Wales Co-operative Centre

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

Posts Tagged ‘communities 2.0

Welsh social enterprises losing out on digital boom

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New research from Lloyds Bank shows that many SMEs are missing out on the benefits of being online, and that community groups and social enterprises are lagging behind.  As Director of Strategic Development & Performance at the Wales Co-operative Centre, I’ve looked into what the study means for social businesses here. soc ent comm 2 point 0

The Lloyds Bank research gives a snapshot of how SMEs, including social enterprises, use the internet.  The backdrop is that business is increasingly being done online: this year, UK consumers are forecast to spend £107 billion on the web, an increase of 17% year on year.

And it’s not just buying that’s going online, it’s giving too.  Charities that can accept donations over the internet, saw a 27% increase in the number of contributions they receive. In 2013, £2.5 million was raised online from 3.7 million Tweets through social media service Twitter and Just Giving. This was an increase of 448% on 2011.

And yet the facts in the Lloyds Bank UK survey are stark:

  • Around a third of SMEs and social enterprises don’t have websites
  • Social enterprises are much less likely to be online than for-private-profit businesses
  • Just 28% of community groups and social enterprises have the skills to transact online
  • A quarter of community groups and social enterprises feel that the internet isn’t relevant to them

The Wales Co-operative Centre’s experience of running the Social Enterprise Support and Communities 2.0 projects is that an effective ICT strategy is integral to the success of flourishing social enterprises.  The Welsh Government funded Communities 2.0 project has supported over 800 social enterprises and community groups, conducting ICT reviews and supporting investment in new systems to increase revenue, create jobs and improve business efficiency.  For example, the Wales Co-operative Centre’s support to Canolfan Soar in Merthyr Tydfil has helped the enterprise increase the proportion of their income that comes from trading from 35% to 65%.

Independent analysts Booz and Co. estimate full digital take up, with everyone online, could add £63 billion value to the UK economy.  The danger is that community organisations and social enterprises will continue to lag behind the rest of the economy.  They will lose out.  Our Social Enterprise Support and Communities 2.0 projects have had a huge impact already, and Wales needs specialist ICT support to social enterprises to continue.


Written by Dave Brown

November 24, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Get Torfaen Online launched in Cwmbran

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Get Torfaen Online launch event at Cwmbran libraryGet Torfaen Online was officially launched on Monday at Cwmbran librarygettorfaen-online-small

Representatives from the organisations who have come together to create Get Torfaen Online (including Communities 2.0 Melin homes and Bron Afon Community Housing) officially launched the campaign which aims to help residents in Torfaen get the most from technology.

The launch was opened by a speech from Communities 2.0 Project Director Cathryn Marcus who introduced AM for Torfaen Lynne Neagle. The AM talked about the importance of digital inclusion in Torfaen in particular, where she said around a third of residents are not online and one of the least digitally included counties in Wales. She also said that digital inclusion is now not just a technological issue but also a “social justice issue”.

The latest Communities 2.0 digital inclusion regional initiative to be launched, the event was well attended with beneficiaries of the Get Torfaen Online partner organisations and stakeholders from the area viewing videos and hearing more about future plans to get Torfaen residents active online.

Lukasz Kuziow of Bron Afon Community Housing delivered a presentation about the organisation’s Digital Deal and their future plans to create a network of accessible kiosks for easy and secure access to the internet across different locations. Attendees were also given a sneak peek at Torfaen Borough Council’s new app service which allows residents of the area to contact the council and report problems or receive answers to their questions quickly and in a more cost effective manner for the council. Melin Homes and Communities First provided video interviews of digital learners in the Torfaen area to show the human stories and the real life benefits that result from learning digital skills.

The event was also live tweeted using the hashtag #GTOlaunch

Written by Ieuan Nash

March 25, 2014 at 3:36 pm

Carwyn Jones launches ‘Get Bridgend Online’

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Written by David Madge

December 6, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Carwyn Jones signals importance of digital inclusion at launch of new initiative

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Carwyn Jones signals importance of digital inclusion at launch of new initiative

New digital inclusion initiative Get Bridgend Online will help people to use online services such as Universal Jobsmatch and access the other benefits of being online.

Launch event: Friday 6th December

Pyle Life Centre, Bridgend

Carwyn Jones, AM for Bridgend, will launch Get Bridgend Online at Pyle Life Centre on Friday 6th December.

Mr Jones will also present a series of awards to volunteers and digital inclusion champions which recognise the impact they make in helping people to get online in the Bridgend borough.

The Get Bridgend Online initiative is a partnership between housing provider Valleys to Coast, Bridgend County Borough Council, the Local Service Board and The Creation Group. The initiative is supported by the Welsh Government’s Communities 2.0 digital inclusion programme, which is partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The Get Bridgend Online initiative brings a co-ordinated approach to digital inclusion delivery that meets the needs of digitally excluded people in Bridgend. Communities 2.0 regional digital inclusion initiatives such as this one aim to support individuals affected by the UK Government’s digital by default approach to Welfare Reform. This approach now means that job seekers have to search for posts using the Universal Jobsmatch system which is only available online.

The Get Bridgend Online initiative comprises several distinct elements:

Training for frontline staff to support digitally excluded users of their services to access job search and Universal Credit.

Awareness raising seminars for the Local Service Board
Direct support for digitally excluded individuals in Bridgend.

Training and support facilities have been made available through a network of IT venues such as libraries and community centres.

Engagement of social housing tenants, older people, unemployed people and disabled people with the technology appropriate and relevant to their lives.

The initiative also includes a volunteer element that recruits and supports or Digital Champions to work within the community and support delivery at libraries, community centres and job clubs.

It is estimated that the initiative will work with approximately 1720 direct beneficiaries and up to 800 indirect beneficiaries. It will recruit 20 volunteers and train 80 frontline staff.

Councillor Lyn Morgan, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing at Bridgend County Borough Council, said:

“I welcome the Get Bridgend Online initiative as it is becoming more important than ever for people to be digitally active, especially jobseekers and people living in poorer areas who could otherwise find themselves at a disadvantage.

“Together with our partners, the council believes that it is essential for people to have at least a basic understanding of how to use ICT and the internet, and we look forward to the benefits that this new scheme will deliver.”

Steve Curry, Community Regeneration Manager of Valleys to Coast Housing in Bridgend is a delivery partner in Get Bridgend Online along with The Creation Group. He explained why this initiative is important to the area,

“Valleys To Coast and The Creation Group see how digital exclusion can effect our communities on a daily basis. Our support means that clients who are often intimidated by the idea of getting online are able to learn how to access the benefits they are entitled to and increase their employability within the workforce. By offering them support to get online we can help them to help themselves”.

Cathryn Marcus is Project Director for Communities 2.0 which has supported the development of the project since its inception,

“Communities 2.0 is delighted to add its support to this essential project in Bridgend. Get Bridgend Online will allow each of the partners to develop and grow their own skills and services and embed digital inclusion into the services they offer. This will benefit individuals across Bridgend by giving them support in friendly and accessible community venues such as libraries and community centre’s across the Borough”

For more information on Get Bridgend Online, contact Jonathan Price on 07788 286551, or by email

For more information on Communities 2.0 visit or call 0845 474 8282

Notes to Editors:

The launch event will feature a series of awards presented to individuals who have already made a difference to the delivery of digital inclusion in the area.

  • Junior Digital Champion 2013
  • Senior Digital Champion 2013
  • Digital Learner of the Year 2013
  • Silver Surfer Award 2013
  • Beneficiaries Champion 2013
  • Commitment Award 2013

Communities 2.0

Communities 2.0 is a Welsh Government programme and is part of the Delivering a Digital Wales strategy. Communities 2.0 is delivered by four partner organisations – the Wales Co-operative Centre, Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services, Carmarthenshire County Council and the George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling (University of South Wales). Communities 2.0 works in the Convergence area of Wales and parts of Wrexham, Flintshire and Powys, helping communities and small enterprises to make the most of the internet.

Valleys To Coast

Valleys To Coast Housing (V2C) operates in the County of Bridgend, with a stock of some 5,800 houses and a small portfolio of retail premises. It was the first housing association in Wales to be established as a result of a large scale voluntary transfer of social housing ownership by a local authority, supported by tenants.
V2C is an Industrial and Provident Society with Charitable Rules, operating as a social enterprise which invests in both people and communities.

TimeCentres UK

Timecentres UK promotes, designs and create networks of active people all over the UK

Written by David Madge

December 6, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Digital inclusion key to Framework for Independent Living

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Last week, the Welsh Government published their Framework for Action on Independent Living which sets out an approach to public service provision that supports disabled people to live their own lives in the way that they choose for themselves.  The framework includes actions to ensure access to good quality and accessible information and advice.  One of the key actions identified by the Welsh Government is increasing the number of disabled people that are able to use the internet via the Communities 2.0 digital inclusion programme.

The Wales Co-operative Centre is the lead organisation delivering the Welsh Government funded Communities 2.0 project.  Communities 2.0 is supporting a number of digital inclusion initiatives aimed at disabled people, in partnership with organisations including Disability Wales, RNIB, Leonard Cheshire and the Digital Accessibility Centre. The framework outlines how Communities 2.0 will also continue to facilitate an ‘e-accessibility forum’, led by Disability Wales. The Wales e-Accessibility Forum is a group of representatives from organisations that support disabled people, with the purpose of finding ways to support disabled people to take advantage of the benefits of digital technology and the internet.

We see digital inclusion as an essential thread to supporting independent living.  In addition to the actions outlined in the Framework, we believe that access to ICT could enable disabled people to live independently in a number of ways.

ICT could be embedded in personalised care and support.  For example, it could enable individuals to make use of direct payments. Internet banking or access to an online credit union account is a secure means of delivering payments if the individual has access to the internet in the home. Furthermore, Useful information about personal assistants could be made available via the internet

We welcome the support for the important work of the Communities 2.0 project and believe that digital inclusion can have a real impact on the lives of disabled people wanting to live independently at home, in the work place, in public places and socially in their community.

Written by Ieuan Nash

September 24, 2013 at 9:30 am

New Minister marks launch of Get Neath Port Talbot Online

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Congratulations to Get Neath Port Talbot Online, the latest strategic initiative from the Welsh Government’s Communities 2.0 programme, which is led by the Wales Co-operative Centre.  Get NPT Online was launched by Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, Jeff Cuthbert at Briton Ferry library this week.


Jeff Cuthbert, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, at the launch with members of the Briton Ferry Photographic Club.

Designed to tackle poverty by overcoming barriers to work, the initiative has challenging targets for helping people become confident in using computers, and in finding work online.

Through the Communities 2.0 programme, Wales Co-operative Centre staff have brokered a partnership between NPT Homes, Coastal Housing and the local Communities First organisation, to target support at those in greatest need.  Front line staff of all the partner organisations will be trained to help their clients take the first steps towards getting online.  This will be backed up by focussed training and support from a team of volunteers.  People who were previously excluded from job opportunities through lack of skills will set up their own e-mail addresses, develop online CVs and learn how to search job sites.  As a result, they will become included as part of the modern world.

Katy, Rachel and Kevin - the Get NPT Online Outreach Team.

Katy, Rachel and Kevin – the Get NPT Online Outreach Team.

The beauty of Get NPT Online is that it is a genuinely local response to the problems of poverty, worklessness and social exclusion.  It works with the community, not on it.  Get NPT Online is sustainable, because digital inclusion will be embedded in the working practices of the partner organisations.

Across Wales, the Wales Co-operative Centre is delivering programmes in communities that have a tangible economic benefit.  Thanks to funding from the Welsh Government and European Regional Development Fund, people in Neath Port Talbot have a head start.

Volunteers shine at Risca Digital Day event

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The Wales Co-operative Centre Marketing Team has been visiting Digital Day events today, helping to capture a day in the life of digital learning in Wales.

Mark Smith has just returned from a Digital Friday drop-in session at Risca Library. Here’s his story…

I’d never been to Risca before, let alone the town’s library. Situated next to the former Risca Palace cinema, the library, which was only opened 18 months ago, still had that ‘new smell’ about it. It looked pretty plush inside, a nice layout, plenty of computers and a welcoming, friendly atmosphere.

A busy Digital Day at Risca Library!

A busy Digital Day at Risca Library!


I made my way to the first floor, where Communities 2.0’s Rachael Davies was overseeing a drop-in session. This is nothing new for libraries in Caerphilly Borough, as the Get Caerphilly Online partnership has been running Digital Fridays since last Christmas. What was different today – Digital Day – is that drop-in sessions were taking place, simultaneously, in 17 different libraries! Quite an achievement.

Rachael helping Kyle with e-mail

Rachael helping Kyle with e-mail





Back at Risca, while Rachael was showing a learner called Kyle how to create an e-mail account, two volunteer tutors – Aled and Kelly – were also busy. Aled was assisting Kathryn to sort out her spam filter on e-mail, find her CV and to search for jobs on Universal Jobmatch. Kelly was sat with a very enthusiastic group, showing them everything from Google Street View to Historypin. Two of Kelly’s learners, Terry and Jill, said how much they enjoyed the social aspect of getting online in the library, as they could go to sessions as a group of friends, while meeting new people along the way. Both Kelly and Aled said how important it was that they were able to help people to increase their skills as they look for work – a key issue at the moment, with the Universal Credit to be accessed online in the near future, while the Universal Jobmatch helps people find work.

Aled helping Kathryn to log-in

Aled helping Kathryn to log on

The session was a busy one, with people coming going as they pleased. The range of people’s questions meant that Rachael, Kelly and Aled needed to be on their toes and ready to help people with whatever query they could throw at them. It’s a real skill to be able to draw on that knowledge and impart it in such a way that people can understand, are not concerned about trying something new online and, more importantly, want to learn more.

I was really impressed with what I saw at Risca Library and it’s due, in no small part, to the partnership arrangement that has been put in place through Get Caerphilly Online. Well done to all involved.

Written by Mark Smith

May 24, 2013 at 4:53 pm

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