HELPING her community is more than just an ambition for local Grays woman, Claire Mason, it’s a passion that she is fulfilling on a daily basis.
Claire, 46, who lives in Nutberry Avenue, in Stifford Clays, has just completed her second year as the Member Pioneer for Socketts Heath and says she is in her ‘dream job’.
Member Pioneers can be colleagues or Members of the community. They create local action plans that mean Co-op can provide support at a local level. They work very closely with the Local Community Fund recipients which are Local Causes that are supported by the local Co-op Members. They can be charities, local community groups or food banks.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more, it’s really a pleasure to go in to work knowing that you are going to be able to make a difference to people’s lives,” says Claire who is committed to her community role outside of work as well as in it – she is her local Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator and plays euphonium and trombone in Grays Town Band!
“I had a myriad of jobs and roles before I joined the Co-op, working as a PA in banking in the city and then at a local hotel, but this is something I really, really enjoy. I had been at the Food store for about two years and had started unofficially taking on the role of community co-ordinator for the store. My manager said he thought I should make it more permanent and he put me up for the role of Member Pioneer, which I do for four hours a week alongside my full-time role as a customer team member in store. I had a couple of local interviews and training sessions and I can honestly say that getting the role is one of the best things I have ever done.
“I get a real kick out of being able to help people. We have our three Local Causes that we support at the store and I'm looking forward to working with them for the coming year. But the role is not exclusive to them, we support a lot of other groups and people in the community.
“I think looking back on the past year, the most rewarding thing in what has been a really difficult time is being able to help people who were struggling because of Covid-19.
“At the store we were able to support a lot of local people, getting their food and essential items to them. “And we have also worked closely through the year with Thurrock Foodbank, helping them to fill the gap for so many people who have been struggling to make ends meet.
“It’s really been great to be able to get involved in so much good work and long may it continue."
To find out more about Co-op's Member Pioneers and how you can cooperate with them in your community, follow the link here coop.co.uk/member-pioneers.
When Co-op Members buy own-brand products and services, 2p for every £1 spent goes to support local causes and community organisations. To find out more about Membership, follow the link here coop.co.uk/membership.