Remembrance Day, IGD Live & Respect for Shopworkers Week
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Published 8 Nov 2019 in Phil's blog
The Society will be remembering all those who made the ultimate sacrifice by commemorating Remembrance Sunday on 10 November and Remembrance Day on 11 November. On Sunday all our stores that are open will take part and on Monday all colleagues will adhere to the two-minute silence at 11am.
WW1 Roll of Honour
Last year I wrote about a Roll of Honour which remembered the sacrifice of 57 members of staff who served during the Great War.
This year the Roll of Honour has again been returned to the reception area at Co-operative House. Over the last year, a lot of research has been done by Chas Townley, who sits on our Member Engagement Committee, to find out about where it originated from and about the lives of the men who left the safety and security of working for their local Co-operative to serve in the Great War. So far information has been found on 40 of these men on the Memorial.
The Memorial was previously displayed in the entrance hall at the Cainscross and Ebley Co-operative Society which served many of the surrounding areas including Dursley, Wotton and Stonehouse. Many of the staff left to join frontline infantry and artillery regiments but others were recruited for their cooperative skills to help in the extensive network of supply and support services, which supplied the men in the frontline. These three examples show the contribution that cooperative staff made to the war effort.
Norman Long, Driver, Stroud Company, Gloucester & Worcester Brigade, Territorial Army service Corps
Norman served with the local Territorial unit of the Army Service Corps, based in Stroud. This unit was part of the supply chain supporting the 48th Division. There was an extensive railway network including narrow gauge lines but Norman’s unit provided the “final mile” of horse drawn delivery to the trenches. This Division contained many regiments across the Midcounties trading area including Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Oxfordshire. This division was heavily involved in the Somme offensive on 1 July 1916.
Howard Bennett, Corporal, Royal Army Service Corps, Expeditionary Force, Canteen Service
Howard had been appointed as Manager of the Cainscross Grocery store in 1911. His service record shows that he was called up on 29 January 1917 to serve in France and was immediately promoted to Corporal. By the end of the war the Canteen Service - later to become the NAAFI - provided 577 stores across the Western Front in France and Belgium. They were reputed to be able to supply everything from a ‘button to a bottle of champagne, and from a packet of pins to a complete equipment for an officer.”
Henry Frederick Gardner, Private, 11 Field Bakery, Royal Army Service Corps
Henry Gardner was a baker at Cainscross and remained on the staff until April 1917 but was called up to the Royal Army Service Corps. Following training, he was posted to the 11 Field Bakery in France.
45 Field Bakeries were in operation across the Western Front. Bakeries were static and often located some distance from the front and were staffed by one officer and ninety-two men and could produce enough bread for more than 20,000 men.
Of the 57 named on the memorial 52 returned home – sometimes disabled out of the army – many returning to their jobs which had held open for the duration of the war. Often military pay was less than their normal pay and the Society paid an allowance to make up the difference to soldier’s families. A memorial to the five who paid the “supreme sacrifice” was erected after the war and is now preserved at the entrance to Co-operative House.
Reading for Remembrance Day
For those interested in the history of the Second World War, our Communications Manager, Nicholas Milton has written a new book entitled, ‘Neville Chamberlain’s Legacy’ click here. Chamberlain is best remembered as the Prime Minister who declared ‘peace for our time’ and the biography offers a new perspective on the history of appeasement and the declaration of war. It includes a potted history of the Co-op movement, Chamberlain being the first Chancellor to tax the ‘divi’ or dividend issued by Co-op stores and also reveals his love of natural history. Colleagues can get a signed copy for £20, post free, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-op CEO & President’s Dinner
On Tuesday myself and our recently re-elected President, Helen Wiseman, were invited to join the Co-op Annual CEO & Presidents Dinner, at the Co-op Group Manchester head office.
Every year it is a great chance for us to catch up with fellow colleagues and peers from the biggest Co-ops in Britain, where we can exchange news and discuss the many good and important topics happening across the Co-operative landscape.
IGD Live Conference
This Wednesday, I attended the IGD (The Institute of Grocery Distribution) Live Conference at the historical Grade II listed, Tobacco Dock in London. I was invited to speak on the Convenience session, with a specific focus on delivering best practice for ‘local’ in convenience and combining our national strength with a local difference. The conference was well attended by industry leaders from right across the UK retail landscape, all keen to hear how UK retailers are delivering great convenience stores, nationally, regionally and locally.
During the presentation I talked about our ‘Best of our Counties’ range, highlighting how retailers need to understand the shopping habits of local shoppers and the benefits of offering locally sourced, artisan product ranges with provenance at its core. Food traceability is a theme that has and continues to be high on the agenda of many UK shoppers.
I was proud to be able to talk about our ‘Happerley’ journey and specifically the work that has gone into ensuring that our ‘Best of Our Counties’ range is at the heart of our commitment to honest food, from the first production to store shelves.
Childcare welcome three new nurseries
We’re really pleased to announce the acquisition of three new nurseries, joining the Childcare group this week. The nurseries which are based in Sunderland provide places for 259 children, increases the groups strong and successful presence in the North East, adding to the three existing Co-op Childcare nurseries in Newcastle. We also warmly welcome just over 100 new colleagues to the Childcare group and the Society, so I’m sure you will all join me in welcoming them on board - for more information click here.
Respect for Shopworkers Week
And finally, to support our fellow colleagues working in our stores, may I remind you all that next week marks the beginning of USDAW’s ‘Respect for Shopworkers Week’, 11th – 17th November.
The theme behind USDAW’s Freedom from Fear Campaign – ‘Keep Your Cool’ was launched nationwide to help the public to understand that despite the Christmas shopping period being a sometimes-stressful experience, it should never excuse verbal aggression or physical, violent abuse towards shop workers. Unfortunately, it was recently reported that retail crime is on the rise, with more than 42,000 threats or assaults recorded in the industry in 2018.
The Co-op and Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), is working in association with USDAW and the Home Office on the #AlwaysReportAbuse campaign to raise awareness about the impact of crime against shopworkers and to encourage retail sector workers to report incidents. ACS and the Home Office call for evidence closed in June, ahead of a Parliamentary debate on the prevention of retail crime.
As part of the ‘Keep Your Cool’ campaign, Shell Whitehead, Post Office Manager and USDAW representative will be hosting a day around the campaign on Thursday 14th November at our Willenhall, New Invention store. She will be taking the campaign to the public and talking to our members about the importance of ‘Respect for Shopworkers Week’. Shell has shared some photographs of her and colleagues from their wonderful stall setup in-store from the previous two years.
Colleagues in-store: Left to right (picture 1) Martine Beavan, Carol Bentley, Dianne Price, (picture 2) Natalie Roberts, Martine Beavan
To pledge your support or if you would like to get involved in the campaign please visit Freedom from Fear