Relighting the Fire? Co-operative Education in Wales – 19/11/2016

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Callum Johnston reports on a round table event organised by Co-operatives and Mutuals Wales

“To train and educate the rising generation will at all times be the first object of society, to which every other will be subordinate” (Robert Owen)

“It is essential to set aside sufficient human and financial resources for co-operative, professional and youth education”. (Mondragon Principle 10)

Education is at the heart of co-operative principles but sometimes it’s more honour’d in the breach than the observance. Co-operators in Wales are seeking practical ways of keeping education at the core of co-operative activity.

The devolved Government in Wales has expressed a desire for a more co-operative economy and society. The Co-operatives and Mutuals Commission, set up by the government talked of ’embedding the values, principles and skills related to co- operation throughout the education system’. The time is right for putting educational self help into action.

Co-operatives and Mutuals Wales have organised a series of round table events looking at how the co-operative movement can play a bigger role in education, not just the school curriculum but in higher education, adult education and informal community education.

The first round table event, on the 19th November hosted by Cartrefi Cymru and facilitated by Noreen Blanluet had many reminders of how robust the co-operative model can be in delivering economic and social goods.

The speakers

Peter Couchman from the Plunket Foundation set the scene – historically, education has been crucial for co-operatives – in Robert Owen’s New Lanark, children in white tunics did not work in the mill, but learned music and dancing as well as the three Rs. In Brighton, Dr. William King, knowing that ‘the Great and Good will never fund Social Improvement’ published ‘The Co-operator’. At the price of a penny this monthly combined co-operative philosophy with practical advice and in spite of being published for only two years had widespread influence. The paper’s masthead proclaimed: ‘Knowledge and union are power. Power directed by knowledge is happiness. Happiness is the end of creation’.

With the passing of time and economic success for co-ops, the urge to reform and educate lost its urgency and co-operatives became, according to Beatrice Webb, a ‘Movement of Shopkeepers’.

David Palmer and Glenn Bowen from the Wales Co-operative Centre showed how practical co-operative education is a prerequisite for the growing co-operative housing sector. Self reliance, skills in governance, business and long term planning and ‘learning to inspire’ presented a challenge for the emerging co-operative housing sector but a challenge which would pay long term dividends.

Joe Allen from ABCUL, the largest trade body for credit unions, outlined strengths and weaknesses in education. The on-line ABCUL Academy offers training for Board Members, managers and volunteers and a growing Credit Union community offers a reservoir of future co-operators. The education challenge for credit unions, given stretched resources, is maintaining adequate provision.

Simon Parkinson, from the Co-operative College took up the challenge of resources, developing the theme of the day – the need for education to be a core function not an add-on. It is vital that co-operators walk the talk and provide realistic funding for co- operative education – what vistas would not open up for co-operative education if it could benefit from 1% of tCG’s members own brand purchases?!

Pat Juby had her eye on the current gaps in co-operative education. After 20 years working in higher education she pointed out that there had been calls for a co- operative university since 1914 – her question ‘How much longer do we need to talk about it?’mirrored Peter Couchman’s comment that the challenges of co-operative education had not been properly addressed for the past 50 years.

The gaps Pat identified were those between school and post graduate – FE, undergraduate and adult learning. The need to address the latter in the guise of community and informal learning was strongly endorsed by Joanne Bartlett from Communities First Ebbw Vale.

The themes

The questions posed at the start of the round table were: ‘How do we create co- operators? & What is the meaning and relevance of Co-operative Education?’ Answers to questions like that don’t come in a day but several themes, routes and signposts emerged:

  • An appreciation of the benefits, economic, social and environmental, of Co-operative Values and Principles could increase grass roots demand for Co-operative education.
  • ThereishistoricandcontemporaryevidencetosupporttheneedforaStrategicFocus on Co-operative Education if the benefits of co-operation are to be achieved and maintained in Wales.
  • Now is a good time to build on the momentum for co-operation started by the Co- operatives and Mutuals Commission – Welsh Government support is crucial.
  • There is an aspiration for a Co-operative University in Wales
  • There is a need for more ‘co-operation’ both as a subject and as a style within the school curriculum.
  • Education should be ‘cradle to grave’ and comprehensive: formal, informal, adult and community.
  • Methods should be appropriate to Wales – widely varying population densities necessitate e-learning and clustering of services.

 

The future
To oversee the strategic focus a ‘Co-operative Education Development Board’ could promote and integrate co-operative education within existing delivery structures.

  • It’s focus would be promoting co-operative education – leadership, methodology and content.
  • It would move the recommendations of the Welsh Co-ops and Mutuals Commission forward and address gaps, such adult and community learning, in those recommendations.
  • It would have a strategic role, seeking for example, to promote awareness of co- operatives within MBA and Business Studies in Wales and to embed collaborative and democratic learning methods into education at every level.

Co-operatives and mutuals live in the same pool of dwindling resources as other organisations and businesses. The challenge fosters both competition and co-operation. There was never a better time for collaboration in the field of education, the kindling and the knowledge and the match are there, it just needs co-operators to keep bringing in the wood!

A video of the round table event was recorded – an edited version of the proceedings will be available in the New Year. The next Co-operative Education in Wales event has a preliminary date of 8th April 2017. For more information or to contribute to the co- operative education debate, visit www.cooperatives-wales.coop or email david@cooperatives-wales.coop

The hosts

The round table event was generously hosted by Cartrefi Cymru, a not for profit charity which is currently making the exciting and challenging journey from conventional management to grass roots multi stakeholder co-operative status. Democratic responsibilities will be shared by service users, staff colleagues and supporters.

Founded in 1989 by a group of parents and activists, Cartrefi Cymru is a cutting edge support provider in rural Wales and the Valleys. It supports people with learning difficulties, autism, physical disabilities and challenging behaviour to enjoy their rights and freedom within the community and their own home.

For more details visit the website cartrefi.org and follow the links to ‘Working in Partnership’.

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Transition to a Co-operative economy

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Full details at Synergia Course

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Only a few places left for our Education Roundtable Event

There’s still time to secure a place at our Co-operative Education roundtable discussion on Saturday 19th November 2016 (10:30 – 3:30) at Cartrefi Cymru, Cardiff
The programme comprises a mix of keynote interventions from 4 speakers, and facilitated group discussions.

Peter Couchman, Chief Executive, Plunkett Foundation: The Relevance of Co-operative Education
David Palmer, Wales Co-operative Centre: Education and training gaps in Housing
Joe Allen, ABCUL Policy Officer for Wales: Education and training gaps from a Credit Union’s perspective
Simon Parkinson, CEO and Principal, the Co-operative College: Opportunities for Co-operative Education

This event is being generously hosted by Cartrefi Cymru.  We are charging £10 per head, payable on booking, to cover the costs of food, refreshments and producing the event report. Please confirm your attendance here: bit.ly/coopeduevent

If you are unable to attend we would be grateful if you could share your views and perspectives on Co- operative Education by 15th November 2016, so that they can be fed into the conversation on the day. Link to the online survey: bit.ly/coopeduviews

The November 2016 event aims to establish context and refine focus. It will be followed by another in March 2017 with the objective of turning discussion outcomes into concrete actions and advancing the delivery and implementation of Co-operative Education in Wales.

Venue information: Cartrefi Cymru Head Office, Unit 5 & 6 Coopers Yard, Curran Road, Cardiff, CF10 5NB. Access and parking information will be sent to attendees closer to the date.

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New book by Ed Mayo

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“What matters to us? One way of answering that question is through the lens of values, which have a powerful influence on our attitudes and behaviours. Drawing on a range of case studies worldwide…..this short guide reveals how to make a success of values”.

This new book by the Secretary General of Co-operatives UK is available for purchase in bookshops, and easy to order direct from the publisher on https://www.greenleaf-publishing.com/values

You can also find it on Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Values-Bring-Life-Business-Doshorts/dp/1783535342/

See the review on Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/john-tizard/values-matter-but-to-be-r_b_12515214.html

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How do we create co-operators? What is the meaning and relevance of Co-operative Education?

Co-operatives and Mutuals Wales cordially invite you to take part in a Co-operative Education roundtable discussion on Saturday 19th November 2016 (10:30 – 3:30) at Cartrefi Cymru, Cardiff
The programme comprises a mix of keynote interventions from 4 speakers, and facilitated group discussions.

Peter Couchman, Chief Executive, Plunkett Foundation: The Relevance of Co-operative Education
David Palmer, Wales Co-operative Centre: Education and training gaps in Housing
Joe Allen, ABCUL Policy Officer for Wales: Education and training gaps from a Credit Union’s perspective
Simon Parkinson, CEO and Principal, the Co-operative College: Opportunities for Co-operative Education

This event is being generously hosted by Cartrefi Cymru. We have limited capacity for this date, and are keen to ensure a diverse mix of sectors, roles around the table and maximum participation. We are charging £10 per head, payable on booking, to cover the costs of food, refreshments and producing the event report. Please confirm your attendance here: bit.ly/coopeduevent

If you are unable to attend we would be grateful if you could share your views and perspectives on Co- operative Education by 15th November 2016, so that they can be fed into the conversation on the day. Link to the online survey: bit.ly/coopeduviews

The November 2016 event aims to establish context and refine focus. It will be followed by another in March 2017 with the objective of turning discussion outcomes into concrete actions and advancing the delivery and implementation of Co-operative Education in Wales.

Venue information: Cartrefi Cymru Head Office, Unit 5 & 6 Coopers Yard, Curran Road, Cardiff, CF10 5NB. Access and parking information will be sent to attendees closer to the date.

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Plunkett Foundation Events

The Plunkett Foundation are running three open day events taking place across rural Wales hosted by established community co-operatives. The events showcase the benefits community run enterprises can bring to rural communities.

These events are for anyone worried about the future of their village shop, pub, or any other local amenity – to come and see first-hand how community ownership can be used not just to save it, but transform it into a vibrant hub for the local area.

Community organisations and members of the public will have the chance to hear directly from those involved in existing community projects about how they did it, as well as their plans for the future.

Find out more about each individual event and its hosts by clicking below:-

Booking isn’t necessary but if you need more information please contact Sarah Horth on 01993 814381 or email sarah.horth@plunkett.co.uk

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Co-op Census

Co-operatives UK (New)

Co-operatives UK are in the process of creating a National Co-operative Development Strategy. The intention, is to work with co-ops to create a simple strategy that can help us, as a sector, decide where we focus our energies over the coming years in order to support and grow the UK’s co-operatives. They have an expert panel, chaired by Pauline Green overseeing the strategy; we have a range of discussion paper feeding in ideas; the 180 people at Congress produced a whole series of suggestions.

The next stage is the launch of the first ever census of the UK’s co-operatives – not just Co-ops UK members, but as many of the 7,000 co-ops that make up our sector. It aims to give us new insight into how they are working, what the challenges are, where they want to be and how we need to get there. It’s a big piece of work and we are working closely with our federal members on it so we can maximise the number of housing co-ops, credit unions, allotments etc, responding.

Take the census: http://bit.ly/coopcensus

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Co-operative Group results published today

The Co-operative Group Annual Results 2015 are published today.

To view the RNS/Press Release click on the following link: http://www.co-operative.coop/corporate/press/press-releases/headline-news/results-2015/

To view the Annual Report & Accounts click on the following link: http://www.co-operative.coop/annual-results-2015

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Co-ops struggle for recognition in Australia

  • The Australian
  • April 1, 2016 12:00AM

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/legal-affairs/coops-struggle-for-recognition/news-story/ea01a5d5d3f4880a5c1b20891bbbe03f

Co-operative and mutual enterprises still remain influential in some sectors of the Australian economy, and yet the federal corporations law, and legal and accounting professions, often fail to recognise their existence.

The Corporations Act refers only to these businesses in the context of demutualisation, while professional bodies do not include the laws governing these businesses in their accreditation ­standards.

But a recent Senate economics committee report has put forward a sweeping law reform agenda so that these entities can operate alongside other corporations when it comes to the law and attracting investment.

The report tabled last month with the support of both major parties, and the minor parties, says the government should amend the Corporations Act so that mutual enterprises are explicitly recognised.

It recommended that the government amend the Corporations Act to allow these enterprises to access a broader range of capital raising opportunities.

Regarding the professions, the committee recommended that professional accreditation bodies, such as the Law Society and Institute of Chartered Accountants, require “a demonstrated knowledge of the co-operatives and mutual structure before it will ­license its members to practise accounting or law”.

While some CMEs like Murray Goulburn have tapped equity markets, such initiatives have proved to be onerous.

While many of Australia’s health, insurance, and banking co-operatives have demutualised in recent decades, these enterprises remain particularly strong in sectors such as grain marketing. The attempted takeover of West Australian grain handler CBH Group attests to this fact.

British consultant Peter Hunt, who advises co-operative groups globally on law reform, says Australia’s problems stem from having imported laws from Britain.

“We started the problem in the UK. We exported our legislation all over the world,” he said.

The biggest problem facing the sector globally was capital raising. This presented a “conundrum” for these enterprises because they need capital to grow, but they don’t want to risk takeover.

“These mutual businesses don’t have the capacity to issue instruments like shares that can be bought in the same way as companies do. The reason for that is you don’t want them to be demutualised,” he said.

But the idea of a “hybridity of ownership is catching on”.

In Australia, he said that as CMEs were state-registered, this created an “anomalous situation” where they had to become federally incorporated companies to raise capital.

Murray Goulburn did this via a “tortuous process”. It is a company with listed shares that also has a co-operative constitution.

In his advice to the newly formed peak body, the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals, Mr Hunt says Australia should amend the Corporations Act so that it defines the type of securities they can issue while restricting the ability of the new shareholders to subvert the purpose of the business.

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Robert Owen Museum is recruiting volunteers

Robert OwenThe Robert Owen Museum is a small, independent museum in Newtown, celebrating the life, ideas and legacy of Robert Owen. His ideas led to the formation of the Co-operative movement and he was an instigator of free education for workers’ children. He is an internationally known and respected thinker and reformer, so the museum, in his birthplace, is visited by people from across the world.

This is an exciting time for the Museum, as we are looking to deepen our co-operation with the Co-operative Heritage Trust, which could lead to major developments in both the role of the Museum and the building it is based in.

The Museum is supervised by a small Officers Group, and we would be interested to hear from you if you were interested in joining.

Ideally we would be looking for two people to join the existing group of five volunteers. Roles can be flexible and we meet every six weeks or so – all you need is an interest in Robert Owen and/or the Co-operative movement and the ability to get to Newtown !

If this sounds interesting, or if you want to find out more, please contact the Chairman of the Museum,
Sue Newham 01686 626228 or snewham@btinternet.com

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Events for your diary

The next meeting of the Cross Party Group on Co-operatives and Mutuals will be at the National Assembly:-
Tuesday 17th November 2015 @ 12.15
Media Briefing Room
Senedd Building (Waterfront entrance)
Cardiff CF99 1NA

Launch of Wales Co-operative Centre and Co-operatives UK research: A Collaborative Economy for the Common Good

Hear from the report’s author, Pat Conaty, Research Associate, Co-operatives UK

Drinks and light refreshments will be provided, sponsored by Wales Co-operative Centre

All those attending must pre-register by emailing:-
ceri.anne-fidler@walescooperative.org 

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The life of William Hazell and his contribution to the Welsh Co‑operative movement and Mutualism
at
Pontypridd Muni, Gelliwastad Rd, Pontypridd CF37 2DP
Monday 16th November 2015 7.30 – 9.30pm

with
Alun Burge: Author of
William Hazell’s Gleaming Vision “A co operative life in South Wales”
and
a discussion panel on the theme of
“Co-operativism in Wales: Lessons for our Future”

Chaired by
Professor Andrew Davies, Chair of Welsh Government’s Co-operatives and Mutuals Commission

Light Refreshments

Sponsored by Co-operatives and Mutuals Wales

RSVP: Jayne.howard@assembly.wales
10 Market Street
Pontypridd
CF37 2ST
01443 406400

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New Secretariat at Welsh Assembly Cross Party Group

The Welsh Assembly Cross-Party Group on Co-operatives and Mutuals Secretariat for the Group has now changed. Ceri-Anne Fidler at the Wales Co-operative Centre is taking over from autumn 2015.

She can be reached on ceri.anne-fidler@walescooperative.org or Tel: 0300 111 5050

The Group is sponsored by Co-operatives UK and supported by the Wales Co-operative  Centre on their behalf.

The next meeting of the Cross Party Group on Co-operatives and Mutuals will be at the National Assembly:-

Tuesday 17th November 2015 @ 12.15
Media Briefing Room
Senedd Building (Waterfront entrance)
Cardiff CF99 1NA

Launch of Wales Co-operative Centre and Co-operatives UK research: A Collaborative Economy for the Common Good

In the context of uneven growth and imbalanced recovery from the downturn across the UK, the report explores a new economic strategy for Wales. It draws on best practice and lessons from international case studies and what is currently emerging in Wales to develop the Collaborative Economy Model – an economic and regeneration strategy developed specifically for Wales.

Hear from the report’s author, Pat Conaty, Research Associate, Co-operatives UK

Drinks and light refreshments will be provided, sponsored by Wales Co-operative Centre

All those attending must pre-register by emailing ceri.anne-fidler@walescooperative.org 

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I hope you will be able to join us
Mick Antoniw AM Chair, Welsh Assembly Cross Party Group on Co-operatives & Mutuals

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Free .coop domain names

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The International Co­-operative Alliance has developed a global co-­operative identity that ALL co­-operatives can align with and which differentiates us from other forms of business.

The .coop domain and Co-­operative Marque are symbols of the global co­-operative movement and our collective identity.  Together they help differentiate between a co-operative and investor or privately-owned business.  The domain .coop is reserved just for co-operatives and organisations that support co-operatives, and is FREE for the first year for new applicants.  The Co-operative Marque is the ethical badge that’s for co-ops for use alongside your own brand and it’s FREE to use.

Complete your co-operative identity today and join thousands of co-operatives in more than 100 countries who are proud of their co-operative identity by using a .coop domain and the Co-operative Marque.

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Next Cross Party Group Meeting

An invitation to the next meeting of the
Welsh Assembly Cross Party Group on Co-operatives and Mutuals

Thursday March 19th 2015, 12.15pm
Media Briefing Room
Senedd Building (Waterfront entrance)
Cardiff CF99 1NA

PLEASE NOTE THE REVISED AGENDA

Welcome and opening remarks

Mick Antoniw AM
Chair of the Cross Party Group on Co-operatives & Mutuals
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How green energy co-operatives are developing across Wales

Jeremy Thorp
Sharenergy Co-operative

Neil Lewis
Robert Owen Community Banking’s Community Energy Fund

Followed by an open discussion & questions

Drinks and light refreshments will be provided, sponsored by Co‑operatives and Mutuals Wales

All those attending must pre-register by emailing jayne.howard2@wales.gov.uk

I hope you will be able to join us
Mick Antoniw AM
Chair, Welsh Assembly Cross Party Group on Co-operatives & Mutuals

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Cross Party Group

The Welsh Assembly’s Cross Party Group on Co-ops and Mutuals met on February 28th to discuss Community Supported Agriculture and Allotments.

They were addressed by Cardiff Councillor Gareth Holden, Nikki Giles from FlintShare CSA and Gerald Miles from Pembrokeshire CSA

Read the full report here

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Co-operative Press seek new Board Member

Co-op News

 

 

 

Board member recruitment

The Co-operative Press, which publishes Co-operative News, is seeking to recruit a board member. 

Co-operative News is the fortnightly magazine and website that publishes news, analysis and opinion from the UK and global sector. Its mission is to connect, champion and challenge co-operatives.

Four full-time staff are employed by the co-operative (editor, deputy editor, marketing executive and multi-lingual journalist) along with a part time journalist and some freelance journalists on an ad hoc basis.

There is a vacancy on the board for a co-option. As an innovative co-operative, the board is looking for a person who can help with the strategic direction, particularly with its focus on digital development.

Ideally, the board is looking for a candidate from Wales, since directors already represent England, Northern Ireland and Scotland. The applicant must share the passionate belief in the continuation of an independent Co-operative Press.

The Co-operative Press also strives for equality throughout the co-operative. Its board consists of three women (inc. chair and vice-chair) and five men with an independent secretary. The board meets around 4 times a year in Manchester at Holyoake House, with one extra meeting being before the annual meeting, normally held at Co-operative Congress, wherever that may be. 

A commitment to co-operative values and principles is obviously essential too. Applications are open to all, whether you are an individual co-operator or affiliated to a small or large co-operative. Though, at this time, we cannot accept any elected members or staff from the Co-operative Group, since this organisation is already well represented.

A fee of £500 per annum (before tax) is paid to directors. Travelling expenses are paid and a buffet lunch is provided.

To apply, please email secretary Ray Henderson at ray@coopuk.com

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Co-operative Housing in Loftus Garden Village

Charter Housing, which is part of the Seren Group, is working with the Welsh Government and local people to develop an innovative housing co-operative as part of the eagerly anticipated Loftus Garden Village in Newport – www.loftusgardenvillage.co.uk.

Development of the co-operative is underway and by November 2015 the housing co-operative will be taking responsibility for 19 beautiful arts and craft style homes located in a single street on the garden village.

The Welsh Government has provided £650,000 towards the cost of building the homes and Charter Housing is assisting with the setting up of the co-operative.

The vision is to build a mix of 1, 2, 3 & 4 bedroom flats and houses which will be available for share ownership. The co-operative own a small percentage of the homes. People buy a share in their own home and pay a rent on the remainder not owned by them or the Co-operative. This modern approach to co-operative living gives people the option of having as much community and privacy as they want plus the great advantage of lower monthly housing costs when compared to other share-ownership models.

Charter Housing will support the setting up of the co-operative and assist members explore all sorts of innovative ways to create a safe and caring neighbourhood and to save more money on the cost of running their homes.

Anyone interested in knowing more or wanting to register an interest in joining the housing co-operative can make contact with Jill Stringfellow via email jill.stringfellow@charterhousing.co.uk or phone 01633 678 514.

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Social Co-ops Report from Co-ops UK launched

At a well attended meeting of the Welsh Assembly Cross Party Group on Co-operatives and Mutuals  yesterday (July 1st), the Co-operatives UK Research Report was launched by Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-ops UK, and the report’s author, Pat Conaty. The full report and summaries are available below:-

CUK – Social Co-operatives Report final
CUK – Social Co-operatives Report Summary English
CUK – Social Co-operatives Report Summary Welsh

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Co-op Housing in the Vale of Glamorgan

Wales Co-operative Centre are assisting a co-op housing group in the Vale of Glamorgan.

They are looking for creative co-operators who would be interested in purchasing 2 bed houses at c. £215,000 in Wenvoe, as part of a co-operative with Newydd Housing.

There will also be some market rent 2 bed houses at £500 pcm and some 2 bed flats at £420 pcm which are unallocated at present. Continue reading

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Next meeting of the Assembly Cross Party Group

An invitation to the next meeting of the
Welsh Assembly Cross Party Group on Co-operatives and Mutuals

Tuesday July 1st 2014, 6.00pm
Media Briefing Room
Senedd Building (Waterfront entrance)
Cardiff CF99 1NA

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Launch of Co-operatives UK research report:-
Social Co-operatives: a Democratic Co-production Agenda for Care Services in the UK

Welcome and opening remarks
Mick Antoniw AM
Chair of the Cross Party Group on Co-operatives & Mutuals

Launch and overview of report
Ed Mayo
Secretary General, Co-operatives UK

Wales – an opportunity to take the lead
Pat Conaty
Research Associate, Co-operatives UK

Followed by an open discussion & questions

~~~~~

Drinks and light refreshments will be provided, sponsored by Co‑operatives and Mutuals Wales

All those attending must pre-register by emailing jayne.howard2@wales.gov.uk

~~~~~ Continue reading

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