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Fforwm Mentrau Cymdeithasol Gwynedd yn cael ei lansio a’r sir yn cael ei chydnabod fel pencampwr mentrau cymdeithasol, y chyntaf o’i bath yng Nghymru

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Lansiwyd Fforwm Mentrau Cymdeithasol Gwynedd sydd yn cynnwys 15 o brif mentrau’r sir yn y Galeri, Caernarfon, un o’i aelodau uchaf ei phroffeil, yn ddiweddar.

Mentrau Cymdeithasol yw cwmniau a busnesau cymunedol sydd yn darparu gwasanaethau yn y cymunedau hynny maent yn gynrychioli a chaiff yr elw a gynhyrchir ei ail fuddsoddi yn y gweithgareddau. Nid ydynt yn dosranu yr elw i gyfranddalwyr ond yn hytrach caiff ei ail fuddsoddi er mwyn gwella eu gwasanaethau ac ar gyfer creu mwy o swyddi o fewn yr ardal leol. Rhwng y pymtheg ‘roedd eu trosiant blynyddol diweddar yn £30,024,621, gwerth eu asedau yn £322,831,057, maent yn cyflogi 476 o bobol yn llawn amser a 197 yn rhan amser ac cynigir cyfleon gwirfoddoli i 1028 o drigolion y sir.

Wrth lawnsio’r Fforum yn swyddogol diolchodd Cadeirydd y cyfarfod, Walis George o Grwp  Tai Cymdeithasol Cynefin, Cyngor Gwynedd a Chanolfan Cydweithredol Cymru am eu cefnogaeth ymarferol wrth sefydlu’r fenter. “Daeth cefnogaeth parod oddiwrth Cyngor Gwynedd gan ei fod yn gwerthfawrogi y gwasanaethau hynny a ddarperir gan y partneriaid o fewn y gwahanol gymunedau yn y sir. Mae yna berthynas glos sydd yn datblygu yn gyson ac fe edrychwn ymlaen i gydweithio yn agosach wrth geisio ymdrin a’r her ariannol sylweddol a wynebir gan y cyngor. Bu Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru yn allweddol iawn wrth helpu i sefydlu’r fforwm ac fe ddiolchwn iddynt am eu gweledigaeth ag ymdrech”. Ategodd bod tair nod i’r Fforwm

  • Datblygu perthynas agosach a werth chweil gyda Cyngor Gwynedd a chyrff cyhoeddus eraill er mwyn diogelu a gwella gwasanaethau
  • Aelodau yn cydweithio er mwyn rhannu ymarfer da a chynnig cefnogaeth i’r nifer cynyddol o fentrau a gafodd eu sefydlu a’u datblygu yng Ngwynedd yn ddiweddar nad ydynt ar hyn o bryd yn aelodau o’r Fforwm
  • Cydweithio er mwyn ceisio dynodi cyfleon newydd a all helpu i wella neu ychwanegu at wasanaethau fydd yn gwella ansawdd bywyd pobol a chymunedau Gwynedd.

Yn bresennol er mwyn cyhoeddi bod Gwynedd bellach yn cael ei chydnabod fel sir ‘Mentrau Cymdeithasol’ gan Mentrau Cymdeithasol DU oedd un o’i swyddogion Charlie Wigglesworth. Llongyfarchwyd Gwynedd a’r Fforwm am fod y cyntaf yng Nghymru i dderbyn yr anrhydedd a’r seithfed ardal o fewn Ynysoedd Prydain i’w chael ei chydnabod. Sefydlwyd y wobr er mwyn cydnabod yr ardaloedd hynny lle mae nifer o fentrau cymdeithasol a bwrlwm yn y maes sydd yn gwella bywyd cymunedau a’u trigolion.

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(L-r: Walis George, CEO Grŵp Cynefin; Glenn Bowen, Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru; Charlie Wigglesworth, SEUK, Gwenllian Roberts, Llywodraeth Cymru; Dyfed Edwards, Cyngor Gwynedd).

Written by David Madge

October 23, 2014 at 8:48 am

Posted in co-operatives

Gwynedd acknowledged as the first ‘Social Enterprise’ county in Wales with the launch of Social Enterprise Forum

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An Enterprise Forum made up of fifteen of Gwynedd’s main social enterprises was launched recently at Galeri, Caernarfon.

Social enterprises are community based businesses that deliver services for those communities they serve with all surpluses reinvested in their operation. Profits are not distributed to shareholders but rather are reinvested to enhance services and/or create more jobs locally. Between them the 15 have annual turnovers totalling £30,024,621, a total asset base of £322,831,057, and they employ 476 full-time and 197 part-time as well as offer work opportunities for 1028 volunteers.

Walis George of the Cynefin Social Housing Group, chaired the launch. He thanked both Gwynedd Council and the Wales Co-operative Centre for their practical support over the years for individual enterprises and for helping to establish the Forum.

“The Forum has been actively and practically supported by Gwynedd Council as it sees the members as offering vital services to communities within the county. There is a close working relationship that is continually developing and we hope that we can help the local authority with the financial challenges it faces over the next few years and its efforts to sustain services. The Wales Co-operative Centre has been instrumental in establishing this Forum and we thank them for their vision and efforts.”

The Social Enterprise Forum in Gwynedd has three main aims:

  • To cement a closer relationship with Gwynedd council and other public bodies to ensure that services are sustained and even enhanced
  • Members working together to share good practice and develop the sector,  especially supporting the numerous fledgling social enterprises within Gwynedd that are not involved at present
  • Working together to identify and develop new opportunities to provide new and enhanced services that can benefit the people and communities of Gwynedd

Charlie Wigglesworth of Social Enterprises UK attended the event which commemorated Gwynedd recognition as a Social Enterprise County. He congratulated Gwynedd as being the first county in Wales to receive this accolade and the seventh area in the British Isles to date. The award has been established to recognise those areas where there is an active and mature social enterprise sector that is making a meaningful difference to people’s lives.38

(L-r: Walis George, CEO Grŵp Cynefin; Glenn Bowen, Wales Co-operative Centre; Charlie Wigglesworth, SEUK, Gwenllian Roberts, Welsh Government; Dyfed Edwards, Gwynedd Council).

Written by David Madge

October 23, 2014 at 8:46 am

Posted in co-operatives

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

Wales Co-operative Centre Financial Inclusion experts give evidence to Children, Young People and Education Committee

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Jocelle Lovell is Financial Inclusion Project Manager at the Wales Co-operative Centre. She talks about her evidence to the committee and the importance of debating financial inclusion and financial education in Wales.

The Wales Co-operative Centre has a long history in delivering programmes to help tackle poverty and inequalities across Wales, including digital and financial inclusion and co-operative housing. We were delighted to be invited to the Senedd on 17 September 2014 to answer questions regarding the Financial Education and Inclusion Bill at the Children, Young People and Education Committee.

We welcome any opportunity to have high level debate on financial inclusion and education across Wales, and to highlight some of the best practice already taking place across our different local authorities.

The debate included discussions on the effectiveness of current frameworks for both education and local authorities, and whether more is needed to be done by creating legislative powers. We cited examples of best practice which our Financial Inclusion Champions project has supported. These included supporting Blaenau Gwent’s single integrated plan and its approach to co-ordinating financial inclusion across the borough, and Conwy and Denbighshire’s approach to collaborative working and project funding that led to the Financial Inclusion Together project.

Questions were asked about what age children should start to be taught financial education, referring to the Money Advice Service report (click here to view report). We suggested that children should be taught about money from as early an age as possible given that there is evidence that attitudes and behaviour towards money are developed by the age of 7. We feel that there is a  great opportunity to use existing programmes to deliver a holistic approach to financial inclusion: these should include Families First, Sure Start and Communities First, all of which have elements of family & community engagement.

Another point we were keen to make is that there are three key elements to financial inclusion, (literacy, accessibility & capability) and whilst financial literacy is a fundamental skill, it can not be delivered in isolation. We also need measures in place to address accessibility and capability if we are to truly make a difference.

To view Jo giving evidence to the committee please click here and view session three.

Written by David Madge

September 19, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Posted in co-operatives

Three important business launches in one week show the strength of the social enterprise sector in North Wales

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September 2014 is a busy and exciting month for social businesses in North Wales this year. There are three major new project launches throughout the month, culminating in the Social Enterprise Wales 2014 Awards and Conference in Glasdir.

Ynni Anafon Energy Community Share Scheme

Last Saturday, 13th September, Ynni Anafon Energy, the Industrial Provident Society (IPS) behind the plan to build a 270kw hydroelectric plant on the River Anafon in Abergwyngregyn, Snowdonia launched its Community share scheme.

Ynni Anafon Energy is hoping to raise  £1.25 million for the project via the share scheme and a bank loan. Shares are now available to investors aged 16 and over. Shareholders will earn interest on their investments and have one vote each regardless of whether they invest the minimum sum of £250.00 or the maximum of £50,000.

The project will earn around £30,000 per year for the community whilst the bank loan is being repaid with a higher yearly income forecast after that. By forming an Industrial and Provident Society, Ynni Anafon Energy will benefit the local community. The electricity generated will be sold to the grid through the government’s Feed-In Tariffs (FIT) scheme. Surpluses will be donated to a village charity and boosted by the tax efficient Gift Aid incentive.

Gavin Gatehouse is one of the three founder-directors of Ynni Anafon Energy, he said:

“The Anafon Hydro is an excellent opportunity to invest in a profitable business and support Abergwyngregyn. The structure of the IPS keeps control of the organisation out of the hands of large organisations and, instead, channel funds into village causes and the wider community.” 

The Wales Co-operative Centre was happy to be able to support Ynni Anafon Energy with development of its share offer.

Draig Tex

Thursday 18th September sees the launch of Draig Tex a new social enterprise founded by a consortium of three not-for-profit organisations within North Wales, Crest Co-operative, Seren Ffestiniog Cyf and Antur Waunfawr. The social enterprises all collect and sort textiles and sell the products in their respective shops. Previously the three enterprises worked with external, national companies to export textiles. Now however they have teamed up and will work together to export the textiles themselves. The aim is to keep the value of textiles and unwanted clothing in Wales to support the work and social values of the social enterprises and therefore benefit Welsh communities.

Sharon Jones is Chief Executive of Crest Co-operative, one of the three partners involved in Draig Tex. She said,

“Any charity or social enterprise that collects textiles can now choose a Welsh third sector service that will offer competitive market rates for most of these materials. The aim is to help keep the value of textiles collected in Wales as close to local communities as possible and to reinvest in the Welsh social economy, rather than see wealth leak away into a global market, as often happens now.

“We are grateful for the support we have received from the Wales Co-operative Centre in helping us build the framework we needed to implement this new business approach”.

The Wales Co-operative Centre’s Succession and Consortia Project worked closely with the three partners in Draig Tex to help them to form the consortia and develop the business approach and governance for the new organisation.

The Rabbit Hole Café & Wellbeing Centre 

The Rabbit Hole Café in Llandudno will be launched at an event on Friday 19th September.

The Café is a Social Enterprise set up by Aberconwy Mind, a registered mental health charity, and will provide work experience and training for people who have experienced or are experiencing mental health issues.  All of the café’s profit will be put back into the charity to continue delivering support, training and mentoring for their trainees.

The Wales Co-operative Centre helped Aberconwy Mind to develop their business plan, their memorandum and articles and their Company Registration. They also helped with HR support and equality and diversity policies. The new enterprise has been assisted with specialist marketing advice and with a training session on the roles and responsibilities of directors.

At the Wales Co-operative Centre we welcome the breadth of innovation that is demonstrated by these three projects. All are set up to address specific needs in their communities and all are designed to employ people and be sustainable over the long term.

We wish them all every success in the future.

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