In the second week of this year's national celebration of all things cooperative - Cooperative Fortnight - we took to the streets with gardening gloves and rubble-resistant bin liners in hand.
Starting in the car park of our offices, we wended our way to Headington Hill Park. The streets and parks of our corner of east Oxford are kept near-spotless but even here once you start looking for it, litter glares at you from under hedges and through railings. The remains of packaging nestle everywhere: plastic bottles, sandwich wrappers, sweet packets. Cigarette butts form a trail in the gutter from office to park, where we came across more unusual items: squashed sunglasses, a rubber ball and lost keys. Bits of string and discarded personal possessions made us wonder about others' lives and the world we cycle through every day.
The Big Co-op Clean is an expression of the power of working together and an act of solidarity with those around us. The referendum that resulting in the UK voting to leave the EU coincided with our clean-up and for us one of the saddest aspects of the political developments was the demonstration of a lack of faith in cooperation and collaboration. For us, it's never been more important that we are cooperative, and never more important to get stuck in and be involved with our communities and environment.