Locally owned co-operatives such as Bron Afon Community Housing and RCT Homes do a fantastic job of providing local services and creating employment. If you’d like to know more about the co-operative approach and how it can be replicated in other communities in South Wales, book your place on this free seminar.
The Wales Co-operative Centre is keen to help communities across Wales to help themselves. We want to encourage the development of community co-operatives that engage with community members, provide vital services and create much needed jobs.
This seminar is aimed at people who are interested in finding out more or want to set up a community co-operative in their area.
Where and when?
• Porth, Too Good to Waste, Tuesday 30 April 2013, 10am – 1pm
This seminar will provide:
• Historical background to the co-operative movement
• Co-operative Principles and their relevance in today’s society
• Information on the pros and cons of developing a Community co-operative
• Issues to think about when setting up a community co-operative
• Information on suitable co-operative structures
• Examples of successful community co-operatives
Who should attend?
• Key decision-makers and policy advisors
• Community development workers
• Community activists
• Community First co-ordinators and support staff
• Community regeneration specialists
• Economic development specialists
• Grant givers and funding bodies
• Anyone interested in setting up community share schemes
Book your place now by completing our online booking form. Places are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment!
Business success through planned business succession will be the topic at a series of breakfast events hosted by Wales Co-operative Centre this month. The events will explore issues around business exits, succession and utilising employee ownership as a tool for long term succession planning.
Employee ownership experts from the Wales Co-operative Centre will be joined in the Cardiff event this Tuesday (“3rd April) by Chris Earnshaw, managing director of John Lewis Cardiff. Chris will look at how Employee Ownership in John Lewis gives the group a competitive advantage over other businesses within the retail sector. He will explore how John Lewis manages its employee ownership structure, its engagement with its Partners, (staff) and provide an insight into the benefits employee ownership can give companies of every size.
Britain’s most famous employee owned company, the John Lewis Partnership recently announced a bonus worth 17% for each employee – equivalent to nine weeks pay. The Partnership currently employs over 84,000 people and has paid a bonus of at least 9% since 1999/2000.
Employee ownership is a concept that is becoming more and more popular in Britain due to the increased recognition of it as a means of sustaining growth and encouraging innovation within companies. In fact, according to industry experts Field Fisher Waterhouse by September 2012, an investment of £100 in employee owned companies in 1992 would have returned £661 compared to the same investment at the same time in the FTSE All-share which would have returned just £244.
Employee ownership can also be effective as a long term succession strategy. Several models can be used to allow business owners to sell shares directly to employees or to a trust working on behalf of the employees (similar to the ‘John Lewis Model’). The move towards employee ownership is flexible and can be utilised over a timescale that suits the owners, the employees and the company.
Aberystwyth biotech company Aber Instruments is employee owned. It’s Finance Director Barry Wise and his co-founders decided to pass on the business to their employees as part of a long term succession strategy. Barry retires from Aber Instruments this year and is joining the Wales Co-operative Centre at the breakfast events to talk about the benefits of this approach for business owners looking to retire or for business owners looking to grow their business.
Places for the Cardiff event and the events in Swansea and Newport can be booked online at http://www.walescooperative.org/business-succession-events or by calling 0300 111 5050
The Seren Group, which includes Charter Housing, is considering developing co-operative housing on part of the old Pirelli Factory site, just off Corporation Road in Maindee. Before the group moves forward with this idea, it needs to find out whether Newport residents would be interested in living in co-operative housing. Seren is working with the Wales Co-operative Centre and the Chartered Institute of Housing to identify whether there is any demand for this form of housing in the City.
What is co-operative housing?
Co-operative housing is a form of housing where members (either tenants or owners) democratically control and manage their homes and play an active role in the life of the communities they live in. Co-operative housing is very common in other parts of Europe. There are a number of different types of co-operative housing, either for rent or for sale but they have one fundamental thing in common: they put democracy and community ownership at the heart of housing.
Some of the advantages of co-operative housing are:-
• An affordable form of home ownership
• A democratic and safe community
• Long term financing and security
• Flexible to meet occupiers needs
• Potential of shared benefits of communal energy
What is the plan for co-operative housing in Newport?
Seren’s plan for the old Pirelli site is to create a community of around 200 homes which will be a mix of homes for rent and to buy. The vision is of an ‘urban village’; bringing the community benefits of village life to the heart of the City. Seren would like to include an area of co-operative housing in this development, if there are enough people interested.
Why are we reaching out to you and what should you do next?
We are trying to find out whether you are interested in knowing more about the development of the Pirelli site and whether you are interested in being a part of the co-operative Seren wants to support on the site.
If you are interested in finding out more, please go online using this web address
You’ll be asked to answer a few questions about yourself, your family, your current housing situation and to provide your contact details.
We will then write to you with more information about co-operative housing and an invitation to attend an event to tell you more about Seren’s plan and the types of co-operative housing that may be possible.
If you have any questions about this matter, please contact Dave Palmer from the Wales Co-operative Centre on 029 2055 6169.
The consultancy.coop, a small Co-operative Development Body (CDB) based in south Wales has recently set up a new website aimed at helping new and growing co-ops with their Community Share Issues.
Alex Bird, one of the partners in the co-op, realised after working with a number of community co ops trying to finance projects through share issues, that whilst they could market themselves easily to local people, communicating to the wider public wasn’t easy on a small budget. He and his colleagues have worked with community shops, community centres, pubs, football and rugby clubs, festivals, food co ops, bike shops, off-road cycle centres, recycling projects, gyms and energy co ops, and all had difficulty marketing their share issues. Many didn’t proceed with a share issues because they couldn’t see how they would get sufficient share sales and the activists involved looked to other sources of finance such as grants and loans.
Some projects they’ve worked with have been very creative in their share issues, linking up with credit unions and CDFIs to enable people to get lines of credit or save up to buy shares, but they still find it difficult to contact their diaspora, and you can only raise so much from local people.
Many projects have a wider appeal than just their immediate neighbourhood, and there is a large body of people across the UK and further afield who don’t have a project nearby but would like to support one. Real ale pubs, vegetarian and vegan shops, football clubs, and of course ecological and green energy projects are examples of projects with a broader appeal, but many such projects weren’t getting through to their potential share buyers, and at times weren’t hitting their finance raising targets.
After many discussions about who wasn’t doing what and whose job it was to sort out this problem, and why “they” should be doing it, consultancy.coop did what co-operators always do in the end – got on with it themselves.
Using the well-known open source software from WordPress and with the help of Co-operatives UK Internet Services they have set up a .coop site from their own resources.
The new website is up and running at http://www.shares.coop and features all the Community Share Issues they know about free of charge in a classified style listing, plus lots of advice and guidance. The site is presently entirely self-funding, although as it develops they hope to bring some sponsorship on board in order to raise income and grow the site, so they offer paid for features as well as the basic free listing.
Help them improve their SEO and get up the Google ratings by visiting the site, telling your friends, blogging, tweeting and linking your website to theirs.
• Cost to you £0
• Principle 6 credibility – Priceless