Wales Co-operative Centre

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

Posts Tagged ‘volunteers

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

Community effort re-opens Pengwern Arms Hotel

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Just 51 days after getting the keys to the Pengwern Arms Hotel, a team of volunteers at Llan Ffestiniog, near Blaenau Ffestiniog, has the once run-down pub up and running again.

In January 2009, the 300-year-old inn that stands on the square opposite the church, closed its doors. Now, two years later, villagers are preparing for the official opening in June following a massive community effort.

The villagers have set up Pengwern Cymunedol Cyf, a co-operative incorporated as an Industrial and Provident Society and received support from the Welsh Assembly Government, Tai Eryri housing association, the Wales Co-operative Centre and Gwynedd Council.

Pengwern ArmsIn a test run for the official opening, last weekend shareholders and helpers were invited to check out the facilities and enjoy free beer. Volunteer staff wore black shirts with the Pengwern logo and in the cellar were many barrels including casks of real ale from the Purple Moose Brewery.

Internet users can follow the latest chapter of the inspiring story of community spirit at

For more information please contact Mr Sel Williams on Tel: 0776 049 0081

If your community group is looking to open a shop or save a Post Office or pub, get in touch with the Wales Co-operative Centre for advice, support and assistance.

Written by C Kenzie

June 3, 2011 at 9:37 am

Positive news for Welsh CVCs

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Positive news : The Big Lottery Fund is to launch a £12m grants fund to help county voluntary councils develop projects that will benefit communities in Wales. The programme, called Community Voice, will be launched in June and offer grants of up to £1m.

Under the scheme, CVCs – the equivalent in Wales of councils for voluntary service in England – will be expected to work with other organisations and citizens to develop community-led projects designed to meet local needs. CVCs that draw up joint applications could be eligible for larger grants.

A BLF spokesman said it was planning to hand out about 12 grants, which will run for between four and six years.

Each application will need to demonstrate how it will link to local services, he said.

John Rose, acting Wales director at the BLF, said the programme would provide more of an opportunity for Welsh communities to get their voices heard. “It is about people speaking out to influence the decisions that affect their community and their own lives,” he said.

“We want this programme to support them to become more sustainable and resilient to future economic, social and environmental challenges, as well as developing a stronger sense of community.”

More details about the fund will be released on the BLF website when it is launched later this year.

Author: Ryan Jones

For more information and support for social enterprises, co-operatives and community groups, visit the Wales Co-operative Centre.

Written by C Kenzie

April 5, 2011 at 9:18 am

Website of the Week – Citizen’s Advice Bureau

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AdviceGuide is the website offering online help from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

It offers a huge range of advice on subjects from immigration to how to cope in the recession to health, tax and the legal system.

Available 24 hours a day, you will get the same impartial advice that you would receive over the phone or in a branch. The website can also be viewed in a range of languages.

Written by C Kenzie

November 2, 2010 at 9:36 am

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

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