Posts Tagged ‘co-operative’
The Seren Group, which includes Charter Housing, is considering developing co-operative housing on part of the old Pirelli Factory site, just off Corporation Road in Maindee. Before the group moves forward with this idea, it needs to find out whether Newport residents would be interested in living in co-operative housing. Seren is working with the Wales Co-operative Centre and the Chartered Institute of Housing to identify whether there is any demand for this form of housing in the City.
What is co-operative housing?
Co-operative housing is a form of housing where members (either tenants or owners) democratically control and manage their homes and play an active role in the life of the communities they live in. Co-operative housing is very common in other parts of Europe. There are a number of different types of co-operative housing, either for rent or for sale but they have one fundamental thing in common: they put democracy and community ownership at the heart of housing.
Some of the advantages of co-operative housing are:-
• An affordable form of home ownership
• A democratic and safe community
• Long term financing and security
• Flexible to meet occupiers needs
• Potential of shared benefits of communal energy
What is the plan for co-operative housing in Newport?
Seren’s plan for the old Pirelli site is to create a community of around 200 homes which will be a mix of homes for rent and to buy. The vision is of an ‘urban village’; bringing the community benefits of village life to the heart of the City. Seren would like to include an area of co-operative housing in this development, if there are enough people interested.
Why are we reaching out to you and what should you do next?
We are trying to find out whether you are interested in knowing more about the development of the Pirelli site and whether you are interested in being a part of the co-operative Seren wants to support on the site.
If you are interested in finding out more, please go online using this web address
You’ll be asked to answer a few questions about yourself, your family, your current housing situation and to provide your contact details.
We will then write to you with more information about co-operative housing and an invitation to attend an event to tell you more about Seren’s plan and the types of co-operative housing that may be possible.
If you have any questions about this matter, please contact Dave Palmer from the Wales Co-operative Centre on 029 2055 6169.
A group of three successful business people are coming together under the umbrella of a new co-operative company. ‘That Useful Company’ will be launched at the Business Network Exhibition at the Vale Resort in Cardiff (Thursday 4th October). The three Swansea-based colleagues, who each work as individual businesses, have formed a consortium to deliver a wide range of bespoke marketing services to clients across Wales. ‘That Useful Company’ was created as a means of allowing the individual members to tender for larger contracts and to offer a wider range of services to their existing customers.
Support for That Useful Company has come from the Wales Co-operative Centre, funded through the European Regional Development Fund and Welsh Government. The Wales Co-operative Centre’s Consortia development team worked with the members of That Useful Company to form their aims and objectives and to incorporate the business. The three members of That Useful Company, Natalie Reynolds, Ben Wheeler and Matthew Pugh, chose a consortium approach as it allows the individual businesses to operate independently and maintain their own identity, but also to collaborate and work for larger clients to help grow their businesses. That Useful Company will be able to offer an integrated range of marketing services including marketing strategy, social media, web design, branding, email marketing and print.
Natalie Reynolds, who runs a successful social media business explained why she chose this approach, ‘After seeing my business grow rapidly in just 18 months I was often asked how I would grow my business further, however employing staff didn’t seem the most appropriate option as the services that I provide are based on my experience. Instead I chose to get a group of marketing professionals together to see if we could collaborate, providing support and sharing our experiences to enhance the services we offer our clients. We worked with the Wales Co-operative Centre to put a formal structure to our group with the intention of pitching for larger contracts to help expand our individual businesses’.
Ben Wheeler is a website designer and software developer. He remarked, ‘I’ve worked for myself and built a successful business over the last 4 years; but when I was approached about collaborating with other individuals to be able to work for larger clients and share resources while still being able to keep my own business identity and clients as well, I thought the idea was fantastic and suited my growth plans well. The Wales Co-operative Centre has been excellent in supporting us to achieve this’.
Matthew Pugh’s expertise in design and print had led him to work with Natalie and Ben on several occasions before joining them in forming the consortium, ‘Having worked collaboratively with Ben and Nat for clients it seemed to be the logical step forward for my business to work within this new company. A specifically created cooperative between us gives us all greater weight when approaching larger clients and as a cooperative group we are able to support each others individual businesses and maintain the identity of our own companies. That Useful Company enables us to offer a greater range of benefits and services to existing clients and also gives greater stability and security to my individual company in the future”.
The consortium was formed from a group of friends and colleagues developed through small business network events. Fittingly, the consortium’s first large piece of work is for a business network. That Useful Company ran the marketing campaign the Business Network Exhibition– managing the branding, website, flyers, newspaper advertising, social media stream and Facebook data capture.
Sarah Owens, the Development Officer who worked with That Useful Company from its initial meeting through to its incorporation as a company limited by shares stated, ‘It was great to work with the creative team at That Useful Company. Natalie, Ben and Matthew have an innovative approach to growing their business which builds on their individual strengths and allows them to continue to develop their own businesses independently of the consortium’.
Wales Co-operative Centre Business Succession and Consortia Project Manager Rhian Edwards commented,
‘Wales is dependent on its micro business sector. The sector accounts for 94.5% of all businesses in Wales. The Micro Business Task and Finish Group Report supported the consortia approach to give micro businesses better access to public sector procurement opportunities. The launch of ‘That Useful Company’ demonstrates the ambition within the Welsh micro-business sector to grow and expand and to service larger contracts and we wish Natalie, Ben and Matthew the best of luck with this new venture’.
Further information on the benefits of consortia for business are available on the Wales Co-operative Centre’s website www.walescooperative.org. Find out more about That Useful Company at www.thatusefulcompany.co.uk from Thursday.
New powers for credit unions in England, Scotland and Wales will, from today, enable them to significantly expand the services they offer, and to compete directly with high street banks and other savings providers.
The changes, under a Legislative Reform Order (LRO), mean the financial co-operatives can now pay interest on savings for the first time and expand beyond their traditional customer base.
Credit unions are not-for-profit organisations owned by their members.
The reforms will allow them to provide services to community groups, businesses and social enterprises.
Robert Kelly, general manager of the NHS Credit Union for Scotland and the North of England, said: “The LRO is going to give us the opportunity to get closer to offering full services that are equitable and can compete with mainstream financial institutions like banks and building societies.
“It also gives us more potential for partnerships with a wide range of other organisations.”
The Association of British Credit Unions (Abcul) expects membership to increase as a result of the changes, which the UK government introduced as part of a commitment to promote mutuals.
There are currently about 420 credit unions across England, Scotland and Wales, with close to one million members.
The changes are designed to help individuals, businesses and other organisations access fair and affordable financial services in their communities. They will allow credit unions to provide a more effective alternative to high street banks on the one hand and high cost lenders and loan sharks on the other.
Common link restriction lifted
Until now, credit unions have been hampered by restrictions which meant all of their members had to have something in common – such as living in the same geographical area or working for the same employer.
Credit unions no longer need to prove that all the eligible members have something in common, which will mean that credit union services can be extended to new groups much more easily. For instance, a credit union providing services to anyone living or working in Pontefract will now be able to serve all the employees of a company too, even if they do not live or work in Pontefract.
Interest on savings, not dividends
Previously, credit unions could not pay interest on savings, only a retrospective dividend. Credit unions will now be able to begin to pay interest on savings, which will mean that people will be able to more easily compare the rates of return with other savings providers and it will help credit unions attract more savers.
Organisations can join a credit union
Under the old rules, only individuals were able to become members of credit unions. The new rules mean that organisations themselves can join a credit union (up to a maximum of 10% of the members) and use the financial services it provides. A community group, housing association or local employer, for example, may now be able to use a credit union to manage its money, with the added advantage that the money is kept in the community.
Credit unions can now compete with banks
Mark Lyonette, chief executive of the Association of British Credit Unions (Abcul), said: “These changes are a major breakthrough in the delivery of credit union services to communities around Britain. The new rules mean credit unions can now compete more effectively with banks and other lenders to provide fair and affordable financial services. Credit unions will be able to reach many more people, helping them to develop a savings habit, which can only be good for communities.”
- Credit unions explained – the Which? guide to credit unions
- Government commits more money to credit unions – £73 million to fund the expansion of credit unions