Ways you can help your community

Week notes 31 January 2020

Posted on 31 January, 2020


It’s certainly been a full-on start to the year as we come to the end of January Co-operate is now running 3 full time streams of work so we’ve now got even more to pack into our week notes!  

This week... 

  • Countdown begins for the Great British Spring Clean 

  • UserZoom insights into Co-operate homepage 

  • Franchise kits research   

  • Engaging with Member Pioneers  

  • Skills update 

  • Out and about  

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. 

Countdown begins for the Great British Spring Clean

As you know we're supporting the Great British Spring Clean on Co-operate. You can see our latest designs below.  

All tweaks are now nearly finished ready for the big push to our members next Saturday.  Behind this sit 3 service emails which will be sent out keeping applicants up to date. 

UserZoom insights into Co-operate homepage 

This week we’ve been testing our homepage and the subsequent journeys using UserZoom. UserZoom is a remote usability testing software that allows us to send our prototypes out to users and gather feedback on them. Some of our main learnings include: 

  • users understood and liked the vision of Co-operate. They understood that it is broadly targeting two categories of people – those who want to participate and those who are looking for an organiser role. They also talked about community benefits.  

  • search and categorisation broadly matched user expectations. We’re still keen to look further into categorisation (for example: should we have free text search?) and the different ways to search (for example: via distance as this was deemed important, or via time of day) to ensure that this is continually optimised.  

  • users see Co-operate as a hub. A few users were asking about integration of features, such as the ability to receive notifications if they signed up to be a volunteer, using social networks and the ability to add events to a calendar.  

  • some users struggled to say ‘Co-operate’. One user called it ‘Corporate’. Is there more work we can do on the labelling we use in the project? 

  • users liked the examples of types of events and testimonies. They also asked for more specific case studies and contexts around them. We can provide more tangible examples for users going forward. 

We’ll be supplementing this with more testing in the upcoming weeks, while also figuring out other testing avenues from the insights, so watch this space. 

Franchise kits research 

This week we’ve been out talking to people at Central Library about how we might make it easier to get something started in their community.

We couldn’t have recruited a group of people more active in their communities to talk to. We spoke to people who had: 

  • worked in a community café 

  • advised people on how to make their groups more diverse and inclusive 

  • organised a free music festival in Sheffield and worked for Fare Share 

  • ran an informal book club with her friends 

  • taken part in a ‘knit and natter’ club that raised £1,000 for charity last year 

  • organised a street party for the past six years and had just ordered litter picking kit off Amazon 

As well as getting feedback on our ‘sacrificial concept cards’ we asked people to sort a set of community activities into activities they’d like to see in their community, and activities they weren’t too bothered about. We did this to get an idea of which kits we start with. Low numbers, but interesting findings so far.

We also headed out to Stretford to talk to organisers who have an activity and want to expand and grow, and how we might help them. 

We’ve got lots of useful feedback that’s going to help us narrow our focus onto what matters most. 

Engaging with Member Pioneers 

The Co-operate platform will be a combination of a digital solution and our local colleagues. Member Pioneers are key to how we realise this vision.    So we’ve been focused on how we can co-create with them, while being mindful that they have 4 hours per week and a lot to do already. 

We’ve been talking with Fay (National Member Pioneer Manager), Member Pioneer Managers, Co-ordinators and Pioneers themselves to work out the best way to do this. 

The first step is to get every Pioneer up to speed on what we’re doing. There’ll be a short video in their next email newsletter and we’ve agreed to be at each of their regional events to talk face to face.  

On top of that we’re asking Pioneers across the Leeds area if they would spend an extra hour a week to help us with Co-operate.

^^ Potential Pioneer Pioneers in Leeds 

Initially we want to use this time to pick their brains about the things we are focused on: volunteering and running community activities. Then we’ll be asking them to: 

  • test our ideas 

  • promote the use of Co-operate in their community 

  • encourage feedback from their community 

  • connect us with their network 

  • help us explore what their future role could be as part of Co-operate 

    Hopefully they have the time. 🤞 

Skills update 


This week we've been looking further at our organiser interviews to get some insights to support our sprint goal of: Gain a better understanding of the pain points that organisers experience when looking for help with their event/activity/cause so that we can understand where a digital service can create an impact

Full details of the findings can be seen on Mural - 

We carried out a sketch session with other Co-operate workstreams to generate some ideas around the following questions: 

How would a helper discover an opportunity?  

What might the request for help look like? 

We launched a survey on the site to get more quantitative data on organisers’ help requests. This was sent to local causes (about 9,000) and have, so far, received over 300 responses. 

We kicked off Sprint 2 (Bakery) and have set ourselves the following 2 sprint goals: 

  1. Gain a better understanding of helpers, their pain points when helping and any barriers to offering help or responding to help requests to learn whether a digital service can support them and how. 

  2. Launch organiser help requests on the site to see how it could be used in an area with a member pioneer on the ground. 

What’s next with skills? 

Next week we’ll be focusing on preparing for interviewing helpers by reviewing and prioritising our assumptions and sourcing participants. We’ll also be looking to launch a survey to capture input from helpers. 

 Out and about 

This week Anne met with 2 of the 4 Communities Officers at Trafford Council to discuss the potential for working together. The communities team focuses on developing local partnerships, who they communicate with on a weekly basis, along with residents who have signed up to know what’s going on.  

As a council they regularly communicate with thousands of individuals and organisations through an array of different teams and for many different reasons. 

The opportunity for us to communicate through these channels could significantly accelerate the growth of potential activities being added, and volunteers, participants or potential organisers accessing opportunities through Co-operate. 

The team also organises the Trafford Live community event that takes place every year. This year it’s on 21 June and could be a good opportunity for us to research with, and promote to, the people of Trafford.

Other stuff 

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

  • meeting with Locality to explore content journeys 

  • chat with Camden council 

  • 3 stream show and tell as we’re now scaling up our work. Seeing so much progress is quite a sight to see!

That’s a wrap until next week. 

If you’re a Co-op colleague and want to get our weeknotes direct to your inbox then email to be added to our distribution list.  


Posted by Rachael on 31 January, 2020