Autumn Gathering in Cardiff

Adult and Community Learning and Wellbeing Across Wales (23.10.18) Cardiff

Last month there was a gathering of co-operative, educational and social enterprises in Cardiff sharing ideas for broadening adult education and learning with impacts designed to benefit the wider community.

We have set ourselves the task of  promoting equality of wellbeing through adult and community learning in a collaboration across three sectors: adult and community learning, the co-op movement, and the  third  sector. Groups including Adult Learning Wales, Cartrefi Cymru, the Co-operative Group, Co-operative College, Wales Co-operative Centre, Drivers For Change, Co-ops and Mutuals Wales and Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

It may sound straightforward, but actually further work is needed so that for example we recognise positive impacts from education, which are not formally measured or accredited. Collective benefits could be more valuable than individual achievements and curriculum development must closer reflect a mapping of local community needs. So with some investigative research underway there will be another gathering of these groups to plan a way forward early in 2019.

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Co-operative Thinking – Collective Learning

Delegates: Cooperative Thinking, September 2018

Photo: Chris Hall

Photo: Chris Hall

Photo: Chris Hall

Photo: Chris Hall

Photos: Chris Hall

Cawsom ddigwyddiad bywiog ac amserol oedd yn cefnogi dysgu cydweithredol gan ddefnyddio dulliau cyfranogol gan gynnwys OPERA a ‘World Café’ – gan ddangos sut i greu diwylliant cydweithredol llawr gwlad yng Nghymru. Atgyfnerthodd y canlyniadau  ymateb Mentrau Cydweithredol a Chyd-fuddiannol Cymru i ymgynghoriad Llywodraeth Cymru ar Addysg Oedolion yn y Gymuned a gwblhawyd dros y penwythnos. Ein diolchiadau hefyd i’n cyd-noddwyr, Addysg Oedolion Cymru, Cartrefi Cymru Cydweithredol ac i’r Co-op am fwyd, a chymorth ariannol a thechnegol.

We had a lively, productive and timely event using great participative techniques, including OPERA and World Cafe, supporting co-operative learning – demonstrating how to create a grassroots co-operative culture in Wales. The outcomes also re-inforced C&MW’s submission to a Welsh Government Adult Community Learning consultation which was completed over the weekend. Our thanks to other co-sponsors: Addysg Oedolion / Adult Learning Wales, Cartrefi Cymru Co-operative and the Co-operative for food, financial and technical support.



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An Invitation to Think Cooperatively, Learn Collectively

Saturday, September 8th 2018
9.30am for 10.00am – 4.00pm
The Tabernacle Chapel, The Hayes, Cardiff CF10 1AJ

Bringing together co-operative and community activists for shared learning Continue reading

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Co-operatives Fortnight

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Save the Date

We are planning our next all-day event for Saturday September 8th at the Tabernacle Church on the Hayes, Cardiff.

Details of this exiting event will be published in the coming weeks

Watch this space

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In wolves’ clothing? Fake Non-Profits

David Smith recommends a blog post by Ed Mayo.


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Robert Owen: socialist

‘BBC Radio 4 British Socialism: The Grand Tour – Series 1: From Robert Owen to Keir Hardie Episodes 15 minutes.Anne McElvoy traces the emergence of British socialism through the 19th century, from Robert Owen’s visionary schemes for a society based on villages sharing goods in common, to the arrival of Labour MPs in Parliament 1906’ 

The omnibus edition is on Friday evening at 21:00 –

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Report: Adult Learning in the Community for the Community

A link to the third C&MW event, held last November can be found here:

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David Smith remembers a speech by Barack Obama:

Change will not come about if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for”. (Chicago 2008)

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Archive report on the first C&MW event

dsCooperative Education draft report v1

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The Wisdom of Citizen Clem

The Wisdom of Citizen Clem – individually & collectively we can make a change #coops #cooperation #together

by socialcoopforumwales

David word cloud

Chilling out in a sunny climate after organising three events over the past twelve months developing the future of Co-operative Education in Wales with Co-ops and Mutuals Wales, I have just finished reading “Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee: Winner of the Orwell Prize” by John Bew which I started reading six months ago.

Continue reading

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Adult Learning in the Community for the Community

  1. I Pictures by Chris Hall of the recent C&MW/ALW event held at Cartrefi Cymru Coop.

Speakers shown include Tom O’Kane, Toni Schiavone and Dafydd Rhys.

A report on the day will be published.

Speaker Dafydd Rhys

Continue reading

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Robin Murray, posthumous award

The 2017 Albert Medal is awarded posthumously to Robin Murray for pioneering work in social innovation.

Robin Murray was a visionary social and economic thinker, whose life’s work was guided by a profound commitment to mutuality and cooperation.

 David Smith comments: A very well deserved posthumous award to Robin Murray. 

The best tribute we can all make will be to emulate his visionary commitment to mutuality and cooperation.

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A new event facilitated by CMW

Adult Learning in the Community for the Community

Saturday 18th November @ Cartrefi Cymru Co-operative

This is the third event facilitated by Co-ops and Mutuals Wales aimed at highlighting the crucial role of Co-operative Education in building a Co-operative Wales. Our theme – Re-visioning Adult Community Learning for a Co-operative and Democratically Engaged and thriving Wales is very timely with recent Government policy and review announcements on Adult Education. We are delighted that Addysg Oedolion Cymru/Adult Learning Wales will be co-sponsoring the day as part of their new democratic engagement curriculum and campaign to revitalise Adult Community Learning.

Places are limited: admission by invitation. £10 by cheque or cash on the day. For further details please contact David Smith: Secretary C&MW without delay! (01633) 266781

9.30 Arrival and refreshments

10.00 Introductions: Sue Lyle

The Community of Enquiry Approach and asking conceptual questions – getting to know each other

10.20   Setting the scene – Think Piece 1: Tom O’Kane from Cae Tan, Swansea, biodynamic farm. Working with young people and local communities that demonstrates co-operative practices and adult learning in action.

10.40 Small group work response to Think Piece 1: What can we learn from a community-based small-scale cooperative project to help us re-envision Adult Community Learning?

11.00 Policy context – Think Piece 2: Professor David Reynolds, Acting Head, Swansea University School of Education Adult Community Education provision, including legislative/policy context, relevant international experience and ideas.

11.20   Break

11.30    Small group work response to Think Piece 2: What are the assumptions of the Welsh Government and what are the implications for Adult Community Learning? 

12.00   How do we do it? – Think Piece 3: Toni Schiavone. Former Director of the Basic Skills Agency in Wales and Head of the Welsh Government Basic Skills Unit, currently, Vice Chair ALW.  Practical steps and policy arrangements required for adult education in a Co-operative and democratically engaged Wales – bilingual presentation.

12.30 Small group work response to Think Piece 3: How best can we seed and support grass roots Adult and Community Learning initiatives? 

1.00      Lunch and Networking

2.00 Small group work: What questions arise for adult learning practitioners if we are to re-vision Adult Community Learning? Generating questions for enquiry.

2.40 Community of Enquiry 

3.40 Next steps: What should we bring from today into our different contexts?


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From Chris Hall: North & Mid Wales Co-operative Party Education Policy Submission: A Co-operative Education Policy for Wales

Is there a need for Co-operative Education in Wales?

  • What would an ‘excellent‘ Co-operative Education system in Wales look like?
  • How can Co-operative Education in schools engage communities and embrace adult learning?
  • Can curriculum development and teacher training be given a co-operative nudge?
  • What opportunities are opened up by the Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015?

Continue reading

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Are you treated with dignity? A post on Ed Mayo’s blog

Ed Mayo talks about businesses trying to bring dignity into their care services.

Are you treated with dignity? New options in health and social care

[Cartrefi Cymru Co-operative is a not-for-profit multi-stakeholder co-operative that supports people with learning disabilities in Wales, to lead fulfilled lives, at home and in the community. For more information see this video.]

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Coop Education Report Published

The report into last April’s Cooperative Education Community of Enquiry is now available to download.

Cooperative Education: Cooperative Wales

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Researchers from the Japanese Consumer Co-operative Institute visit Wales

Koichi Sato, Yukiko Yamazaki, Jeremy Miles AM, David Smith Co-ops and Mutuals Wales, Karen Wilkie Deputy General Secretary the Cooperative Party.

Researchers from the Japanese Consumer Co-operative Institute with Jeremy Miles AM chair of the Senedd Labour – Co-op Party Group today to discuss the hospitable policy environment in Wales.

Yukiko Yamasaki and Koichi Sato, researchers from the Japanese Consumer Co-operative Institute at a briefing meeting on Welsh Social  Co-op and Citizen Directed models for delivering care services at Cartrefi Cymru Co-operative Cardiff HQ today. This in preparation for a report being prepared to support similar developments in Japan.

Glenn Bowen Enterprise Programme Director Wales Co-operative Centre, Yukiko Yamazaki, Lorna Alcock Co-operative Development Adviser Care to Co-operate, David Smith Co-ops and Mutuals Wales, and Koichi Sato.

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Japan Study Tour Update

Japan Study Tour Update

International Day of Co-operatives Celebration
Cartrefi Cymru Co-operative

5 Coopers Yard, Curran Road, Cardiff

Friday 30 June, 1.00pm

International Co-operators Day highlights we are part of a global movement that seeks to change people’s lives. Each year, the International Co-operative Alliance agrees a special focus and this year’s theme is ‘Co-operatives ensure that no one is left behind.’ We have taken this as an opportunity for knowledge transfer about member participation in co-operatives.

In collaboration with Co-ops and Mutuals Wales, the Social Co-operation Forum is hosting a visit to Wales for Mr Koichi Sato and Ms Yukiko Yamazaki from the Japanese Consumer Co-operative Institute.

Koichi Sato and I met at a Co-ops UK Congress in 2013. Co-op events are renowed for being hospitable and seeing Koichi on his own, we struck up a conversation which has continued since by sharing information of mutual interest.

From sharing information about Welsh Social Co-op developments, Koichi Sato expressed an interest in learning first hand about Disability Wales’ ‘Citizens Directed Co-operatives’. This lead to a visit being planned, and an invite being extended to fellow researcher Yukiko Yamazaki.

During their stay they meet with Care to Co-operate and Wales Co-op Centre colleagues to hear about our pioneering free social co-op support service; Jeff Brattan-Wilson, the Disability Wales Co-operative policy lead; visit our Senedd with Jeremy Miles, AM, chair of the Wales Parliamentary Labour Co-operative Group and participate in our 30 June Social Co-operation Forum meeting.

We are inviting co-operators to attend a lunch which will be followed by an informal discussion with their Japanese guests on ‘Meaningful participation in Co-operatives’. Yukiko will share research on voluntarism in Japanese healthcare co-operatives, whilst Koichi’s contribution includes: an overview of their consumer co-operative movement, co-operative education and member engagement.

The specific organisation of co-ops is very culture dependent. However, exporting into other cultures is risky. So is assuming, something that works in other cultures would work here. Words are not always as they seem, as I discovered talking with a Filipino Co-operative official over a meal  the other night. Housing Co-ops in the Philippines, are not as we would understand them in the UK.

Co-operative education is one area where we can test our differences. In  a recent exchange about an article, Koichi noted the Co-op Group’s campaign against loneliness by “giving communities money” as opposed to my emphasis on “giving communities the mental tools of self- help that can last a hundred years.” If you would like to attend, please e-mail


As for a brief overview of Japanese Co-operative movement including consumer co-ops, the attached site will be a good information source for you.
Facts & Figures:

Roughly speaking, consumer co-ops in Japan have 28 million members.
Average amount of share per member is about £200, with total sales of £20 billion.
Members’ share of sales is 75 percent at stores and 100 percent at home delivery.
Our activities for peace:
International Day of Co-operatives i2016:

Lecture on Co-ops to university students:

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Reimagine the Economy

Co-operatives UK reports on the Co-operative Economy 2017

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