Wales Co-operative Centre

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

Our co-operatives part 2

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The Wales Co-operative Centre has been giving a guiding hand to emerging and established organisations in Wales by providing relevent support for over 25 years.

During this time we’ve helped a large number of co-operatives and social enterprises on many different levels.

“I don’t know what I would have done without the help we had from the Wales Co-operative Centre” says Lis McLean from Canolfan Menter Gymraeg Merthyr Tudful. “Thanks for your support!”

These are some of the co-operatives we’ve supported:

PrimePac Solutions Ltd

When Budelpack International, a Dutch owned packaging company, closed down, 19 staff members decided to invest their redundancy payment into setting up a new employee owned company.

“Establishing our business co-operatively means that all employees feel that they can become masters of their own destiny and develop our company into a real success story for South Wales”, said Steve Meredith, Managing Director of PrimePac Solutions Ltd.

The Wales Co-operative Centre provided legal and business planning advice and has helped the company access funding from Co-operative and Community Finance, Finance Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government.

Snowdonia Marathon Cyf

This event was originally organised as a fundraising activity by the National Trust to support their conservation work repairing footpaths and dry stone walls. However, in 2006, the National Trust decided to reduce its role in the organisation of the event.

Jayne Lloyd, who had been employed by the Trust to manage the Marathon, was determined that the event should continue and set about forming a co-operative of local volunteers to manage it. The new co-operative was created in March 2007 and the first Marathon organised by the group was held in October 2007.

The Snowdonia Marathon has truly become a community event, involving hundreds of volunteers from the nearby town of Llanberis and supported by local businesses. First Hydro, a company operating hydro electric power stations and managing land within Snowdonia is the main sponsor and the National Trust still supports the race financially.

WOW – Women’s Trade Co-operative

Nine women, aged from 19 to 64, including mums, grandmothers and university graduates, decided to get together to create WOW, a Women’s Trade Co-operative.

Their skills range from plumbing, electrics and carpentry to plastering, decorating and engineering. Most of the members were self-employed, running their own businesses. They met whilst sub-contracting on various building projects and thought it made sense to get together.

Wendy Collins is the group’s administrator: “One of the reasons we set up the co-operative is that we found although women are out there in trades, it is very hard for them to get jobs, due to negative stereotyping. By coming together, we can market ourselves and have more control over the work we do.”

An important aim of the co-operative will be to promote women in the industry and skills courses available. They plan to go out to schools to talk to girls who may not have thought about going into the building trade.

During Co-operatives Fortnight 19 June – 3 July we’ll showcase in greater depth some of the successful organisations we’ve had the honour to work with recently.

Some of our co-operatives will also be featured on the Jamie and Louise Show on Radio Wales so listen in!

For more information about co-operatives in Wales, see the Wales Co-operative Centre’s website.

Find out about becoming more co-operative during Co-operatives Fortnight.

Written by C Kenzie

June 18, 2010 at 9:58 am

Posted in co-operatives

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