An Update for Our Members
Published 18 May 2020 in Society Announcements
The coronavirus pandemic has forced us all to live and work differently. At Midcounties, we have adapted and innovated to ensure we continue to support our colleagues, members and communities.
One example is this year’s Annual General Meeting that took place on Saturday, the first time we, or indeed any consumer co-operative, have held our AGM completely online. I thought it would be useful to give you an overview of the matters we covered.
The event gave an overview of how your Society performed in 2019, how we have responded to the coronavirus crisis and how we are delivering on our cooperative values. Pleasingly, over 580 of our members logged on to join us, a similar number to those joining us in person last year. The meeting featured presentations and videos, as well as answering some of the questions submitted by members during the session. Importantly, members also voted on, and passed, the various proposals during the meeting, again online.
Review of the year
2019 was a particularly important year for your Society. The uncertainty around Brexit resulted in difficult trading decisions, and your Board made the strategic decision to reduce our exposure to the volatile energy market by partnering with Octopus Energy. Throughout this period our core businesses continued to perform very strongly, generating total operating profits of £20m – a 26% increase on the previous year. The actions we have taken have left the Society on a more stable financial footing from which we can position ourselves for continued growth.
2019 also saw our colleagues, members and partners continue to help us make an incredibly positive difference to the communities in which we operate. We distributed over £350,000 to local good causes through our community grant programmes, removed over three million plastic bags by introducing compostable bags in our food stores, and our colleagues spent over 30,000 volunteering hours helping in their communities.
We already know that 2020 has presented unprecedented challenges, making the role that we can play as a cooperative society more important than ever.
In response to the pandemic, across every part of your Society, we have redoubled our efforts to support colleagues, members, customers and our communities, and I am incredibly grateful for the support they have provided in return. I’ve detailed to you previously some of the work that we have been doing, with our main priority as you would expect during this time being on the safety of our customers and our colleagues.
We’ve made a video to illustrate some of the actions we have taken, and the impact that this has made. That video can be seen by clicking the image below.
We know there is more we can do, and we will continue to be driven by the cooperative values that are so important to all of us. That’s why one of the measures we launched at Saturday’s AGM was our Community Restart Fund. Through this fund our charity and community partners will be able to apply for grants of up to £1,000 to provide immediate financial support for those who are facing challenges, disadvantages or financial hardship as a result of the impact of coronavirus.
I’d like to thank all members who joined us on Saturday and I hope they found the meeting informative and useful. In closing, I’d also like to wish you and your loved ones the very best and to thank you for your continued support.