Wales Co-operative Centre

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

Posts Tagged ‘welsh government

Learning lessons from the Tackling Homelessness through Financial Inclusion (THFI) Project

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THFI Project Manager, Jocelle Lovell, takes some time to reflect on the launch of the project’s legacy report, which took place this week, on Wednesday 3rd December

I was going to write a blog on the day in the hope of capturing all of the passion, enthusiasm and interest in our work, but then I decided to take time to reflect on the event:

The project has been a 3 year roller coaster ride with plenty of highs and lows, and having to constantly evolve to reflect changes outside of our control. The biggest challenge being, the lack of detail early on regarding the roll out of Universal Credit.

The event was very kindly hosted by the Huggard Centre, which for me sent a very poignant message. Our work is very much focused on the prevention of homelessness, whilst the work of the Huggard Centre is trying to break the cycle of homelessness. Prevention projects, like ours, are vital if we are to reduce the number of people who end up living on the streets, sofa surfing or living in temporary hostel accommodation.

We were very grateful to have Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, speak at the event, where it was recognised our work brought together all the elements of her portfolio.

The event was not only an opportunity to thank the project’s funders, Welsh Government and the Oak Foundation, but also to showcase our work to our new funders, Comic Relief, who found the event very informative and gave them insight into our thinking and methodology.

Attendees came from local authorities, credit unions, funders and third sector organisations. Whilst most were familiar with our work, and had been active partners, the event highlighted new opportunities, with many attendees requesting follow up meetings to see how we can work together in the future.

There is still so little we know about the Private Rented Sector, and so much more work to be done, but now is as good a time as any to get started…….

You can find the full report here.

We tweeted live from the launch using #THFI. Below is what some attendees had to say:

Full house @WalesCoOpCentre #THFI report launch ‘Need to engage with #PRS 2 improve #housingWales & #Financial Inclusion
#thfi manager Jo Lovell – ‘thfi’s ability to adapt and evolve to environment, has been key to success’ #THFI

@WG_CommunityMin: Spoke at @WalesCoOpCentre #thfi launch about the role of financial security in preventing homelessness & helping people live fulfilled lives

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Written by Ieuan Nash

December 4, 2014 at 4:56 pm

The Wales Co-operative Centre discusses financial inclusion and its impact on tenants in the private rented sector

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Jocelle Lovell, our Financial Inclusion Project Manager, discusses the projects work with the Private Rented Sector (PRS).

Last week, Shelter Cymru held a PRS conference, at the Liberty Stadium Swansea, and our Tackling Homelessness through Financial Inclusion Project, was delighted to be invited along to deliver a workshop.

Having attended many events that generally focus on what’s wrong with the PRS, it was very welcoming to see the sector being discussed in a positive light. Attendees included private landlords, lettings agents, the Residential Landlords Association, along with local authority housing & Supporting People teams, the Oak Foundation, the Wallich and a host of other support agencies and projects.

The event was a great platform for the Centre to share the learnings and best practice gathered over the past two years working with tenants in the PRS.

Findings from our pilot with Caerphilly County Borough Council found that out of 67 tenants visited;

  • 67.9% stated they were aware that benefits are changing
  • Over 50% had taken Department of Work Pensions or Job Centre Plus loan or used a door step lender in the past 12 months
  • 62.5% had faced difficulty paying rent in the past 12 months
  • 60% had faced difficulty paying gas/electric in the past 12 months
  • 52.5% had faced difficulty paying for Food in the past 12 months
  • 48.3% wanted budgeting advice
  • 58.6% wanted debt advice
  • Over 50% needed referrals to additional services including food banks.

Many of the tenants visited, either didn’t know what support they could access or didn’t like to ask for help. This was exacerbated if they had a bad experience in the past.

Having listened to the other speakers throughout the day, some of the key points which reflect our thinking stayed with me:

  • Communication needs to improve between, local authorities, support services, landlords and tenants.
  • Landlords and tenants are less aware of the support available and how it can be accessed
  • There are some great examples of innovative working practices across Wales, but this is not consistent across all local authorities
  • The need for landlord and tenant training
  • More needs to be done when tenants are first housed into the PRS, early intervention can prevent crisis
  • The PRS should be recognised as a strategic housing partner
  • Some tenants want the flexibility of a short term tenancy, due to their transient nature and uncertainty of job security.

Simon White from Welsh Government, delivered an informative session on the Renting Homes Bill consultation and it’s implications for local authorities, landlords and tenants. Overall people welcomed the notion to simplify and restrict the number of tenancy agreements currently being used across the housing sector, but some were concerned that the changes may take away tenants flexibility to a short term tenancy. Due to the Centre’s work in the private rented sector and its Co-operative Housing Project, we have submitted a formal response to both the Renting Homes Bill and The Housing White Paper.

Written by Ieuan Nash

October 7, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Welsh Government’s vision for credit unions set out by Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty

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The Wales Co-operative Centre runs a number of projects that promote financial inclusion and that provide advice on money management. These projects are a key part of the Centre’s role in developing and implementing solutions to strengthen communities and promote inclusion in Wales. Rhian Hughes, who works on one of these financial inclusion projects, blogs about the recent Welsh Government Credit Union Conference…

Yesterday’s (Thursday 17 July) Welsh Government Credit Union Conference showed the innovative and flexible approach that credit unions have in Wales. Jeff Cuthbert AM, the Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, set out the Welsh Government’s vision for credit unions in Wales and that modernising credit unions, so they attract more working middle income earners and work more closely to offer financial products nationally, will help make them fitter for the future.

From offering low cost loans and savings to those who are financially excluded, to offering loans at rates that compete with the high street lenders, credit unions are for everyone and we should all be promoting this around Wales. An example of this is North Wales Credit Union offering a lower rate on loans of £7,500-£15,000 at a very competitive APR compared to the high street.

The Wales Co-operative Centre has a strong history of supporting the credit union movement in Wales, and was pleased to be part of this day. Jo Lovell, Tackling Homelessness through Financial Inclusion (THFI) Project Manager and Rhian Hughes, North Wales Financial Inclusion Champion, delivered a workshop looking at how credit unions can work with the housing sector.

It was also great to hear about the success of the advertising campaign for Credit Unions Wales, which had been funded by Welsh Government. The all Wales branding shows the partnership working between credit unions in Wales.

So, if you’re not yet a member of your local credit union, what are you waiting for!  Visit – http://www.findyourcreditunion.co.uk/home to find your nearest one.

Written by Ieuan Nash

July 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Struggling to Make Ends Meet.

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The Wales Co-operative Centre runs a number of projects that promote financial inclusion and that provide advice on money management. These projects are a key part of the Centre’s role in developing and implementing solutions to strengthen communities and promote inclusion in Wales. Jocelle Lovell, who manages one of these financial inclusion projects, blogs about two recent reports on personal money matters…

In the past month we have seen the publication of the ‘Changing Household Budgets’ report by the Money Advice Trust (MAT) and the National Survey for Wales 2012-13.

Whether we look at this from a UK perspective or a local Welsh one, the evidence clearly shows that both in work and workless households people are struggling to keep up with their financial commitments on a regular basis. More typically those affected are aged between 25 – 44 and 45 -64, and live in the social or private rented sectors. As the nature of the debt has shifted, we are seeing more people falling behind with payments such as rent, gas, electric, phone and catalogue bills.

Evidence from the Wales Co-operative Centre’s own work ‘Tackling Homelessness Through Financial Inclusion’, which is funded by the Oak Foundation and Welsh Government, supports the findings of MAT, in as much as tenants in the private rented sector have struggled in the past 12 months to pay one or several of the following bills; rent, utilities and food. Three quarters of the tenants we visited were on pre-payment meters for gas and, or, electric and had borrowed money from various sources including catalogues and door step lenders. The majority of people visited were on low incomes (£1,000 or less per month), and we witnessed households in budget deficits. Where possible we looked to maximise income through programmes such as Welsh Water Assist, Housing Payments,  and the Discretionary Assistance Fund.

There is a clear need for people to seek advice at an early stage, to stop their problems spiralling out of control to the point that they could potentially become homeless. To achieve this both public and third sector partners need to work collaboratively with organisations such as Money Advice Service (MAS), Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) Step Change Debt Charity to ensure services are widely promoted through the various forms of media. Services also need to be accessible and timely in providing advice and support to those in need. With ongoing budget cuts this can be a big challenge but, we know early intervention offers better value for money than costly crisis intervention.

For people experiencing problems with money, or are just looking for some simple advice and guidance, they can go to our moneymadeclearwales.org website. It has been developed as a simple tool to help people navigate their way through the maze of financial information available on the internet. It will direct you to relevant advice and support agencies and to helpful tools such as a cut back calculator and a budgeting tool. The site also has pages on work and money. We know that all too often it can be a difficult transition moving from benefits into work, having to manage for longer periods of no money, needing to pay for travel and so on. The Money Made Clear Wales website offers practical tools and advice to help people.

Rural Development Plan – Social enterprise in rural communities

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The Wales Co-operative Centre welcomes the Welsh Governments proposals for the Rural Development Plan (RDP) 2014 to 2020. We particularly welcome the focus on the role locally-led social enterprises can play in securing local basic services. Locally-led social enterprises delivering local basic services bring added-value benefits. They help to increase community spirit and build community identity as they bring people together to work towards shared aims. They also produce local solutions to local problems and needs by providing services designed and delivered locally. Furthermore, they have a measurable economic benefit. They provide jobs, training and stimulate the local economy. For example, Deudraeth Cyf works with unemployed people, disabled people and housing associations amongst others. They offer a variety of IT courses in Penrhyndeudraeth and in other locations in Gwynedd. Community-based social enterprises have also been established to take ownership of under-threat key services, such as Llanmadoc Siop y Bobl in Gower. You can read more about community-led co-operatives in our report ‘Community Co-operatives in Wales – Ordinary people doing extraordinary things’.

While the RDP proposals recognise the role of local social enterprises delivering and securing local services, it falls short of recognising their full potential for jobs and growth. The Wales Co-operative Centre would welcome greater emphasis on the ability of social enterprises to make a significant impact to the Welsh rural economy through jobs and growth. Social enterprise is a way of doing business that delivers sustainable economic growth while fostering positive social change and innovation. Social enterprises are anchored in their communities and any investment in social enterprises stays in the community and is recycled for wider economic and social benefits. While they often operate in hard to reach, economically challenged communities they employ more people relative to turnover than other businesses.

 

Written by Ieuan Nash

May 28, 2014 at 8:59 am

New Capital Gains Tax rules encourage owners to sell to their staff / Rheolau newydd ar gyfer Treth ar Enillion Cyfalaf yn annog perchnogion busnes i werthu i’w staff

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New Capital Gains Tax rules encourage owners to sell to their staff / Rheolau newydd ar gyfer Treth ar Enillion Cyfalaf yn annog perchnogion busnes i werthu i’w staff

Business owners across the UK could be benefiting from selling their businesses to their employees when new Capital Gains Tax Reliefs come into force this April. Business owners who sell a controlling stake in their company to an Employee Share Trust, which is owned and run by all the businesses employees will be able to benefit from drastically reduced tax on the profit from the sale.

In Wales, the Wales Co-operative Centre is hosting a number of breakfast seminars looking at the benefits of employee ownership and how the new tax incentives can benefit business owners who would like to move on from the business.

The events in Cardiff, Carmarthen and Bodnant in North Wales will also consider the employee owned trust model, how employee ownership works and the benefits for the business owner and the employees.

The seminars will be of interest to business owners interested in looking at their exit strategies and to business advisors who want to know more about the approach..

Rhian Edwards is Manager of the Welsh Government and ERDF funded Succession project at the Wales Co-operative Centre. She commented,

“This new tax relief makes it extremely attractive for business owners to consider employee ownership as a planned exit strategy. It offers the best of both worlds, a tax efficient exit strategy and an approach that engages employees and puts them in charge of their own futures”.

Further information can be found on the Wales Co-operative Centres Website http://www.walescooperative.org/capital-gains-tax-events.

Places can be booked directly by calling the Centre on 0300 111 5050

 

Gallai perchnogion busnes ledled y DU elwa ar werthu eu busnesau i’w gweithwyr pan ddaw Ryddhad Treth ar Enillion Cyfalaf newydd i rym fis Ebrill eleni. Bydd perchnogion busnes sy’n gwerthu cyfran reoli yn eu cwmni i Ymddiriedolaeth Perchnogaeth Gweithwyr, sy’n eiddo i holl weithwyr y busnes ac yn cael ei reoli ganddynt, yn gallu elwa ar ostyngiad treth enfawr ar yr elw o’r gwerthiant.

Yng Nghymru, mae Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru’n cynnal nifer o seminarau brecwast i edrych ar fanteision perchnogaeth gweithwyr a sut y gall y cymhelliant treth newydd fod yn fuddiol i berchnogion busnes a hoffai symud ymlaen o’r busnes.

Bydd y digwyddiadau yng Nghaerdydd, Caerfyrddin a Bodnant yng Ngogledd Cymru hefyd yn ystyried yr ymddiriedolaethau newydd, sut y mae perchnogaeth gweithwyr yn gweithio a’r manteision ar gyfer perchennog y busnes a’r gweithwyr.

Bydd y seminarau o ddiddordeb i berchnogion busnes sydd â diddordeb mewn ystyried eu strategaethau ymadael ac i ymgynghorwyr busnes sy’n dymuno gwybod rhagor am yr ymagwedd er mwyn cynghori’u cleientiaid.

Rhian Edwards yw Rheolwr y prosiect Olyniaeth dan nawdd Llywodraeth Cymru a Chronfa Datblygu Rhanbarthol Ewrop yng Nghanolfan Cydweithredol Cymru. Dywedodd,

“Mae’r rhyddhad treth newydd hwn yn hynod o ddeniadol i berchnogion busnes ystyried perchnogaeth gweithwyr yn strategaeth ymadael fwriadol. Mae’n cynnig y gorau o ddau fyd, sef strategaeth ymadael sy’n effeithlon o ran treth ac ymagwedd sy’n ymglymu gweithwyr a’u gwneud yn gyfrifol am eu dyfodol eu hunain.”

Mae rhagor o wybodaeth ar gael ar wefan Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru http://www.walescooperative.org/capital-gains-tax-events.

Gellir cadw lle’n uniongyrchol hefyd trwy ffonio’r Ganolfan ar 0300 111 5050

 

 

 

Wales Co-operative Centre

The Wales Co-operative Centre was set up thirty years ago and ever since has been helping businesses grow, people to find work and communities to tackle the issues that matter to them. Its advisors work co-operatively across Wales, providing expert, flexible and reliable support to develop sustainable businesses and strong, inclusive communities. www.walescooperative.org

Succession and Consortia Project

The Wales Co-operative Centre’s Succession and Consortia project is funded by Welsh Government and European Regional Development Fund. It offers support to business owners and employees considering employee ownership and creation of worker co-operatives. It also offers support to businesses working to work together to form co-operative consortia.

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

Sefydlwyd Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru ddeng mlynedd ar hugain yn ôl ac ers hynny bu’n helpu busnesau i dyfu, pobl i gael gwaith a chymunedau i ddatrys y problemau sydd o bwys iddynt. Mae ymgynghorwyr y Ganolfan yn gweithio’n gydweithredol ledled Cymru, gan ddarparu cefnogaeth arbenigol, hyblyg a dibynadwy er mwyn datblygu busnesau cynaliadwy a chymunedau cadarn a chynhwysol. www.walescooperative.org

Prosiect Olyniaeth a Chonsortia

Ariannir prosiect Olyniaeth a Chonsortia Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru gan Lywodraeth Cymru a Chronfa Datblygu Rhanbarthol Ewrop. Mae’n cynnig cefnogaeth i berchnogion busnes a gweithwyr sy’n ystyried perchnogaeth gweithwyr a chreu mentrau cydweithredol y gweithwyr. Mae hefyd yn cynnig cefnogaeth i fusnesau sy’n gweithio ar gydweithio i ffurfio consortia cydweithredol.

 

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