Three important business launches in one week show the strength of the social enterprise sector in North Wales
September 2014 is a busy and exciting month for social businesses in North Wales this year. There are three major new project launches throughout the month, culminating in the Social Enterprise Wales 2014 Awards and Conference in Glasdir.
Ynni Anafon Energy Community Share Scheme
Last Saturday, 13th September, Ynni Anafon Energy, the Industrial Provident Society (IPS) behind the plan to build a 270kw hydroelectric plant on the River Anafon in Abergwyngregyn, Snowdonia launched its Community share scheme.
Ynni Anafon Energy is hoping to raise £1.25 million for the project via the share scheme and a bank loan. Shares are now available to investors aged 16 and over. Shareholders will earn interest on their investments and have one vote each regardless of whether they invest the minimum sum of £250.00 or the maximum of £50,000.
The project will earn around £30,000 per year for the community whilst the bank loan is being repaid with a higher yearly income forecast after that. By forming an Industrial and Provident Society, Ynni Anafon Energy will benefit the local community. The electricity generated will be sold to the grid through the government’s Feed-In Tariffs (FIT) scheme. Surpluses will be donated to a village charity and boosted by the tax efficient Gift Aid incentive.
Gavin Gatehouse is one of the three founder-directors of Ynni Anafon Energy, he said:
“The Anafon Hydro is an excellent opportunity to invest in a profitable business and support Abergwyngregyn. The structure of the IPS keeps control of the organisation out of the hands of large organisations and, instead, channel funds into village causes and the wider community.”
The Wales Co-operative Centre was happy to be able to support Ynni Anafon Energy with development of its share offer.
Thursday 18th September sees the launch of Draig Tex a new social enterprise founded by a consortium of three not-for-profit organisations within North Wales, Crest Co-operative, Seren Ffestiniog Cyf and Antur Waunfawr. The social enterprises all collect and sort textiles and sell the products in their respective shops. Previously the three enterprises worked with external, national companies to export textiles. Now however they have teamed up and will work together to export the textiles themselves. The aim is to keep the value of textiles and unwanted clothing in Wales to support the work and social values of the social enterprises and therefore benefit Welsh communities.
Sharon Jones is Chief Executive of Crest Co-operative, one of the three partners involved in Draig Tex. She said,
“Any charity or social enterprise that collects textiles can now choose a Welsh third sector service that will offer competitive market rates for most of these materials. The aim is to help keep the value of textiles collected in Wales as close to local communities as possible and to reinvest in the Welsh social economy, rather than see wealth leak away into a global market, as often happens now.
“We are grateful for the support we have received from the Wales Co-operative Centre in helping us build the framework we needed to implement this new business approach”.
The Wales Co-operative Centre’s Succession and Consortia Project worked closely with the three partners in Draig Tex to help them to form the consortia and develop the business approach and governance for the new organisation.
The Rabbit Hole Café & Wellbeing Centre
The Rabbit Hole Café in Llandudno will be launched at an event on Friday 19th September.
The Café is a Social Enterprise set up by Aberconwy Mind, a registered mental health charity, and will provide work experience and training for people who have experienced or are experiencing mental health issues. All of the café’s profit will be put back into the charity to continue delivering support, training and mentoring for their trainees.
The Wales Co-operative Centre helped Aberconwy Mind to develop their business plan, their memorandum and articles and their Company Registration. They also helped with HR support and equality and diversity policies. The new enterprise has been assisted with specialist marketing advice and with a training session on the roles and responsibilities of directors.
At the Wales Co-operative Centre we welcome the breadth of innovation that is demonstrated by these three projects. All are set up to address specific needs in their communities and all are designed to employ people and be sustainable over the long term.
We wish them all every success in the future.