Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog

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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.

Episode 2: Behaviour Change Insiders

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In Episode Two, we speak to Chris Subbe, who explains the ‘Wee Wheel’ (pictured), introduced to reduce acute kidney injury for hospital patients (1.45 – 7.30 mins). Then, Olwen Williams speaks on the ‘Test no Talk’ approach to improve sexual health screening (8.00 – 21.30 mins). Have a listen below:

Links to resources mentioned in the podcast:

Chris Subbe blog, An audible patient voiceand 1000 Lives Wee Wheel page

1000 Lives Compendium of Outpatient Improvement, report by Olwen Williams on : Self triage innovation in sexual health services – Test no Talk.

 More details at the Wales Audit Office, Good Practice Exchange Podcast Page.

Episode 1: Behaviour Change Insiders

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In Episode One, we speak with Rupert Moon, on working with rugby players at Rugby Gogledd Cymru to develop behaviours that went beyond the playing field (01.30 – 15.20 mins). Then, Professor Judy Hutchings talks to us about the KiVa anti-bullying programme in schools. Learning from Finland on how taking a whole school approach can change behaviours and reduce bullying (15.25 – 27.10 mins). Have a listen below:
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More details about the podcasts are available on our Behaviour Change Insiders Podcast Page.

Links to resources mentioned:

Wales Audit Office, Good Practice Exchange Podcast Page.

Bangor University KiVa Programme

Rupert Moon on sport and improving well being

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.

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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

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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.

Episode 5: Behaviour Change Insiders

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In Episode Five, Barod challenged us to “Swansea’s Got Jargon Busters”. This was run by Barod at the Swansea Behaviour Change Festival. The aim was to change behaviour around how people communicate, by getting them to take part in a game show where you get ‘buzzed out’ for using jargon. This podcast has four parts:

Part 1: Alan from Barod explains how Jargon Busters was developed;

Part 2: Alan and Simon from Barod take Chris from the Good Practice Exchange through an example of Jargon Busters (Chris doesn’t do very well);

Part 3: Anne from Barod talks about the evaluation of Jargon Busters and the impact on the behaviour of the people she spoke to,

Part 4: Ena from the Good Practice Exchange talks about how the experience of Jargon Busters changed her behaviour.

Useful Links:

The Barod website: www.barod.org

Easy Read version of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014

A blog post on the Party Blowers workshop that Barod ran at a Good Practice Exchange event in Cardiff

Episode 6: Behaviour Change Insiders

In Episode Six, Diana Reynolds, the Sustainable Development Change Manager at the Welsh Government, talks about an extensive programme to change how Civil Servants in Wales behave and work in connection with the Well-being of Future Generations Act. (2.50 -21.40 mins)

Then, Anna Sussex from WEDFAN (The Welsh Emergency Department Frequent Attenders Network) follows this with an example of where she has worked with an individual to reduce his A&E visits and keep him out of prison. (21.40- 31.40 mins). Have a listen below…

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Episode 4: Behaviour Change Insiders

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In Episode Four, Professor Dave Snowden explains his ‘Nudge Not Yank’ approach to behaviour change. Using narrative to identify where people are currently, their disposition to change and small nudges that will help then move. (2.45 – 8.15 mins)Andy Middleton talks about Minimum Viable Competency in key areas as a requirement for decision makers involved in trying to implement behaviour change as part of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act. (8.20 – 21.10 mins)Professor Dave Snowden explains his Ritual Dissent Method.  Used to rapidly develop robust solutions that will stand up to examination in the real world. (21.15 – 27 mins). Listen below:

More details are available at the Wales Audit Office, Good Practice Exchange Podcast Page

Episode 3: Behaviour Change Insiders

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In Episode Three, Rachel Lilley from Aberystwyth University talks about changing how people think about energy use at home with Ymlaen Ceredigion. (1.43 – 9.20 mins). Then, Matt Stowe from Cartrefi Conwy explains the environmental improvements at Parc Peulwys Housing Estate, and how they changed behaviours and help gain a Keep Wales Tidy Green Flag award. (10.30 – 25.30 mins). Have a listen below:

Links to resources mentioned in the Podcast:

National Energy Action Cymru details of working with Ymlaen Ceredigion in partnership with Ceredigion County Council and Aberystwyth University including a link to a report from Rachel Lilley.

Parc Peuwlys Management Plan 2015-2020, produced by Cartrefi Conwy.  Report from BBC Wales on Parc Peulwys acheving the Keep Wales Tidy Green Flag award.

More details are available at the Wales Audit Office, Good Practice Exchange Podcast Page