The Wales Co-operative Centre (WCC) has helped 114 social businesses grow, worked to complete four co-op housing schemes and assisted 63,611 people in getting online over the last year.
The figures were announced in the organisation’s 2016-17 Impact Report, which celebrates how the co-op has supported people in Wales to improve their lives and livelihoods.
Over the past 12 months the WCC has worked across three main areas: supporting local businesses; tackling poverty and promoting inclusion; and tackling forward thinking policy and research. Together this helps to create “a fairer economy”, said WCC chief executive, Derek Walker.
“We help to create and retain wealth within our communities through the growth of co-operatives and social businesses. We provide people with the skills to take more control of their own lives and strengthen their communities,” he said.
“Since we were founded 35 years ago, the Wales Co-operative Centre has been right at the heart of Wales’s vibrant social economy, bringing funders and partners together to make our communities more confident, more co-operative, more capable and more ambitious.”
Today the WCC has 64 members of staff across four offices in Wales (Bangor, Carmarthen, Swansea and Caerphilly), and an annual turnover of £3.7m.
Two of the organisation’s recent projects have been around financial capability and inclusion. The Your Money, Your Home project helped 475 private rented sector tenants improve their money management skills, while the Financial Inclusion Champions programme trained 105 frontline staff to help people with money worries.
Another project centred on care; the Care to Co-operate initiative provided 18 groups with intensive, hands-on support, resulting in 70 people working together to set up care co-ops.
“As a co-operative, we’re guided by an active community of members who shape our strategic direction, scrutinise our activities, increase our influence and ensure we’re a voice for the social economy in Wales,” added Mr Walker.
“Together we can build a better future for everyone in Wales.”
- Read the full report here.