“All our educational work should be undertaken with the object of preparing people for social change” Joseph Reeves, Secretary of the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society‘s education committee (1918-1938)
Co-operatives and Mutuals Wales is the representative body (Regional Co‑operative Council) for the wider Co-operative movement in Wales, and the National/Regional arm of Co‑operatives UK. This is the UK apex body for all types of co-operatives, democratically controlled by its members; and in its original form founded in 1869.
Self-financed, Co-operatives and Mutuals Wales relies on a small team of active co-operators, and gradually re-inventing itself as a mutual support network for individual co-operative activists, and co-operatives.
For some, complexities of the Co-operative Movement can be off putting. We therefore aim to be good ‘sign-posters’ and inter-connectors between sectors, co-ops, co-operators and the public; and because it’s Wales, we reach out internationally, including Japan, Italy, Malaysia and the Philippines.
We are happy to ‘represent’ the movement to the political/policy class when needed, for example:- reforming the Welsh Bacc, food policy, climate change and reforming social care.
From 2016, to overcome misunderstandings about the co-operative identity, we have been keen to support mutual learning to foster innovation with six conferences held on different themes. We run regular events, the latest being activities to mark the 250th anniversary of Robert Owen, including school pupil’s interviewing the Welsh First Minister about Robert Owen.
Our current focus is on promoting a Global Robert Owen Day on May 14th.
We are doing this through annually celebrating his legacy, and making materials about Owen freely available, and in particular making the Co-op Movement in Wales more accessible, including support for future school activities, leading to a Co-operative Wales.
“In the difficult times which lie ahead, Wales is able to draw on a set of principles, practices and political commitments which, together, underpin the prospects of becoming a truly co-operative nation…. The social policy principles which have emerged since devolution, are based upon a set of ideas which have clear and direct links to co-operative principles.”
Mark Drakeford speaking on ‘Wales a Co-operative Nation’, International Co-operators Day, Cardiff, July 2nd, 2011