Why are we investing in the next generation?

Georgina James from Melin Homes has blogged for us ahead of our ‘Young People Influencing Decisions About What Matters to Them’ event. 

melin homes

Here at Melin Homes we have a dedicated school program that is a core part of the business. FACE which stands for Future, Active, Career and Elevate, is designed to help the pupils in the schools of the areas we have develop their employability skills and widen their career aspirations whilst giving them experiences and opportunities that help them grow personally and professionally. It’s hit the ground running with over 1000 pupil engagements since April last year.

Why do Melin commit to working with schools I hear you ask, what benefit does it give us?

The pupils in those schools are the next generation right? They’re the next generation of our residents, our staff members, our board members, our contractors, our supportive councillors and our Welsh assembly workers. It makes complete sense for Melin to work with this generation from a young age. These young people will grow up knowing who Melin are and what we do, and whilst it helps with our business needs it directly impacts the lives of our younger residents and their communities.

By knowing Melin, they’re less likely to play up on the street corners, because they have a level of respect for the staff they’ve worked with. By doing workshops with Melin on money and finance, they are more likely to be better with money which ensures our rents are paid if they become one of our residents. By helping create positive mindsets we are showing them they can achieve whatever they want to, no matter what their background or life experience. By giving them interview and employability skills we are opening up opportunities for them to get into employment. By doing litter picks with local schools we are showing that everyone has responsibility to look after their environment around them – no matter what age or status. The list could go on and on and on.

It sounds good in theory right? Does it really work?

Yes without a doubt, investing in young people benefits Melin in the long run. I am one of many of the young people that Melin have helped and I now work for Melin. I volunteered with Melin from the age of 13 and continued to volunteer until I was 18. As a thank you Melin paid for my driving lessons and test and then gave me the opportunity to have a short term contract 5 years ago. Where am I now? 5 years down the line, I’m still working for Melin but I’m a permanent member of staff, rolling out the same help and support that I had, to hundreds of young people. I am living proof that when a company invests in young people, they reap the rewards. Melin isn’t just my workplace, it’s so much more, it’s an opportunity to give back the opportunities that Melin gave to me. I am so passionate about spreading the word about Melin, about helping young people, whether that is to understand their bills or improve their employability chances or boost their confidence. No matter where my future takes me I will forever be grateful to Melin for the head start in life they gave me.

One of our lovely volunteers that I have had the pleasure of working with, has volunteered with Melin from 13-18 too and now she’s preparing to do an apprenticeship with us here at Melin. It’s a ripple effect, when young people are made to feel worthy and like they’re given a voice and seen they will give you so much back. So what are you doing to ensure that the young people feel the same about you? Could you do more?

Melin have now committed to starting a youth empowerment project called YEP!, which is designed to give young people the opportunity to be part of Melin’s board and gain vital skills that will help them within their communities and professionally. It will also give them a chance to impact on the way Melin works, and how we need to adapt for the next generation coming through.

Rhondda Cynon Taff’s Youth Engagement and Participation Service

Kaitlyn from Rhondda Cynon Taff’s Youth Engagement and Participation Service has blogged for us about the most valuable lessons she has learned from being involved in many community and youth projects ahead of our ‘Young People Influencing Decisions About What Matters to Them’ event.

yeps.jpg

At least once I can guarantee anyone reading this has sat in a classroom and voted for their year group school council representative. From year 3 to my current position in sixth form, voting days were my time to shine! I’m Kaitlyn and in September of last year I became a proud member of my school’s Leadership Team, which in the same December lead me to my first RCT County Youth Forum meeting. Over the last year, I have worked A LOT with RCT’s Youth Engagement and Participation Service (Yeps) and have developed and accessed an impeccable amount of skills and opportunities that have allowed me to be in the position I am now, or should I say positions (there are multiple) – a Yeps volunteer, a Member of Youth Parliament, the Secretary of the CYF (County Youth forum) and Youth Inspector. Really I quite often lose track of all the titles I’ve been given, but it’s not about those. It’s about what I have learnt along the way…

 

One of, if not the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from being involved in many community and youth projects is the importance of social interaction. I have met a multitude of people who have taught me a number of things and each has impacted the decisions I’ve made moving forward since. My favourite example of this is my friends Kelly and Zoey. I met this loving pair through my admiration of theatre and writing. Through Yeps’ young person’s website WICID.tv I was asked to attend a press night for the ballet in Cardiff, Wales Millenium Centre and review the show. There I met Kelly and Zoey who encouraged me to start my own blog as it was something I had considered, but, did not have the confidence to do. After that I set up my own theatre blog which I love writing for alongside WICID, adoring every musical, play or performance I have seen since. It has introduced me to so many other female, Welsh bloggers who are constantly giving me advice, tips and 100% support.

 

Despite what I do outside of Yeps, I will always remember where I began my Youth aspirations. Mental Health was one of my main priorities going into my first Youth Forum as I knew it was one of the sub-committees I wanted to be a part of. I started out being trained up to be a Youth Mental Health first aider as part of a 6 week course (which works wonders on the cv) and most recently as part of a German exchange I was then able to run own Mental Health workshop. It’s extremely beneficial and refreshing for these activities to be organised by young people themselves as it brings them a sense of purpose and certainty that their voices are being heard. It also brings a whole new perspective having a person your age talking with you, on the same level, rather than at you with an egotistic sense of authority due to the number of years they’ve lived for! You can be ‘mature’ at 16, right?

 

The idea of maturity at 16 was an argument that was presented in front of myself and a further 300 hundred MYP’s (member of youth parliament) at the 2018 House of Commons annual debate when discussing the right to vote at 16. In November last year, Yeps, BYC and Youth Cymru took me to London! If I thought the youth voice was being heard in my local Youth Forum, it was definitely being heard on a much larger scale here and I was honored to be one of two from RCT to attend. We debated a number of topics voted for by over 1 million young people across the UK and came to a final conclusion on our top two issues for our 2019 campaigns. Those being Votes at 16 and tackling knife crime.

 

Working with young people with different opinions, backgrounds and goals as a volunteer with Yeps has opened my eyes to so much more beyond, what my Dad calls my ‘little Kaitlyn bubble’. The skills I have developed, socially and mentally has shown me how capable I and any other young person can be to make change. The Youth Engagement and Participation service has provided me with numerous trainings – including public speaking – which have set me up for the real world. Never will I have to worry about entering an interview with no previous work experience or voluntary hours because I have had enough to last me a lifetime in just one year thanks to the support of Yeps.

 

I am blessed to have worked with the kindest and most caring Youth Workers who have encouraged me to push myself past my own mindset and achieve more than I thought possible.

Our Public Health Diary

Neath Port Talbot Youth Council has blogged for us ahead of our ‘Young People Influencing Decisions about What Matters to Them’ event.

What’s it all about?

This is a summary of Neath Port Talbot Youth Council’s journey with Public Health Wales. This includes the residential where the Youth Council and other young people wrote and designed the Young People’s Annual Quality Statement (AQS) – ‘it was a brilliant learning experience’.

phwe1

Day 1 Summary

Junaid arranged a tour of the building and we met heads of departments so we could understand what their jobs were and how they manage. We could see the smoking cessation helpline ‘Help Me Quit’ going on.

phwe2

We had lunch –too posh – give us party food anytime!! Not that we weren’t grateful.

After lunch we had a walking tour of Cardiff city centre taking photographs for health issues and our graphic design workshop – we really enjoyed this.

Day 2

We learnt a lot in the communications workshop with Dan the man Owens. We spent the afternoon putting this to good use reading news articles then developing our own stories trying our best to make them interesting and captivating. We also questioned Tracy Cooper CEO of Public Health – thanks Tracy for getting in our selfies – legend!

So we’ve been doing a lot since this residential like setting up our own health sub group on the youth council, we also told the Leader and councillors in NPTCBC all about the AQS. They made sure the document went out to all the schools. We’ve been asked to train as mental health mentors in schools so we can help our peers get help or signposted to services if they need it.

We also helped plan then attended the youth health summit #UGotSummittoSay so young people can shape health services. Two of our youth council members sit on local health boards. We also presented our work at the Public Health AGM. Please read the Young Peoples Annual Quality Statement we learnt a lot.

 

Seren, Hannah, Jodie, Erin & Corey

(Part of NPT Youth Council Youth – Youth Excellence Award Winners 2018)

 

Let your past, and our present, shape their future – Katie Hoddinott

#WAOYouth is taking place on 12th and 28th March in Cardiff and Llanrwst, respectively.

Katie Hoddinott is 17. She volunteers for Melin Homes, studies at High School and was keen to get some work experience. With our upcoming youth event we wanted to learn about what matters to young people today, and whether what matters to young people is being heard, understood and listened to, by “people in charge”. Katie’s personal experience of having uncertainty about what to do after finishing school led her to look at how the education system helps children and young people in seeking clarity on their future. Katie decided to look into the following:

In young people, she asked what job they want when they grow up; what challenges they face in getting the job they want; and what should school teachers, politicians and people in charge do to help them get the job they want. In the older generations, she asked what they wanted to do when they were younger, and whether they were in that role currently, and how they got there. She went on to ask what they thought were the challenges facing young people today, to look at whether the older generation understood and saw the issues that young people truly face today.

Katie will be blogging for us soon, to extend upon what she shares in this vlog.

 

Inspection Wales’ thematic reviews of Support for Young People

Ahead of our event ‘Young people influencing decisions about what matters to them’, Emma Giles, Inspection Wales Programme Manager, has blogged for us about collaborative working between the inspectorates and the reviews that are being undertaken around support for young people in Wales.

Collaborative working is challenging, and from my experience, being effective requires all partners to be equally engaged in setting the aims and the team needs to work to common goals, with a shared methodology, and be open to working across organisational boundaries. For me, there are several factors to consider when undertaking a joint project, from planning and resourcing the project to engendering the culture needed to successfully deliver a collaborative project.

Planning the work

  1. From the outset, there needs to be a robust, clearly defined and well understood process for moving from identifying potential options for collaborative working through to developing detailed scope and methods and producing final outputs. All partners must be equally engaged in developing the process and ‘signed up’ to it.
  2. To be successful, collaborative working requires staff from across partners to agree and work to a common scope and shared methodology. Albeit, individuals should also where appropriate be enabled to work within their own area of expertise.
  3. Each partner does not need to contribute in the same way to a collaborative piece of work. Rather, the planning phase should identify the relative contribution each partner can make, and this might involve partners taking on different roles. For example, one partner might lead the fieldwork, and another be involved in sense checking emerging findings.
  4. It needs to be recognised that getting a collaborative piece of work ‘off the ground’ is time consuming due to its challenging nature. For example, securing agreement on scope across organisations that may well have different priorities, legislative remits and resourcing constraints. Therefore, planning for such projects needs to start well in advance of any scheduled fieldwork dates.

Resourcing the work – people and money

  1. Collaborative work should not be an add-on to the ‘day job’ but needs to be planned into the work programmes of relevant staff.
  2. Committing resources to all stages of the project lifecycle from identifying potential options for joint review to producing the final output (whether that is a report or other product) requires up front agreement from senior staff across the partner organisations.
  3. Continuity of staff is vital to ensure that momentum and understanding of the project is not lost through staff turnover. Where responsibilities must change hands, there must be effective handover arrangements.
  4. A steering group is likely to be prove useful but must comprise staff empowered to make decisions.

The culture underpinning the work

  1. All partners must be equally committed to the collaboration and individuals must be open to sharing their own expertise and listening to the views of colleagues from across all partners.
  2. From the outset, there needs to be honest conversations about respective organisational practices and resources and the constraints these might impose, together with a clear and agreed upon approach to addressing any such constraints.

But the key, it appears to me, is that successful collaborative working requires what have been called ‘process management skills’, ‘such as the ability to identify and develop a shared agenda and forge coalitions’, in addition to expertise in the topic area.

Notwithstanding the challenging nature of collaborative working, Inspection Wales partners have over the last 18 months or so been working together to review the support available for young people.  My August 2017 blog, Inspection Wales partners begin joint work on support for young people,  sets out the background behind why Inspection Wales undertook its first joint thematic review around the topic of young people, and the proposed scope of the four pieces of work on services for young people being undertaken by Inspection Wales partners.  Since then, Estyn has published its review of youth work. The Wales Audit Office, Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) and Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) will publish their respective reports in the spring of 2019.

I won’t pretend the journey has been straightforward, but we have now arrived at a good place with GPX events planned for March and discussions ongoing to identify and communicate common messages emerging from all four pieces of work.  Despite looking at different areas within the topic of support for young people, we have found several common threads.  We are now considering the most effective way to communicate those common messages.  Inspection Wales is also very much looking forward to the GPX events in March.   The partners have all been involved in the scoping for this event, and we are very enthusiastic about the theme of young people having influence over decisions about what matters to them.

Tackling Inequalities

Since its launch in 2012 Sport Wales has invested £4million of National Lottery funding over two phases of its Calls4Action programme in 21 separate projects.  It has demonstrated exemplar practice through innovative partnerships to achieve participation by hard to reach groups.

Carwyn Young – Sport Wales’s lead officer for Calls4Action provides his personal perspective on the learning that is emerging from UK Research Consultancy Service (RCS) longitudinal evaluation of the programme and what it could mean for Sport Wales and the sector.

I can still recall the conversation in January 2014 that resulted in me being given the task of bringing Phase 2 of Calls4Action to fruition.  Armed with the findings of an internal evaluation of Phase 1, an indicative budget commitment of £3million and four Focus areas of:

  • Girls & Young Women
  • People with a disability
  • People from a BME background
  • Young people living in poverty

I quickly established a pan organisational working group, so I wasn’t alone!

So, three years later, with 11 projects supported, two years’ worth of progress reviews and evaluation findings, what learning has emerged?

I’m going to start with some of the “Big Lessons” that RCS have concluded from their most recent findings:

  • It is possible to engage hard to reach groups
  • Engaging these groups entails innovative methods……
    • ….both in terms of governance and partnership…..
    • ….and delivery.
  • Also entails a degree of reputational and financial risk which can be accepted and managed, but which remains……
  • Lessons from C4A can inform Community Sport, public health, and wider well-being objectives

All positive stuff I’d hope you’d agree, so what is the some of the learning behind these “Big Lessons”?

I’m going to revisit the key findings of RCS first Interim Impact report, however I have summarised the key findings into my own words:

Timing and Pace:  In your planning allow time to get to know and engage with the target group before delivery starts.

Predicted Outputs: Be clear in terms of what your project is meant to do and what it can deliver

Participation: Make sure you capture impact on individuals not just the numbers

Governance and Partnerships: Projects are effective when partners combine their areas of expertise.  Be clear in terms of what you want from and can provide to the partnership

Ways of Working: Understanding the person you want to engage with and personalise your messaging/engagement.   Deliver what people want not what we think they need to build confidence and trust.

Demonstrating Value: Make sure you have the processes in place to capture all the impact of the project from the start

Structural change: Be flexible and have the ability to adapt the project as challenges arise

I’d like to think that as you’ve read through these findings you’ve thought, “that’s pretty obvious” however I’d also like you to consider whether your current ways of working always incorporate them? If you do, could you make it even better?

One of my favourite pieces of learning has emerged from the StreetGames ‘Us Girls’ project and it’s what they’ve termed “pre-pre engagement”.  It’s about engaging with the target group to build trust and understanding so that a relationship forms between them and the project before even broaching the subject of them becoming physically active.  From an ‘Us Girls’ perspective, the “pre-pre engagement” took the form of makeup sessions, virtual chat sessions, visits to activities, and the time and effort to do this became a key element of the project.  “Pre-pre engagement”, wasn’t an approach you’d normally associate with a Sport Wales supported project but one that has proved to be essential to successfully engage this group of girls.

To finish I’d like to reiterate one of RCS’ “Big Lessons”, “It is possible to engage hard to reach groups”.  Calls4Action projects have confirmed it’s not easy, however it is very rewarding when you see the impact that the projects are having on people lives.  Here are links to a couple of videos that show what I mean:

Brecon Beacons National Park

‘Us Girls’ Big Sisters

I also want to point out that the climate we currently operate within, is significantly different to that of 2014 when Calls4Action phase 2 was launched.  The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 didn’t even exist!  You could argue that Calls4Action had already started to implement some of the ‘5 Ways of working’.  Implementing the learning into a phase 3 of Calls4Action would be relatively straight forward a bigger challenge is to implement it into what we do on a daily basis and It’s one that I and Sport Wales are up for.

I’m therefore quietly confident that in this ever-changing environment that we find ourselves operating within, we’ve got a lot of things going for us and don’t just take my word for it, read the RCS evaluation reports.

ColaBoraBora: Redefining the ‘WHATS’ transforming the ‘HOWS’

Rosa from ColaBoraBora has prepared the below blog for us in advance of her workshop session at our conference ‘Mutual Benefits: Building a Co-operation Between Wales and the Basque Country’. She talks about the interesting ethos of ColaBoraBora, interlinking the community and the private sector, and the projects they have worked on so far…

As this a Basque conference, this blog has been published in both English, Basque and Welsh.

ColaBoraBora is a cooperative of social initiative, dedicated to designing services and helping create environments and processes of collaborative innovation that focus on people. We help different types of clients to imagine possible and desirable future situations so as to produce new opportunities in times of changes. Additionally, we are also with them to help them put them into practice successfully. Our work is based on paying the same attention to the WHAT (pursued challenges) as to the HOW (how to approach them).

Proponemos nuevos sistemas y metodologías para abordar retos relacionados con la innovación estratégica, organizativa y social. Trabajamos principalmente en proyectos donde se interrelacionan lo público, lo comunitario y lo privado.

Nuestra propuesta de trabajo se sitúa a medio camino entre lo cultural, lo social, lo económico y lo político, abordándolo desde unas perspectivas CO- y TRANS-. Ofrecemos un mix de servicios a medida, basados en la combinación de diversas maneras de hacer, entre la investigación, la consultoría, el diseño, el acompañamiento y la formación. El objetivo es aplicar la creatividad desde la inteligencia colectiva, para pasar de lo abstracto a lo concreto, desarrollando las ideas en forma de productos, servicios y experiencias tangibles.

En ColaBoraBora somos una pequeña tribu de personas entusiastas y críticas, curiosas y comprometidas. Un grupo con formaciones y experiencias diversas (artes, diseño, economía, sostenibilidad, facilitación de procesos, marketing…). Un equipo de profesionales que trabajamos de manera transdisciplinar, remezclando prácticas y saberes.

Diseñando para el bien común

En ColaBoraBora entendemos el diseño como un conjunto de procedimientos para crear soluciones y abordar oportunidades, mediante una planificación y organización diferencial, significativa y eficiente de recursos, procesos, infraestructuras y/o personas. Perseguimos un diseño transformador, un diseño libre y abierto, un diseño para todas, que se sigue preguntando sobre cómo vivimos y cómo podríamos vivir. Un diseño orientado a la comunidad, entendida como un grupo social en un contexto situado, con ciertas características u objetivos compartidos, ya sea esta una empresa, un vecindario, un grupo de usuarias, un gobierno, etc.

Un diseño, en el que los QUÉs y los CÓMOs, atienden a la cada vez más pertinente idea de bien común, desde el procomún y de forma comunitaria.

  • Bien común, un antiguo concepto filosófico, político y económico, que se refiere a aquello que es compartido y beneficioso para el conjunto de los miembros de una comunidad. El bien común es expresión de la voluntad colectiva, se logra a través de una participación co-responsable y puede disfrutarse tanto individual como colectivamente.
  • Procomún (del término anglosajón commons), un modelo de gobernanza de los bienes comunes. La manera de producir y gestionar en comunidad bienes y recursos tangibles e intangibles, que nos pertenecen a todas, o mejor, que no pertenecen a nadie, como por ejemplo: las semillas, internet, el folclore, las lenguas, el agua potable, el genoma o el espacio público. Gracias a la ética hacker y las licencias libres, el procomún se hace extensible a cada vez más ámbitos vitales a través del diseño de productos y sistemas libres y abiertos.
  • Auzolan, una forma propia de trabajo vecinal en beneficio de la comunidad, basada en la co-responsabilidad, la participación y la colaboración comunitaria. Además de servir para el mantenimiento y desarrollo de recursos comunes, contribuye a fortalecer el sentimiento de pertenencia, la confianza y el reconocimiento entre los miembros de la comunidad.

We put forward new systems and methods for addressing challenges related to strategic, organisational and social innovation. We primarily work on projects where the public, the community and private sectors are interlinked.

Our work proposal is situated midway between the cultural, the social, the economic and the political, addressing it from a CO and TRANS perspective. We offer a mix of tailor-made services, based on a combination of various means, such as research, consulting, design, support and training. The objective is to apply creativity through collective intelligence, to move from the abstract to the concrete, developing ideas in the form of products, services and tangible experiences.

ColaBoraBora are a small tribe of enthusiastic, critical, curious and engaged people. A group with diverse training and experience (arts, design, economics, sustainability, facilitating, marketing etc). A team of professionals who work in a transdisciplinary way, remixing practices and knowledge.

Designing for the common good

At ColaBoraBora, we think of design as a set of processes for creating solutions and addressing opportunities, through distinctive, significant and efficient planning and organisation of resources, processes, infrastructures and/or people. We strive for a transformative design, a free and open design, a design for all, which continually questions how we live and how we could live. A community-orientated design, understood as a social group in a situated context, with certain characteristics or shared objectives, whether it is a company, a neighbourhood, a user group, a government, etc.

A design in which the ‘WHATS’ and the ‘HOWS’ address the increasingly pertinent idea of the common good, through a pro-common and collective way.

  • The common good, an ancient philosophical, political and economic concept which refers to that which is shared and beneficial for all the members of a community. The common good is an expression of the collective will, it is achieved through co-responsible participation and can be enjoyed both individually and collectively.
  • Pro-common (from the Anglo-Saxon commons), a governance model of the commons. The way to produce and manage tangible and intangible goods and resources in a community, that belong to all of us, or rather, belong to no-one, for example: seeds, internet, folklore, languages, drinking water, the genome or the public space. Thanks to hacker ethics and free licences, the pro-common is extended to more and more vital areas through the design of free and open products and systems.
  • Auzolan, a form of ‘neighbourhood work’ for the benefit of the community, based on co-responsibility, participation and community collaboration. As well as providing the maintenance and development of common resources, it helps to strengthen the feeling of belonging, trust and recognition amongst the members of the community.

A little bit of what we have done so far:

A lo largo de nuestra trayectoria hemos diseñado y desarrollado infinidad de proyectos; desde la facilitación de pequeños procesos puntuales, al diseño y puesta en marcha de proyectos de larga duración con una gran complejidad e implicando a numerosos agentes. A continuación enumeramos una selección de proyectos, que sirva para ilustrar nuestro trabajo

  • Diseño de entornos para la innovación ciudadana y emprendimiento social como HARROBItik HARROBIra con BilbaoEkintza, El Far con BarcelonaActiva, What if…? con ZaragozaActiva o #1CeS1FINDE con el Ayuntamiento de Sant Boi.
  • Programa de formación sobre emprendimiento social colectivo para mujeres en situación de vulnerabilidad Juntas Emprendemos, con la Diputación de Bizkaia en el marco de RedKOOP.
  • Conceptualización, diseño y puesta en marcha del Centro de Innovación Social EUTOKIA con Bilbao Ekintza.
  • Diseño y puesta en marcha del programa Bherria, impulsado por el Gobierno Vasco y dirigido a fomentar nuevas formas de participación y relaciones entre la administración pública y las iniciativas ciudadanas.
  • Conceptualización y el diseño del programa cultural la Capital Cultural Europea DSS2016EU con el Ayuntamiento de Donostia.
  • Puesta en marcha de la red social de crowdfunding Goteo como parte de la Fundación Goteo, de su nodo local GoteoEuskadi con a Irekia del Gobierno Vasco, así como las convocatorias dirigidas específicamente a proyectos de salud CROWDSASUNA con a Innobasque.

Participamos impartiendo conferencias o talleres en numerosos foros como TED x Madrid, NESI Forum, Labmeeting, Open Design Conference, Librecon, Arquitecturas Colectivas, Think Commons, Zinc Shower, etc.

Formamos parte activa de numerosas redes y grupos de trabajo colectivo entre las que destacan: Wikitoki, laboratorio de practicas colaborativas; KARRASKAN, red vasca para la innovación en cultura y cultura de la innovación; Eiken+, cluster de las industrias creativas de Euskadi; REAS, red estatal de economía alternativa y solidaria; Goratuz, red de cooperativas pequeñas de Bizkaia; Innobasque, red vasca para la promoción de la innovación; o Espacio Plaza / Sarean, asociación para el desarrollo comunitario desde la acción cultural en el barrio de San Francisco (Bilbao).

Throughout our history, we have designed and developed a wide variety of projects; from the facilitation of small specific processes, to the design and implementation of long-term projects with great complexity and involving numerous parties. A selection of projects, which serve to illustrate our work are mentioned below:

  • Design of environments for citizen innovation and social entrepreneurship such as HARROBItik HARROBIra with BilbaoEkintza, El Far with BarcelonaActiva, What if…? with ZaragozaActiva or #1CeS1FINDE with the city council of Sant Boi.
  • The training programme on collective social entrepreneurship for vulnerable women Juntas Emprendemos, with the provincial council of Bizkaia as part of RedKOOP.
  • Conceptualisation, design and implementation of the Social Innovation Centre EUTOKIA with Bilbao Ekintza.
  • Design and implementation of the programme Bherria, launched by the Basque government and aimed at fostering new forms of participation and relations between public administration and citizen initiatives.
  • Conceptualisation and design of the cultural programme, European Cultural Capital DSS2016EU with the city council of Donostia.
  • The setting up of the crowdfunding social network site, Goteo as part of the Goteo Foundation, of its local host, GoteoEuskadi, with the Basque government, Irekia, as well as the calls directed specifically to health projects CROWDSASUNA with Innobasque.

We take part in lectures or workshops in numerous forums such as TED x Madrid, NESI Forum, Labmeeting, Open Design Conference, Librecon, Collective Architectures, Think Commons, Zinc Shower, etc.

We are an active part of numerous networks and collective work groups, amongst which are: Wikitoki, a laboratory of collaborative practices; KARRASKAN, the Basque network for innovation in culture and culture of innovation; Eiken +, a group of creative industries within the Basque Country; REAS, a state network for alternative and solidarity-based economy; Goratuz, a network of small cooperatives in Bizkaia; Innobasque, a Basque network for the promotion of innovation; or Espacio Plaza/Sarean, an association for community development based on cultural action in the San Francisco neighbourhood (Bilbao).

Are Co-operatives the Future? with Rebecca Evans AM

Ahead of our Basque Country events we caught up with Rebecca Evans AM, the Welsh Government Minister for Housing and Regeneration. She had plenty of positivity about co-operative organisations and the Basque Country’s innovation. She mentioned how the leasehold sector could benefit from co-operative approaches, and that co-operative organisations are able to think more imaginatively about the problems that organisations are facing in modern society. She thought there was plenty of good practice over at the Basque Country, that we could learn from here in Wales, and also that we might be able to offer some insider knowledge to the Basque Country, too. Her message of co-operation and mutual benefits is exactly what Chris Bolton took from his trip to the Basque Country to learn more about their co-operatives.

Join us at our Basque Country events this December to learn more. Follow this link: https://tinyurl.com/waobasque18

Are Co-Operatives The Future? With Derek Walker

We caught up with Derek Walker to chat about the Basque Country and co-operatives ahead of our conference this December. We’re really excited to be able to bring over some fantastic representatives from some of the region’s most successful, innovative and future-thinking organisations. In this very special event, public services are invited to learn all about their innovative and new approaches to challenges we have in common, and how the Basque Country puts future generations at the heart of their economy.

Derek Walker is the CEO of Wales Co-operative Centre. They’re partnering with us to bring you #WAOBasque, a conference dedicated to all things Basque Country. Register here: https://tinyurl.com/basquetick

Co-operatives: Are They The Future? With Leanne Wood AM

We caught up with Leanne Wood AM and had a chat about co-operatives and the Basque Country economy, ahead of our #WAOBasque event. She says that co-operatives offer communities stability in times of economic hardship, and allow people to have a stake in their work, incentivising productivity at work. If you’re interested in learning more about co-operative organisations, join us for our webinar on Monday 3rd December via the link: https://tinyurl.com/webasq

We’d also like to invite you to attend our conference on Tuesday 4th December, in partnership with Wales Co-Operative Centre. Register here: https://tinyurl.com/basquetick

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