ONE of the first grant applicants to Co-operative Action, Dynamix, has received a boost to the £ 30,000 it originally received.
The Swansea-based group, which has a remit to introduce a new generation of schoolchildren to co-operatives and social enterprise in a fun learning environment, has been given an extra £ 12,390 towards the cost of introducing alternative work experience opportunities and developing the CASE website ? www.case4us.com
Two years ago the workers' co-operative was one of the first applicants to impress Co-operative Action with an innovative CASE ? "Co-operative and Social Enterprise" ? programme for schools.
The scheme enabled young people to set up their own social enterprises at school ? ranging from a healthy eating bar to regenerating derelict land into a curriculum-based open-air learning centre. And, with the right business plans, the young directors repaid their loans ? and made a surplus.
"But an important hallmark of Dynamix has always been their culture of learning through having serious fun?" says Sarah Lees of Co-operative Action ? which supports the development of new co-operative projects. "Their work is grounded in the values of the co-operative movement ? but enjoying the learning process also ensures that a young generation remembers those principles for life."
Natalie Jay, a year nine student at Chantry High School in Ipswich, is one such student. "Today," she wrote after the first day of the project, "I learnt how to work in a team, how to be patient, how to be organised and in control, how to listen to other people?s ideas and comments, and how to be a good manager and do good business ? and still have fun."
Since setting up Dynamix 16 years ago the directors have used their backgrounds in youth work, play therapy, nursing and social work to launch a wide range of learning initiatives from anti-bullying projects with under 5's to circus skills workshops with the Women?s Institute.
The "fun-focused" CASE project not only revitalised local links between co-operators, schools and businesses, but offered a raft of new opportunities to explore co-operative solutions which have now been left behind in schools for future teachers and students.
Creative work experience projects, which promote social change, were established in 13 schools as far away from South Wales as East Anglia and Kent, to provide a range of skills and build a network for sharing future co-operative solutions.
The Co-operative Action grant also went towards the cost of producing materials, resource packs, a teaching toolkit and a conference ? to share results and ideas that can now be replicated at other schools throughout the UK.
"This project has had a real and lasting impact on young people," says Dynamix director, Ant Flanagan. "They now have the direct experience of working in co-operative structures from which, when they leave school, they will take a whole new ethos and set of values into the real world."