Wales Co-operative Centre

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#LeadingWalesAwards launch discussion ‘relevant to social enterprise aims’

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This year, the Wales Co-operative Centre is co-sponsoring the Leadership in Social Enterprise category of the Leading Wales Awards, with Social Firms Wales. Jayne Mills, one of our Social Enterprise Development Officers, attended the first launch event for the 2014 awards, last Thursday, at Moneypenny, in Wrexham. Here’s her account of the event:

I arrived in time to hear Rachel Clacher, Co-Founder and Director at Moneypenny, talk about how leadership contributes to business success and sustainability, followed by remarks by Barbara Chidgey, Chair of the Leading Wales Consortium, summing up some of the conclusions from the discussion.

As they were speaking, I was struck by how much of what they were saying applied to social enterprise and to the way we work at the Wales Co-operative Centre. In particular, they said one of the keys to successful business was to be driven by values and a passion for what we do. Other points which struck a chord with me were that successful leaders and businesses:-

  • Are in control, but are not controlling – they are in control of their own role, and trust others to do theirs. They unleash others’ potential
  • Focus on what staff are doing well and make more of it 
  • Take time to think, listen to others, have conversations and enable communication through fun 
  • Demonstrate they are part of a team and have a commitment to the team 
  • Enable others to grow and focus on what they are jointly trying to achieve – not on themselves – it is not about them 
  • Recognise and thank others for their contribution 
  • Are clear about what they want and foster a team approach to achieve it

They said that a leader can be defined as someone with the ability and willingness to make decisions and the sense of purpose and confidence to see them through, and leadership is about attitude – ‘I have this idea and I’m going to do everything in my power to make it happen’. But they also said that in Wales people don’t often recognise themselves as having leadership skills. So, if you know someone who is leading a successful social enterprise well, now is the time to nominate them for an award for the recognition they deserve and as a way of inspiring others.

More details can be found on the Leading Wales Awards website


Written by David Madge

January 20, 2014 at 12:09 pm

The search for Wales’s top social enterprise leader begins here!

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The search for Wales’s top social enterprise leader begins here!

Today, nominations open for the 2014 Leading Wales Awards. The Wales Co-operative Centre is co-sponsor of the Social Enterprise category, alongside Social Firms Wales.

This year, the awards scheme is celebrating 10 years as the only established, prestigious, pan-Wales awards that recognise, identify and celebrate individual people in Wales whose leadership is having a real impact in business, Public Services, not for profit organisations and communities across Wales.

The focus for the 2014 Leading Wales Awards is to identify and celebrate ‘Individual Leaders in Wales whose leadership is making a real difference and has had positive impact’.

The awards categories are designed to attract entries from all sectors and from all levels of leadership in Wales. There are 8 proposed categories in the 2014 Awards to celebrate individual leadership.

4 generic categories for individual leadership in:

Public Sector 

Voluntary / Not for Profit sector 

Leadership in the Private Sector 

Leadership in Social Enterprise

Categories for individual leadership (for which nominations can come from any sector):

Young Leader (14 – 25 years) 

Team Leader 

Women in Leadership 

Leadership for the Future

The Leadership in Social Enterprise category is open to individuals working within a social enterprise that have a leadership role at whatever level of responsibility. Social enterprises are businesses trading for social and environmental purposes. Social enterprises are distinctive because their social and / or environmental purpose is absolutely central to what they do – their profits are re-invested to sustain and further their mission for positive change.

Last year, the Leadership in Social Enterprise award was won by Menna Jones, who is the CEO of Antur Waunfawr, a social enterprise in North Wales which has developed a range of sustainable projects that create training and employment for people with learning disabilities and other disadvantaged people.

Derek Walker, Chief Executive of the Wales Co-operative Centre thinks the awards play an important role: “The Wales Co-operative Centre is once again delighted to be co-sponsoring the Leadership in Social Enterprise category. Strong, visionary leadership is a key driver in the growth and sustainability of social enterprises and has a major impact on their contribution to the Welsh economy. These awards provide valuable recognition for inspirational social enterprise leaders who can be role models for the sector.”

This week, there are launch events for the awards in North Wales (Wrexham, 16th January) and South Wales (Cardiff, 17th January). These will be followed by ‘Leadership Café’ events in Ebbw Vale (23rd January) and Llandudno (19th February), at Monwel Ltd and Crest Co-operative respectively.

You have two months to submit your nominations for this year’s Leading Wales Awards, with the closing date being Friday 14th March. More information is available on the Leading Wales Awards website.

Written by David Madge

January 13, 2014 at 8:30 am

Leading Wales Awards go ‘live’

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We’re publishing the following information on behalf of the Leading Wales Awards. The Wales Co-operative Centre is delighted to be sponsoring the social enterprise category in this year’s awards, in partnership with Social Firms Wales:

The 10th Leading Wales Awards go “live” in association with Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Next week we have our 10th year launch events in North Wales on 16th January and in South Wales on 17th January and we are focusing on the clear message that “leadership is a key driver of economic growth” and therefore essential to our success in Wales.

Each event is show-casing a highly successful Welsh Business (Admiral is our case study on 17th at Cardiff Met and Moneypenny our case study at Wrexham on 16th January). Both events begin at 08:30 and conclude by 10:15. All details are here.

If you would like to attend either event please book here and state which event you would like to attend.

This is our celebratory 10th year of the Leading Wales awards and once again the Leading Wales Awards Consortium urges you to tell us about that special person you know whose leadership is making a real difference in Wales by nominating them for an Award. You can nominate by downloading an application form from Nominations open on Monday 13th January and close Friday 14th March 2014.

Lansio Gwobrau Arwain Cymru yn 10 oed, mewn cydweithrediad â Phrifysgol Fetropolitan Caerdydd.

Yr wythnos nesaf, rydym yn cynnal ein digwyddiadau lansio deng mlynedd o Wobrau Arwain Cymru, yng Ngogledd Cymru ar 16 Ionawr ac yn Ne Cymru ar 17 Ionawr. Rydym yn canolbwyntio ar y neges glir bod “arweinyddiaeth yn ffactor allweddol o dwf economaidd” ac felly’n hanfodol i’n llwyddiant yng Nghymru.

Mae pob digwyddiad yn arddangos busnes Cymreig hynod lwyddiannus (Admiral yw ein hastudiaeth achos ar 17 Ionawr ym Met Caerdydd a Moneypenny yw ein hastudiaeth achos yn Wrecsam ar 16 Ionawr). Bydd y ddau ddigwyddiad yn dechrau am 8:30 ac yn gorffen erbyn 10:15. Mae’r holl fanylion ar gael yn

Os hoffech chi fynychu un neu ddau o’r digwyddiadau, archebwch yma a nodwch pa ddigwyddiad yr hoffech ei fynychu.

Eleni rydym yn dathlu pen-blwydd Gwobrau Arwain Cymru yn 10 oed, ac unwaith eto mae’r Consortiwm Gwobrau Arwain Cymru yn eich annog chi i ddweud wrthym am y person arbennig sy’n gwneud gwahaniaeth go iawn yng Nghymru drwy ei arweinyddiaeth, ac i’w henwebu am wobr. Gallwch enwebu trwy lawrlwytho ffurflen gais o Bydd enwebiadau ar agor o ddydd Llun 13 Ionawr tan ddydd Gwener 14 Mawrth, 2014.

Written by David Madge

January 9, 2014 at 10:14 am

Social Enterprise Day 2012 – It’s all about the Vi-Ability!

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Kelly Davies of Vi-Ability

Kelly Davies, Managing Director of Vi-Ability

We caught up with Kelly Davies of Vi-Ability, as she was preparing to attend the UK Social Enterprise Awards in London. Kelly is Managing Director of Vi-Ability and is an ex-international football player with 36 caps for Wales who has also played for Arsenal and Liverpool Ladies. She is also the youngest woman to obtain an MBA in the Football Industries. During her studies, the idea came to her for a social business that could tackle the issues of commercially unsustainable football clubs and youth disengagement in education.

Monday 12th November

Getting ready to attend the Social Enterprise UK awards at Lord’s Cricket ground on Monday night. Sunday afternoon was spent on a train travelling from North Wales to London; thankfully Virgin trains have WiFi so I was able to catch up on emails!!! God bless Richard Branson.

Thankfully the apartment I booked was close to London Euston, so there was no need to have to jump on the tube late at night! Also managed to get ITV on the TV eventually, so could see the X Factor result and ‘I’m a celebrity..’ before going to sleep ahead of a busy day. Bonus!!

Monday starts nice and early with a trip to the local ‘Fitness First’ conveniently situated 5 minutes from the apartment. With possibly the ‘biggest sweet tooth’ in Wales, and knowing full well I won’t be able to resist the dessert trolley at the awards ceremony this evening, I manage to put myself through a gruelling 40-minute cardiovascular work out although unfortunately not as quickly as in my Arsenal days!!!

8.30-11am : It’s straight back to the apartment to catch up on emails and call key staff members to make sure all is ok for the week ahead. It was particularly important this morning that I managed to speak to Keri Jones our Community Manager in Conwy, as we’re launching two new exciting programmes at Conwy Borough FC this week for 16-25 year old NEETs. Through the motivational power of football and the inspirational setting of a football stadia we hope to help these individuals develop financial capability, employability and life skills.

12 pm – 1:30pm Went for lunch with my contact at the Young Foundation ‘Tony Coleville’ to update him on our progress and growth over the last 12 months and discuss the numerous opportunities that we are currently presented with. There are some really exciting possibilities in pipelines for 2013 and we look at ways to attract investment to really push things on.

2-4pm –  Heading back to the apartment, and I’m accosted in the street by someone offering a free hair cut by a trainee hair dresser.  As I’m always keen to help young people develop.. I agree.. and It appears that the trainee I was assigned is from  Toni and Guy in Spain, and the salon I’m randomly sitting in is actually the international hair academy ‘Sarizz’. Three hours later I emerge with a £200 fashionable haircut but not much hair!! Ha!!

4-5pm – I add the finishing touches to our annual Gwirvol  application that needs to be submitted tomorrow – this year we’re looking to roll out our hugely successful ‘ivolunteer’ programme in South Wales at the following clubs – Port Talbot,  Merthyr Town and Cambrian.

Before jumping in the shower and trying to make myself look glamorous (remember I used to play football!!) I also quickly check the press release for four job appointments we are making through the Jobs Growth Wales supported employment contract we have, and in partnership with social inclusion football organisation ‘Game On’.

6-11pm – The taxi picks me up to take me to the  Social Enterprise Awards where the hilarious Sue Perkins from ‘Great British Bake Off’ was the host.

My category ‘social enterprise leader of the year’ was the first up and I was gracefully pipped to the post by Dai Williams of HCT group. Congratulations Dai!!!

My night was made though when my business card was pulled out of the hat to win a customised  bike from social enterprise Bikeworks.

The biggest challenge for everyone in the room though was working out how to get it from London to North Wales (it’s a fair ride) .. but thankfully the social enterprise version of DHL came into play and it was arranged to be dropped off in Llandudno.

So in a weeks time I’ll be cycling around North Wales on my new ‘green’ vehicle to meetings 🙂 if you spot it please tweet us!!!

Sharing a table with Amey and the Co-operative, interesting discussions develop around how they may be able to offer us support through their corporate responsibility programmes in the future.

The great evening of entertainment ended with a few drinks in reception with Fran Gorman from Social Enterprise UK,  Donna Coyle from the Wales Co-operative Centre, and my business mentor Matt Stevenson-Dodd CEO of 10 Downing Street charity of the year Street League.

So another day over and tomorrow… I’ll try to sort my hair out.. No only kidding!

I’ll try to continue to inspire others, and #changelivesthroughfootball

One thing’s for sure it won’t be boring and will be extremely rewarding once again!!

For more information on Vi-Ability, visit and follow on Twitter @Vi_Ability.

Written by Mark Smith

November 15, 2012 at 9:04 am

Get involved in our Social Enterprise Day 2012: Social Media Marathon!

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Social Enterprise Day 2012 takes place on Thursday (15th November). To celebrate, the Wales Co-operative Centre is running a Social Media Marathon! We’ve set up a twitter hashtag – #socentdaywales – to capture all the activities taking place throughout the day and to promote the diversity and impact of social enterprises in Wales to a global audience.

Look out for the ‘Social Enterprise Awards Wales 2012’ finalist videos  

We celebrated the brilliant work of Social Enterprises across Wales in October, with the Social Enterprise Awards Wales 2012 ceremony. We’ll be tweeting links to each of the 12 finalist videos at regular intervals throughout the day!

We’ll be posting a range of blogs from Welsh social enterprises

Recent Social Enterprise Awards winners Crest Co-operative and Vi-ability, along with south wales based social enterprises the Arts Factory and Swansea Care and Repair will each provide a ‘Day in the Life’ blog.

Our Development Officers work with some amazing social enterprises everyday! Find out more about the work they do by reading our ‘Day in the Life’ blogs, which will be posted throughout the day on our wordpress, twitter and linkedIn pages. 

Members of staff from the Wales Co-operative Centre will be visiting some of Wales’s leading social enterprises, promoting the exciting work they do via live blogging and tweeting!

Don’t forget you can get involved too!

Use the twitter hashtag – #socentdaywales – to tell us what you’ve been up to on Social Enterprise Day! Tweet us your photos and we will upload them onto our Flickr page.

Don’t miss out on Social Enterprise Day!

Join us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress blog, YouTube and Flickr.

You can keep up-to-date with our work on the day and latest news, join in conversations and ask us questions.

Social Enterprise Awards Wales – Social Enterprise Start Up of the Year nominees

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The Wales Co-operative Centre and Welsh Social Enterprise Coalition are hosting the Social Enterprise Awards Wales in Prestatyn on 19th October. In advance of the event, we are previewing some of the shortlisted nominees. Today we look at the shortlisted nominees for Social Enterprise Start Up of the Year.

Social Enterprise Start Up of the Year

– North Wales Credit Union

North Wales Credit Union (NWCU) is a co-operative which provides a wide range of ethical financial services across North Wales. It was formed in January 2011 through the merger of five credit unions. The merger has been used as an example by the National Association of Credit Unions and the Welsh Government for other credit unions to follow if they are considering a merger. The merger was not aimed at reducing costs but to improve the services to members across North Wales. NWCU is the only credit union in Wales and one of only 25 in the UK which provides its members with a bank account (as opposed to only savings accounts). It was one of the first credit unions to introduce a Rent Direct Account which allows members to pay their Housing Benefit into the credit union. This service protects vulnerable tenants from falling into arrears and losing their home. In this way, NWCU has prevented the eviction of over 20 members.

– Swansea Care and Repair Services  

Swansea Care and Repair Services was established in April 2011. It works to provide independent, practical advice, advocacy and support services including facilitating property adaptations, repairs, improvements, upgrades and renovations to elderly and disabled client’s homes. It promotes good property management and aims to provide property maintenance advice and training, working to enhance the quality of life of community residents and support community regeneration. Swansea Care and Repair Services is unique in the fact it is a social enterprise in the construction industry that supports local regeneration and practical services, whilst ensuring profits are used to support the developments of services to support the housing concerns of older people.

Maggie Berry of Swansea Care and Repair Services is shortlisted for the Social Enterprise Leader of the Year.

– TGV Hydro (Crickhowell)

TGV Hydro Limited has been set up to promote renewable energy generation through micro-hydro power.  Its overall social goal is to reduce carbon emissions by promoting and developing high-head micro-hydro schemes and particularly to support community ownership of micro-hydro systems.  Based in the Brecon Beacons National Park, TGV Hydro operates across Wales, with over 20 schemes in development and working on eight community projects. TGV Hydro Limited has established a reputation for professionalism and team work and has worked with local authorities, over 20 community groups and over 50 farmers and landowners from large commercial estates to individual smallholdings. TGV Hydro is evidence that an innovative and ambitious company can be commercially successful in a competitive market place whilst operating as a social enterprise and that through its commercial success it can meet broader social goals.

Come back soon to find out more about the shortlisted nominees for Social Enterprise of the Year and Social Enterprise Supporter of the Year.

Social Enterprise Awards Wales – Social Enterprise Leader of the Year nominees

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The Wales Co-operative Centre and Welsh Social Enterprise Coalition are hosting the Social Enterprise Awards Wales in Prestatyn on 19th October. In advance, of the event we are previewing some of the shortlisted nominees. Today we look at the shortlisted nominees for Social Enterprise Leader of the year.

Social Enterprise Leader of the Year

  •          Cam Nicholl of Digital Accessibility Centre (Neath)

Cam Nicholl is in charge of Sales & Service Development at the Digital Accessibility Centre in Neath.  Her passion for Digital Inclusion is well known and respected and she has worked tirelessly to drive this new Social Enterprise forward at a rapid pace.  The company started in Jan 2011 with a virtually non-existent budget.  DAC traded ‘in the black’ during their first year, and continues to do so today. Cam has spent many late nights writing lengthy tenders and quotes to secure commercial contracts, many of which they have won.

The Digital Accessibility Centre has also been nominated for Social Enterprise of the Year.

  •          Kelly Davies of Viability (Conwy)

 Kelly Davies has been Managing Director of  Vi-ability for nearly three years. Kelly has succeeded in positioning Vi-ability as one of the leading personal development/employment facing sport industry programmes in UK and Europe for socially disadvantaged participants Itproduces consistently positive outcomes in relation to engagement, retention and progression.  It has had a life changing impact on many participants and has created a new energy in the community justice landscape. Kelly also carried the ‘Olympic Torch’ on May 29th 2012 for her achievements in sport and the local community.

  •          Maggie Berry of Swansea Care and Repair Services

 Maggie Berry has been Chief Officer with Swansea Care & Repair for 13 years and became Director of Swansea Care and Repair Services when it was established as a social enterprise in 2011. Swansea Care and Repair Services works to provide independent, practical advice, advocacy and support services including facilitating property adaptations, repairs, improvements, upgrades and renovations to elderly and disabled client’s homes. Maggie Berry was the driving force behind the establishment of the new social enterprise, developing a business plan and establishing a structure that would recognise their social aims and plans for future expansion. She was instrumental in co-ordinating the separation of charity and commercial services with the formation of Care & Repair Services.

Swansea Care and Repair Services has also been nominated for Social Enterprise Start Up of the Year.

Come back soon to find out more about the shortlisted nominees for Social Enterprise Start Up of the Year, Social Enterprise of the Year and Social Enterprise Supporter of the Year.

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