Meet Jo Bale – winner of the Community Star Award

Meet Jo Bale – winner of the Community Star Award


“I’m absolutely blown away. I enjoy doing what I do so I don’t feel I need thanks or praise. I couldn’t do it without my team.”


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Jo is a remarkable lady. She’s worked for Co-op since she was 16 years old and has given her life to helping the community where she lives and works.

Jo had more nominations than any other colleague in our awards this year. Her humility, selflessness and warmth shine through as soon as you meet her.

Only recently she raised money for a special wheelchair to help a local disabled boy play football with his brother and friends. The boy’s mum said Jo had changed his life. Before he didn’t want to get out of bed but now he’s excited every morning.

She helped a local lady Kim go to Mumbai for pioneering stem cell treatment to help her walk again, and made young Ebony’s dreams come 1 by helping her be a princess for a day.

These are just a handful of people she’s supported over the last 36 years. She’s also a treasurer for the Pride of the Isle charity which raises money to create memories for the terminally ill (it’s also one of our local causes in this round).

Jo helped set it up in memory of Lex Strong, a young boy who lost his fight to cancer at just seven years old.

“We’ve done an awards night in his memory for the last five years,” explains Jo. “My team are heavily involved and even run the bar – all giving up their own time.

“We do something nearly every week for the community. I just see it as part of who I am. To me, that’s what working for Co-op is about. It’s all part and parcel of the rebuild that’s got us where we need to be.”

It’s not just her devotion to supporting individuals who need help, Jo puts her heart and soul into helping her store’s three local causes.

“I think the Local Community Fund is a great thing – we embrace it as a team. We keep in contact with our local causes regularly and make sure they’re part of everything we do. It’s a two-way thing. The more members know about them, the more they’ll choose them.

“We also make sure we involve our local Funeralcare and other stores in the area as doing things together means our Co-op has a much better reach.”

What colleagues are saying about Jo

“I am so proud, humbled and privileged to know this colleague who is one of the kindest women ever to walk this earth. Without her and Co-op so many families would not have a better quality of life and memories for life!”

“This colleague consistently lives and breathes all of the Ways of Being Co-op, leading and inspiring her peers within the area team with her community and charity efforts – often supporting the co-ordination of events for other stores and the area as a whole.”

“While always keeping herself in the background, she always considers how she can promote our Co-op alongside her activities.”

“I’ve worked with her for the best part of 19 years and continue to be in awe of her completely selfless hard work and determination in terms of community.”