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Annual Members' Meeting 2020 updates

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Thank you to all those who attended our online Annual Members’ Meeting on Thursday 10th December 2020. We hope you enjoyed it!

We were pleased to have nearly 400 members tune in to find out more about their local co-op, vote on important issues, hear from our Board of Directors and participate in a Q&A session.

We’ll also be donating £1 to local good causes for every member that signed in on the night too. To find out more about who we are currently supporting please click here.

If you weren’t able to tune in on the night, don’t worry - you can watch the recording of the meeting here. Unfortunately, there was a technical issue at the start of the meeting which meant that the sound wasn’t initially broadcast. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.    

The feedback survey has now closed - thank you to everyone who took part in this and we're delighted to announce that the winners of the Lincolnshire Co-op vouchers are: 

£75 voucher: M Taylor

£50 voucher: J Vickers

£25 voucher: R Dart

The minutes from our Annual Members’ Meeting 2020 can be found here:

Annual Members' Meeting minutes 2020

We had lots of great questions submitted before the meeting and live on the night. You can find the responses to these below.

We have a good relationship with the Co-op group in Manchester who buy on our behalf to get great cost prices and they also have lots of expertise we can use but we also have the flexibility to choose what works best for us.

It is competitive but it’s important to remember that we are not competing with the supermarkets as we operate within the convenience sector and the convenience sector is growing.

We’re able to offer great deals on products as well as having colleagues who are engaged, customers are happy with us and all the indicators that we get show that we are leading the way on customer satisfaction.

It’s important for us to invest in stores in the right locations and our Gadbsy’s bakery also goes from strength to strength.

We’ve applied for planning permission for a new scheme which would see an Aldi supermarket, a 196-space car park, a coffee shop drive-thru and units built on the site

The original scheme featured a number of flats as well as a food store and retail units.

Various factors have meant the scheme was slower to progress than some. These included co-ordinating the timings of the scheme with Western Power Distribution, which is now undertaking major utilities upgrades in the area.

Now time has passed since the original plan, we want to relook at the scheme in view of changes to the housing market. We still plan for a food store and retail units and housing but will be looking at a different configuration, which we will apply for planning permission for.

Over the years, the number of people using their share accounts has reduced and this pattern continues. And, as a business, unlike in the 1860s when we were founded, we no longer rely on members share capital. So, bearing all that in mind, we’re not planning to extend the locations where we offer a members’ helpdesk service

We’re currently looking at installing coffee machines in all of our food stores.

We’ve been on site for 5 years but it has been a few decades in the planning. 2020 has been an amazing year with lots of new offerings including a cinema, cocktail bar, fashion brands, art gallery and most recently a jeweller.

We’ve also been assisting local traders to move to their new locations including Double M and Imp Travel.

With lots going on, it’s great to see local traders, new businesses and national companies blending together.

In 2021 we’ll be looking at St Mary’s Street and we’ve made a submission in conjunction with the University of Lincoln, to the Town Deal Fund with plans for the Barbican Hotel.

On Sincil Street, towards the market, a careful restoration of the very old back to back properties is taking place.

We’re also working really hard on a project for the site of the 1970’s Co-op store which will be revealed next year.

We have a big expansion plan for food stores and it’s heart-warming to hear the differences our stores make in local communities such as the ones we opened in Sturton by Stow & Grantham.

Part of our purpose statement is to provide and support valued services so if we’re not the best placed to provide the service ourselves, we may be able to help facilitate others such as helping a business to open or supporting communities to form co-operative collaborative arrangements.

We’re looking particularly at offering more Chiropody services. We have 3 outlets already and would love to be able to expand this service.

We’re also doing quite a lot of work on housing as we realise how important it is for decent homes.

We are fortunate to already have 6 female directors and 5 male directors. Even so we are not complacent and are mindful of the importance of diversity. If you are interested in becoming a director, please contact the membership team.

We’re aware that there were supply and delivery issues at the start of March, which affected availability of products in stores. The allocation of products was dependent on when the stock arrived at the depot and when deliveries to the stores were being made. However, we believe that these issues are now behind us.

We do look at our Post Office locations regularly to make sure they are situated in the best possible place and usually they work where they are, however combined with the busy Christmas period and social distancing, it has been more difficult. We have put colleagues on the door where there is a post office situated in a food store to help direct people and we will continue to do all that we can to keep our colleagues and customers safe.

We always take a long-term view and whilst it’s been a difficult year, our travel colleagues have worked really hard and we have received lots of positive feedback from customers that gives us encouragement that they will continue to purchase holidays from us and hopefully new customers too.

2021 will still be challenging but we hope that departures will increase and we feel positive about 2022. If people are thinking about travel plans please give us a call.

Yes. We have planning permission for it and are hoping to be on this site in Spring 2021.

We do have some interest in that unit and we also have some internal work to do so that it can be occupied soon.

We’ve tried to help our tenants throughout the year with rent support but also signposting to grants and what their obligations are, helping with Health and Safety, signage and training to help maintain positive relationships with our tenants.

It is a site which links the Market Place to Marshalls Yard, so we know it’s important to the town.

WLDC has planning permission to revitalise the site with a cinema development and we believe that will be great for the town.

We’re always looking for opportunities to build new stores and we look at different factors when deciding where to open an outlet including what competition there is, housing that is going up, population of the area and if there is a good site for us.

Our vacancy rate is usually below the national average. We also invested heavily in the precinct a few years ago and there is interest in that end unit and we are hopeful that this will be fully let in 2021.

Our sales with local suppliers have been phenomal and in some cases we have been the only source of income for them.

We are the only food retailer in the country that has a commitment to 100% British meat and regardless of what happens we will do our best with this.

The Collingham Food Larder arranged a temporary letting with us which is due to end in January 2021. We provided the unit rent free on an ‘as is’ basis.

Yes, we own and operate the South Lincolnshire Crematorium.

We’re aware that McColl’s have closed this store as part of a national plan to reduce their number of stores and have not renewed their lease. We own the building and want to bring it back in to use. We’ve had some interest in it and are considering our options, although planning permission will be required to re-develop the building.

We look to support local suppliers where-ever possible and our external audit provider is appointed following a competitive tender process having regard to their relevant skills and particular experience of co-operatives and businesses of similar size and scale to ours. We haven’t as yet been able to find a suitable local firm although we do and will take this into account for future appointments. Our internal auditors are local firm Streets and we use local solicitors.


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