Modern Pioneers #9 – Amy Sanders, Dynamix
Co-operatives Fortnight runs from 21st June – 5th July. This year, we’re paying tribute to the Rochdale Pioneers who, along with Robert Owen, were among the forefathers of the co-operative movement.
We’re doing so by showcasing the work of 14 ‘Modern Pioneers’ from the Welsh co-operative sector, through a series of blog posts.
Today’s post looks at the work of Amy Sanders of Dynamix, which is a worker co-operative in Swansea. Dynamix specialises in subjects relating to youth work, co-operative & enterprise education and health & wellbeing, among others.
“Being seen as one of the organisations at the forefront of the co-operative movement in Wales is very important to us in Dynamix. We are immensely proud of our 25 years as a successful workers’ co-operative and it is a fundamental part of our identity. In Dynamix we are very committed to our unique co-operative structure & the co-operative values and principles underpin everything we do.
Dynamix provides education and we give people a say. We work with adults, children & young people in communities across the whole of Wales and we also train professionals who work with these groups. Play is at the heart of our work and we are famous for engaging participants through our innovative and playful methods. We provide training, undertake consultations, facilitate events and write publications on the following subjects: (1) Participation & giving people a say; (2) Health and Well Being; (3) Inclusion, Rights & Tackling Inequality; (4) Improving Futures and Creating Opportunities.
Here are some very cool facts about Dynamix:
- Once you have been part of Dynamix full time for 6 months, you are invited to become a director of Dynamix. We currently have 8 directors. Our commitment and camaraderie from our workforce is exceptional because we own our own business and it is our workers who run the business. Therefore the values of self-responsibility and democracy underpin the way we work and make decisions.
- We are so committed to the co-operative principle of equality that every person in Dynamix earns the same rate of pay from the person who tidies our storeroom to the founding member of Dynamix. To adhere to equity this is proportionate to the hours we work. Dynamix is quite unique in that we have a non-hierarchical structure, which promotes the ethos of equality in our organisation.
- All of our work can be summed up under the principles of empowering others to have a say, promoting rights and tackling discrimination & disadvantage. Our social responsibility and caring for others is well balanced with empowering people towards self-help.
- We are very committed to supporting our fellow co-operatives because a key to the survival of the co-operative movement is solidarity.
- Openness and honesty are fundamental to how we uphold the quality of our work and advise the many 100s of organisations we support.
This year we celebrate our 25th anniversary and that is 25 years of impacting on communities’ lives through participation. We are committed to play and the role it should play in engaging adults and young people alike. We are also committed to achieving social change in Wales. The extent of our social impact in enormous. Right now our focus is on:
- raising aspirations & supporting people into employment
- promoting engagement in schools & supporting parents to support their children’s education
- tackling discrimination, whether this is against travellers, BME Communities, or asylum seekers or whether it is against people with learning disabilities
- supporting Wales’ health and well-being, whether through engagement in physical activity, healthy lifestyles or building self-esteem & resilience.
Wales needs to be proud of its strong co-operative history. The fact that the organisation which supports all social enterprises in Wales is the Wales Co-operative Centre gives an indication of how fundamental co-operatives are to the social economy. The support given to the co-operative movement by the Welsh Government through the recent Co-operative and Mutuals Commission goes to show that co-operatives are still at the very heart of our nation.
In my view, a co-operative is the best social enterprise there is. Not only is a co-operative bound to providing social benefits through enterprise, but it is also bound by a stricter code of ethics: the co-operative values(self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, solidarity, honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others) and strict rules of how its organisations are governed: cooperative principles (voluntary & open membership, democratic member control, member economic participation AND autonomy and independence.) The co-operatives in Wales must stand proud of who we are and what we stand for. We are the ethical choice.
Find out how co-operatives can be helped in Wales, through the business support section of our website.