Wales Co-operative Centre

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

Llwyfan cenedlaethol i brosiect ‘Taclo Digartrefedd’ y Ganolfan

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Dros yr ychydig flynyddoedd diwethaf, bûm yn ffodus i annerch amrywiol gynadleddau, rhwydweithiau a digwyddiadau eraill ynglŷn â gwaith y prosiect Taclo Digartrefedd trwy Gynhwysiant Ariannol rydym yn gyfrifol amdano yng Nghanolfan Cydweithredol Cymru. Bydd y cyfle i gynnal sesiwn ymylol yn Symposiwm Digartrefedd y DU, yng Nghaerdydd, yn ein rhoi ar lwyfan cenedlaethol am y tro cyntaf a hefyd yn ein galluogi i rannu arfer gorau â’n cymheiriaid o bob cwr o’r wlad.

Mae rhai themâu allweddol i’r symposiwm – dysgu, gweithio mewn partneriaeth ac arloesi – sydd oll yn cyd-fynd â’n gwaith a ffocws strategol y Ganolfan ar daclo tlodi. Yn y digwyddiad, byddaf yn rhoi ein gwaith yn ei gyd-destun trwy siarad am ei berthnasedd i Ddeddf Tai Llywodraeth Cymru, a ddaeth i rym y mis diwethaf, a’r cyfleoedd a ddaw yn ei sgil.

Er enghraifft, wrth ystyried tenantiaid bregus, yn y gorffennol byddai cyn-droseddwr wedi cael tenantiaeth chwe mis yn unig mewn tŷ cymdeithasol. Nawr, gallai gael cartref yn y Sector Rhentu Preifat o dan denantiaeth safonedig – byddai hyn yn rhoi mwy o sicrwydd o fewn daliadaeth.

Byddaf hefyd yn siarad am ganfyddiadau’r gwaith a wnaethom yng Nghaerffili, gyda’r Cyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol a landlordiaid preifat, lle rydym wedi ymweld â chartrefi tenantiaid y mae eu landlordiaid yn derbyn eu rhent o dan y polisi Diogelu. Mae’r holl denantiaid rydym wedi ymweld â nhw wedi elwa ar gael eglurhad manwl o sut y bydd y Diwygiadau Lles yn effeithio arnynt yn bersonol, ynghyd â’r camau y gallant eu cymryd i helpu i baratoi at gyflwyno Credyd Cynhwysol.

Byddaf yn cyfeirio at Gomisiwn Williams a sut y gall y posibilrwydd y bydd llai o awdurdodau lleol yng Nghymru arwain at heriau a chyfleoedd i’r sector tai. Er ei bod yn bosibl y bydd llai o adnoddau ac arian, gallai adrefnu fel hyn arwain at ailfeddwl am sut y mae gwasanaethau’n cael eu darparu, gan wella’r ffordd y mae pobl yn cael help i gael mynediad i’r gwasanaeth/ymyrraeth gywir ar yr amser cywir.

Mae’n amlwg bod angen i landlordiaid wneud rhagor i gefnogi tenantiaid yn y Sector Rhentu Preifat; nid oes fawr ddim rhyngweithio rhwng llawer ohonynt â’u tenantiaid. Fodd bynnag, gwyddom hefyd y gall rhai tenantiaid fod yn amharod i helpu’u hunain, i fynegi’u pryderon a gofyn am help oherwydd eu bod yn ofni cael eu troi allan o’u cartrefi. Mae angen i landlordiaid, awdurdodau lleol a sefydliadau cymorth gyfathrebu’n well â’i gilydd – mae peth arfer da ond nid yw’n gyson ledled Cymru. Mae angen i ni weld partneriaethau cryfach yn cael eu datblygu rhwng awdurdodau lleol a landlordiaid preifat, gan arwain at ddealltwriaeth well o wendidau tenantiaid a’r gefnogaeth y mae arnynt ei hangen. Yn y bôn, mae angen i awdurdodau lleol weld landlordiaid preifat fel partner tai strategol.

Fe wna i ddistewi nawr, neu byddaf wedi dweud y cyfan! Hefyd, bydd gweithdai yn cael eu cynnal yn hwyrach yn y dydd a fydd yn manylu ymhellach ar rai o’r materion y byddaf yn siarad amdanynt.

Written by Ieuan Nash

October 17, 2014 at 10:28 am

Centre’s ‘Tackling Homelessness’ project set for UK bow

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Over the last couple of years, I’ve been fortunate to address various conferences, networks and other events on the work of the Tackling Homelessness through Financial Inclusion Project that we run at the Wales Co-operative Centre. The opportunity to run a fringe session at the UK Homelessness Symposium, in Cardiff, will put us on a national stage for the first time and also enable us to share best practice with our counterparts from around the country.

The symposium has some key themes running through it – learning, partnership working and innovation – all of which chime with our work. At the event, I will put our work into context by talking about its relevance to the Welsh Government’s Housing Act, that became law last month, and the opportunities it brings.

I’ll also talk about the findings from the work we’ve done in Caerphilly, with the County Borough Council and private landlords that has seen us carry out home visits with tenants whose landlords receive their rent under the Safeguarding policy. All of the tenants we visited have benefitted from a detailed explanation of how the Welfare Reforms will affect them personally, along with measures they can take to help prepare for the introduction of Universal Credit.

I’ll touch upon the Williams Commission and how the potential reduction in local authorities in Wales can again lead to challenges and opportunities for the housing sector. While there may be a reduction in resources and funding, such a shake-up could lead to rethinking on the delivery of services, improving the way people are helped to access the right service/intervention at the right time.

It’s clear that landlords need to do more to support tenants in the Private Rented Sector; many have little or no interaction with their tenants. However, we also know that some tenants can be reluctant to help themselves, to speak up and ask for help. Landlords, local authorities and support organisations need better communication with each other – there is some good practice but it’s not consistent throughout Wales. We need to see stronger partnerships being built between local authorities and private landlords, leading to a better understanding of tenants’ vulnerabilities and the support they require. Essentially, local authorities need to view private landlords as a strategic housing partner.

I’ll leave it there, otherwise I’ll give everything away! Also, there are workshops taking place later in the day that will go into greater detail on some of the issues that I’ll be talking about.

Written by Ieuan Nash

October 16, 2014 at 1:22 pm

The Wales Co-operative Centre discusses financial inclusion and its impact on tenants in the private rented sector

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Jocelle Lovell, our Financial Inclusion Project Manager, discusses the projects work with the Private Rented Sector (PRS).

Last week, Shelter Cymru held a PRS conference, at the Liberty Stadium Swansea, and our Tackling Homelessness through Financial Inclusion Project, was delighted to be invited along to deliver a workshop.

Having attended many events that generally focus on what’s wrong with the PRS, it was very welcoming to see the sector being discussed in a positive light. Attendees included private landlords, lettings agents, the Residential Landlords Association, along with local authority housing & Supporting People teams, the Oak Foundation, the Wallich and a host of other support agencies and projects.

The event was a great platform for the Centre to share the learnings and best practice gathered over the past two years working with tenants in the PRS.

Findings from our pilot with Caerphilly County Borough Council found that out of 67 tenants visited;

  • 67.9% stated they were aware that benefits are changing
  • Over 50% had taken Department of Work Pensions or Job Centre Plus loan or used a door step lender in the past 12 months
  • 62.5% had faced difficulty paying rent in the past 12 months
  • 60% had faced difficulty paying gas/electric in the past 12 months
  • 52.5% had faced difficulty paying for Food in the past 12 months
  • 48.3% wanted budgeting advice
  • 58.6% wanted debt advice
  • Over 50% needed referrals to additional services including food banks.

Many of the tenants visited, either didn’t know what support they could access or didn’t like to ask for help. This was exacerbated if they had a bad experience in the past.

Having listened to the other speakers throughout the day, some of the key points which reflect our thinking stayed with me:

  • Communication needs to improve between, local authorities, support services, landlords and tenants.
  • Landlords and tenants are less aware of the support available and how it can be accessed
  • There are some great examples of innovative working practices across Wales, but this is not consistent across all local authorities
  • The need for landlord and tenant training
  • More needs to be done when tenants are first housed into the PRS, early intervention can prevent crisis
  • The PRS should be recognised as a strategic housing partner
  • Some tenants want the flexibility of a short term tenancy, due to their transient nature and uncertainty of job security.

Simon White from Welsh Government, delivered an informative session on the Renting Homes Bill consultation and it’s implications for local authorities, landlords and tenants. Overall people welcomed the notion to simplify and restrict the number of tenancy agreements currently being used across the housing sector, but some were concerned that the changes may take away tenants flexibility to a short term tenancy. Due to the Centre’s work in the private rented sector and its Co-operative Housing Project, we have submitted a formal response to both the Renting Homes Bill and The Housing White Paper.

Written by Ieuan Nash

October 7, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Plans announced for accelerated rollout of Universal Credit after success in the North West

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On September 29th in a DWP press release, the Work and Pensions Secretary, Ian Duncan Smith, said; “Universal Credit will be rolled out to all Job Centres and local authorities across the country from early next year”. This marks a significant acceleration in one of the government’s biggest reforms and is a sign of the success of the policy so far. This expansion will be for new claims from single jobseekers.

The Wales Co-operative Centre’s Financial Inclusion Project Manger, Jocelle Lovell, asks is this the calm before the storm, and what does this mean for Wales?

This signals the start of things to come, for a long time we have been waiting on a clear timeline in respect of the roll out of Universal Credit (UC) and here we have it. Whilst it is only starting with ‘new claims from single jobseekers’, which many will argue are the easiest people to work with. It still signifies a commitment to drive forward the changes, and sends out a clear message to us all that we need to be prepared. This means a joined up approach, mapping and knowing the services available within a local authority area, referral routes to support including face to face, online and over the phone. The local support services frameworks that will underpin UC are currently being tested in 11 sites across the UK, two of which are in Wales, Carmarthenshire and Blaenau Gwent.

Alongside this are some great examples where LA’s and service providers have come together in a one stop shop model including Cardiff and Flintshire while others like Caerphilly are maximising the use of library facilities to deliver digital Friday sessions. But we still have some way to go to cope with a full UC roll out.

For a long time the Centre has been working to address some of the key concerns raised by the introduction of UC, including financial & digital inclusion through our Financual Inclusion Champions, Communities 2.0 and Tackling Homelessness through Financial Inclusion (THFI) projects and moving people closer to the jobs market through the Social Enterprise Support Project (SESP)  and Communities 2.0.

Back in 2012, the Centre developed and launched the moneymadeclearwales.org website. Its main purpose is to provide an easy to use site that directs people to expert money and debt advice and other support, without them having to trawl through different websites and endless pages of information. Our experience has shown that people who are less financially and/or digitally capable can be intimidated by the way some websites look & respond, and by the language they use. This, in particular in Wales, is a big concern given our low literacy level (the National Survey of Adult Skills in Wales in 2010 revealed 12% of working age adults have below entry level literacy skills). We have further developed the site to include a work and money section, that is aimed at those people who are less financially or digitally able and are moving closer to world of work.

Written by Ieuan Nash

October 2, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Cydnabod uchelgais a gweledigaeth gyda chyhoeddi enillwyr Gwobrau Mentrau Cymdeithasol Cymru 2014

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Mae menter gymdeithasol ailgylchu carpedi arloesol o’r Cymoedd, Greenstream Carpets, wedi ennill Gwobr Menter Gymdeithasol y Flwyddyn nodedig yng Ngwobrau Mentrau Cymdeithasol Cymru 2014. Noddwyd Gwobr Menter Gymdeithasol y Flwyddyn gan Gyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Conwy.

Bellach yn eu pumed flwyddyn, caiff Gwobrau Mentrau Cymdeithasol Cymru eu hyrwyddo gan Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru i godi proffil mentrau cydweithredol a mentrau cymdeithasol yng Nghymru ac i gydnabod cyflawniadau’r busnesau a’r unigolion arloesol ac ymroddedig sy’n gyrru’r diwydiant.

Dechreuodd Greenstream Flooring yn 2008. Mae’r cwmni’n adennill deunyddiau llawr o swyddfeydd masnachol, yn eu didoli, eu graddio a’u hailwerthu ar hyd a lled y DU. Yn ogystal â gwerthu i adeiladau busnes eraill, maent yn darparu deunyddiau llawr cost isel i deuluoedd na fyddent yn gallu ei fforddio, gan gynnwys gwaith gyda chymdeithasau tai cymdeithasol. Mae Greenstream Flooring yn cyflogi un ar ddeg aelod o staff yn uniongyrchol ac yn darparu cyfleoedd profiad gwaith a gwirfoddoli. Mae Greenstream Flooring wedi tyfu’n sylweddol gyda chynnydd o 1000% o ran trosiant ers 2010.

Dywedodd Ellen Petts, Rheolwr-Gyfarwyddwr Cwmni Buddiannau Cymunedol Greenstream Flooring,

“Mae tîm cyfan Greenstream Flooring yn gweithio’n galed i ddargyfeirio teils carped o safleoedd tirlenwi ac i gefnogi pobl i roi carped yn eu cartrefi. Mae’r wobr hon yn ddiolch enfawr am yr holl waith caled hwnnw. Mae’n ein helpu i gofio y gall teils carped wneud gwahaniaeth ac y gall bod yn fenter gymdeithasol wneud gwahaniaeth hefyd. “

Roedd Cwmni Buddiannau Cymunedol Greenstream Flooring yn fuddugol yn erbyn cystadleuaeth frwd gan nifer o fentrau cymdeithasol uchel eu parch. Yr enwebeion eraill ar y rhestr fer oedd: Pembrokeshire FRAME, 4CG yn Aberteifi a Dŵr Cymru.

Dywedodd Derek Walker, Prif Weithredwr Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru:

“Llongyfarchiadau i Greenstream Carpets – enillydd teilwng Gwobr Menter Gymdeithasol y Flwyddyn. Mae gan Greenstream genhadaeth gymdeithasol ac amgylcheddol hynod glir wrth weithredu’n fusnes hyfyw ac entrepreneuraidd. Mae’r cwmni’n datblygu marchnadoedd newydd a chyfleoedd i gyflenwyr newydd, ac mae’n meithrin partneriaethau cydfanteisiol ar hyd a lled y DU.

“Dangosodd ansawdd yr enwebiadau a gawsom ar gyfer y gwobrau eleni bwysigrwydd y sector i economi Cymru yn ogystal â’i ehangder a’i amlbwrpasedd. Cafodd cwmni Greenstream ei gydnabod am ei gysyniad arloesol, ei ffordd entrepreneuraidd o weithio a’i effaith gymdeithasol. Mae hefyd yn gwmni arloesol yn y DU ac rydw i’n cymeradwyo’i uchelgais a’i weledigaeth.”

Bydd Greenstream Carpets nawr yn cynrychioli Cymru yn Rownd Derfynol y DU mewn seremoni yn Llundain fis nesaf. Am ragor o wybodaeth am y cwmni, ewch i www.findcarpettiles.co.uk

Enillodd menter arall o’r Cymoedd wobr ‘Seren y Dyfodol’, a noddwyd eleni gan Landsker Business Solutions. Bu’r cwmni buddugol,Monwel Limited, yn cynhyrchu arwyddion ffordd o safon ers 45 mlynedd gan gyflogi pobl ag anableddau a’r rheini sydd bellaf i ffwrdd o’r gweithlu. Aeth y cwmni trwy gyfnod pontio o berchnogaeth yr awdurdod lleol i fod yn fenter gymdeithasol annibynnol ym mis Tachwedd 2012.

Mae Monwel yn cyflogi 32 o bobl amser llawn o’r gymuned leol, y mae 96% ohonynt yn ymdopi â rhyw fath o anabledd. Fel Menter Gymdeithasol ddielw, mae Monwel yn gweithio i sicrhau ei bod yn cyflawni ei hamcanion cymdeithasol ac yn gweithredu’n fasnachol ac yn broffidiol mewn marchnad gystadleuol. Mae’r cwmni’n buddsoddi mewn meithrin perthynas ag adrannau caffael yn y sectorau cymdeithasol, preifat a chyhoeddus i gyflawni ei nodau. Enillodd dros hanner miliwn o bunnoedd mewn contractau mewn saith mis o fasnachu. Roedd hyn yn cynnwys contract gyda Blaenau’r Cymoedd gwerth £300,000.

Leslie Barr yw Rheolwr-Gyfarwyddwr Monwel Ltd. Dywedodd,

Mae ennill y wobr hon yn gydnabyddiaeth y mae pawb yn Monwel yn ei llawn haeddu am eu gwaith caled, eu hymroddiad, eu hymrwymiad a’u brwdfrydedd sydd wedi arwain at lwyddiant Monwel.

“Bydd y bri a’r proffil a ddaw yn sgil ennill gwobr o’r fath yn galluogi Monwel i hyrwyddo mentrau cymdeithasol ymhellach gydag awdurdodau lleol, busnesau, prifysgolion a chanolfannau ymchwil.”

Cafwyd cystadleuaeth frwd yn y categori hwn, ac roedd Monwel Limited yn fuddugol yn erbyn consortiwm tecstilau Gogledd Cymru Draig Tex a sefydlwyd yn ddiweddar; Canolfan Hamdden Biwmares a’r Cylch a gaiff ei rhedeg gan y gymuned; a menter gydweithredol y gweithwyr yn Abertawe, Accomodation Furniture Solutions Ltd.

Alison Hill, Prif Swyddog Partneriaeth Parc Caia yn Wrecsam, enillodd y categori ‘Hyrwyddwr Mentrau Cymdeithasol’ a noddwyd ganUnity Trust Bank. Cyrhaeddodd Alison y rhestr fer o ganlyniad i’w hymroddiad dros ddeng mlynedd i ddatblygu’r sefydliad yn fenter gymdeithasol gynaliadwy, gadarn ac amrywiol wedi’i gwreiddio’n gadarn yn y gymuned leol.

Mae Partneriaeth Parc Caia yn darparu gwasanaethau, cyfleusterau a chyflogaeth i breswylwyr Parc Caia. Mae Partneriaeth Parc Caia yn cyflwyno ystod eang o wasanaethau gan gynnwys cymorth tenantiaeth, gwaith ieuenctid, cymorth cyflogaeth a chyfleoedd dysgu gydol oes. Yn ogystal, mae Mentrau Cymunedol Wrecsam, ei braich fasnachol, yn cynnig gwasanaethau gofal plant, ailgylchu tecstilau, arlwyo, gweithgynhyrchu pren, hyfforddiant ac ymgynghori.

Dywedodd Francis Hardman, Cadeirydd Partneriaeth Parc Caia,

“Mae Alison wedi goruchwylio Partneriaeth Parc Caia wrth iddi drawsffurfio’n sefydliad proffesiynol, cynaliadwy sydd wedi’i wreiddio’n gadarn yn ein cymuned leol.

“Mae datblygu mentrau cymdeithasol ym Mhartneriaeth Parc Caia a chreu Mentrau Cymunedol Wrecsam yn ddiweddarach, wedi chwarae rhan bwysig yn y trawsffurfio hwn ac wedi galluogi’r Bartneriaeth i ddarparu a datblygu gwasanaethau hanfodol a chyflogaeth i’r gymuned mewn hinsawdd lle mae llai o arian a mwy o bwysau ar wasanaethau.”

Roedd yr enwebeion eraill yn cynnwys y tîm yng Nghanolfan Codi Pwysau a Ffitrwydd Caergybi a Môn, a gyrhaeddodd y rhestr fer o ganlyniad i’w gyflawniadau nodedig o ran cyflwyno iechyd a ffitrwydd ar hyd a lled Sir Fôn; ac Anthea Clements, Prif Weithredwr YMCA y Barri ym Mro Morgannwg, a enwebwyd i gydnabod ei chyfraniad rhagorol i’r YMCA a’r holl sefydliadau y mae’n gweithio gyda nhw ac y mae wedi datblygu partneriaethau â nhw.

Roedd y gwobrau eleni’n cynnwys categori newydd, ‘Gwobr Ysbrydoli Ieuenctid’, a noddwyd gan Syniadau Mawr Cymru, a daeth yr holl enwebeion o Ogledd Cymru. Emily Hesketh enillodd y categori, sydd yn y broses o sefydlu ‘Changing Rooms, Changing Lives’, menter a fydd yn helpu pobl ifanc a phobl ddi-waith 16 oed a hŷn i gael mynediad at ddillad addas ar gyfer cyfweliadau wrth geisio am swyddi.

Dywedodd Emily,

“Mae’n golygu cymaint i ennill y wobr fawreddog hon. Mae Changing Rooms, Changing Lives yn Fenter Gymdeithasol newydd ddatblygol a bydd y wobr hon yn cynyddu ei phroffil yn fawr. Rydw i wrth fy modd fy mod hyd yn oed wedi cael fy enwebu ar gyfer y wobr hon, yn enwedig gan mai dyma’r flwyddyn gyntaf ar gyfer y categori hwn. Mae’n hwb mawr i fy hyder i wybod fy mod i’n gwneud y peth iawn.”

Roedd y rhestr fer gyfan o Ogledd Cymru yn cynnwys Ysgol Glan y Môr ym Mhwllheli, sydd wedi datblygu app ffôn symudol i hyrwyddo siopau lleol i dwristiaid; ac Ysgol Brynrefail yn Llanrug, sydd wedi datblygu gorsaf radio gymunedol ‘Radio Refail’ i ddatblygu sgiliau a hyrwyddo busnesau ac entrepreneuriaeth.

Cafodd Cyngor Gwynedd gydnabyddiaeth arbennig hefyd gan y Charity Bank am ei waith yn cefnogi mentrau cymdeithasol yn y sir.

Mae gan y Prosiect Cymorth i Fentrau Cymdeithasol y dasg o hyrwyddo a datblygu menter gymdeithasol yng Nghymru. Ariannir y prosiect gan Gronfa Datblygu Rhanbarthol Ewrop a Llywodraeth Cymru.

Written by Mark Smith

September 30, 2014 at 8:30 pm

Posted in co-operatives

Ambition and vision recognised as Social Enterprise Awards Wales 2014 winners are announced

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Innovative Valleys based carpet recycling social enterprise Greenstream Carpets has won the coveted Social Enterprise of the Year Award at this year’s Social Enterprise Awards Wales 2014. The Social Enterprise of the Year Award was sponsored by Conwy County Borough Council.

Now in their fifth year, the Social Enterprise Awards Wales are promoted by the Wales Co-operative Centre to raise the profile of co-operatives and social enterprises in Wales and to recognise the achievements of the innovative and committed businesses and individuals that drive the industry.

Greenstream Flooring started in 2008. The company reclaims flooring from commercial offices, sorts, grades and re-sells it across the UK. As well as selling to other business premises they provide low cost flooring for families that would not be able to afford any flooring including working with social housing associations. Greenstream Flooring employ eleven staff directly and provide placements and volunteering opportunities. Greenstream Flooring has grown dramatically with a turnover increase of 1000% since 2010.

Ellen Petts is Managing Director of Greenstream Flooring CIC, she said,

“The whole team at Greenstream Flooring works hard to divert carpet tiles from landfill and support people to carpet their homes.  This award is a great thank you for all that hard work.  It helps us to remember that carpet tiles can make a difference and being a social enterprise can make a difference too. “

Greenstream Flooring CIC saw off fierce competition from a number of highly respected social enterprises to win the award. The other shortlisted nominees were: Pembrokeshire FRAME, Cardigan’s 4CG and Dŵr Cymru / Welsh Water.

Wales Co-operative Centre Chief Executive Derek Walker stated:

“Congratulations to Greenstream Carpets – a deserving winner of the Social Enterprise of the Year Award. Greenstream have a very clear social and environmental mission whilst at the same time operating as a viable and entrepreneurial business. They are developing new markets and new supplier opportunities and they are engaging in mutually beneficial partnerships across the UK.

“The quality of nominations we received for the awards this year demonstrated not only the breadth and versatility of the sector but the importance the sector has to the economy of Wales. Greenstream was recognized for its innovative concept, its entrepreneurial approach and its social impact. They are a trail blazer in the UK and I applaud their ambition and vision”.

Greenstream Carpets will now represent Wales in the UK Finals at a ceremony in London next month. For further information about the company, visit www.findcarpettiles.co.uk

Another Valleys based enterprise won the ‘One to Watch’ award which this year was sponsored by Landsker Business Solutions. Winners Monwel Limited have been producing high quality road signs for 45 years whilst providing employment to people with disabilities and those furthest from the work force. The company underwent a period of transition from ownership by the local authority to an independent social enterprise in November 2012.

Monwel employs 32 full-time people from the local community, 96% of whom manage some form of disability. As a not-for-profit Social Enterprise, Monwel works to ensure the delivery of its social objectives and to operate commercially and profitably in a competitive marketplace. The company invests in the building of relationships with procurement departments in the social, private and public sectors to achieve its goals. It secured over half million pounds worth of contracts within seven months of trading. This included being awarded a Heads of the Valleys contract worth £300,000.

Leslie Barr is Managing Director of Monwel Ltd. She said,

Winning this award is recognition everyone at Monwel rightly deserves for the hard work, dedication, commitment and passion each and every one has contributed to making Monwel a success.

“The prestige and profile that comes with winning such an award will enable Monwel to further promote social enterprise to local authorities, businesses, universities and research centres”.

In a hotly contested category, Monwel Limited triumphed over stiff competition from newly established North Wales textile consortium Draig Tex, community run Canolfan Hamdden Beaumaris a’r Cylch (Beaumaris Lesiure Centre) and Swansea based worker co-operative, Accommodation Furniture Solutions Ltd.

Alison Hill, Chief Officer of Wrexham based Caia Park Partnership won the ‘Social Enterprise Champion’ category sponsored by Unity Trust Bank. Alison was shortlisted for her ten year commitment to developing the organisation into a sustainable, strong, diverse social enterprise rooted in the local community.

Caia Park Partnership provides services, facilities and employment to the residents of Caia Park.  Caia Park Partnership delivers a wide range of services including tenancy support, youth work, employment support and lifelong learning opportunities.  In addition Wrexham Community Enterprises, its trading, arm provides childcare, textile recycling, catering, wood manufacture, training and consultancy.

Francis Hardman, Chair of Caia Park Partnership commented,

“Alison has overseen the transformation of Caia Park Partnership into a professional, sustainable organisation which is firmly rooted in our local community. 

“The development of social enterprises within Caia Park Partnership and the subsequent creation of Wrexham Community Enterprises has played an important role in this transformation and has allowed CPP to provide and develop essential services and employment for the community in a climate of reduced funding and increased pressure on services”.

The other nominees were the team at Holyhead and Anglesey Weightlifting and Fitness Centre, who were shortlisted for their impressive achievements in opening up health and fitness across Anglesey, and Anthea Clements, Chief Executive of Barry YMCA in the Vale of Glamorgan, who was nominated as an acknowledgement of her outstanding contribution to the YMCA and all the organisations she works with and has developed partnerships with.

This year, the awards included a new ‘Inspiring Youth Award’ category, which was sponsored by Big Ideas Wales and whose nominees were all from North Wales. The category was won by Emily Hesketh who is in the process of setting up ‘Changing Rooms, Changing Lives’, an enterprise which will help young and unemployed people from the age of 16 up, to access suitable clothing for interviews when they are applying for jobs.

Emily said,

“It means so much to win this prestigious award.  Changing Rooms, Changing Lives is a newly developing Social Enterprise and this award will greatly increase its profile. I feel quite overwhelmed and honoured to even be nominated for this award, particularly as it is the first year for this category. It is a massive confidence boost knowing I am doing the right thing”.

The all North-Wales shortlist included Ysgol Glan Y Mor in Pwhelli who have developed a mobile ‘app’ to promote local shops to tourists and Ysgol Brynrefail in Llarug who have developed a community radio station ‘Radio Refail’ to develop skills and promote businesses and entrepreneurialism.

Gwynedd Council were also presented with a special recognition from Charity Bank for its work supporting social enterprises in the county.

The Social Enterprise Support Project is tasked with promoting and developing social enterprise in Wales. The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Welsh Government.

 

Written by Mark Smith

September 30, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Posted in co-operatives

Big Ideas Wales at the Social Enterprise Awards

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Tonight, the Social Enterprise Awards Wales has taken place at Glasdir, Llanrwst. One of the sponsors was Big Ideas Wales, who supported the Inspiring Young Enterprise category. This guest blog post comes from the Big Ideas Wales team, following a successful night for ‘Changing Rooms, Changing Lives’ who won the award.

When we ask young people what is the first thing that comes to mind when the word business is mentioned, more often that not, they say “profit.” If we left it there, the picture wouldn’t be complete because we know, it’s much more than that.

Social enterprises are businesses that improve communities, deal with social problems and the environment. The people who run these businesses are some of the most imaginative and passionate people who are committed to making a difference to people’s lives and the communities in which they are based.

Big Ideas Wales is a Welsh Government campaign that partners with local entrepreneurs from all over Wales to inspire and develop the entrepreneurial potential of young people. Last year, we inspired 45,000 young people to consider being their own boss. Some of these young people have gone on to win a place on the Big Ideas Wales Challenge and also prestigious enterprise awards.

Throughout October, Big Ideas Wales is running a campaign to raise awareness of what it means to be a social entrepreneur. In addition to that, we’ve partnered with the Wales Co-operative Centre to sponsor the Inspiring Youth Enterprise award category. This is an exciting new category that will award a young person aged 8 to 24 for the excellent work they’re doing in making a difference.

Social enterprises have an important role within the economy and in improving the quality of people’s lives throughout Wales. We want to recognise and encourage the social consciousness and spirit within Wales and we look forward to doing this at the Wales Co-operative award ceremony.

To find out more about what Big Ideas Wales, visit the website – www.BigIdeasWales.com

The Big Ideas Wales Team

Written by Mark Smith

September 30, 2014 at 8:20 pm

Posted in co-operatives

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