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?

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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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Co-working for Creatives

Event organised by BECTU/CULT CYMRU and Wales Co-op Centre for self employed creatives interested in co-operative working.

Wednesday June 21st, Theatr Soar, Pontmorlais West, Merthyr Tydfil, CF47, Wales

To book, go to:-

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Robin Murray

Co-operator and Industrial Economist, author of ‘Co-operation in the Age of Google’, Robin Murray has died. For an appreciation by Hilary Wainwright please follow this link.

For the Guardian obituary, follow this link


Photo:Bethany Murray

David Smith writes:

I will always remember Robin Murray as a person unable to contain his passion for people and ideas. He was fascinated by the particular exemplary initiatives, how they worked, the conditions for their success, and the opportunities presented. This was exemplified by his work as Director of Industry in the Greater London Council and later, Director of Development in the Government of Ontario.

His most significant contributions to the Co-operative Movement was his seminal draft  report commissioned by Co-operatives UK, following Ed Mayo’s appointment as Secretary General

Robin saw strengthening existing co-operative development infrastructure as part of a wider question. That is how changes in private and public services are driven by information technology opening up opportunites for co-operative innovation. His brief also covered current developments in social innovation, community development and international development.

The strength of this report was in its common sense approach in vividly articulating the power of Co-operation, with a visionary freshness about its purpose and the practical means in achieving its realisation across the whole economy. It had the intellectual reach, the like of which we may probably not see again, although some found it challenging.

When reviewing his highly stimulating report (Co-op News, February 2011), I argued it would be of “equal significance to the neglected Gaitskell Commission (1956); or Dr Laidlaw’s report ‘Co-operatives and the Year 2000’ (1983). We would be foolish to ignore this one, written for a fundamentally different age”.

I first met Robin in 2010 at the CUK Congress where we had an intensive conversation about his report which provided a strong analysis and compelling recommendations. This is now extensively cited, but at the time it was ignored by some in the Co-operative movement who should have known better.

When Welsh Government proposed a Co-operative and Mutuals Commission in 2012, I sought Robin’s agreement to be nominated as a Commissioner which he modestly declined. Fortunately, he was persuaded to do so and played a crucial role, including his clear grasp of members taking action to meet their needs. He actively ensured a valued Commission report, sharpened up its recommendations and subsequently followed up its work.

Robin supported Wales Progressive Co-operators in championing Social Care Co-operatives.This campaign from 2008 lead to a major breakthrough in social care policy with its focus upon co-operative solutions contained in the Social Care and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014.

Welsh Progressive Co-operators were the recipients of his excellent advice about the importance of quality. I fondly recall Robin emphasising this in marketing Café Direct as a Fair Trade product, which of course equally applies to social care.

His work in establishing Twin Trading provides an important insight into the values of networking and collaboration: how individual initiatives have shaped what Fair Trade is and how it works, and where ordinary individuals and small institutions serve as extraordinary role models for the movement.

I know how difficult it is to lose an important person in one’s life. When my mother, Hilda Smith died in 2013, Robin said that departed loved ones are always with us. This made me reflect and was inspired to build upon her legacy. It also explains my focus upon Co-operative Education if we are  to build a Co-operative Wales. May we all be inspired by Robin in our future work when actively promoting ‘Co-operation in the Age of Google’.

Alex Bird writes

I worked with Robin on the Age of Google, which involved long discussions on worker ownership and the french retail co-operative business model, and also, later, on a worldwide Principal Six networking event at the Twin Trading AGM in Abergavenny in September 2010. He was a delight to work with; very bright, very kind, and above all very co-operative in the way he worked. He made a great contribution to the movement. He will be sorely missed.

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An event surely not to miss!

23rd June – Cardiff

How we can build a culture that embeds co-operative and mutual principles and collaborative approaches in Welsh life.

For tickets, go to:-

Someone who knows says: “A must attend event for all Welsh Co-operators”

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Co-operative Group AGM Motion 9

CMW Executive Member Chris Hall tackled the issue of pay ratios at the Co-operative Group’s AGM last Saturday.

To see him talking about the motion, watch this clip:

To read the transcript follow this link:


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Co-working for Creatives – Soar Theatre, 21st June 2017

To book your free place – go to Eventbrite

To book your free place – go to Eventbrite

Further details at

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An Invitation

David Smith, Secretary of Co-operatives and Mutual Wales, writes:

Thanks to everyone who attended, or expressed a keen interest, in our 1st and 2nd Co-op Education events, both of which have been interesting and successful, such that we are now turning our minds to the next event.
We now seek to construct our 3rd later in the year, by establishing a time limited Co-operative Education Sub Group, which we wish to make open to all.
If interested please get in touch over the next 7 days, we can then take steps to set up our first planning meeting, hopefully after the General Election.
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Community Care Co-ops and the Rural Challenge

C&MW’s congratulates Plunkett on this rural  English initiative and warmly welcomes shared working with the innovative Welsh Care to Co-operate venture.

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Japan – Wales Study Tour

Co-operatives and Mutuals Wales has been instrumental in organising a two day study tour of Social Co-ops in Wales for researchers from Japan.
Mr Koichi Sato, from the Consumers Co-operative Institute of Japan has a particular interest in the activities of consumer co-ops and joint buying by members. Ms Yukiko Yamazaki researches fiscal and tax policies, healthcare policy and healthcare co-ops. They will participate in an International Co-operatives Day event on the 30th June.

(For information about Healthcare Co-operatives in Japan, follow the link below

David Smith writes: Although, different from the UK, learn about a system which seeks to mobilise people and builds community so that social bonds develop where otherwise there is only isolation and loneliness.

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Building a Co-operative Country

Building a Co-operative Country
Principality Stadium, Cardiff
23 June 2017, 10:00 – 15:00

Join the Wales Co-operative Centre at this one day event to explore how we can build a culture that embeds co-operative and mutual principles and collaborative approaches in Welsh life.  Come together with members and directors, activists and CEOs from co-operatives large and small to discuss how we can promote and increase support for community and collective social, economic and environmental initiatives.

·         Hear from sector experts and those on the front line about the exciting developments in co-operatives and collaborative approaches across areas such as housing, social care and energy.

·         Discuss your ideas on how these can be further strengthened and expanded to help build a truly co-operative nation

·         Hear from policy makers about their visions and aspirations for the sector

·         Get together with other co-operators  to share experiences, ideas and get inspiration
The event is organised and hosted by the Mutuals Alliance.  The Mutuals Alliance brings together leading co-operative and mutual organisations across Wales and works towards growing the sector in Wales by creating a greater level of awareness about mutuals and the benefits they bring.
Tickets for this event cost £32+VAT.

To book your place at this event please visit

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Community of Enquiry report

To read the Coop News report on the event ‘A Co-operative Education for a Co-operative Wales?’ follow this link:

To read in Welsh (courtesy of Emrys Roberts, Cardiff) follow this link:

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Support Community Wind Power!

Awel is a Community Benefit Society and its project owns and run two 2.35MW Enercon wind turbines on Mynydd y Gwrhyd, 20 miles north of Swansea. These turbines will produce clean, low carbon energy and are forecast to generate an estimated 12,558 MWh of clean energy a year, enough to supply over 2,500 homes. Production levels so far are well ahead of this estimate.

Awel is your chance to directly own Welsh wind generation and take action on climate change. This scheme will harness the winds of South Wales to generate electricity using renewable technology. You will gain a projected 5% return per year as well as potential tax reliefs with the new Personal Savings Allowance scheme.

Profits will be used to support local charity Awel Aman Tawe in tackling fuel poverty and developing other renewable energy projects.

For more details go to

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Link error

Our Eventbrite Booking Form for the upcoming Education event on April 8th contained an error.

If you’ve followed the link and tried to book and found it to be marked as “sold out” and were unable to register, please return as bookings are now re-opened.

Our apologies for the error and any inconvenience caused

Thanks to the Co-operative for the provision of light refreshments for attendees.

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NEWS RELEASE; A New Approach in Education

A complete overhaul of the “Learning Experience” – from primary level through to adult education – is being demanded by David Smith, a Community Activist and former college lecturer from Newport.

Mr Smith, who is Secretary of Co-operatives and Mutuals Wales, is organising a “Community of Enquiry” on the subject to be held in Cardiff on Saturday, 8 April.

“The Welsh word ‘dysgu’ means both teaching and learning”, Mr Smith said. “This underlines the fact that learning should not be something handed down from teacher to pupil. It should be a collaborative effort between all stakeholders”. He argues that with discussions taking place on new school curricula and new school structures, now is the time to press for introducing this new approach.

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Co-operative Education in Wales 19/11/2016

Our event on Co-operative Education in Wales held on Saturday November 19th 2016 was a great success, and a short video of the event is below:-

CMW Co-op Education round table snapshots.compressed from Callum Johnston on Vimeo.

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