Wales Co-operative Centre

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

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Shocking poverty figures provoke call for more digital inclusion support

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Nearly a quarter of a million people in Wales want a job but do not have one.  More than 8,000 households were homeless in 2013 and 79,000 people needed food aid.  One in three children lives in a low income family. This is the stark backdrop to the Bevan Foundation’s new report “Rethinking Poverty – Implications for Action”, which is of great interest to us at the Wales Co-operative Centre and the work that we do that supports the wider poverty agenda.

The report argues that digital and financial skills are essential to help people out of poverty, or at least mitigate its impact.  About digital inclusion, the report says:

“Digital skills are an important adjunct to literacy and numeracy, as more and more services are either available only online, or offer time and/or cash savings if accessed online. The shift towards online benefit claims is a particularly strong driver of change. People without access to the internet and without the skills to use it are disadvantaged. There is a marked income-effect in digital exclusion – in 2013, only 1 in 10 (9%) of those in managerial and professional occupations did not use the internet compared to more than three in ten (31%) of those who had semi-routine and routine occupations.

“It is very welcome that digital skills have a relatively high profile in the 2013 Tackling Poverty Action Plan.  The plan includes the Digital Inclusion delivery plan’s targets, the targets for which have mostly been met.  The commitment to digital skills and inclusion should continue, with challenging targets for people in low income groups, with programmes of sufficient scale and impact to achieve them.”

The Money Made Clear Wales website is a great example of where people can get financial advice online

The Money Made Clear Wales website is a great example of where people can get financial advice online

The achievement of the targets in the Digital Inclusion delivery plan was due to the Welsh Government’s Communities 2.0 programme, which is led by the Wales Co-operative Centre.  How is this going to work then when Communities 2.0 comes to an end in March next year?  Well, we need everyone in Wales working to tackle poverty to take digital inclusion seriously.  Our experience is that the current practice is too patchy.  And to get this consistency we need a strong, lean leading digital inclusion project  to help all front line services deliver effective digital skills support.

The Bevan Foundation report is blunt about the nature of the challenge.  For the last eight years, there has been no improvement at all in the number of Welsh people living in poverty.  And that number is set to rise.  Yes, we need an informed debate.  But we also need action.

Dave Brown is the Director of Strategic Development & Performance at the Wales Co-operative Centre

What is a U-Pod?

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I had never heard of a U-Pod until recently, when our Marketing Manager put it into the timetable for the Social Enterprise Conference Wales 2011. And I couldn’t even guess what it was from the name!

A U-Pod is an event or forum where entrepreneurs (or freelancers or anyone else with an idea) can put their idea, proposal or business plan to other people in the same field. In our case it will be an hour-long session as part of the conference in November, and the field will be social enterprise.

It is a collective review process where the more experienced members of the group can offer their advice and suggestions, and the whole group can comment on if they think the idea ‘has legs’.

We will split our delegates into groups so each entreprenuer will present their idea to a small number of people rather than to the whole conference. Each delegate will be able to listen to and give feedback to one entrepreneur during the session.

We have already received some interesting proposals that will be included in the conference.

The U-Pod will take place on Day 2 of the conference only – Thursday 17th November 2011.

If you’d like to take part, either as a delegate or if you have an idea to put forward to the U-Pod, then please visit the conference website to book a place – Social Enterprise Wales Conference 2011.

The deadline for U-Pod applications is Wednesday 2nd November.

On your booking form, please clearly outline your:

  • Business idea
  • The number of people involved
  • The social aims of the enterprise

If you have any queries, please contact the organisers at the Wales Co-operative Centre:

Tel: 029 2055 6166
Email: info@walescooperative.org

 

The Wales Co-operative Centre provides advice and support to social enterprises and co-operatives within the Convergence area of Wales.


Written by C Kenzie

October 20, 2011 at 8:19 am

South Merthyr Digital Inclusion Project

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The South Merthyr Digital Inclusion project is now up and running and will cover the whole of the south of the borough.

Two members of staff have been employed who will offer a variety of Digital Inclusion training through drop in, with community groups and through structured classes.

Training will be delivered in a variety of venues including Megabytes Aberfan, the Willows Centre Troedyrhiw, Treharris Library, Ty Pontrhun Pentrebach & Bedlinog Resource centre.

Author: Stephanie Davies, Click. Connect. Discover field officer

If you are interested in finding out more contact Rhodri or Laura 01443 692600. Email rhodri@connect-merthyr.co.uk or laura@connect-merthyr.co.uk

For more information and support with digital inclusion and getting online, visit www.clickconnectdiscover.org

Written by C Kenzie

April 7, 2011 at 9:14 am

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Website of the week – Money Made Clear

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MoneyMadeClear offers impartial advice and online tools to help you decide what is financially best for you.

Run by the UK’s Consumer Financial Education Body, established by the Financial Services Authority, MoneyMadeClear is currently promoting advice to parents whose kids are going to university.

MoneyMadeClear offers advice on all aspects of personal finance – mortgages, savings, pensions, credit cards, loans etc. and it’s all completely impartial as they’re not affiliated to any financial institution.

Written by C Kenzie

October 26, 2010 at 8:17 am

£13m investment to digital technology sector in Wales

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A £13m investment into the strategically important digital technology sector in Wales was launched on Tuesday 5th October by Lesley Griffiths, Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills.

The ‘strategically important sector’ of digital technology in Wales is described as ‘software development’.

Led by Swansea University, and delivered in partnership with Glamorgan, Bangor, Aberystwyth and Wales Trinity Saint David Universities, the Software Alliance Wales (SAW) will benefit individuals and throughout West Wales and the Valleys.

SAW will target support to ICT businesses and professionals working in the industry to ensure they keep abreast of the rapid pace of technological developments. It also aims to increase higher-level ICT skills across all business and industry sectors.

It has been forecast that if businesses fully exploit ICT, over the next seven years the Welsh economy could benefit to the tune of £1.4bn.

The Deputy Minister said the digital economy was a central element of the Assembly Government’s new Economic Renewal programme and offered businesses across Wales opportunities to innovate and grow.

“We will be launching Digital Wales later this year – a framework to create a truly digital nation – so I am particularly pleased to launch Software Alliance Wales which supports this vision.

“Software Alliance Wales will exploit new technologies, support employers and practitioners in the software sector to identify and address skills needs to drive forward the knowledge economy.

“ICT and the creative industries are priority sectors with the potential to make a major contribution to the knowledge economy in Wales.

“It is, therefore, vital that its workforce has the skills to succeed and that businesses are equipped with the skills to maximise opportunities presented by new technology.”

A key part of the project is the creation of a recognised ICT Continuous Professional Development programme for professionals to acquire new skills in the latest emerging technologies.

The project will also help businesses to gain Accredit UK certification, a quality benchmark recognised throughout the UK designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of companies.

SAW will also offer students the chance to undertake collaborative ICT based development projects within SMEs to improve their learning while providing knowledge and expertise for the businesses involved.

Source: Welsh Assembly Government

Communities 2.0 is a Welsh Assembly Government project which helps community groups, voluntary organisations and social enterprises in Wales to benefit from technology. For more information , visit www.clickconnectdiscover.org

Written by C Kenzie

October 11, 2010 at 8:38 am

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