Category Archives: Partnership

Community Impact Initiative C.I.C.

The Community Impact Initiative C.I.C. (The Cii) @TheCiiUK is a forward-thinking social enterprise based in South Wales that strives to develop and deliver innovative solutions to persistent problems and areas of need in our local communities that lead to a range of personal, social and economic benefits.

Established by Trystan Jones, The Cii is a not-for-profit organisation, where income generated is for the sole purpose of its activities, with profits re-invested to enhance and continue its community initiatives, allowing it to strive towards its vision and mission:

  • Vision: A future where our communities flourish and prosper.
  • Mission: To improve our communities through innovative solutions, providing opportunities for marginalised individuals to make a meaningful contribution to society.

The Community Legacy Project is a recent Big Lottery Wales and Screwfix Foundation funded project that supports unemployed, marginalised and disadvantaged individuals to develop construction and employability skills through the purchase, renovation and sale of properties that are empty or in disrepair across Wales. In a nutshell, properties are purchased by the Community Impact Initiative, generally through auction, renovated through the project activities and sold back into the housing market.

We employ a project team who support our participants to learn and develop construction skills whilst carrying out the renovation of the property. Through these activities, the participants develop a wide range of skills, improve their levels of confidence, achieve qualifications, experience voluntary work placements and move closer towards accessing employment. In turn, these properties that were once empty or in disrepair are brought back into the housing market, reducing the effects of anti-social behaviour, crime and vandalism, and the detrimental impact this can have on our communities.

Each property renovation is a unique partnership between the Community Impact Initiative and a support organisation local to the property, such as a charity, housing association, school, EOTAS provision, HMP or probation services. Following purchase, we engage with potential organisations to identify who would be interested working with us.

These support organisations refer individuals to the project who they feel would benefit from the support provided, ranging from those with an interest in construction, to those lacking in self-confidence.

Project examples could include:

  • Partnering with a local charity who support individuals that have an interest in accessing the construction industry, however have barriers to doing so, such as a lack of experience or not holding the relevant mandatory qualifications. In this case, the project will allow the participants to experience the construction industry in a supportive, empathetic environment, develop a range of skills across several trades, and achieve the CSCS card which is mandatory for site work. Therefore, in this case the project will provide the perfect stepping stone for a career in construction.
  • Partnering with a local domestic abuse support organisation who supports women lacking in confidence and self-esteem due to their backgrounds. In this instance, we support participants who do not necessarily have ambitions to access employment in the construction industry but want to develop skills that they can use in their own homes. The outcomes of this project are focused on improving levels of self-esteem, confidence and motivation rather than employment.
  • Partnering with a local school who want to provide their pupils with an insight into the construction industry and how school subjects and studies can relate to employment in this industry. In this case we’ll support pupils to experience the construction environment and get a taster of the various trades and skills prior to them having to decide on a future career path. Experiencing the work environment allows pupils to understand what qualifications are required during their statutory education journey, providing an insight that will support them in engaging with their studies.

As these examples illustrate, each property will be its own unique project within the Community Legacy Project sphere where the outcomes are tailored to the needs of the individuals being supported.

In August 2018 our first project property was bought in Merthyr Tydfil. During the purchase process we engaged with Merthyr Valley Homes, a housing association who support thousands of people in the local area.

In early September 2018 10 participants started the project. A mix of gender and ages, each came from a different background, with varying degrees of construction and employment experience. However, they all had a common goal of learning the skills and gaining the qualifications required to access employment in the construction industry. Through this particular renovation they will experience a range of construction areas including plastering, carpentry, painting & decorating, kitchen/bathroom fitting, tiling, flooring and gardening.

Following referral to the project each participant completed a Health & Safety induction and a training plan outlining their SMART targets. Our project staff monitor progress on a daily basis and carry out formals reviews fortnightly to ensure progress against targets.

At the time of writing all participants have engaged well with the project and have shown a fantastic ability to learn and improve upon the various trade skills being taught. Over the next few weeks we will be inviting local construction companies to open days for them to witness the participants demonstrating their skills with a view to them offering placements, apprenticeships and employment.

The impact of the Community Legacy Project is far-reaching and not limited to the outcomes achieved by the participants. It is our intention that the project continues to grow and develop and deliver outcomes on a personal, community and economic level:

  • Personal – supporting individuals to develop a range of skills, achieve qualifications and support their progression into employment.
  • Community – These personal outcomes will support our local communities through increasing income due to increased employment rates, allowing these communities to flourish.
  • Economic – the economic impact is potentially far-reaching, in such ways as reducing anti-social behaviour, reducing pressure on specialist support organisations and developing a workforce that’s aligned to future property and construction developments.

A model that’s currently in its infancy, it is our intention that by utilising the Big Wales Lottery and Screwfix Foundation funding the model can become self-sustaining in the long-term.

We’re extremely proud to be delivering an innovative approach that is unlike any other in Wales and we look forward to supporting our communities to prosper through these activities.

 

 

Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog

cwmni bro

Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog is a pioneering development in Wales; a network of successful community enterprises which have come together to co-operate under the banner of one overarching community company.

The company operates in the communities of Blaenau Ffestiniog, Trawsfynydd and Penrhyndeudraeth and nearby villages, which between them have a population of about 8,000 people. Blaenau Ffestiniog was the second largest town in north Wales in 1900 with a population of about 13,000 people, but as the slate industry declined the population had more than halved by the year 2000. Blaenau Ffestiniog is now one of the economically poorest areas in the United Kingdom. Despite the de-industrialisation a cultural legacy survives, upon which an integrated and holistic model of community development is being pioneered by Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog.

There are more social enterprises per head of the population in Bro Ffestiniog than anywhere else in Wales. Thirteen of the area’s social enterprises have come together under the banner of Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog. The members are:

Antur Stiniog     www.anturstiniog.com

Barnardos    www.barnardos.org.uk/cabanbach.htm

Cyfeillion Croesor     www.orielcafficroesoratcnicht.co.uk

CellB/Gwallgofiaid    www.cellb.org

Cwmni Opra Cymru    www.opra.cymru

Deudraeth Cyf.    www.deudraethcyf.org.uk

GISDA    www.gisda.org

Seren    www.seren.org    Gwesty Seren www.gwestyseren.org

Pengwern Cymunedol www.ypengwern.co.uk

Trawsnewid

Y Dref Werdd www.drefwerdd.cymru

Ysgol y Moelwyn/Canolfan Hamdden sg@moelwyn.gwynedd.sch.uk

The diverse activities of these ventures include running two hotels, shops, restaurants, cafes, tourist information centre, leisure centre, arts and crafts workshop, mountain biking centre, retail, horticulture, energy production projects, developing allotments, educational and cultural activities, opera, environmental projects, energy saving promotion, reducing food waste, recycling, river cleaning, work with adults with supplementary needs, youth work including to do with homelessness and teaching environmental and media skills.

The company’s aims are to promote co-operation between the constituent social enterprises, nurture new social enterprises and work with small business enterprises which are anchored in the community. All of this is in order to promote the environmental, economic, social and cultural development of the area.

Between them, Cwmni Bro’s members employ some 150 people. A recent analysis of their economic impact showed that a high percentage of their income comes from trading. Further, this income largely stayed and circulated in the area. For every pound received as a grant or loan, a significant proportion, 98 pence, was spent locally, mainly on wages. Of the 1.5 million pounds spent on wages 53% is retained locally. Nearly half the expenditure on goods and services was local and thus circulated money in the area.

In August 2018, a new venture was launched, BROcast Ffestiniog, a community digital broadcasting service, aimed at facilitating communication between the social enterprises and the community and within the community (See BROcast Ffestiniog-YOUTube and facebook.com/BROcastFfestiniog ).

The integrated and holistic model of community development which Cwmni Bro is pioneering offers a pattern which other communities can emulate. Cwmni Bro resonds positively to invitations to visit other communities to explain what has been achieved in Bro Ffestiniog and to discuss the general potential of this model of community development.

The model presents a challenge to government in Wales; to develop policies and appropriate support in order to facilitate the adoption of this model of community development across Wales.

CONTACT

Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog, 49 Stryd Fawr, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd. LL41 3AG

CwmniBro@CwmniBro.Cymru      07799 353588

Loftus Village Association

Alison and Bron from Pobl Group have blogged for us ahead of our Building Resilient Communities event on the Loftus Village Association – an intentionally created community that they have been a part of from the beginning.  Come and join us at the event to find out more about the successes and challenges that this community, and Pobl, have had during their journey together.

The Loftus Village Association journey began in 2014 when Charter Housing (now Pobl Group) began the process of trying to find 19 households keen to move into Loftus Garden Village under a shared ownership scheme, and also at the same time to become co-operators.

It was a curious top down approach to setting up an intentional community.

Generally speaking Co-housing projects begin with a group of people who for various reasons want to share space and some time together, whereas we had the homes, but no people!

We had carried out some market research and identified a group of people who were interested in the idea back in 2012/13.  So we began contacting those folk, and interestingly one of those did see the idea through to the end, and 6 years on is now on the Co-op’s management committee.

A lot of people liked the idea of living in Loftus Garden Village.  It’s a particularly beautiful new housing development, and that wasn’t a hard sell.

Also most people liked the idea of living in a street where they know all their neighbours before moving in, had a sense of community, felt safe and enjoyed  living in a visually attractive environment…..so ‘Greener, Cleaner, Leaner‘ living soon became LVA’s values.  However it was all the legal/financial paraphernalia that went with it that many found a stumbling block.

Finding a financial and legal model was a headache for Pobl as an organisation and also for our would-be co-operators.  We examined a few legal and financial models before coming up with a version of our own that felt right for us and also the co-operators.  That done the co-operators had many months of working together to draft a management agreement, as well as months of training sessions on how to work together co-operatively.   The management agreement has given the Co-op the responsibility of collecting the rent, being involved in resales and ‘staircasing up’ (to own a higher percentage) and taking on the early stages of any neighbour complaints.  (none so far).

We lost people, we gained people and eventually ended up with 19 households comprising a complete mix of ages, numbers, and backgrounds.  For some it was their first home of their own.  Being a member of the Co-op meant that you could buy with only a 30% share, making it more affordable than most shared ownership schemes.  For others they were starting out again after changes in circumstances, and for some it was a home for retirement.

To keep morale going while waiting for the builders to ‘hurry up and get on with it’ our co-operators enjoyed fun tasks like choosing their kitchen and bathroom, tiles and flooring, discussing what to do with their community garden and building  (a garage), and generally getting to know one another.

There was an application system to ensure we found people who did genuinely want to be part of a community and support one another, rather than just live in a nice house. Would be co-operators had to fill in a section asking them to indicate how much time they could offer each week or month.

Two years ago the street moved in…bit by bit, with great excitement.  There was a huge amount of camaraderie with lots of ‘lending a hand’ with the trials of moving in.

The Co-op has achieved a beautiful community garden, two shared spaces, an office and a garage where garden tools are stored and kept.  They have held numerous social get togethers (often involving the wider community), including Carols by the Christmas Tree, Halloween, Easter celebrations, a Play Street event, where the road was closed for children to play.  Household costs i.e. boiler servicing and energy charges, are reduced via collective bargaining, and they have a reduced Carbon footprint from other streets by sharing power tools.

They have just held their third annual general meeting.  It hasn’t been a bed of roses, and it won’t ever be.  They complain about one another sometimes, complain about Pobl, and generally don’t really want to do the boring stuff.

But they are a community, and they certainly appreciate the power of that, and wouldn’t want to change it.

GSWAG: A Collaborative Partnership

Partnership working is the way forward for public service delivery. Partnership is hard work, we know that. But the benefits to public services are huge.

We recently got to hear about Gwent Strategic Wellbeing Assessment Group’s (“GSWAG”) approach, so we went along to one of their meetings.

We heard how they are working in partnership to achieve more by learning from each other, by collaborating on the same agenda items. They’re working under the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, putting some of the five ways of working in practice. They’re able to avoid duplication, share their expertise by utilising a common language and giving each other the space to ensure they can discuss areas of contention in a constructive way. They recognise that by working in partnership, they can go far further and achieve far more than they would alone. You can find out more by getting in touch with Bernadette Elias or Lyndon Puddy.

Safer Newport – a local area focus plan

Ahead of our event ‘Working in partnership: Holding up the mirror’, Tracy McKim @Lady_McK from Newport City Council, tells us about the partnership between the Council and the Police following a crisis in the Pill area of Newport. Come along to our events in Cardiff and Llanrwst to see Tracy’s workshop where, along with Gwent Police, she will be discussing in more detail the partnership working to help improve this area of Newport.

OneNewport logo

Following serious public disturbances in the Pill area in the Autumn of 2016 the Council and Gwent Police led a partnership response known as the Pill Area Focus Plan.  The Council’s Policy and Partnership team brought together key stakeholders working in Pill including Gwent Police, the Council’s Youth Service, City Services, Environmental Health, and Trading Standards services along with partners including Newport City Homes and South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and a number of other service providers and put in place a wide range of interventions with the aim of:

  • Improving the wellbeing of the Pill community
  • Addressing the crime and ASB issues that concern the community
  • Building the community’s trust and confidence in the key partners
  • Promoting community involvement, a sense of pride and empowerment

Map-Pill

Key actions

The partners working in Pill are focusing on the key issues identified by local people.  Actions to date include:

  • A Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) was put in place by the Council to give the Police new powers to tackle three of the most common forms of anti-social behaviour, namely street drinking, use of psychoactive substances and anti-social gangs.
  • Seven ‘Pill Action Days’ have now been held with Council officers working alongside the Police and South Wales Fire and Rescue to enforce the PSPO, ensure private rented accommodation is safe and that traders, licensed premises and taxi companies are acting responsibly. The Action Day held in June also involved the Heddlu Bach/Mini Police (from Pill Primary School) in raising speed awareness and promoting recycling.
  • Gwent Police Operations Jewel and Gravitas targeting drug supply have resulted in 61 arrests and multiple convictions centred on addresses in Pill. Bikes used by drugs runners have been seized and destroyed.
  • An anti-gang message drama production has been shown in Newport Secondary Schools with a positive reception from pupils and staff.
  • A range of diversionary activities for young people have been delivered by the Youth Service, Newport Live and community organisations e.g. ‘The Bigger Picture’.
  • One of only three Mini Police projects, currently in Wales, is now running in Pill Primary School with an aim of building trust between the police and the community and developing young people’s learning, skills and experience.
  • The Council and other partners have supported the regular community clean-ups organised by Pride in Pill releasing staff to volunteer alongside local people.
  • A diversionary pathway is in place for sex workers to ensure that they are offered the multi- agency support they need, recognising that they may be victims of exploitation whilst also using enforcement powers against persistent offenders and kerb crawlers.
  • A joined-up approach to environmental enforcement has been developed by the Council e.g. closure notices for problem properties in Pill and planning enforcement for an unauthorised dwelling in the area.
  • Environmental Health and the Fire Service have undertaken several joint inspections of HMO properties and have identified unlicensed HMOs as well as safety defects.
  • Newport City Homes are progressing the £10m regeneration of their properties in Pill which will help to ‘design out crime’. They will shortly be opening a Community Hub in the Francis Close area to accommodate local groups and services, with the ‘Bigger Picture’ youth organisation based there.


Improved public perception

At the outset of the Pill project in January 2017, a community safety survey was undertaken so that residents could identify the issues that were of greatest concern, and to establish a baseline from which progress could be measured.  A follow-up survey was undertaken in October 2017 and the results indicate encouraging progress against key public perception measures.

  • The number of people who say they feel very unsafe walking alone after dark has fallen from 64% to 41%  (-36% improvement)
  • People who say that crime and ASB is more of a problem than last year has fallen from 43% to 26%  (-40% improvement)
  • People who say that they are satisfied/very satisfied with the service provided by the police and their partners has increased from 22% to 36%  (+63% improvement)
  • People who say that the service provided by the Police and their partners has got better compared to last year has increased from 15% to 38%  (+153% improvement)

Next steps

We are mindful of the need to make sure that the early progress is sustained over the long term.  All key partners have indicated that they intend to maintain their focus on Pill, in terms of neighbourhood policing resources, holding regular Pill Action days, enforcement activities and improving engagement with the local community.  The Pill Area Focus work programme will now be developed through the Public Service Board’s Wellbeing Plan interventions and Safer Newport. The Pill Area Focus work forms a model for the way in which we will need to work moving forward and in line with the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act – with a focus on integrated wellbeing goals, through collaborative working, with the involvement of communities and mindful of preventative approaches and long-term impacts.

Holding up the mirror together

Ruth MarksAhead of our seminar ‘Working in partnership: Holding up the mirror’, Ruth Marks @wcvaruth, Chief Executive of WCVA, has blogged for us about the importance of working together to better support individuals and communities across Wales.

Looking at life from a different perspective is good for all of us.

Over the summer holidays we sometimes get the chance to visit different places, catch-up with family and friends and make new memories. We also look forward to the autumn and moving ahead with our plans and ambitions.

As Chief Executive of WCVA, one of my ambitions is to extend the meaningful and impactful links between charities and community groups (the third sector) with local government, health and Welsh Government.

Being able to do this in partnership with the Wales Audit Office’s Good Practice Exchange and Academi Wales is a great opportunity.

On the 19 and 27 September there are two events in Cardiff and Llanrwst where partners can come together to look at how we can work together to better focus our efforts on supporting individuals and communities across Wales.

I imagine that there will be some key messages around a common language, respect, processes, tensions and resources. I think the most important aspect is to continue to not only hold up the mirror, but to polish it and make sure we are looking at ourselves and each other with fresh eyes, renewed energy and ambition to do the best we possibly can.

blog imageBy working together, respecting each other’s strengths, collaborating fairly, recognising the real value of volunteers, and understanding the legal responsibilities of charity trustees, we should be able to deliver better services.

From libraries, childcare, GP surgeries, schools, bin collection, swimming pools and hospital treatment – services are provided for all of us and we are all likely to need some type of public service in the future.

Who provides these services, on what basis and in what arrangements needs constant thought, discussion and regular review with the people who use them.

These seminars will be an invaluable opportunity to hold up the mirror – together.

Circular Economy in Wales

circular economyThe Good Practice Exchange is always looking out for innovation and interesting ways of working, so when we found out about the Circular Economy Research Group’s work, we were keen to share.

Dr Gavin Bunting is an Associate Professor and Deputy Director for Innovation and Engagement in the College of Engineering at Swansea University He has written a blog ahead of the RCE Cymru ‘Good To Share’ event we are working in partnership with, to be held in Bangor and Cardiff.

The group has been involved in some really interesting research on how we can reduce waste in Wales, and create a circular economy, which could see Wales benefiting by £2 billion a year. It’s ideas like this that are going to shape Wales for future generations, with sustainable development at the heart of their work. Have a read of his blog below to learn how the Circular Economy Research and Innovation Group for Wales have worked collaboratively, making strides towards achieving the goals of the Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015


The UK generates 200 million tonnes of waste ever year with almost a quarter of that going to landfill, whilst many of the resources needed for critical applications such as power generation, communications and medical equipment are becoming more scarce.

In addition, most of us have come across the scenario where it’s cheaper to buy a new printer, washing machine, phone, etc than it is to repair or upgrade it. Why should this be the case?

One solution to tackle this excess waste and obsolescence is to move to a circular economy where products are designed:

  • To last longer
  • To be upgraded, repaired and re-used
  • To enable easy recovery and recycling of constituent materials they contain at the end of the product’s life

The potential economic benefits to Wales of operating a circular economy have been estimated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to be £2bn annually, for the two sectors of: medium-lived complex goods, e.g. automobile, electronic equipment and machinery; and fast moving consumer goods, e.g. food and beverages, clothing and personal care.

Moving towards a circular economy requires a multi-disciplinary approach, encompassing research and innovation into areas such as: designing products for refurbishment and re-use; developing new materials and extracting useful resources from natural materials; developing new business models that incentivise the manufacturer to design a product for longevity; and investigating how can we communicate the opportunities and challenge perceptions of circular economy.

We have a lot of this expertise in Welsh universities and by working together we can address circular economy challenges. I therefore worked with with colleagues in the Higher Education for Future Generations Group, Wales, the Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) Wales, the Welsh Government and Swansea University to set up the ‘Circular Economy Research and Innovation Group for Wales’.

I therefore worked with with colleagues in the Higher Education for Future Generations Group, Wales, the Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) Wales, the Welsh Government and Swansea University to set up the ‘Circular Economy Research and Innovation Group for Wales’.

The proposed aim of the group is to connect complementary expertise and experiences to facilitate circular economy innovation and research in Wales, achieved through the following objectives:

  • Provide a forum to share good practice and facilitate knowledge exchange between academia, business and policy makers.
  • Through collaboration, increase circular economy research capacity in Welsh institutions.
  • Engage with industry to develop industry led research.
  • Provide evidence to inform Government policy and programmes.
  • Develop an online forum to facilitate exchange of good practice, funding opportunities, news and events.
  • Showcase the network’s circular economy outputs internationally, thus supporting the development of international partnerships.
  • Collaborate on curriculum development and training.
  • Work with the Global Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) network (acknowledged by the United Nations University) to share learning and good practice at regional, national and international levels.

I chaired the inaugural meeting of the group on the 8th June, where we had representatives from: Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, South Wales, Swansea, and Trinity Saint David universities. Dr Andy Rees, Head of Waste, Welsh Government, set the scene providing some useful statistics and outlining Welsh Government policy instruments for innovation in the circular economy.

It was a productive meeting, where we discussed ideas on how we could collaborate on research, teaching, knowledge transfer and informing government policy. When it came to research it was thought that that we shouldn’t just focus on circular economy specific calls for research funding – there are opportunities for circular economy to add novelty to a wide range of research areas. It was also highlighted that we need to look at how we improve communication of the circular economy to industry and public in order to encourage innovation and change. In particular, linking to competitiveness when communicating with industry is important, as well as focusing on sectors important to the Welsh economy.  The British Standard for Circular Economy, BS-8001, could provide a useful lever to engage with companies and existing academia-industry networks such as ASTUTE can provide an established route for knowledge transfer.

A core aim of the group is to encourage collaboration; this will initially be facilitated by providing a directory of expertise, so members can easily identify potential collaborators for research. In addition, we will also set up a regular email bulletin and a forum for members to discuss areas of interest. To keep a group such as this working needs good secretariat support, which Ann Stevenson from Cardiff University, has kindly offered to provide.

Moving forward, we will hold another meeting of the group in the autumn and will run sessions at the RCE Cymru Conference on the 8th November 2018, in Cardiff, where we hope to have some inspirational and productive discussions.
dr gavin.jpg

If you are interested in being part of the Group, or would like to find out more please contact Dr Gavin Bunting on g.t.m.bunting@swansea.ac.uk, 01792 602802.