Welsh co-op development agency Cwmpas elects Richard Hughes as chair

‘At a time when our economy and climate are changing rapidly, it is crucial that the values and impact of organisations like Cwmpas come to the fore’

Cwmpas has announced Richard Hughes as its new chair, following the retirement of his predecessor David Jenkins.

Hughes joined the board of Cwmpas – then the Wales Co-Operative Centre, in 2019, after experiencing first-hand the organisation’s work with communities and social businesses.

CEO Bethan Webber said “I speak for all of the board when I say we are very much looking forward to working with Richard in his capacity as chair, particularly at a time when we face complex and ever-evolving challenges in our communities.

“I know that Richard shares our passion for effecting positive economic and social change and he will be instrumental in supporting us in our mission to change the way our society and economy works.”

Hailing from Cefneithin in Carmarthenshire and now living in Cardiff, Hughes began his career in television and theatre before moving into local government, working at Blaenau Gwent and Bridgend County Councils in senior roles across leisure, arts, culture and tourism for 16 years.

In 2015, he took up the role of CEO of Awen Cultural Trust, a post he still holds, helping steer it into a new period of growth and development. He is also a member of the Cwm Taf Morgannwg Public Service Board and a fluent Welsh speaker,

After his election at last Friday’s Cwmpas AGM, Hughes said: “I will do my best to ensure that Cwmpas can continue to evolve to seek new opportunities to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow.  At a time when our economy and climate are changing rapidly, it is crucial that the values and impact of organisations like Cwmpas come to the fore.

“I look forward to supporting the new chief executive Bethan Webber and her colleagues across Cwmpas in making the case for a fairer economy and the delivery of programmes that lead to a more equitable and sustainable communities.”

Hughes also recounted his first interaction with the organisation back in 2015 when, as the CEO of charity and social business Awen, he found support from Cwmpas.

“I had been looking around for support and help to make sure we were doing this as we should, and that we were making the most of our opportunities. And along came Cwmpas. Through the Social Business Wales team, I found an organisation that was great at listening and was solutions based.

“They really believed in what we were doing at Awen. I loved that our success become their success. I quickly learnt that Cwmpas did so much more and was adept at changing to meet the needs of communities and social business across Wales. Joining the board in the first instance was an easy decision and it’s been a real privilege to now become its chair.”

Hughes paid tribute to the “significant legacy of his predecessor. Jenkins was a leading pioneer of the co-operative and trade union movement, is a founding member of Cwmpas and had been an active member of its management board since the first meeting in 1982 and was its chair since the early 1990s.