It is apt that one of the more unusual items found during this year's Big Co-op Clean campaign was a bath! And co-op members were all shook up after uncovering a pair of Elvis glasses.
The discoveries were made by co-operatives while clearing up local areas as part of the nationwide Big Co-op Clean initiative during Co-operatives Fortnight earlier this month. Together those involved cleaned an impressive 768,000 square metres – the equivalent of 154 football pitches.
Alongside a bath and novelty glasses, the Big Co-op Cleaners removed a host of unusual items – scooters, bikes, the front half of a car, a long-lost wallet and a set of car keys, not to mention piles of syringes and no less than 897 bin bags of rubbish.
The clean-ups took place between 18 June and 2 July, with 1,220 people participating in 93 cleans, ranging from mass tidies of river banks ruined in the floods earlier this year to sprucing up local parks.
All those who organised the events found them incredibly valuable. “The Big Co-op Clean captured community spirit and brought people together to really make a difference” said the organiser of a clean-up in Cumbria, Katie Kipling, of the large customer owned retailer, Scotmid.
That view was echoed by Emily Harwood of the Yorkshire-based worker owned business Suma Wholefoods: “We thoroughly enjoyed taking part. It was a fine example of how, when working together, we can achieve so much more!”
Co-operatives of all kinds organised cleans from housing organisations like Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, public service providers like Leading Lives and retailers like The Co-op and Central England Co-operative.
Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, which facilitates the nationwide event, said:
“Participation by organisations large and small meant in the Big Co-op Clean meant that we have had co-ops across the country out and doing what they do best – bringing people together and making a difference in their local area.
“The co-operative sector is large and diverse. The Big Co-op Clean is a great unifier and a way of highlighting how co-operation allows us to achieve so much more than we could alone.”