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Community Blog

4 ways we're making a real difference to our communities

11 July 2018

In the Channel Islands, you’re never far away from a Co-op, whether it be for food, petrol, or our care services, we sit at the heart of communities. That’s why our vision is to make a real difference to those communities we serve.

From promoting healthy eating, sun safety and Fairtrade in local schools, to supporting local charities and community groups through donations, here you’ll find just some of the ways we have made a difference.

1. Healthy eating

We all know that healthy eating helps our bodies and mental wellbeing, but getting that across to children can be difficult.

We found the best way of teaching children the importance of healthy eating was through ‘doing’, retaining information through practice. We sent seed trays containing 20 different vegetables and herbs to Primary Schools across Jersey and Guernsey, the children had everything they needed to grow their own little gardens, learning the whole growing process, from the sowing of seeds to picking their crops.

Supported by assemblies in schools, we linked this campaign with their Healthy Eating Schools Policy and inspired the children to try new tastes and flavours, showing that healthy eating can be easy and fun.

2. Conservation and preservation

It isn’t just through fund donations that we can make a difference, we inspire communities to get involved too.

On a cold February morning, 30 volunteers consisting of both colleagues and members gathered at Greve de Lecq in Jersey with conservation group Birds on the Edge and the National Trust, to plant over 500 native trees and shrub species. These linear structures will provide many advantages to local wildlife, many of which are under threat due to the loss of habitats.

These hedges were planted in a joint effort with farmers and landowners and demonstrates so well the concept of co-operation!

3. Stepping up

Our vision isn’t just words, our colleagues live and breathe our values as demonstrated one hot and humid day in June when 20 colleagues gathered to undertake a challenge; to visit each of our Co-operative stores locations in Guernsey – all in one day.

The inspiration for this challenge? It was all in aid of a local school, Le Murier and their residential project. This project is intended to help children of all levels and abilities to gain the fundamental skills they need to help them increase their confidence, independence and ability.

All funds raised through this fun, charity challenge as well as through in-store donations will go towards this amazing project, helping to inspire the next generation of Co-operative members and colleagues!

4. Breaking down the barriers

As a community retailer we want to change attitudes and improve the quality of life for disabled islanders and their carers, so they can be active and engaged socially.

One way we’ve done this is with the introduction of the Sunflower lanyard scheme. Available from all Grand Marché customer service desks, customers with hidden disabilities who wish to take part can collect a lanyard or pin badge. The sunflower symbol will help our colleagues to recognise, reassure and respond to members and customers wearing them with any extra help or support they may need.

The scheme is running for an initial three-month trial, but we hope to extend this to our entire estate including pharmacy and travel at the end of the trial.

Onwards and upwards

This is just a few of the great ways in which we have made a real difference to the communities we serve, but there are many more initiatives coming soon which will continue to inspire co-operation among community groups – so watch this space!