How members contribute in democracy through attending a members' meeting.

How members contribute in democracy through attending a members' meeting.

Blog written by Carol Warham, Vice-Chair - Yorkshire Member & Community Council.

Interim Members' Meetings were held across the Society and online on Wednesday, 25th October, 2023. In Yorkshire, we had our meeting at The Huntsman in Holmfirth.

A full and lively room of approximately sixty enthusiastic members and some non-members attended the Interim Members’ Meeting at The Huntsman. We were joined by Jane Avery, Marc Bicknall and Jody Meakin from the Board, who guided us through the meeting.

As everyone arrived, they were greeted with tea, coffee or orange juice and a huge selection of the Co-op’s Irresistible nibbles. Our evening started off with a Chair Zumba, which involved shaking your maracas or squeezing some squashy balls, with sing-a-long music, to get everyone laughing and cheery.

There was time to move around the room, chatting to various tables and meeting new people. I sat for quite a while with a table of friends, who had come along from a Kirklees supported social group.

They had joined our Heritage visit to Pickering and Goathland, some for the first time. They were very enthusiastic, chatting about how much they’d enjoyed it, and mentioning plenty of ideas for future places to visit.

I also chatted to Sue the treasurer from Riverholme Connections. This is a charity improving the River Holme and its tributaries. She came to say how grateful they were for the support given by Yorkshire MCC, and told me they now have over a hundred volunteers. A tree planting programme was about to start, and she was hoping to have the opportunity to get her wellies muddy!

The Wooldale Allotment group and the New Mill Community Garden had brought along photos of the work they’d be doing, for everyone to see. We chatted about how successful the New Mill Community Fun Day, in August, had been and how grateful many mums and grandmas were to have such an opportunity to take children to enjoy lots of activities with a lunch included. They were especially grateful that after a wet summer, we had a lovely day and the whole event was free.

We then settled back to listen to the main body of the business meeting hosted by Derby, which we watched online, and took part in the question time and voting.

As our part of the meeting began, we listened to others who were grateful for the support given by the MCC or by the Community Dividend. They included Hannah from Kirklees, Helen from FairandFunky and Katie from Valley Beats Samba Drumming group. Some of the footballers from Wooldale Wanderers spoke of how much they had appreciated the support from the Community Dividend.

Mark Freeman, from the Yorkshire Membership & Community Council, and I stood to chat about the things happening in the Yorkshire area, both in the retail sector and within the support group.

I was delighted to say that we had filled a large bus to our last Heritage visit to Pickering and hopefully this will continue. I and other MCC members had also joined Tanya for various events and with Helen at a few FairandFunky events.

Mark talked about engaging young people through the workshops and work experience and apprenticeship programmes, and the new store openings. Many colleagues, from our region, had enjoyed a visit to the Rochdale Pioneers Museum, holding a workshop there. Another colleague event was to volunteer, working with Riverholme Connections.

The evening ended with a mixed buffet of hot and cold food, wine tastings and soft drinks.

It was certainly a successful evening, giving lots of opportunity for networking and learning about what Central Co-operative does for its members.

A personal thank you to all the Yorkshire MCC members, who give their support and time to many varied events, and especially to Elaine Dean and Tanya Noon, whose enthusiasm and hard work brought this group to fruition and made it the success it is today.