Wales Co-operative Centre

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

Posts Tagged ‘social enterprise

Mae Sadwrn Cymdeithasol newydd dyfu!

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Derek Walker

Derek Walker

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru Prif Weithredwr, Derek Walker, blogiau am y digwyddiad Dydd Sadwrn Cymdeithasol sydd ar y gweill ar 13 Medi. Mae Dydd Sadwrn Cymdeithasol yn anelu at roi hwb i nifer y bobl sy’n prynu gan fentrau cymdeithasol.

Yn dilyn llwyddiant ein hymgyrchoedd menter gymdeithasol Sadwrn Cymdeithasol a Cefnogi’r Cyfan y llynedd, mae’n bleser gennym gyhoeddi bod Menter Gymdeithasol y DU yn ymestyn yr ymgyrch Sadwrn Cymdeithasol ar draws y DU yn 2014!

Rydym wrth ein boddau bod y corff cynrychioli cenedlaethol dros Fentrau Cymdeithasol y Deyrnas Unedig wedi mabwysiadu ein hymgyrch ac y bydd ein dull arloesol yn cael ei hyrwyddo ledled Lloegr a’r Alban yn ogystal â Chymru!

Bydd y Sadwrn Cymdeithasol cenedlaethol cyntaf yn y DU yn digwydd ddydd Sadwrn 13 Medi 2014.

Mae Arolwg Menter Gymdeithasol y DU 2013 o Gyflwr Mentrau Cymdeithasol y DU yn dangos bod mentrau cymdeithasol yn masnachu’n bennaf â’r cyhoedd ond er bod tri chwarter o’r cyhoedd yn cefnogi’r syniad o fentrau cymdeithasol, mae ymwybyddiaeth ohonynt yn parhau’n isel.

Social Saturday logo

Social Saturday logo

Bydd Sadwrn Cymdeithasol yn ceisio codi ymwybyddiaeth o fentrau cymdeithasol ac yn annog prynwyr i ‘brynu’n gymdeithasol’. Mae’n gyfle i’r sector ‘greu sŵn’ ac yn llwyfan i fentrau cymdeithasol brynu a hyrwyddo’u cynnyrch a’u gwasanaethau. Bydd Sadwrn Cymdeithasol yn cael ei gefnogi gan ymgyrch Cysylltiadau Cyhoeddus genedlaethol.

Y bwriad yw gwneud Sadwrn Cymdeithasol yn ddigwyddiad blynyddol y gall y sector adeiladu arno, a bydd yn ceisio cynnwys cynghorau lleol, Aelodau’r Cynulliad, Aelodau Seneddol, gweinidogion a busnesau. Nod y diwrnod yw rhoi hwb i grwpiau a chymunedau er mwyn codi ymwybyddiaeth o fenter gymdeithasol mewn trefi, dinasoedd a phentrefi.

Rydym yn falch o gefnogi’r Sadwrn Cymdeithasol cyntaf ar draws y DU (ond cofiwch, fan hyn y gwelsoch chi ef gyntaf)!

I gymryd rhan, ewch i: www.walescooperative.org/sadwrn-cymdeithasol-2014

Derek Walker, Prif Weithredwr, Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

Written by ieuannash

August 14, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Social Saturday just got bigger!

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Derek WalkerWales Co-operative Centre Chief Executive, Derek Walker, blogs about the upcoming Social Saturday event on 13th September. Social Saturday aims to boost the number of people buying from Britain’s social enterprises.

Following our successful Social Saturday and Go Full Circle social enterprise campaigns last year, we are happy to announce that Social Enterprise UK are taking the Social Saturday campaign UK wide for 2014!

We are delighted that our campaign has been taken on by the national representative body for Social Enterprises in the United Kingdom and that our innovative approach will be promoted across England and Scotland as well as across Wales!

The first UK national Social Saturday will take place on Saturday 13th September 2014.

The 2013 Social Enterprise UK State of Social Enterprise Survey shows that social enterprises primarily trade with the general public, but whilst three quarters of the public support the idea of social enterprise, awareness of social enterprises remains low.

Social Saturday logo

Social Saturday logo

Social Saturday will seek to raise awareness of social enterprises and encourage consumers to ‘buy social’. It is an opportunity for the sector to ‘make some noise’ and a platform for social enterprises to sell and promote their products and services. Social Saturday will be supported by a national PR campaign.

It is intended that Social Saturday will become an annual ‘event’ on which the sector can build, and it will seek to engage local councils, AMs, MPs, ministers and business. The day aims to mobilise groups and communities to raise awareness of social enterprise within towns, cities and villages.

We are proud to support the first UK wide Social Saturday (but remember, you saw it here first)!

To get involved, please visit: www.walescooperative.org/social-saturday-2014
Derek Walker, Chief Executive, Wales Co-operative Centre

 

Written by ieuannash

August 14, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Congratulations to Siop Y Bobl on the launch of their new shop premises

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Today, one of the co-operatives the Wales Co-operative Centre helped set up in Gower is launching its new village shop premises.

Siop Y Bobl in Llanmadoc was formed by a group of volunteers from the village after the shop and post office that serviced the village closed down. The Wales Co-operative Centre helped the group to set up as a co-operative (registered as an Industrial and Provident Society) and helped develop their business plan.

The shop now provides a wide range of products from fresh goods, home baking, frozen and chilled foods, an off-license, post office and coffee shop. It buys its produce and goods from local producers or suppliers, helping to keep them in business and retaining income in the area.

Siop y Bobl has won numerous awards including the Welsh Volunteers Award, the Best New Business Award, Best Village in South Wales and Best Community in Wales. The members attribute part of their success to the advice they have received from the co-operative movement. Membership is open to anyone in the area who wants to join – without them Siop y Bobl would not exist.

One of the most significant benefits of the co-operative comes from its 50 plus volunteers, many of whom are local people who have retired. The shop is a “social hub” where people can meet and get together on a daily basis, especially people who live on their own and would not see other people.

Siop y Bobl firmly believes that having co-operative principles has meant that a “dying rural community” has been able to thrive. They purchase from 37 local or very local businesses which also helps the wider Welsh economy. Siop y Bobl has faced a number of challenges along the way, especially relating to its premises. After a long period of planning and construction the business has now moved into new premises on the main road through the village.

At the Wales Co-operative Centre we have been proud to support this community enterprise and wish them well in their new premises and for a long future as the hub of the community of Llanmadoc.

Branwen Ellis is a Business Consultant at the Wales Co-operative Centre. She is an expert on co-operatives, social enterprises and governance.

Written by davemadgecoop

May 23, 2014 at 10:33 am

The Myners’ Report on the Co-operative Group

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The Myners’ Report on the Co-operative Group

The keenly anticipated Myners’ report into issues at the troubled Co-operative Group was published yesterday. Myners doesn’t pull any punches. He talks about a ‘manifestly dysfunctional board’ and comes to a view that there is a limited shared purpose among Group board directors. He goes on to propose a slimmed down board made up of independent directors and executives of the Group.

Everyone agrees that there is a need for radical reforms at the Co-operative Group and in her initial response the Chair, Ursula Lidbetter, has already indicated that the report will be taken seriously. Ed Mayo of Co-operatives UK has stated that there are welcome signs of emerging consensus over the need for change and renewal, which is positive.

It is absolutely right that the Co-operative Board needs to contain people with the appropriate skills to run the business. All businesses need to keep on top of this and the Co-operative Group is no exception.

There is concern amongst some Co-operative Group members about the potential for a weaker link between the membership and the Group. The report proposes a National Members Council, with significant representation from staff, but suggests reducing or removing representation on the Board itself.

The whole point of a co-operative is that it operates on behalf of its members. That connection is vital to a co-operative’s competitive advantage and its ability to respond to the needs of its members. One of the main reasons many of us shop at Co-operative supermarkets and pharmacies is because we know we are buying quality products, procured on ethical grounds with profits returning to people in our own communities, not distant shareholders.

The co-operative sector is much broader than just the Co-operative Group of course. There are hundreds of independent co-operative businesses across Wales, operating in a wide range of areas from food to furniture-making and from health to housing. Many of these have benefited in the past from support funded by the Group as part of its commitment to support other co-operatives. Research shows that the sector has done better than other mainstream businesses during the downturn. The co-operative model is a tried and tested one.

The Co-operative Group has faced difficult times before and has come through them. With thousands of people employed in its businesses across Wales, the future success of the organisation is crucially important to the Welsh economy. We wish it well as it implements the necessary reforms over the months and years ahead.

Read the full Myners’ report here 

Derek Walker, Chief Executive, Wales Co-operative Centre

Reflecting on the last 12 months – part 2

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Earlier in the week, Derek Walker, Chief Executive of the Wales Co-operative Centre, started to look back on the last financial year and the work we had been involved with. We continue Derek’s review, by looking at how the Centre supports some of the most disadvantaged people and communities…

Jeff Cuthbert, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, with Tracy Olin of PATCH

Jeff Cuthbert, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, with Tracy Olin of PATCH

The work of the Centre is closely aligned with the wider tackling poverty agenda. In October we instigated an online campaign ‘Tackling Poverty Fortnight’ that not only received recognition in the Senedd, but demonstrated ways in which social enterprises and co-operative ways of working are supporting people in Wales’ most disadvantaged areas.

Our financial inclusion work continues to have an influence and impact in this area, particularly through our Tackling Homelessness through Financial Inclusion project. That team has worked tirelessly to raise awareness and increase the uptake of Credit Union Rent Accounts, which can help housing tenants, across private, social and council housing, to maintain their tenancies in the face of sweeping Welfare Reforms. This work benefits from close work relationships with housing providers and other partners. More recently, I did my own bit to raise awareness of the issues facing homeless people, in the inaugural Cardiff CEO Sleepout. That event reminded me of the value of our work, with those that need the greatest support.

The latest evaluation of our Social Enterprise Support Project was positive, including lines such as “satisfaction levels with Development Officers support is very high – ‘extremely’ or ‘very satisfied’ at 87%”. In this area of work, we also delivered another successful Social Enterprise Wales Conference and Awards and the new ‘Go Full Circle’ campaign that increased awareness raising of Welsh social enterprises among the general public. Last summer, Cardiff played host to the annual Co-operatives UK Congress that saw more than 300 co-operators come together, to debate issues that matter most to those in the sector.

Our Corporate Services have continued to strengthen the Centre’s corporate governance, financial processes, HR and ICT infrastructure – all vital work, while the Marketing team re-structure is providing a more effective approach to the way we promote our services and raising awareness of our work, that of our clients and the wider sector.

The last financial year also saw us intensify international links, with staff making trips to Africa, to support community enterprises, and participating in an exchange with representatives of the social enterprise sector in the Czech Republic. It is important to be involved with such activities, so we can promote the best of what Wales has to offer in terms of co-operative and social enterprise development, on the world stage, and so we can learn from best practice approaches in other countries.

Greeted by schoolchildren in Lesotho, where we supported community enterprises last year.

Greeted by schoolchildren in Lesotho, where we supported community enterprises last year.

While there is a rich diversity to our work, with many seemingly independent activities, one thing binds it together – a co-operative ethos that sees projects, initiatives, organisations, businesses and individuals getting more from working together. It’s at the heart of everything we do.

When you think about it, that’s some year…..and we haven’t covered everything in this blog post!

As we look ahead to the next twelve months, we know there are challenges ahead but we can meet them head on, with confidence. That confidence comes from the knowledge that we are a strong organisation, with experienced and innovative staff, that make a difference in communities around Wales every day of the week.

Reflecting on the last 12 months – part 1

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With the new financial year barely a week old, Derek Walker, our Chief Executive, has taken the opportunity to look back on the last twelve months at the Wales Co-operative Centre….

Derek Walker

Derek Walker

I was recently looking through the posts on our blog site from the last twelve months. I was struck by the realisation that we have covered an awful lot of ground as an organisation. In addition, the scale of our output is matched by the quality and impact of our work.

It’s a healthy thing to look back at what has gone before, as you can learn from experience and take confidence from what has gone well. Another thing that occurred to me was the rich diversity of our work.

Since the start of the last financial year, some new clients have emerged. To highlight just a few – AFS in Swansea, where former Remploy staff came together to form a worker co-operative that has already proven successful. The Cambrian Village Trust social enterprise, in Clydach Vale, was supported to open a new, world class, all-weather football pitch. PS Services, a social business run by mental health charity Gofal, won the ‘One to Watch’ category at the UK Social Enterprise Awards. Many other businesses that we’ve supported have gone from strength to strength, showing that co-operatives and social enterprises are models for growth, as well as sustainability.

Elsewhere in the Centre, we’ve received additional funding from Welsh Government and the European Regional Development Fund to expand the area covered by Communities 2.0, to now help people in the most deprived parts of Cardiff, Newport, Vale of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire make the most of computers and the Internet. Communities 2.0 has also seen a number of county-wide initiatives launch in the last year, heavily based on strong partnership work – bringing the people and organisations together than can make a real difference.

Accommodation Furniture Solutions Ltd

Accommodation Furniture Solutions Ltd

Our co-operative housing project has been extended for another two years. More groups around Wales are talking to us, and our partners, about the potential to develop co-operative housing schemes in their community, giving people more direct control over their living arrangements.

The year’s watershed moment came with the publication of the Welsh Co-operative and Mutuals Commission report. Led by Professor Andrew Davies, the Commission has concluded that “conventional approaches to economic growth and development are not sufficient alone to achieve the improvement in the social and economic wellbeing of people in Wales”, adding “co-operatives and mutuals offer significant economic, social and environmental benefits compared with ordinary businesses. Their development must be central to transforming Wales’ economic fortunes”. These words come as a clarion call to those involved in the co-operatives and mutuals sector, as well as those on the fringes who have yet to realise the full potential of co-operative approaches to economic development. The report’s recommendations are currently being discussed at a series of consultation events and it will be interesting to hear how others think they should be taken forward. The report’s recommendations have the Centre’s full support.

Join us for the second part of this blog post, later in the week…

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