than with our own trusted members who have shown an interest in their community.

So how will Co-operate support the activation?  

  • The platform will host a competition where members can tell us about an area they care about and why it’s in need of a good clean up 

  • Using existing components and an existing journey the member will complete a form and their very own page will be created for their clean up 

  • The page is then sent to the member to start sharing with their friends and family (they have to find 5/6 volunteers to be shortlisted for the competition) 

  • The winners are then chosen a few weeks later where Co-op will support their clean up with extra colleague volunteers and all the kit to turn it into a celebration 

  • And those who don’t win are still given all the information they need to make their community a cleaner place to be. It’s a win, win 

Of course, this slick operation will be completely hand cranked. While on the surface we’ve made sure the tech is lean, there is a big operational task to run the service itself. This trial will help us learn what is needed to activate these types of campaigns for future opportunities. 

Skill sharing 

We've had a busy week interviewing organisers (7 in total): 

3 in London 

2 in Leeds 

2 in Margate 

They were all from fairly diverse backgrounds, ranging in age from 20s to 50s across both urban and rural locations. 

We've begun our synthesis of this research by mapping out some high-level activities and potential barriers that the platform may help with: 

We've been carrying out some further competitor research, looking at lots of platforms that allow people to ask for or offer help:

We've also been doing some analysis of the local community fund causes that Co-op currently support (rounds 4 & 5):

See you at the Show and Tell on Wednesday.

Where’s Natalie been? 

Met with Councillor of Hunslet (South Leeds) Paul Wray. Thrown up some interesting insights on how Co-operate could work with the council and be accessible to the whole community. 

  • They are more interested in promoting ongoing community groups rather than looking at one off events. They want to help them become self-sufficient and financially independent from the council, as this gives the projects sustainability. Paul says that one of the hardest things to get across to people that want to “start something” in the community is that it can’t just be a pet project, it needs to be something that out-lives their involvement and that isn’t centered on one person doing everything. Friends of groups in Leeds have a contractual agreement with Leeds City Council which are there in order to instil sustainability. When they take over the care of an area of green space or a park in Leeds they are caring for public land and the commitment is that there must be some activation or work done on the land every 6 months. 

  • There are huge trust issues with events and activities that are run by the council – seen a tick box exercise rather than something that is there to meet a need of that community. Co-operate could really help with promoting these opportunities and be an impartial third party that is almost an advocate. It could really help with building a relationship between the community and the council. 

Met with Ed Powell who gave me more of an insight into how Co-op Academies work with their communities. 

  • Their aim is not only giving the students the opportunity to academically achieve, but to create ‘great citizens’ who are engaged, polite, have great listening schools and want to actively contribute to the community that they live in. The Academies are a hub that bring communities together, and by communities that is not just defined as the learners and the people that grow them but their families, friends, carers, networks and the member of their community. 

  • Within each Academy there is a Co-operative Co-ordinator (Coco for short) who looks at how they work with their community, how can the Academy be more co-operative and what the individual academy needs from the community and what they can give to the community. 

  • Academies do a level of informal signposting and advice giving to parents who need support (social prescribing) Ed will put me in touch with a Coco who would be able to shed light on where they currently draw that information from and what Co-operate would need in order to be functional in that role. He believes that Co-operate could lead from the front with social prescribing in a proactive way through young people, rather than just reaching out to people (usually at the older end of the spectrum) in a reactive way

Other stuff 

There’s been lots of other exciting things happening this week such as: 

  • a visit from the Board. It was nice to see lots of shaking heads: up and down, not side to side 

  • our user researchers across the 3 streams of work came together to align plans, making sure we’re joined up and making the most of the time we get with folks 

  • a positive meeting with Facebook, exploring how they could help us scale Co-operate 

  • a good first call with Camden Council to plot how we can test some stuff together 

  • Adam and Helen went to Wigan Council to explore how Co-operate can help them, again a very positive session showing the stark differences in how they and us are trying to achieve similar goals

Hope you all have a great weekend, don't be beige.





Posted by Ben on 24 January, 2020