Mike Hedges (Swansea East):Further to the news that Cymorth Cymru will receive a Welsh Government grant to explore the growth of third sector, social enterprise and cooperative models of care delivery, will the Minister highlight how service users and those working in the sector will be involved in the research? (WAQ65539)

Gwenda Thomas:Cymorth Cymru is conducting a feasibility study to identify how a representative body for social value providers of care services in Wales will enable Welsh Government and Local Authorities to support the aim set out in the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill of promoting social enterprise, co-operatives, user led services and the third sector.

This follows on from the Health and Social Care Committee call for a greater role for not for profit care providers and its recommendation of a representative body as a way to achieve this.

Cymorth Cymru is seeking to work in partnership with stakeholders. A fundamental aspect of this project will be identifying opportunities for meaningful service user and carer contribution to this discussion.


We look forward to hearing from Cymorth Cymru


Comment (0) Hits: 2494

Welsh Co-operative and Mutuals Commission

With active support from the Bevan Foundation we gather the Commissions report and recommendations are now with the Business Minister.

We have requested that all Commission evidence be put on a public website. 

Our wish for 2014 is that recommendations from the Commission are not focused on government, rather on what the co-operative movement can do, with appropriate support and resources. 


Comment (0) Hits: 2200

Hilda Smith’s biography

David Smith writes: some may know I am busy working with Labour historian Christine Collette on Hilda’s biography.

Just to put to put the Commissions work in context, I offer a treasure discovered in Hilda’s note book from 1960, which we hope will be reflected in the Commissions recommendations and governments response.

“Democracy: a key word. Just as (Robert) Owen couldn’t make a success because he wanted to organise top down, Dr William King (Brighton) showed how co-operation could be made to work by ordinary people (through a series of practical newsletters about how to set up consumer co-ops).

This also has to work from the bottom up, with backing from the people. Good leaders – Owen was not. Besides all this you need effort of ordinary people, who are practical, yet idealists who know what they are trying to achieve and why. Just as pioneers did over a 150 years ago. They succeeded why shouldn’t we?” (My comments in brackets)

Comment (0) Hits: 14293

Social Cooperatives - Community-based elder care video: Theory into Practice workshop with international co-operative consultant John Restakis – 1 July 2013

With excellent support from Terry Dimmick, Riverside Arts Media, Cardiff, we now have a 24-minute video of John’s presentation. 

This had its first showing at a recent Vale of Glamorgan Over 50‘s Forum in November. It will have its world premiere in Manila at a cooperative workshop arranged with David Smith

Distribution details to be made available in the New Year. 

Comment (0) Hits: 2070

‘Newport Social Care Co-operative: Taking the plunge’

Presentation by David Smith, Wales Progressive Co-operators, to Workshop, 1st July 2013

It is good that we meet in Co-operative Fortnight and that we follow up work undertaken during 2012 UN Year of Co-operatives.

Let me say something about myself. I see myself as a change agent, collaborating with others to make a difference.

I see how we take responsibility and support older people as being the hallmark of a good society.

For me the personal is the political. Two short stories:

On discharge from hospital last July my 93 year old mother, Hilda experienced totally inappropriate reablement ‘care’ at the ghastly hour of 7.30am when showering support had been requested. My initial thoughts were … what a shower. The second was we could design and deliver a much better public service.

The second experience was in March 2013. In the weekend before Hilda’s death, we both discovered that a valued third sector home care worker, regularly worked for free one weekend in every month. Surely, we can do better than this?

Let me speak about our five-year coop journey in Wales.

Comment (0) Hits: 2570

Details: Social Cooperatives - Community based elder care: Theory into Practice workshop with international co-operative consultant John Restakis – 1 July 2013

Registration 9am for 9:30am start - 1pm   AGENDA click here

During 2012 UN Year of Co-operatives we were able to make useful progress in raising awareness and understanding of social co-operatives in Wales with Jean-Pierre Girard (Quebec) and John Restakis (Executive Director of the British Columbia Co-operative Association) speaking at 14 public meetings, which involved 750 participants. We are taking advantage of John Restakis being in Wales to arrange this workshop.
John Restakis
Title: ‘Social Cooperatives - Community based elder care: Theory into Practice’
Date: Monday July 1 2013, 9.30am – 1pm
Venue: Atrium building, University of South Wales, Cardiff,
CF24 2FN

Workshop Chair: Professor Marcus Longley (Wales Institute Health and Social Care)
Session 1: Newport Social Care Co-operative Feasibility Study
This session will highlights underlying issues: how the social co-op form is different, what and how is be to be delivered and the business model required to make it work. A short presentation is followed by a roundtable conversation between Mick Taylor (Mutual Advantage), David Smith (Welsh Progressive Co-operators), Kate Thomas (Health and Social Care Facilitator, Newport & Monmouthshire, GAVO) and John Restakis (BCCA). Refreshments / Networking
Session 2: Welsh Developments in a wider context
Co-operatives are part of a huge international movement. This session will increase our understanding of the potential for developing a National Co-operative Elder Care Programme
and the adaptation of franchising models for the provision of social care by local communities, drawing upon practical international experience. This will take the form of a conversation between John Restakis (BCCA), Mick Taylor (Mutual Advantage), President, Cymru/Wales Association of Directors of Social Services), the Older Peoples Commissioner.
·     Co-operators and potential co-operators and Co-operative organisations

·     Local Authority and NHS Commissioners, ADSS and WG officials

·     Elected members and non-executive directors

·     Older People’s organisations

·     Advocacy organisations

·     Citizens organisations

·     Co-pro network

·     Co-op and Mutuals Commissioners

·     Others who share our approach to member-controlled enterprises

Please register your interest at…..

Space is limited and to ensure a balanced audience we will confirm attendance by June 25th 2013.

Reservations: click here  or email ? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Or telephone……………

To view, comment on, or download the background papers sent out with the flyers, click here

Comment (0) Hits: 2595

Elder Action Programme – the role of Social Co-operatives: Member Controlled Enterprises (MCEs)

To download this document as Word, please click here

To download a separate briefing document as a PDF, please click here

5 March 2013

Dear Colleague

Elder Action Programme – the role of Social Co-operatives: Member Controlled Enterprises (MCEs)

We welcome the proposed duty to promote and support the development of co-operative and social enterprises in the draft Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Bill. In moving this forward, it would be very helpful to get a better understanding of your views

To be clear, we view Social Co-operatives as MCEs  - - operating according to internationally accepted standards, which provide social and related services, run for, and by, local members.

We have been very busy over the past 18 months, engaged in successfully stimulating interest in social co-operatives in Wales, with support from international experts. This has included meetings with Ministers, Assembly Members, senior officials and 14 public events involving over 750 people across Wales during 2012 UN Year of Co-operatives, with support from a wide range of organisations.  

Welsh Governments Co-operative and Mutuals Commission is a good indication of serious intent, underpinned by the proposed new duties to promote co-operatives and user-led services in the draft Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Bill.  

In particular, our concern has been with achieving the availability of new, and improved quality services, and how we get ideas into action in creating member controlled enterprises, providing services required by their members, where citizens, as service users, workers, carers, families and friends as volunteers, are at the heart of representing a ‘community of interests’.

In preparing our evidence for the Commission, we are very interested in understanding how you and your organisation might be able to work with this internationally well-established organisational method of providing services.

  1. Could you suggest any way in which MCEs could usefully work alongside your organisation?
  2. Could you suggest any particular services in which MCEs could support other areas of service you are involved with?

Currently, we are also working with a local authority in preparing a joint report, which will go to their Executive in April 2013. We would be happy to share this with you, alongside evidence we shall present to the above Commission. We look forward to hearing from you on (01633) 266781, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you for your assistance.

Yours sincerely

David Smith


Comment (0) Hits: 2643
  •  Start 
  •  Prev 
  •  Next 
  •  End 

Page 1 of 7

Hilda Smith, feminist and co-operator

Hilda Smith, MBE - ‘To hope, to dare and do’.

Hilda Smith, a distinguished feminist and co-operator, died recently aged 94. Born and raised in Burnley, she started work at 14 earning six shillings a week in a sewing factory.

Active in the feminist, co-operative and labour movements for over 50 years, her relentless commitment to social and gender equality stands out as an example of selfless commitment to the wellbeing and welfare of others. Hilda constantly fought for the things that she believed in, she was practically minded, compassionate and stoical in her determination.

Hilda started her political career in 1958 serving her apprenticeship in Woking Co-operative Womens Guild. In 1963 she was elected to the Political Purposes Committee of the influential Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society (RACS), becoming its first and only female chair within a short space of time. RACS was the only Society directly affiliated to the Labour Party. She used her influence to ensure that the voice of ordinary women and their families was heard by the Labour Party and Government, with easy access to Labour Ministers and Prime Minsters.

For Hilda, the 'personal was the political'. As a women who entered formal education in her mid forties, Hilda knew from experience that access to social, educational and economic opportunities was a key issue. She worked alongside prominent women MPs and trade union leaders on the National Joint Committee of Working Women (NJC), to bring about the introduction of the Equal Pay Act in 1970, the Sex Discrimination Act in 1975, and the formation of the Equal Opportunities Commission, who took steps to bring this to the fore.

As a patient in a TB sanatorium from 1947 to 1950, Hilda understood the importance of preventive health. She contributed extensively on health policy issues and chaired an NJC national working group which produced a comprehensive ‘Health Care for Women’ policy document (1977), (Virago). As a former nurse and as a social worker, Hilda contributed extensively to the NJC’s evidence to Government inquiries. including the Seebohm Committee (1969), the Finer Commission on Single Parent Families (1974), and the NHS Royal Commission (1979). She championed new and neglected issues and, in 1982, authored an NJC food policy statement which recommended developing a Government policy on food and nutrition to build a national approach to healthy eating. .

Throughout, she was never concerned with courting popularity. In 1981, against wider conventional opinion she supported a National Minimum Wage campaign because she knew this would help millions of women.

In 1990 she received a Shadow Ministry for Women award for “her lifetime, particularly within the Co-operative Movement, fighting for equality for women and for their full representation at all levels of the Labour Movement”.

Her meticulously-kept NJC papers and encouragement led Labour historian Christine Collette to take a fresh look in her book, the ‘Newer Eve’, at what was called the ‘second wave of feminism'.

On retiring to Wales, Hilda continued her work as Health Convenor for the Fawcett Society. She was very active for another 26 years and was awarded an MBE in the 2013 Honours List for “services to frail and vulnerable people”.

It is hard to measure the impact of Hilda Smith upon the way in which we have become committed to equality over the last 40 years. Her quiet determination and relentless passion helped to improve the lives of many people who will never know her name or understand her contribution. She lived life with purpose and with passion to deliver a greater vision of a fair and just society, and helped to make this world a better place.

David Smith

Hilda is survived by her sons Peter and myself, three grandchildren and nine grandchildren

Hilda Smith, born 10 February 1919, died 27 March 2013


Go to top