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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Co-ops UK Training

Co-operatives UK are running the following training courses:-

Bristol: Venue: Hamilton House, Bristol, is your nearest venue

The seminars will be run by worker co-operative members of Co-operatives UK; Dynamix, Rhizome, Seeds for Change and Co-operantics, all of whom have many years of experience of working with and training co-operative businesses.

Funding and initial support was provided by worker co-operatives Delta-T, Essential Trading, Suma Wholefoods and Unicorn.

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Co-operative Congress 2014

Congress 2014
A conversation and call to action
You can’t help but notice there has been dramatic change within the co-operative movement over the past year.And with big opportunities and challenges ahead, we must now come together to have real, open and honest conversations about the future.‘Co-operation: How?’ this year’s Co-operative Congress, sponsored by Unity Trust Bank, is a must attend event for anyone engaged with movement. Continue reading
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Welsh Co-operatives & Mutuals Commission

Are you interested in the future of co-operatives and mutuals in Wales, and the role they play in the Welsh economy and our communities?

Maybe you work for a co-operative or mutual, or provide support to such businesses in Wales. You might work for a public or voluntary sector organisation that has links to co-operatives.

Or perhaps you represent a funding organisation or could be someone who’s thinking of setting up a co-operative.

Within the next week, a series of consultation events will get underway that provide an opportunity for you to respond to the Welsh Co-operatives and Mutuals Commission’s report – a document that states that ‘co-operatives and mutuals offer significant economic, social and environmental benefits compared with ordinary businesses’ and that ‘their development must be central to transforming Wales’ economic fortunes’. Continue reading

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The Welsh Co-operatives and Mutuals Commission – have your say

The Welsh Co-operatives and Mutuals Commission has published its report, which makes recommendations on growing and developing the co-operative and mutual economy in Wales, in order to create jobs and wealth.

The ‘Co-operatives and Mutuals Commission Wales Report 2014’was launched at Accommodation Furniture Solutions Ltd (AFS Ltd), Swansea. AFS Ltd is a worker co-operative that was formed with support from the Wales Co-operative Centre following the closure of the Remploy factories in 2012. Continue reading

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Welsh Government Cross-Party Group on Co-operatives and Mutuals

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

The Commision on Co-operatives & Mutuals
Wednesday March 12th 2014, 12.30 to 13.30
Media Briefing Room
Senedd Building (Waterfront entrance)
Cardiff CF99 1NA

Speakers:-
Prof. Andrew Davies, Chair of the Welsh Government Commission on Co-operatives and Mutuals
Derek Walker, Chief Executive, the Wales Co-operative Centre

A light buffet 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
Mik Antoniw AM
Chair, Cross Party Group on Co-operatives & Mutuals

Further details of the Report and how to obtain a copy are available here

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CAP Support for Agricultural Co-ops

Making the position of farmers stronger in the food chain is one focus of the 2013 CAP reform. This European Commission video clip features a project in Andalusia that has merged six regional co-operatives and more than 800 growers to ensure decent income for farmers in the market – and fair-priced, top quality fruit for the consumer.

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Mid Wales Social Co-op

A Social Co-ops Development Forum for Wales has been established to bring together all those working to develop co-operatives in the field of social care. This is particularly important at this time as the Social Services & Wellbeing Bill has just been published, and it places emphasis on the role multi-stakeholder co-operatives can play in providing quality social care.

The Social Co-ops Development Forum is Chaired by Adrian Roper, Chief Executive of Cartrefi Cymru, and meets on a regular basis. Adrian has produced a useful presentation on the Social Care Bill. Download his presentation:- Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Bill

The Forum is currently concentrating on work in Mid Wales, and is working to develop a Mid Wales Social Co-op

The next meetings are on Tuesday April 1st and Tuesday April 29th at 3.00pm at Cartrefi Cymru, Unit 27 Ddole Enterprise Park, Ddole Road, Llandrindod Wells, Powys, LDS1 6DF

They will concentrate on developing a Social Co-op in Mid Wales, and are supported by the Co-operative Enterprise Hub

All interested co-operators welcome. Please contact Jenny Hartles to let her know you’re coming:- email: jenny.hartles@cartrefi.org or Tel: 01597 825566

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Have Your Say

A message from Euan Sutherland, Chief Executive of The Co-operative

We’d like your help in shaping the future of The Co-operative.

Even before the challenges of last year, I’d identified the need for change in order to make The Co-operative as relevant in the future as it was in the past. In May this year, I commit to share with you how we intend to achieve this.

As a member this is where you come in. Your views on the big questions we need to answer will ensure we get this right. Help shape the future.

We’ve asked YouGov, one of the most respected research organisations in the UK, to create an independent survey. This survey is broad-ranging: covering everything from what you’d like to see in our shops, through to how we distribute our profits and how we should play a more active role in your community.

It’ll take around 20 minutes to complete. I promise it will be time well spent as your views will truly help us re-shape the future of The Co-operative.

Please visit www.haveyoursay.coop as soon as you can.

On behalf of everyone at The Co-operative thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

With best wishes
Euan Sutherland
Group Chief Executive

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Wales Commission on Co-operatives and Mutuals launched

Wales needs to embrace co-operatives for bright economic future, says report to Welsh Government

Wales needs to embrace the co-operative and mutual business model to achieve a real improvement in social and economic wellbeing, according to a report published today on the potential of co-operatives and mutuals to create jobs and wealth.

The report, prepared by the Welsh Co-operative and Mutuals Commission under the chair of Professor Andrew Davies, was commissioned by Minister for Economy Edwina Hart. It sets out 25 recommendations on creating a culture and environment in which co-operative ways of doing business are the norm, not the exception.

The report will be launched by the Minister on a visit with Professor Davies to Accommodation Furniture Solutions in Swansea, a co-operative set up by seven former Remploy workers

Mrs Hart said: “I am very grateful to Professor Andrew Davies and the Commission for their work in producing this comprehensive report.

“The report recognises the many benefits of co-operative and mutual business models and makes a strong case for developing them further. I will give a full response to each of the recommendations in the report in due course. However, in principle I am minded to accept all of the recommendations that fall within my area of responsibility.”

Professor Davies, Chair of the Welsh Co-operative and Mutuals Commission, said: “The Commission believes strongly that conventional approaches to economic development are not enough alone to deliver the long-term improvements needed for the Welsh economy. Co-operatives and mutuals offer significant economic, social and environmental benefits compared with ordinary business and have the potential to transform our economic fortunes, as well as improve our public services.

“Wales, the birth place of Robert Owen, one of the founders of the co-operative movement, has a long tradition of co-operative business which continues to this day. The global banking and economic crisis of 2007 has led many to question the traditional economic and business models. Now is the time to embrace our co-operative tradition in Wales and bring it in from the side-lines to the heart of our economy.”

The report’s recommendations cover how to integrate co-operatives and mutual into education; government business advice and support; investment finance; planning; and public procurement. It also makes a number of recommendations on how the Welsh Government can encourage innovation amongst co-operative enterprises and how the co-operative and mutual movement can increase its voice, influence and capacity.

Accommodation Furniture Solutions has doubled its workforce since company was formed in October last year and now employs 14 former Remploy staff.

Managing Director Kevin Edwards said: “With this new worker co-operative, we aim to develop a successful and profitable business and become a leading manufacturer and sub-contracting assembler within the UK market. As we grow, we intend to operate as a financially viable workers co-operative which supports our disabled and disadvantaged workforce and offers training and employment opportunities to the wider Swansea community.”

There will be a period of consultation on the recommendations of the report.

The report is available here:-

English: http://wales.gov.uk/topics/businessandeconomy/welsh-coop-mutuals-commission/?lang=en

Cymraeg: http://wales.gov.uk/topics/businessandeconomy/welsh-coop-mutuals-commission/?lang=cy

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Robert Owen International Airport

An online Assembly petition has been launched with the aim of persuading the Welsh Government to rename its newly acquired (Cardiff Wales) Airport as the Robert Owen International Airport.

The petition, started by Justin Lilley  of Positive Money, is available to sign until December 21st at:- https://www.assemblywales.org/epetition-list-of-signatories_all.htm?pet_id=923 

Newtown born Robert Owen was in many ways the originator of the co-op movement in Wales, and in the year that the Welsh Government’s Commision on Co-operatives and Mutuals is due to report, Justin believes recognising Robert Owen in this way would be  an appropriate way to mark this major policy initiative.

 

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New worker co-op in Swansea

Seven ex-Remploy employees have joined together to form a worker co-operative on the site of Remploy’s former factory in the Fforestfach area of Swansea.

Accommodation Furniture Solutions (AFS) will initially provide work for the seven staff who have all invested their redundancy payments into the venture.

The new business will assemble and make furniture. Its owners have plans to expand and offer more ex-Remploy employees the chance to become involved.

Work will start today (14 October 2013) on assembling kitchen furniture on behalf of the Richmond Cabinet Company for some of its social housing clients. Continue reading

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Ethical Investment Week

As part of National Ethical Investment Week, Shared Interest are organising an event called Finance: What’s Faith Got To Do With It?’ in partnership with the Church in Wales, Fair Trade Wales, Cardiff Business School, ECCR and CCLA.

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 13.43.16

It will be held at the Aberconway Building of the Cardiff Business School on Sat 26th October from 09.30am to 2.00pm.

Although the event is free to attend you are asked to book in advance, as they need to know numbers for catering purposes.

Contact Sally Reith Sally Reith:- sally.reith@shared-interest.com

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CMW’s Peoples Rail report featured in Guardian

Paul Salveson’s new book, “Railpolitik” published this month, is reviewed by the Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/social-enterprise-network/2013/sep/30/co-op-solution-to-railway

Paul has previously written about the need to mutualise the railway network in Wales in his report “Peoples Rail” published jointly by Co-operatives and Mutuals Wales, Co-operatives UK, SERA, ASLEF and the Co-operative Party http://www.cooperatives-wales.coop/peoples-rail-report-launched/

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The Co-operative Economy in Wales

The Co-operative Economy has continued to grow in Wales throughout the recession, just as it has across the UK.

The UK Economy’s GDP shrank during the recession, and has only just recovered to the same level as when the recession began in 2008. Over the same period the UK’s Co-operative Economy has grown by 28%, proof if any were needed that co-operatives and mutuals are more robust than the investor driven businesses in the rest of the economy.

Read the full report here:-

Co-ops in the Welsh Economy 2013

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