Archive for the ‘social enterprise’ Category
This morning I was involved in a conversation….a conversation about leadership.
That might not seem that exciting or unusual, or is it? How often do we, in Wales, have open conversations about leadership – especially in business?
The conversation, that I was a part of, was in one of the Leadership Cafes that have been hosted during the nomination period of this year’s Leading Wales Awards. The Wales Co-operative Centre is co-sponsoring this year’s ‘Leadership in Social Enterprise’ category, with Social Firms Wales, so it was fitting that today’s event was held at Monwel Signs & Services, a social enterprise, based in Ebbw Vale, that’s been going for 45 years.
Barbara Chidgey, of Leading Wales Awards, facilitated the discussion that was lively, honest and open. The conversation ebbed and flowed, on one hand agreeing that leadership was the key driver of business success and financial growth, while also hearing that people don’t necessarily recognise their leadership skills and that there are others who simply enjoy the limelight, and are not ‘real’ leaders.
While we talked about the leaders that inspire us, whether a parent or an ex-President or Prime Minister, it was clear that more work needed to be done to promote the work of women in leadership positions. Barbara said this was something she was keen to achieve, through the ‘Women in Leadership’ category in the awards.
Do we recognise the true importance of leadership in Wales? Many of those who attended this morning’s event thought not. It was suggested that some people are scared or reluctant to come to the fore, as leaders, and pose important, relevant and, at times, difficult questions, especially to decision makers. Some said that could be down to a lack of confidence, people concerned for their future, or even a ‘bullying’ culture that might lead people to not say what they’re thinking and feeling. The group felt it was a leader’s job to take risks and to generate courage among whoever they’re leading. There was also some discussion about leaders developing people then being able to let them go. This again could be relevant in families, when children leave the nest, or in work when a colleague is looking to further their career.
We were reminded of the ‘Leadership Zoo’ that had been the subject of conversation at other Leadership Cafes. This looks at different leadership styles and characteristics and how our behaviours relate to those of certain animals. This was also important to help leaders recognise whether they have the right mix of ‘animals’ in their ‘zoo’ (skills in their team) or if some of their team members are forced to be something they’re not. Personally, I think I’m part monkey and part lion!
What was clear at today’s meeting, was that leaders are not necessarily ‘the big boss’, it could almost be anybody. By the same token, being a leader doesn’t necessarily mean you do everything. The group felt a good leader was inclusive, a part of the team, which is important when dealing with a crisis, for example.
Towards the end of the discussion, we looked at succession. A good leader also needs to help plan for the future and when to bring someone into their position. Supporting continuity for the future, the group felt, was just as important as being a constant source of inspiration here and now.
I enjoyed today’s event. It helped me to see things from a different perspective, which is always healthy. Where would we be without good leaders? As a rugby fan, I always like to see the captain being helped by other team members, so there are several leaders on the pitch.
So, strike up a conversation about leadership. You might be surprised where it takes you. Also, there’s not long left to nominate your favourite leader(s) in Wales, for this year’s awards. The nomination deadline is Friday 14th March. I’m sure most of us know someone in our communities that are leaders who are deserving of at least a nomination – they can often be the unsung heroes of a community; the people who have an idea, a vision, and inspire others to help realise that vision. While we were talking about social enterprises today, the leaders you may think of may work in a local school, a different type of business, a community project or voluntary organisation. They’re all valid.
Written by MarkWalesCooperative
March 3, 2014 at 4:56 pm
Posted in social enterprise
December saw the production of the latest Social Enterprise Support Project evaluation reports, the fourth for the Convergence project and first for the Competitiveness project. The reports detail how the projects were planned and set up; they detail the major stakeholders; the funders; they critique the management and delivery processes, the administration protocols and targets; and, of course, they describe the actual delivery.
A large portion of the reports cover the findings of a longitudinal survey conducted with clients – some are new clients, some are clients who have been interviewed, by the evaluators, a number of times throughout the projects. Much of this survey’s results show the progress clients are making as a result of the on going work of the Social Enterprise Support Projects. The report highlights evidence of progression against eleven organisational areas including: an ability to respond to new opportunities, an ability to market ourselves, an ability to competitively tender, an ability to generate profit, an ability to generate income, quality of service/ product, confidence, willingness to embrace risk, leadership and management skills, networking skills and finally overall business acumen.
Here are some quotes from the reports:
Firstly from clients:
Talking about the support the project has given -
- “This has been absolutely fantastic. Manna from heaven for us”
- “This support continues to give us the confidence to seek to grow the enterprise in appropriate ways.”
- “We’re incredibly grateful for the help we’ve had. Sitting and thinking about it now, it’s been a huge help to us as a social enterprise and as a team”
- “Could not have gone through the process without the help from the DO – she made it all happen”
- “It was great having an individual to contact who had the expertise and who we could go to if we had questions to ask, knowing they would be answered well.”
In relation to the Bespoke training -
- “I don’t know if everyone uses it but they should- it’s excellent.”
- “They’ve been awesome”
- “The help has been excellent, really useful.”
And from the Evaluators themselves:
- “….interventions made to date have been of real quality and have made a difference to the clients engaged.”
- “Satisfaction levels with Development Officers support is very high – extremely or very satisfied at 87%,
- “92% satisfaction rates for training”
- “All respondents who had received subsequent support from their DO were either extremely or very satisfied with the support received”
- “Over two thirds (68%) of respondents were extremely or very satisfied with the type of support they had received”
Written by Social Enterprise Support Project Managers – Nicola Mehegan and Paul Ashman.
Wales Co-operative Centre
The Wales Co-operative Centre was set up thirty years ago and ever since has been helping businesses grow, people to find work and communities to tackle the issues that matter to them. Its advisors work co-operatively across Wales, providing expert, flexible and reliable support to develop sustainable businesses and strong, inclusive communities.
Last week, Katija Dew, our Financial Inclusion Programme Director and Financial Inclusion Champion for Wales, attended and spoke at a high-level event that looked into the issue of Poverty and Welfare Reform in Wales. Here’s her account of the Policy Forum for Wales conference that took place in Cardiff:
“The discussions were interesting and ‘lively’ I would say.
We heard from a range of speakers from the education, voluntary and support sectors, along with the Taxpayers Alliance and Stephen Crabb, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Wales, about Welfare Reform and Poverty. This subject is so big, so complex and so…emotive, hence the lively debate.
On a policy level, Wales is forward thinking. Dr Jim McCormick of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation reflected that Wales has the most focussed plans for Tackling Poverty of the UK nations. Health, education, employment, housing; it seems it’s all there. So what was Dr McCormick’s parting message? It was that whilst devolved nations have little control over the welfare system, the primary source of tackling poverty is within their gift. That is the building of a strong economy that provides jobs and the building of a skilled and knowledgeable workforce that can take those jobs.
On a practical level, I spent my precious five speaking minutes on more immediate concerns; the use of payday lending services and use of credit unions as an alternative. Yes, credit unions are a responsible alternative lending vehicle, but we need to be fair. There is a reason that other financial institutions don’t provide these services. Sending vulnerable, and frankly expensive to serve, customers to them produces an imbalance in their membership. As a social enterprise they are keen to support financially excluded members but can only do so if all of us invest in and use them. That’s you and I.
A question was asked about illegal money lending and what needs to be done to prevent its exponential spread in the new benefits environment. Of course, we need a strong and well supported Illegal Money Lending team to help tackle the problem but for me, the answer starts with financial inclusion. People have to have an accessible account in which they can receive their income. That account must have the transactional facilities needed to keep their money safe. Beyond that, they need to have the knowledge and capability to use that account to make the most of their money. If, for any reason, that is not possible the Government’s ‘alternative payment arrangement’ safety net should cut in for all that need it.
Financial inclusion is the not the answer to tackling poverty, but it gives people control over the money they have.”
You can find more information about our financial inclusion work on the Wales Co-operative Centre website.
Today’s Williams Commission report into the structure of local government recommends large-scale council mergers, with the number of local authorities in Wales set to halve. The way the report has been received gives a real sense that things are going to happen, and happen (relatively) soon.
it’s also about citizen participation and community ownership of services. The report touches on this:
“This approach starts with what people receiving services would find most helpful to secure the real outcomes they want. It means re-shaping services based on better community or service user insight. It embraces co-production of service design, commissioning and delivery and a strong emphasis on shifting to prevention and making the most of community capacity and assets. These are all, to varying degrees, underpinned by the principle of establishing a different relationship between public sector organisations and the people and organisations they serve.”
You could be forgiven for thinking that Sir Paul Williams was writing about the benefits of some local services being delivered as social businesses. Services may perhaps be commissioned by the council but could be provided by community owned social enterprises, accountable to users in a more direct and meaningful way than through occasional trips to the ballot box.
Councils are already exploring social enterprise structures to deliver services from leisure centres to youth work. Wales would be missing a trick if our response to the Williams Commission report focused on which town County Hall should be based in. Instead, we have the chance to review not only local democratic structures but the very relationship between citizens and services.
Social enterprise is the solution that does not just reorganise, it reinvents.
Dave Brown is Director of Strategic Development and Performance at the Wales Co-operative Centre.
Written by Dave Brown
January 20, 2014 at 2:53 pm
Posted in social enterprise
Christmas is the busiest time of the year at Menter Fachwen. It all begins as soon as the blackberries are ripe enough to pick, we need to pick pounds and pounds to make jam for the Christmas hampers, and this season there was a bumper crop so that gave us a good start. This year we have focused on the quality and presentation of our Christmas products; we wanted to get the look just right. The theme for 2013 was re-cycle, re-use and up-cycle whatever we could. Christmas 2012 was a bit of a disaster, on November 22nd three of our businesses were flooded, this put a stop to a lot of the planned festivities, but we are not the kind of organisation to cry over spilt milk, or even six inches of mud as it was in our case. We rescued whatever we could from the floods, which included the old pine floorboards that ran throughout the ground floor of our shop in Llanberis.
The floor at Caxton House was damaged beyond repair and had to be ripped out. The joinery business, Craig y s usually 101 things you can make This year they have made beautiful bird and bug houses from wood that would have otherwise been destined for landfill. Ty Gwydr, our horticulture business, has been collecting all sorts of strange objects including empty catering size tins from a local hotel, after a bit of imagination and decoration they look gorgeous filled with bulbs that were planted up in the autumn. We rescued some old tea cups from the skip at a disused community centre they are now home to small plants hanging from homemade macramé hangers, how’s that for a bit of retro up-cycling? Everyone was included in the preparations; we grow a lot of our own fruit and vegetables. We have an allotment, a large poly-tunnel and small garden.
We grow blackcurrants, gooseberries, raspberries and rhubarb, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and garlic. It’s a real community effort, we have great contacts in the villages, every year we are invited to pick perfectly good fruit that would otherwise just fall from the trees. We were asked to pick apples, pears, plums and quinces from our neighbour’s gardens. These were turned into the jams, chutney and pickles that fill the hampers we sell at local Christmas Fairs. It’s not all jams and chutneys; at Cafe Padarn in Fachwen they have been making luxury Christmas puddings. These sell well in the cafe and at the Christmas Fairs; Sally has made over 100 this year. Caban y Cwm Cafe in Cwm y Glo will have made 1,200 mince pies by the time Christmas comes . . . . . . . . They won’t just be just any old mince pies though; they will be Menter Fachwen mince pies, filled to the top with mincemeat. Some will be topped with cranberries or marzipan, orange crumble, almonds, lemon icing or a mouth watering mix of the above.
On the 10th of December, at E.B’s cafe in Deiniolen, they will be hosting a Christmas dinner for 25 regular customers. I know they are looking forward to a slap up feast. It’s all go at Christmas, and this is just a tiny snapshot of what’s going on at Menter Fachwen this year. Details of ‘what’s on’ at Menter Fachwen and how to join in the fun or buy any of our products can be found on our website www.menterfachwen.org.uk. You can also call us on 01286 872 014.
The organisation featured in this blog post is just one of many that you can support. Many more can be found on our Go Full Circle directory. Happy Christmas and ‘buy social’ J
Jeff Cuthbert AM, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, laid out a clear challenge to the Third Sector in his keynote address to the WCVA Conference in Llandudno today.
Explaining the context of severe financial pressures and an increasing demand for service, the Minister said that the challenges facing us are very real. This means that every pound spent on Third Sector organisations has to count. There is a clear need to demonstrate more clearly the impact of Third Sector spending, looking explicitly at outcomes in terms of policy, particularly tackling poverty.
The Minister also set out expectations about a regional dimension to Third Sector collaboration, encouraging work across local authority boundaries from next year. But this is not in itself going to produce the shift towards a results-based service delivery model for the sector. The issue here is governance. The challenge is how the boards and executives of Third Sector organisations can ensure their survival by demonstrating the value of their work in terms that the government will understand. Partly this is about describing what we do in new terms but part is also about fundamental change.
The Wales Co-operative Centre provides support to social businesses to help them survive, thrive and grow, benefiting the sector, the economy and the communities of Wales. A key part of this support is for governance, which is the glue that sets the social purpose of the organisations we work with. The need for this sort of support will increase as the impact of public sector austerity becomes more pronounced.
As we near the end of our Tackling Poverty Fortnight campaign, we’ve received a guest blog post from Ellen Petts, MD of Greenstream Flooring CIC. Ellen’s post provides an insight into how her business, based in Porth, has a positive impact on poverty:
Although I am no expert on the complex issues of why we in Wales have even one person ‘living in poverty’, I’m pretty opinionated and do know what we at Greenstream Flooring CIC do, in our small way, to try and alleviate some of the harshness of actually living in poverty.
The story of Greenstream Flooring CIC, is a story which really shouldn’t exist. Why is it that an ‘intelligent’ species has got itself in a position where it accepts that on one hand it wastes vast amounts of valuable materials, including food, and on the other hand large numbers of people are living in poverty, don’t want or can’t access this abundance of ‘waste’ material, including the humble carpet tile – our bag?
Only this week Tesco announced it wasted 30,000 tonnes of food in the first six months of this year. Just because some ‘Eurocrat’ somewhere has decreed so called ‘sell-by / use by’ dates, you’re not telling me that no less than 50% of that food wasn’t edible? In the humble world of the carpet tile, enormous amounts of carbon and energy is put into making a product that is indestructible and yet, a few years later, vast energy is also put into trying to destroy it, either via reprocessing, burning or burying it!
In my experience, simply getting hold of an otherwise wasted material (carpet tiles in our case) re-cleaning and re-grading it and then selling it, at a fraction of the cost of new, is not only creating employment but it’s also creating the basic warmth, sound–proofing, insulation and dignity that everyone should have in a so called ‘developed society’. When food’s hard enough to buy then the warmth and comfort provided by carpet is simply too much of a luxury for lots of people!
I’m sure I’m over simplifying the situation but giving materials a second life is, as far as my experience, a real opportunity for community regeneration through ‘repair, re-distribution and re-sale’. Be it food, washing machines, curtains or our stuff – the humble carpet tiles, what we need is two things to happen.
Firstly I would like to see a concerted effort in Wales to help develop the re-use sector, to help the sector develop more material streams and more facilities. A ‘waste to wealth’ campaign, that identifies a number of key materials which are and have the potential for local ‘wealth creation’ and then supports communities to develop the potential of those materials, is what’s called for first. Real local regeneration outputs of creating training and employment are possible, however small, in the job of helping to alleviate the symptoms of poverty. We and other re-use groups in Wales are sustainable businesses, via the valid re-use of otherwise wasted materials for local benefit, be it food, furniture or even carpet tiles.
Secondly, in a world where charity shops, eBay and the like are abundant, do low income people have the will or the tools to find cheaper second hand goods? If you haven’t got transport and you don’t have the internet your options are limited to your local convenience store and whichever hawk comes knocking on your door. In our case, people can buy three grades of re-used carpet tile, A to C, with the prices as low as 30p per tile, £1.20 per m2, we are even happy to donate carpets (www.homeliferange.co.uk) . However I’m not convinced we are reaching more than a fraction of the people that really need us. So how do we reach those people before the door-stop hawk? Maybe another campaign is the answer along the lines of ‘second is not second best’, would help. Signposting people to their good quality local second hand store before going to the lengths of getting a door-step loan to buy new would surely have some impact.
Anyway, we at Greenstream try and provide some of the warmth, comfort and basic dignity that carpets provides. Regardless of people’s income, everyone deserves to keep warm and insulated where they live especially when the carpet in question would otherwise be thrown out!
Here, guest blogger Bridget Lafferty tells us about the incredible work of her social enterprise, Tyfu Café in Caerphilly:
Tyfu is a social enterprise café based in the centre of Caerphilly.It is a vibrant, busy café which serves delicious, nutritious homemade food to our local community. The main purpose of Tyfu is to provide marginalised people the opportunity to gain work experience, skills and confidence in a real working environment and to reintegrate into the wider community. Service users who have come to the end of their treatment with Drugaid are offered the chance to work at Tyfu for 6 months, during which time they will receive support and training to improve their skills and confidence in a number of areas, including food preparation and service, and customer interaction.
We have been open since April 2012 and have successfully employed 14 volunteers, 3 of whom have since been offered the opportunity of paid employment.
Our aim is to provide healthy, nutritious, homemade food that is, where possible, sourced locally and that literally does not cost the earth.
Our ethos is to cook seasonally whenever possible, which means our daily specials use fruit and vegetables that are readily available and at their best for the time of year. By buying produce locally we support small businesses within our own community. We keep our menu reasonably priced in order to offer the chance of eating delicious wholesome foods to those who may otherwise miss out.
We also do everything possible to recycle our waste and reduce our carbon footprint.
It is the ideal place to meet friends and relax, enjoy good food or wile away an hour with an excellent coffee in a warm and friendly atmosphere.
Yma mae’r blogiwr gwadd, Bridget Lafferty, yn dweud wrthyn ni am waith anhygoel ei menter gymdeithasol hi, Caffi Tyfu yng Nghaerffili:
Caffi menter gymdeithasol ydy Tyfu sydd yng nghanol Caerffili. Mae’n gaffi bywiog, prysur sy’n gweini bwyd cartref blasus, maethlon i’n cymuned leol. Prif bwrpas Tyfu ydy rhoi cyfle i bobl sydd wedi eu hymylu gael profiad gwaith, sgiliau a hyder mewn amgylchedd gwaith go iawn ac ail-integreiddio yn y gymuned ehangach. Mae defnyddwyr gwasanaeth sydd wedi dod i derfyn eu triniaeth gyda Drugaid yn cael cynnig y cyfle i weithio ynTyfu am 6 mis, ac yn y cyfnod hwn byddan nhw’n cael cefnogaeth a hyfforddiant i wella eu sgiliau a’u hyder mewn nifer o feysydd, gan gynnwys paratoi bwyd a gwasanaeth, a rhyngweithio â’r cwsmeriaid.
Rydyn ni ar agor ers ebrill 2012 ac wedi cyflogi 14 o wirfoddolwyr yn llwyddiannus, y mae 3 ohonyn nhw wedi cael cynnig cyfle cyflogaeth am dâl ers hynny.
Ein nod ydy darparu bwyd cartref iach, blasus, maethlon sy’n dod, lle bo’n bosibl, o ffynonellau lleol ac nad yw’n costio’r ddaear yn llythrennol.
Ein hethos ydy coginio’n dymhorol lle bynnag y bo modd, sy’n golygu bod yr eitemau arbennig ar y fwydlen o ddydd i ddydd yn defnyddio ffrwythau a llysiau sydd ar gael yn rhwydd ac ar eu gorau adeg yna’r flwyddyn. Drwy brynu cynnyrch yn lleol rydyn ni’n cefnogi busnesau bach o fewn ein cymuned ein hunain. Rydyn ni’n mynnu prisio’n fwydlen yn rhesymol er mwyn cynnig y cyfle i fwyta bwydydd blasus maethlon i’r sawl a fyddai efallai heb y cyfle fel arall.
Rydyn ni hefyd yn gwneud popeth y gallwn ni i ailgylchu’n gwastraff a lleihau’n hôl-troed carbon.
Dyma’r lle delfrydol i gwrdd â ffrindiau ac ymlacio, mwynhau bwyd da neu dreulio awr gyda choffi gwych mewn amgylchedd cynnes a chyfeillgar.
Cris Tomos – Robert Owen Co-operator of the year 2012 & Social Enterprise Champion Wales 2013 – has shared his story for Tackling Poverty Fortnight, to explain how a co-operative approach has benefited two West Wales communities:
When a group of local people wish to achieve change for the better, the co-operative community benefit model can result in great things. My story in West Wales began in 2006 when our community of Hermon faced the sad situation of losing its full to capacity village primary school as a result of local authority primary education restructuring. The village of Hermon is a small Welsh community and having lost its shop, post office, garage and the pub being closed for a period, there was little or no public meeting places left in the community. The decision was taken to try and buy the old school site and in 2007 an Industrial & Provident Society (IPS) was formed as a community benefit co-operative. Much support was given by the Co-operatives UK team in Manchester and a constitution agreed and submitted to the Financial Services Authority (FSA) who registered new IPS Companies.
A board of directors was created and we consulted with the community about the level of share price we should aim for. The price was set at £250 per share; we also considered the important issue of including all the community and not having people financially excluded. Having been involved with the setting up of the local Credit Union, our local community financial co-operative, I discussed with the board of the Credit Union about a special shares loan, to allow people to borrow the £250 over 3 years. All agreed it was a great idea thus allowing individuals to repay the share loan at £8.31 a month for 36 months. The share issue documents were distributed and within 4 months we had raised £50,000. With additional fundraising the community put down the deposit for the site. Additional grant applications resulted in the community signing the legal documents and purchasing the site by February 2008.
The community groups have flocked to the new community owned site which is knows as Canolfan Hermon. Within 24 months the number of groups had grown and the number of people within the groups had increased dramatically, as the old Victorian school was too small. Further Big Lottery and Welsh Government bids were submitted and in January 2011 a sum of £450,000 was clinched to develop a new 250 capacity hall with first floor conference rooms and office units. The new timber frame, eco friendly building with solar PV and thermal and air source under floor heating was ready for its first booking in December 2012. To see details about Canolfan Hermon please view www.canolfanhermon.org.uk
From the experiences of the share offer in my home village I was asked to attend a meeting in the nearby town of Cardigan where local people wished to purchase a large redundant area in the centre of Cardigan. There were 2 car parks, 4 store sheds, 2 shops and a house. I explained the process of setting up a Community Benefit Co-operative and all were in agreement that they wished to proceed and try and buy the site. A media campaign and share offer was launched in July 2010. By December 2010 the community co-operative had raised £210,000 in shares, with over 500 shareholders ensuring that the site was now in the possession on the local community. Once again the local Credit Union played an important part, as they had their head office in Cardigan Town. The Credit Union office acted as recipients of the share application forms and banked all the share funds until the new IPS called 4CG Ltd was formed. Since 2010 the new 4CG company has achieved great results in providing low cost parking to help support town traders, has gone on to buy further property such as the old police station, the old court house and old flats that will be changed into tourism bunk house provision. Details of the Cardigan town developments can be viewed on www.4cg.org.uk
Currently on the plans are new co-operatives for community energy and for community affordable housing and business units. It is clear to see that the Credit Union has played a crucial part and with the planned new development there will again be an opportunity for people to borrow from West Wales Credit Union. The Credit Union has expanded considerably from its base in Cardigan and now covers the counties of Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire. Further details can be viewed on www.wwcu.co.uk . These examples of co-operatives working together in such a manner can result in positive outcomes for individuals, communities and society in general. Long may the collaboration continue!
Mae Cris Tomos – enillydd gwobr Cydweithredwr y Flwyddyn Robert Owen 2012 a Hyrwyddwr Mentrau Cymdeithasol Cymru 2013 – wedi rhannu’i stori ar gyfer Pythefnos Trechu Tlodi i egluro sut y mae dwy gymuned yng Ngorllewin Cymru wedi elwa ar y dull cydweithredol:
Pan fo grŵp o bobl leol yn dymuno cyflawni newid er gwell, gall y model cydweithredol budd i’r gymuned arwain at bethau gwych. Dechreuodd fy stori yng Ngorllewin Cymru yn 2006 pan roedd ein cymuned yn Hermon yn wynebu’r sefyllfa drist o golli ei hysgol gynradd yn y pentref a oedd yn llawn i’r ymylon o ganlyniad i ailstrwythuro addysg gynradd gan yr awdurdod lleol. Mae pentref Hermon yn gymuned fach Gymreig ac ar ôl colli’r siop, swyddfa’r post, y garej a chau’r dafarn am gyfnod, nid oedd dim neu fawr ddim o leoedd cyfarfod yn weddill yn y gymuned. Gwnaethpwyd y penderfyniad i roi cynnig ar brynu hen safle’r ysgol ac yn 2007 ffurfiwyd Cymdeithas Ddiwydiannol a Darbodus (IPS) fel menter gydweithredol budd i’r gymuned. Cafwyd llawer o gymorth gan dîm Co-operatives UK ym Manceinion a chytunwyd ar gyfansoddiad a’i gyflwyno i’r Awdurdod Gwasanaethau Ariannol sy’n cofrestru Cwmnïau IPS newydd.
Crëwyd bwrdd o gyfarwyddwyr a gwnaethom ymgynghori â’r gymuned am lefel pris y cyfranddaliadau y dylem anelu amdani. Gosodwyd pris o £250 am bob cyfranddaliad; gwnaethom hefyd ystyried y mater pwysig o gynnwys yr holl gymuned a pheidio ag eithrio pobl yn ariannol. Gan y bûm yn rhan o sefydlu’r Undeb Credyd lleol, ein menter gydweithredol ariannol gymunedol leol, trafodais â bwrdd yr Undeb Credyd fenthyciad cyfranddaliadau arbennig i alluogi pobl i fenthyg y £250 dros 3 blynedd. Cytunodd pawb ei fod yn syniad ardderchog gan felly ganiatáu unigolion i ad-dalu’r benthyciad am y cyfranddaliad ar £8.31 y mis am 36 mis. Dosbarthwyd dogfennau’r cyfranddaliadau a chyn pen 4 mis roeddem wedi casglu £50,000. Yna gwnaeth y gymuned, ar ôl codi rhagor o arian, gyflwyno’r blaendal am y safle. Yn sgil derbyn rhagor o arian trwy geisiadau grant, gwnaeth y gymuned lofnodi’r dogfennau cyfreithiol a phrynu’r safle erbyn mis Chwefror 2008.
Mae’r grwpiau cymunedol wedi heidio i’r safle newydd sy’n eiddo i’r gymuned a elwir yn Ganolfan Hermon. Cyn pen 24 mis roedd nifer y grwpiau wedi tyfu ac roedd nifer y bobl yn y grwpiau hyn wedi tyfu’n sylweddol, gan fod yr hen ysgol Fictoraidd yn rhy fach. Cyflwynwyd ceisiadau pellach i’r Loteri Fawr ac i Lywodraeth Cymru ac ym mis Ionawr 2011 cafwyd £450,000 i ddatblygu neuadd newydd â’r capasiti i ddal 250 gydag ystafelloedd cynadledda ac unedau swyddfa ar y llawr cyntaf. Roedd yr adeilad ecogyfeillgar newydd a chanddo ffrâm goed a phaneli solar a ffynonellau thermal ac aer i wresogi tan y llawr yn barod i’w logi am y tro cyntaf ym mis Rhagfyr 2012. I gael manylion am Ganolfan Hermon, ewch i http://www.canolfanhermon.org.uk
O achos fy mhrofiadau gyda chynnig cyfranddaliadau yn fy mhentref, gofynnwyd i mi fynd i gyfarfod yn nhref gyfagos Aberteifi lle’r oedd y bobl leol yn dymuno prynu ardal fawr wag yng nghanol Aberteifi. Roedd 2 faes parcio, 4 sied storio, 2 siop a thŷ. Eglurais y broses o sefydlu Menter Gydweithredol Budd i’r Gymuned ac roedd pawb yn cytuno yr oeddent am barhau a cheisio prynu’r safle. Lansiwyd ymgyrch yn y cyfryngau a’r cynnig cyfranddaliadau ym mis Gorffennaf 2010. Erbyn mis Rhagfyr 2010 roedd menter gydweithredol y gymuned wedi codi £210,000 trwy’r cyfranddaliadau, gyda dros 500 o randdeiliaid yn sicrhau bod y safle bellach ym meddiant y gymuned leol. Unwaith eto, gwnaeth yr Undeb Credyd lleol chwarae rhan bwysig gan fod ei brif swyddfa yn nhref Aberteifi. Bu swyddfa’r Undeb Credyd yn ganolfan ar gyfer derbyn ffurflenni cais y cyfranddaliadau a gwnaeth fancio holl arian y cyfranddaliadau nes y ffurfiwyd yr IPS newydd o’r enw 4CG. Er 2010 mae’r cwmni newydd 4CG wedi cyflawni canlyniadau gwych o ran darparu parcio rhad i helpu i gefnogi masnachwyr y dref, ac mae wedi mynd ymlaen i brynu rhagor o eiddo megis yr hen orsaf heddlu, yr hen dŷ llys a hen fflatiau a fydd yn cael eu newid yn ddarpariaeth byncws i dwristiaid. I gael manylion am y datblygiadau yn nhref Aberteifi, ewch i http://www.4cg.org.uk.
Ar hyn o bryd mae cynlluniau ar gyfer mentrau cydweithredol newydd ar gyfer ynni cymunedol a thai fforddiadwy ac unedau busnes cymunedol. Mae’n amlwg bod yr Undeb Credyd wedi chwarae rhan hanfodol a bydd cyfle eto gyda’r datblygiad newydd arfaethedig i bobl fenthyg gan Undeb Credyd Gorllewin Cymru. Mae’r Undeb Credyd wedi ehangu’n sylweddol o’i ganolfan yn Aberteifi ac mae bellach yn ymestyn dros Geredigion, Sir Benfro a Sir Gaerfyrddin. Gallwch gael rhagor o wybodaeth ar http://www.wwcu.co.uk. Gall yr enghreifftiau hyn o fentrau cydweithredol yn cydweithio mewn modd o’r fath arwain at ganlyniadau cadarnhaol i unigolion, cymunedau a’r gymdeithas yn gyffredinol. Hir oes i’r cydweithio hwn!