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Welsh social enterprises losing out on digital boom

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New research from Lloyds Bank shows that many SMEs are missing out on the benefits of being online, and that community groups and social enterprises are lagging behind.  As Director of Strategic Development & Performance at the Wales Co-operative Centre, I’ve looked into what the study means for social businesses here. soc ent comm 2 point 0

The Lloyds Bank research gives a snapshot of how SMEs, including social enterprises, use the internet.  The backdrop is that business is increasingly being done online: this year, UK consumers are forecast to spend £107 billion on the web, an increase of 17% year on year.

And it’s not just buying that’s going online, it’s giving too.  Charities that can accept donations over the internet, saw a 27% increase in the number of contributions they receive. In 2013, £2.5 million was raised online from 3.7 million Tweets through social media service Twitter and Just Giving. This was an increase of 448% on 2011.

And yet the facts in the Lloyds Bank UK survey are stark:

  • Around a third of SMEs and social enterprises don’t have websites
  • Social enterprises are much less likely to be online than for-private-profit businesses
  • Just 28% of community groups and social enterprises have the skills to transact online
  • A quarter of community groups and social enterprises feel that the internet isn’t relevant to them

The Wales Co-operative Centre’s experience of running the Social Enterprise Support and Communities 2.0 projects is that an effective ICT strategy is integral to the success of flourishing social enterprises.  The Welsh Government funded Communities 2.0 project has supported over 800 social enterprises and community groups, conducting ICT reviews and supporting investment in new systems to increase revenue, create jobs and improve business efficiency.  For example, the Wales Co-operative Centre’s support to Canolfan Soar in Merthyr Tydfil has helped the enterprise increase the proportion of their income that comes from trading from 35% to 65%.

Independent analysts Booz and Co. estimate full digital take up, with everyone online, could add £63 billion value to the UK economy.  The danger is that community organisations and social enterprises will continue to lag behind the rest of the economy.  They will lose out.  Our Social Enterprise Support and Communities 2.0 projects have had a huge impact already, and Wales needs specialist ICT support to social enterprises to continue.

Written by Dave Brown

November 24, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Centre announces second Tackling Poverty Fortnight campaign

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Tackling poverty is one of the Welsh Government’s top priorities.

With this in mind, the Wales Co-operative Centre is about to embark on its latest anti-poverty campaign. ‘Tackling Poverty Fortnight’ will run from 13th – 26th January 2015. The campaign will promote solutions that are helping people in our most disadvantaged communities. It will seek to highlight new approaches that could make a big difference to reducing poverty levels in Wales in the future.

The inaugural campaign, held almost exactly one year ago, received public recognition from AMs in the Senedd, with a series of blog posts demonstrating the ways in which the Centre’s work supports the wider tackling poverty agenda in Wales.

This time around, we will again be showing how our work provides co-operative solutions to tackling poverty but we are also doing something different and exciting. We are writing to a number of organisations around the UK, that are all involved in work that aims to reduce poverty in some way, to invite them to identify new ways of reducing poverty in Wales in the future.

We’re asking these organisations to submit ideas in the form of blog posts. Each idea needs to be something that is not already happening in Wales – at least not on a large scale. Ideally it should be something which is having a demonstrable impact in reducing poverty in the UK or globally but could be rolled out or adapted to work in Wales.

The blog posts need to be submitted by mid-December and will then be published during ‘Tackling Poverty Fortnight’ (13th-26th January). The publicity for each idea may, in itself, be enough to give it the momentum it needs to become a reality in Wales. We will gauge reaction from the ideas and are keen to work with interested parties to take some of the ideas forward.

Our campaign was first mentioned at this week’s ‘Towards a Wales Without Poverty’ conference, hosted by the Bevan Foundation and Joseph Rowntree Foundation. During this event, policy experts, researchers and practitioners led debates that largely looked at how poverty in other parts of the UK had a bearing on Wales and whether approaches that were being taken to reduce poverty elsewhere could work here.

During the conference, my colleagues Dave Brown and Matthew Lloyd ran a breakout session that looked at how digital inclusion work, primarily through Communities 2.0, was not only hugely relevant to the poverty debate but how it was helping to tackle poverty in disadvantaged communities.

The conference painted a bleak picture at times, paying particular attention to child poverty, in-work poverty and how issues such as the living wage, Universal Credit, food banks, equal pay, government strategies, piloting anti-poverty schemes, poverty in rural areas, valley areas and cities are all relevant factors that are very much in the melting pot when it comes to the issue of poverty in Wales.

We’re interested to see what kind of response we get to our invitation to organisations, to provide ideas to reduce poverty in Wales to help make some sort of improvement.

Written by Mark Smith

November 6, 2014 at 11:29 am

Digital inclusion and its role in tackling poverty #WalesPoverty

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Dave Brown, Director of Strategic Development and Performance at the Wales Co-operative Centre, examines the role of digital inclusion in tackling poverty in Wales…

“Today, the Wales Co-operative Centre is putting Digital Inclusion at the heart of the Tackling Poverty debate when we present at the Bevan Foundation / Joseph Rowntree Foundation conference “Towards a Wales without Poverty”.

The conference explores what we mean by poverty in Wales: in order to begin to solve the problem we must first be clear about what we mean by it. The Bevan Foundation argues that poverty means more than low income, though there is a pressing need to address this issue. Poverty is also about access to resources, such as housing warmth and food, and access to essential skills. Here, the Foundation single out digital skills and financial literacy as prerequisites for a Wales moving out of poverty and managing its consequences.

The Wales Co-operative Centre leads financial inclusion development in Wales. The Welsh Government support our Financial Inclusion Champions project which drives support at a strategic level. From this we spin out specific projects which directly benefit those living in poverty. We have recently been awarded Comic Relief funding to increase our work with private rented tenants.

Our focus at the “Towards a Wales without Poverty” conference is the impact of digital exclusion. The Wales Co-operative Centre runs the Communities 2.0 project, the Welsh Government’s flagship digital inclusion initiative, which has helped over 50,000 people get online.  Our workshop presentation today explores a recent editorial statement in the press:

“But being disconnected isn’t just a function of being poor. These days, it is also a reason some people stay poor. As the Internet has become an essential platform for job-hunting and furthering education, those without access are finding the basic tools for escaping poverty increasingly out of reach.”

Wales Co-operative Centre officers will look at our experience of leading digital inclusion in Caerphilly, where effective co-ordination and innovative delivery models have radically changed the lives of many in the county who live in poverty. We also have a stand at the conference and would love to talk to anyone interested in what we do.”

Written by Catherine Evans

November 4, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Posted in co-operatives

Developing Co-operative Housing in Wales

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Dave Palmer

Dave Palmer

Co-operative housing is a community-led approach to housing, where residents democratically control and manage their homes.

The Welsh Government sponsored Co-operative Housing Project aims to stimulate and increase the supply of co-operative housing in Wales. It supports the development of a variety of different housing co-operative models and aims to improve the skills and expertise of members of co-operative housing schemes in Wales to ensure their long term sustainability.

Here, Wales Co-operative Centre’s Co-operative Housing Project Manager Dave Palmer offers an update on developments in Wales.

There is an appetite for co-operative housing in Wales. Co-operative housing appeals to ‘reluctant renters’ – people who are currently priced out of the owner-occupied sector and who are unable to access social housing.

The Co-operative Housing Project initially focussed on general needs housing but is now also networking with providers in social services and health sectors. Housing co-operatives can provide more than just housing, they can also promote well being and provide care services for their members.

In 2012 the project started with eight pioneer schemes. There are now over 25 schemes at varying stages of development.

These schemes will deliver 124 completed homes before the project ends in March 2016. If all emerging pioneer schemes progress, there is the potential for over five hundred co-operative homes across the whole of Wales.

The project is supported by Welsh Government and three of the original pilot pioneer schemes, in Newport, Cardiff and Carmarthen, have received a total £1.9m social housing grant as work is progressing on site.

These three ‘Pilot Pioneers’ were identified early on in their development process, as having real potential for delivery of homes. They were encouraged to prepare business plans and bid for Welsh Government grant support.

In Newport, funding has been used to support Shared Ownership co-operative houses within a large mixed tenure ‘Garden Village’ style development called Loftus Gardens. As construction work progresses on site, the new co-operative is forming and currently there are four potential member homeowners. The aim is to recruit more members, in order to have ten member homeowners by Christmas and twenty members by June 2015.

In Carmarthenshire, funding has been used to support 27 co-operative Intermediate Rent homes being developed by the County Council in partnership with Gwalia Housing Association. These are designed in two rows of short terraces in Jobswell Road, in the centre of Carmarthen. Public meetings have been very well attended and members of co-op are being recruited. One of the homes will be shared housing with the support integrated into the community.

In Cardiff, the Funding has been used by Cadwyn Housing Association to support the delivery of a further 10 co-operative social rent properties within their ‘Garden Village’ style Ely Farm housing development. The plan already includes 31 homes for social rent and 41 Co-operative houses and flats. Members have been elected as Officers of Home Farm Village Housing Co-operative. As the homes are being built on site, members are looking forward to moving in as a Community in June 2015.

There are also several advanced projects that have the potential to deliver homes in the near future. These include:

West Rhyl Community Land Trust (CLT) – West Rhyl – A proposal for the refurbishment and conversion of properties to provide 4 apartments, a commercial unit and 8 new build houses has been submitted for planning by North Wales Housing Association, in partnership with West Rhyl CLT, who already have 3 co-operative refurbished homes. Work on site is expected to start with demolition in early December 2014 and completion of the scheme is expected to be October 2015. The Community Land Trust already has a waiting list of over 80 prospective tenant/members in place for these homes.

Beechley Road – Cardiff –Cadwyn Housing Association is proposing to develop a Tenant Led Housing Co-op in Pentrebane. The residential element will be new build with 11 houses and 2 flats. Completion will be in August 2015.

Gellideg Flats, Merthyr – A proposal has been submitted to Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council by Merthyr Valley Homes to form a Leasehold Co-op to refurbish some blocks of flats in Taff Fechan. This will be a special purpose vehicle (SPV), which will lease the properties to the newly formed housing organisation called ‘Gellideg Co-op’, and registered under the Co-operative Benefit Societies Act 2014.

‘Ty Cyfle’ Garndiffaith, Torfaen – Bron Afon Housing Association with ‘Afon Youth’ have refurbished a 4 storey block of 8 flats to provide separate flats, training and community rooms. The young people have been involved in the building works as apprentices 2 days a week and the project is nearing completion. The group is currently working on Terms of Reference for the Management Committee of this co-operative project.

Future Highlights

The Wales Co-operative Centre has received matched funding from Nationwide Foundation which will provide over 375 hours of support to these co-operative housing schemes, over the next 20 months.

Exciting developments are beginning to appear all over Wales with self-build schemes in Wrexham, housing association let schemes in Presteigne and Hay On Wye. Developments are planned in Lampeter and St David’s as well as the potential for a large scale Community Land Trust organisation in North Wales.

Finding affordable housing is difficult for people trapped in the gap between social provision and being able to afford to step onto the housing ladder. Co-operative housing offers a solution that many people find attractive as it supports ownership and encourages community. There is a massive untapped potential for co-operative housing in Wales and this project aims to develop real co-operative communities and bring the approach into the mainstream.

The success of the Welsh Government programme is evident in the number of new co-operative housing schemes being incubated. What has already been achieved in a comparably short period of time is remarkable given the standing start from which this work came.

The project is working hard to bring all the pioneers together to learn from each other and support each other through their development. Ultimately the aim is for these new pioneers to help support other new housing co-operatives in to the future creating a sustainable legacy for this project.

To find out more about the Co-operative Housing project visit the website http://www.walescooperative.org/cooperative-housing or if you would like to discuss an idea for a new co-operative housing project, call Dave Palmer on 0300 111 5050.

 

 

Written by David Madge

November 3, 2014 at 9:06 am

Posted in co-operatives

Datblygu Tai Cydweithredol yng Nghymru

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Dave Palmer

Dave Palmer

Mae tai cydweithredol yn ymagwedd sy’n cael ei harwain gan y gymuned tuag at ymdrin â thai, lle mae preswylwyr yn rheoli’u cartrefi’n ddemocrataidd. Bwriad y Prosiect Tai Cydweithredol sy’n cael ei ariannu gan Lywodraeth Cymru yw ysgogi a chynyddu’r cyflenwad o dai cydweithredol yng Nghymru. Mae’n cefnogi datblygu amrywiaeth o fodelau tai cydweithredol gwahanol ac mae’n ceisio gwella sgiliau ac arbenigedd aelodau o gynlluniau tai cydweithredol yng Nghymru i sicrhau eu cynaliadwyedd hirdymor.

Yma, cynigia Dave Palmer, Rheolwr Prosiect Tai Cydweithredol Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru, ddiweddariad ar y datblygiadau yng Nghymru.

Mae ysfa am dai cydweithredol yng Nghymru. Mae tai cydweithredol yn apelio at y rhai sy’n ‘amharod i rentu’ – pobl sydd ar hyn o bryd wedi’u prisio allan o’r sector perchen-feddianwyr ac sydd methu â chael mynediad at dai cymdeithasol.

I ddechrau, roedd y Prosiect Tai Cydweithredol yn canolbwyntio ar anghenion tai cyffredinol, ond mae bellach yn rhwydweithio â darparwyr yn y sectorau gwasanaethau cymdeithasol ac iechyd hefyd. Gall mentrau tai cydweithredol ddarparu mwy na thai yn unig, gallant hefyd hyrwyddo lles a darparu gwasanaethau gofal i’w haelodau.

Yn 2012 dechreuodd y prosiect ag wyth cynllun arloesol. Bellach mae dros 25 o gynlluniau sydd ar gamau datblygu amrywiol.

Bydd y cynlluniau hyn yn darparu dros 124 o dai wedi’u cwblhau cyn i’r prosiect ddod i ben ym mis Mawrth 2016. Os bydd yr holl gynlluniau arloesol sy’n dod i’r amlwg yn symud ymlaen, mae’n bosibl y bydd dros bum cant o dai cydweithredol ar gael dros Gymru gyfan.

Cefnogir y prosiect gan Lywodraeth Cymru ac mae tri o’r cynlluniau arloesol peilot gwreiddiol, yng Nghasnewydd, Caerdydd a Chaerfyrddin, wedi cael cyfanswm o £1.9 miliwn mewn arian grant tai cymdeithasol wrth i’r gwaith fynd rhagddo ar y safle.

Nodwyd ar ddechrau proses ddatblygu’r tri chynllun ‘Arloeswyr Peilot’ hyn bod ganddynt botensial go iawn i ddarparu cartrefi. Anogwyd nhw i baratoi cynlluniau busnes ac ymgeisio am gymorth grant gan Lywodraeth Cymru.

Yng Nghasnewydd, defnyddiwyd yr arian i gefnogi tai cydweithredol cydberchnogaeth mewn datblygiad tai ar ffurf ‘Pentref Gardd’ mewn daliadaeth gymysg fawr, sef Gerddi Loftus. Wrth i’r gwaith adeiladu fynd rhagddo ar y safle, mae’r fenter gydweithredol newydd yn ffurfio ac ar hyn o bryd mae pedwar perchennog tŷ posibl a allai ddod yn aelodau. Y bwriad yw recriwtio rhagor o aelodau, er mwyn cael deg perchennog tŷ yn aelodau erbyn y Nadolig ac ugain aelod erbyn mis Mehefin 2015.

Yn Sir Gaerfyrddin, defnyddiwyd yr arian i gefnogi 27 o dai Rhent Canolradd cydweithredol sy’n cael eu datblygu gan y Cyngor Sir mewn partneriaeth â Chymdeithas Tai Gwalia. Mae’r rhain wedi’u dylunio mewn dwy res o derasau byr ar Heol Ffynnon Job yng nghanol Caerfyrddin. Cafwyd presenoldeb da yn y cyfarfodydd cyhoeddus ac mae aelodau i’r fenter gymdeithasol yn cael eu recriwtio. Tŷ a rennir fydd un o’r tai, gyda’r gefnogaeth yn cael ei hintegreiddio i’r gymuned.

Yng Nghaerdydd, defnyddiwyd yr arian gan Gymdeithas Tai Cadwyn i gefnogi 10 eiddo rhent cymdeithasol cydweithredol arall yn natblygiad Ely Farm sydd mewn arddull ‘Pentref Gardd’. Mae’r cynllun eisoes yn cynnwys 31 o dai rhent cymdeithasol a 41 o dai cydweithredol a fflatiau. Etholwyd aelodau yn Swyddogion Menter Tai Cydweithredol Home Farm Village. Wrth i’r tai gael eu hadeiladu ar y safle, mae’r aelodau’n edych ymlaen at symud i mewn fel Cymuned ym mis Mehefin 2015.

Mae hefyd sawl prosiect datblygedig a chanddynt y potensial i ddarparu tai yn y dyfodol agos. Mae’r rhain yn cynnwys:

Ymddiriedolaeth Tir Cymunedol Gorllewin y Rhyl – Gorllewin y Rhyl – Cyflwynwyd cais cynllunio i ailwampio ac addasu eiddo i ddarparu 4 fflat, uned fasnachol ac 8 tŷ newydd gan Gymdeithas Tai Gogledd Cymru, mewn partneriaeth ag Ymddiriedolaeth Tir Cymunedol Gorllewin y Rhyl, sydd eisoes wedi ailwampio 3 tŷ cydweithredol. Disgwylir i’r gwaith dymchwel ar y safle ddechrau yn gynnar ym mis Rhagfyr 2014 a disgwylir i’r cynllun ddod i ben erbyn mis Hydref 2015. Mae gan yr Ymddiriedolaeth Tir Cymunedol eisoes restr aros o dros 80 o ddarpar denantiaid/aelodau ar gyfer y tai hyn.

Beechley Road – Caerdydd –Mae Cymdeithas Tai Cadwyn yn cynnig datblygu Menter Tai Cydweithredol wedi’i harwain gan y Tenantiaid ym Mhentre-baen. Yr elfen breswyl fydd 11 o dai a 2 fflat newydd. Bydd y datblygiad yn cael ei gwblhau ym mis Awst 2015.

Fflatiau Gelli-deg, Merthyr Tudful – Cyflwynwyd cais i Gyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Merthyr Tudful gan Cartrefi Cymoedd Merthyr i ffurfio Menter Gydweithredol Lesddaliad i ailwampio rhywfaint o flociau o fflatiau Taf Fechan. Bydd hyn yn gyfrwng at ddibenion arbennig, a fydd yn lesio’r eiddo i’r sefydliad tai newydd ei ffurfio sef ‘Menter Gydweithredol Gelli-deg’, ac fe’i cofrestrir o dan Ddeddf Cwmnïau Cydweithredol a Chymdeithasau Budd Cymunedol 2014.

‘Tŷ Cyfle’ Garndiffaith, Torfaen – Mae Cymdeithas Tai Bron Afon ar y cyd ag ‘Ieuenctid Afon’ wedi ailwampio bloc 4 llawr o 8 fflat i ddarparu fflatiau ar wahân, ac ystafelloedd hyfforddi a chymunedol. Bu’r bobl ifanc yn rhan o’r gwaith adeiladu fel prentisiaid am 2 ddiwrnod yr wythnos ac mae’r prosiect bron ar ben. Mae’r grŵp ar hyn o bryd yn gweithio ar Gylch Gorchwyl ar gyfer Pwyllgor Rheoli’r prosiect cydweithredol hwn.

Uchafbwyntiau’r Dyfodol

Mae Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru wedi cael arian cyfatebol gan Nationwide Foundation a fydd yn darparu dros 375 awr o gefnogaeth i’r cynlluniau tai cydweithredol hyn dros yr 20 mis nesaf.

Mae datblygiadau cyffrous yn dechrau ymddangos ar hyd a lled Cymru a gwelir cynlluniau hunanadeiladu yn Wrecsam, cynlluniau lesio cymdeithasau tai yn Llanandras a’r Gelli Gandryll. Mae datblygiadau yn yr arfaeth yn Llanbedr Pont Steffan a Thyddewi yn ogystal â’r potensial ar gyfer sefydliad Ymddiriedolaeth Tir Cymunedol ar raddfa fawr yng Ngogledd Cymru.

Mae canfod tai fforddiadwy’n anodd i bobl sy’n sownd yn y bwlch rhwng darpariaeth gymdeithasol a gallu fforddio camu ymlaen i’r ysgol dai. Mae tai cydweithredol yn cynnig ateb sy’n ddeniadol i lawer gan eu bod yn cefnogi perchnogaeth ac yn annog cymuned. Mae potensial enfawr heb ei wireddu i dai cydweithredol yng Nghymru a bwriad y prosiect hwn yw datblygu cymunedau cydweithredol go iawn a dod â thai cydweithredol i’r brif ffrwd.

Mae llwyddiant rhaglen Llywodraeth Cymru’n amlwg yn nifer y cynlluniau tai cydweithredol newydd sy’n cael eu meithrin. Mae’r hyn sydd eisoes wedi’i gyflawni mewn cyfnod eithaf byr yn rhyfeddol o ystyried y cychwyn stond y datblygodd y gwaith ohono.

Mae’r prosiect yn ymdrechu’n galed i ddwyn yr holl arloeswyr ynghyd i ddysgu o’i gilydd a chefnogi’i gilydd trwy’u datblygiad. Y bwriad yn y pen draw yw i’r arloeswyr newydd hyn helpu i gefnogi mentrau tai cydweithredol newydd eraill i’r dyfodol gan greu etifeddiaeth gynaliadwy i’r prosiect hwn.

I gael rhagor o wybodaeth am y prosiect Tai Cydweithredol ewch i’r wefan http://www.walescooperative.org/cooperative-housing-cy neu os hoffech drafod syniad ar gyfer prosiect tai cydweithredol newydd, ffoniwch Dave Palmer ar 0300 111 5050.

 

 

Written by David Madge

November 3, 2014 at 9:05 am

Posted in co-operatives

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

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