Wales Co-operative Centre

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

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Social Enterprise Day 2012: Crest Co-operative – Steve works around the clock

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My name is Steve Higgott and I am a supervisor for the food poverty project FareShare North Wales. I have been working for the social enterprise Crest Co-operative for  4 years. FareShare North Wales is run by Crest Co-operative. We work with the food industry to save in-date food from landfill. The food provides meals for hundreds of vulnerable people across North Wales.

No day is ever the same and it is great to start out your working day knowing that you are making a difference to the lives of some of the most disadvantaged people in North Wales.

Steve Higgott and his team of volunteers

Steve and his team of volunteers

I work with a team of dedicated volunteers and people from different backgrounds who take part in work placements at Crest Co-operative. These individuals are often unemployed or have learning disabilities. Working with a fantastic team of people is one of the things that I enjoy most about my job!

9am – I arrive at work and already have a team of volunteers ready to start their daily duties. We start the day by having a meeting and discuss where we will be travelling to. My team of staff consists of a van driver, a warehouse cleaner, van driver’s assistants and staff who stock take and pick orders. We get the day started by looking at our list of stock and picking orders, which will be delivered to community groups, supporting homeless and vulnerable people. We pick tinned food, cereals, frozen food, fruit and bottled water.

10am – By this time we are ready to start our daily deliveries. We deliver to different community groups every day and have 27 community food members. These are community groups who support disadvantaged people.  On this particular day I am delivering food to five community groups.  Myself and one assistant will be travelling to Llandudno, which is a 10 minute car drive from our depot. Our first stop is a homeless drop- in centre. We are met at the door by a team of friendly staff, including the drop-in-centres kitchen staff. They are keen to see what we are delivering and are already deciding how they will use the produce to create nutritious meals for the centre’s homeless service users.

11am – We arrive at a drop in centre, which supports people who are suffering from mental health issues. Today the staff will be putting together food parcels with our delivery. This will ensure that their service users are eating a healthy, balanced diet. Our next stop is a residential centre for adults with learning disabilities. We take the food to the kitchen, much to the delight of the chef, who is keen to start preparing a fresh lunch for the adults.

12 noon – We deliver five crates of food to a day centre for the elderly. Our last stop is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre.  We chat to the staff, who are creating an exciting pasta lunch for their service users from FareShare produce.

Volunteer making deliveries

Volunteer making deliveries

1pm – It’s back to our Llandudno Junction depot, just in time for lunch.

2pm – We clean the warehouse and ensure that all food is still in-date. We accept deliveries from local food suppliers, who have surplus stock that they would like to donate to vulnerable people.

3pm – We work as a team to do a stock take of the FareShare warehouse.

4pm – I visit a homeless hostel to carry out a health and safety audit. The audit is a success and they become a new community food member!

5pm – Finish the warehouse duties and thank my team of volunteers.

For more information on Crest Co-operative, visit and follow on Twitter @Crestrecycle.


Written by Mark Smith

November 15, 2012 at 9:33 am

And the winners are…

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North Wales Social Enterprises scoop the 2012 Social Enterprise Awards Wales

Three North Wales social enterprises have won categories in this years Social Enterprise Wales Awards which took place today (Friday 19th October) at the Scala Cinema and Arts Centre in Prestatyn.

The awards were hosted by Wales Co-operative Centre and Wales Social Enterprise Coalition and was sponsored by not for profit internet registry company Nominet.

The full list of winners reads as follows:

Kelly Davies, Managing Director, Viability , Conwy; winner of the Social Enterprise Leader of the Year award with Wales Co-operative Centre Chief Executive Derek Walker

Kelly Davies, Managing Director, Viability, Conwy; winner of the Social Enterprise Leader of the Year award with Wales  Co-operative Centre Chief Executive Derek Walker

Social Enterprise Leader of the Year 

Kelly Davies of Vi-ability

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 It produces consistently positive outcomes in relation to engagement, retention and progression.

Kelly was delighted to win the award, “I’m overwhelmed! I really didn’t expect to win after our success in these Awards last year. It shows that we haven’t stood still and we’re still doing something right!”

Wales Co-operative Centre Chief Executive Derek Walker , with Mac McCarthy and Barry Roberts from the North Wales Credit Union, Social Enterprise Start Up of the Year Winner

Wales Co-operative Centre Chief Executive Derek Walker, with Mac McCarthy and Barry Roberts from the North Wales Credit Union, Social Enterprise Start Up of the Year Winner

Social Enterprise  Start up of the Year – North Wales Credit Union

North Wales Credit Union is a financial co-operative which provides a wide range of ethical financial services across North Wales. Regulated by the Financial Services Authority, it is the fourth largest financial mutual in Wales. It was formed in January 2011 through the merger of five credit unions. Since then it has been  looked to as a model of excellence by credit unions and policymakers from across the UK.

Mac McCarthym from the North Wales Credit Union, commented, “Wow! From our persepective, this award is fantastic. Creating North Wales Credit Union took 18 months of really hard work by both staff and volunteers, and we’re accepting this Award on their behalf.”

Social Enterprise Supporter of the Year – St Illtyd’s Communities First Partnership

Anna Chard, St Illtyds Communities First Partnership , Abertillery, Social Enterprise Supporter of the Year Winner, Wales Co-operative Centre Operations Director Nia Wright Morgan and Wales Co-operative Centre Chief Executive Derek Walker

Anna Chard, St Illtyds Communities First Partnership, Abertillery, Social Enterprise Supporter of the Year Winner, Wales Co-operative Centre Operations Director Nia Wright Morgan and Wales Co-operative Centre Chief Executive Derek Walker

St Illtyds Communities First is part of a Welsh Government anti-poverty campaign which has been established for 10 years.  The team consists of 5 individuals who are dedicated to supporting and encouraging initiatives that make positive changes to the social economy. They work in Llanhilleth Institute supporting communities from Brynithel, Swffryd, Aberbeeg and Llanhilleth. St Illtyd’s Communities First has been responsible for starting up and supporting 3 social enterprises and creating 16 jobs in a socially deprived area of Wales.

Anna Chard from St Illtyd’s Communities First Partnership stated, “Its a real honour to accept this Award on behalf of the Communities First Partnership Board, the staff team and the social enterprises we support.”

Social Enterprise Supporter of the Year – Special Mention

The City & County of Swansea, Housing Renewals & Adaptations Department was singled out for a special mention as an example of a Local Authority who have made a major contribution to supporting the development of a social enterprise. City & County of Swansea has provided support and been available to reflect, counsel and steer changes to other organisations that resulted in the development of social enterprises such as Swansea Care & Repair Services.

Sharon Jones, Chief Executive , Crest Co-operative ,Llandudno Junction, Social Enterprise of the Year Winner with Wales Co-operative Centre Operations Director Nia Wright Morgan

Sharon Jones, Chief Executive , Crest Co-operative ,Llandudno Junction, Social Enterprise of the Year Winner with Wales Co-operative Centre Operations Director Nia Wright Morgan

Social Enterprise of the Year – Crest Co-operative

Crest Co-operative operates a number of recycling enterprises including , a food poverty project that distributes in-date food from food manufacturers to the homeless and vulnerable across North Wales; a textile recycling operation throughout Conwy County Borough Council; and finally Crest Co-operative work with North Wales housing associations to clear empty properties and save kitchens/bathrooms from landfill. Crest Co-operative’s work primarily focuses on social and environmental purposes, working to promote social inclusion and at the same time work to save materials and food from landfill. Sharon Jones from Crest Co-operative recieved the award,  “I’m speechless. This is a real surprise and its great to win such as prestigious award.”

Wales Co-operative Centre Chief Executive Derek Walker commented, “The quality of nominations this year demonstrated not only the breadth and versatility of the sector but the importance the sector has to communities across Wales. The judges this year had a tough task deciding between a number of very dedicated people and a number of extremely deserving nominees. The winners chosen demonstrate an impressive  commitment to their area of expertise and a level of service that is outstanding. We congratulate Crest Co-operative, St Illtyd’s Communities First Partnership, North Wales Credit Union and Kelly Davies and all of the other excellent social enterprises who were shortlisted.”

Not for profit Internet registry company Nominet sponsoredthe Social Enterprise Awards Wales 2012. Nominet run one of the world’s largest Internet registries and manage over ten million domain names. They are entrusted with the safe, stable and secure management of the .uk Internet name space and recently submitted applications for the new .cymru and .wales top level domains. For more information visit

A social enterprise is changing lives in the valleys

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Homemakers is a not-for-profit organisation that provides three services for the community:

  • They operate a low-cost house clearance scheme that keeps household items out of landfill and sells them cheaply to people who need them.
  • They provide volunteer placements to the most vulnerable members of the community
  • And they visit schools and community groups to share the benefits of recycling.

Homemakers operates across Monmouthshire from its Abergavenny base, and thanks to its new branch in Ebbw Vale now offers services to more people than ever.

Environment Minister Jane Davidson attended the opening of the new Blaenau Gwent branch.

The Minister said: “I believe that in the current economic climate social enterprises such as Homemakers are more relevant than ever since they can give us the opportunities to use our valuable resources locally and create local Welsh jobs in the green economy.

“The work they do extends far beyond recycling and consequently the benefits they bring to the community are not just environmental ones. That’s why I want to congratulate Homemakers for the great job they do, and wish them every success in the future.”

Homemakers’ trustee Shannon Robinson said: “As a social enterprise it is our role to help the community, not to make money for shareholders.

“We’re here to provide work experience, to take away unwanted furniture and give it to local people at a low cost, and help people recycle more. We want as many people here in Ebbw Vale to get involved so we can make a difference to the community.”

Source: Welsh Assembly Government

Business development advice available for your social enterprise at the Wales Co-operative Centre website.

Written by C Kenzie

October 13, 2010 at 10:28 am

Recycling is a boost for job creation

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A recent report published by Friends of the Earth, More Jobs, Less Waste, shows that over 50,000 jobs would be created UK-wide if the UK as a whole reached the 70 per cent recycling and composting target adopted by Wales.

Wales’ ambitious targets are set out in Towards Zero Waste (.pdf, opens in new window), which the Welsh Assembly Government Environment Minister Jane Davidson launched in June this year. Wales has seen the largest increase in recycling rates in the past decade of any country in the UK, and is the first to publish detailed delivery documents outlining how the 70 per cent recycling rate will be achieved.

The Environment Minister said:

“Our ambition in Wales is to recycle 70 per cent of our waste by 2025. We believe that this level of recycling will deliver not just environmental benefits but economic and social rewards too.

“We already know, for example that recycling 100,000 tonnes of waste can create up to 250 jobs as opposed to 20 to 40 in the case of incineration and approximately 10 land-filling.

“This is why earlier this month I announced £1 million funding towards a mixed plastics recycling facility run as a social enterprise, which will create new jobs as well as diverting waste from landfill and developing the market for recyclate in Wales.

“It is also why next month I will present the Wales Recycling Awards, which recognise the important role the third sector plays, in providing recycling and reuse services for their communities, and by providing much-needed jobs and training opportunities.

Source: Welsh Assembly Government

The Wales Co-operative Centre offers help to new and established social enterprises.

Written by C Kenzie

September 23, 2010 at 8:34 am

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