Having invested in technology, officers of Having invested in technology, officers of the Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Erewash Co-operative Party plumped for a hybrid get together for their half yearly meeting in Labour’s offices in Lincoln plumped for a hybrid get together for their half yearly meeting in Labour’s offices in Lincoln. With the city council under Labour control and with a longstanding and growing presence of the Co-op Party in the Group, the in-person part of the meeting attracted a strong local government presence.

With camera and microphone set up, officers enabled members to join remotely and hear external speakers drawn from the volunteers at the Lincoln Community Larder who provided powerful personal testimony about the extent of the crisis that many families face. On a rather more uplifting note, their work was also a tribute to the community spirit in the city and the continuing support from businesses which have kept the Larder going through thick and thin. Their talk also reinforced the importance of the Co-op Party’s work campaigning on food justice, but it also highlighted Lincoln Council’s tremendous track record on supporting communities. Half yearly meeting business followed the presentations, and members from across the region took part in a canvass session in the afternoon ahead of the local elections.

The local Party has been laser focused on making meetings as meaningful as they possibly can. By exploring what technology would work best to enable remote participation and then investing in it, officers have made sure that every member can take part. Keeping minutes and formal business to a minimum and inviting relevant and engaging external speakers encourage attendance. Bookending the Saturday meeting with a canvass session provided a practical output for the local government elections.