Wales Co-operative Centre
- Established in 1982 by the Wales TUC
- Legal structure – originally an Industrial and Provident Society, in 2014 became a Community Benefit Society, number 24287 R registered in England and Wales.
- Funded through the Welsh Government, Europe, some local authorities and some earned income
- Over 80 members of staff working across Wales at offices in Caerphilly, Bangor, Carmarthen and Swansea, including its head office in the Y Borth building.
- Membership elect Management Board, who appoint the Executive Committee
It delivers a range of projects to promote social, financial inclusion and digital inclusion. Its team of advisors work right across Wales, helping co-operatives, social enterprises, community groups and voluntary organisations.
The Centre was established in 1982 by the Wales TUC to provide business support to co-operatives in Wales. In 1984, the Centre published the first list of co-operatives in Wales and launched its first programme of training courses.
In 1988, The Wales Co-operative Centre helped establish the first credit union in Wales in Rhydfelin (now called Dragon Savers ). It also started providing advice to trade unions and their members about employee ownership.
In 1992 the Wales Co-operative Centre was the largest co-operative development agency in England and Wales. Today (2018) the UK's largest Co-operatives include John Lewis Partnership and the Co-operative Group.
In 1995, Tower Colliery became the largest employee-owned company in Wales with support from the Wales Co-operative Centre. The Centre also helped to set up the UK's first credit union based on an NHS Trust, in Bridgend.
The Wales Co-operative Centre gained support from the Welsh Assembly Government in 2000 for a significant credit union development and grant fund initiative, which then became a flagship project under the new European structural funds programme.
In 2001, the Wales Co-operative Centre brings together the Communities First Support Network to support the work of the Communities First Programme .
The Coalfields Regeneration Trust provided further funding in 2002 for the Centre to administer the Debt Redemption and Money Advice Scheme to protect those most at risk from doorstep lenders.
2007 sees the Centre launch a Fair Trade project working with businesses across Wales to show them the benefits of adopting a Fair Trade policy, following funding from the Welsh Assembly Government.
2010 saw a change of Chief Executive. After a total of 18 years with the Centre, Simon Harris left to become Director of Wales at Business in the Community. He was replaced by Derek Walker, coming from Director of External Affairs at the Big Lottery Fund.
In 2015, the Centre begins delivery of the Social Business Wales project which provides online and face-to-face support to social businesses seeking to expand and increase employment. It also wins the contract to deliver Digital Communities Wales the Welsh Government's digital inclusion programme to get people in Wales online.
2016 sees the start of two new projects, Care to Co-operate (which supports the development of social care and well-being co-ops) and Community Shares Wales, which helps communities raise investment to save or create amenities and services.
- History source: Wales Co-operative Centre Marketing team
- https://www.theguardian.com/business/2010/aug/02/co-operatives-big-society/ Co-operatives and the Big Society
- http://www.minersadvice.co.uk/tower.htm/ Tower Colliery – background
- http://www.gaianeconomics.org/tower.htm/ Tower Colliery – case study
- http://www.cewales.org/PROJECTS/projects_sen.html/ The Social Enterprise Network
- http://www.assemblywales.org/bus-home/bus-committees/bus-committees-other-committees/bus-committees-third-eur-home/bus-committees-third-eur-agendas.htm?act=dis&id=184733&ds=7/2010/ (Annex A)
- http://cymru.gov.uk/topics/housingandcommunity/regeneration/socialenterprise/supportproject/?lang=en/ Social Enterprise Support Project
- http://wales.gov.uk/topics/housingandcommunity/regeneration/digincl/comm20/;jsessionid=G8XCLSsJG8sv1HYQ664PfZv8yLXyyBpvFwJ29BnxLGZJn4zFspp5!686978193?lang=en/ Communities 2.0 project