SELF HELP CO-OPERATIVES: Co-operative Solutions for Citizen-Directed Services

A learning consultation to inform & support the transformation of [Cymraeg]

Social Services in Wales

John Restakis

Executive Director, British Columbia Co-operative Association, Canada

pic177Tuesday 26th June – Friday 29th June 2012

John Restakis is a Canadian expert who has promoted and commented on citizen-centred developments in Canada over the last 20 years – further details.

During his 4 day visit to Wales, John will meet Gwenda Thomas AM, the Minister for Social Services, and other Government Ministers and senior officials and Assembly Members. He will speak at the annual conference of the ADSS (Association of Directors of Social Services) on 'Co-operative solutions for social services - The power of reciprocity', and at a joint conference of the Wales Alliance of Citizen-Directed Services and Network 3 (Wales Council for Voluntary Action). He will be talking about Canadian and Italian experiences and exploring how we might promote citizen directed social support services in Wales at a range of events in Cardiff, Neath, Newport, Lampeter, Newtown and Llandudno (details below by event, or full programme PDF Cymraeg/English).

Other participants in these meetings include Jane Hutt AM (Minister for Finance and Leader of the House), Rosemary Butler AM, Adrian Roper (Cartrefi Cymru), David Smith (Wales Progressive Co-operators), Mick Taylor (Mutual Advantage), Rick Wilson (Community Lives Consortium), Neil Wooding (Public Service Management Wales), Jeff Hawkins, Age Concern (Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan) and Wales Progressive Co-operators, senior Social Services officers, trade unionists, and both Conwy and Neath & Port Talbot County Voluntary Councils.

To book places at one of the events, please use the contact details provided below.

Note: some events will need to give priority to local participants but don’t be put off from asking. We plan future activities and events so keep in touch.

More information about John's visit can be found on this web site shortly.

John Restakis M.A. John Restakis has promoted Community Development programmes – in both general and specific fields such as youth activities, literacy and co-operative development – for many years, in both Canada and the USA. He has provided technical advice and assistance for the promotion of co-operative projects in Africa, Sri Lanka and Cuba. He founded the annual Bologna Summer Project for Co-operative Studies in Italy and has published several books and papers and scripted films and videos on co-operative issues. His book 'Humanizing the Economy' (New Society Publishers, British Columbia 2010) is the standard work on Co-operatives in the Age of Capitalism.


26 June:

10.30am – 3.30pm: Neath & Port Talbot CVS, Ty Margaret Thorne, 17 Alfred Street, Neath, Neath Port Talbot, SA11 1EF 
 and hosted by the CVS. Reservations: email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone (01639) 631246. Details: Cymraeg / English

7.45pm - 9.00pm: Malpas Court, Oliphant Circle, Newport, NP20 6AD. Hosted by the Wales Progressive Co-operators & Malpas Ward Councillors. Reservations: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone (01633) 266781, or book on-line here. Details: Cymraeg / English

27 June:

12:30 - 1.30pm [Private Event - Assembly Members and support staff only Conference Room 21 - Details]

2pm – 3.30pm: Media Briefing Room (Senedd entrance), National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, CF99 1AA. Kindly hosted by Rosemary Butler AM and facilitated by Jeff Hawkins, Age Concern Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, and Wales Progressive Co-operators. Details: Cymraeg / English

Reservations: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Telephone 029 205 27180or book on-line here

7.45pm – 9.15pm: The Old Hall, University of Wales, Trinity St. David’s, Lampeter, SA48 7ED. Hosted by the Public Service Management Annual Summer School. Public welcome. Book on-line here. Details: Cymraeg English

Further Details: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone (01633) 266781

28 June:

1.45pm – 4.00pm: Hope Church, Dolfor Road, Newtown, Powys, SY16 1JD. Part of the Wales Alliance of Citizen-Directed Support Services and WCVA’s Network 3 Conference: "Co-operative approaches to social services in Wales", John Restakis & Mick Taylor. Chaired by Adrian Roper, Chief Executive, Cartrefi Cymru. Details: Cymraeg/English

Reservations: or telephone xxxWACDS

29 June:

1.30pm – 3.30pm: Crafnant Room, Venue Cymru, The Promenade, Llandudno, LL30 1BB. Facilitated by Conwy Voluntary Services Council & Wales Progressive Co-operators. Details: Cymraeg/English

Reservations: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone (01492) 534091

For further information & to reserve places at any of these meetings, please use the local contact point.

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Hilda Smith: a tribute by the Chair of the S Wales Area Committee, the Co-operative, 9 April 2013

As I’m sure you are all aware - with the death of Hilda Smith last month at the great age of 94 - Co-operation has lost a great advocate and worker. Hilda was a former member of this Committee and in such circumstances members would normally take the opportunity of a Committee meeting to pay tributes.

Our circumstances on this occasion are rather different as we have Hilda’s son David as one of our current members.

David has intimated to me that he has been very touched and moved by all the letters and cards of sympathy he has received from Co-operative colleagues expressing sadness at Hilda’s passing and for the wonderful contributions she has made.

He does not feel that he could emotionally cope with a series of tributes this evening and in these circumstances what I propose to do, as Chair, is to make a SINGLE tribute on behalf of us all, followed by a period of silence during which we can all privately reflect on Hilda as a person and a co-operator.

I have known Hilda for getting on for 20 years –not as long as some on this Committee have known her – but still a long time. When she joined the South Wales Committee of the Co-operative Group, I think in 2009, she must have been by a long stretch, its oldest “new” member, although she had been a member of many co-op committees before.

She was very active in what can now be seen as a golden age of Co-operation in the 1930’s and was particularly engaged in the campaigning illustrated in the wonderful films of the London Co-operative Society, with themes of Internationalism, Education Pacifism and Feminism. We have to remember, Hilda was not all that far behind the Pankhurst’s and she was born just after the ending of the First World War.

As many of us know, Hilda was completely passionate about what she believed in and was always a strong advocate for the same.  She was always a master of her brief and fastidious in studying her papers and making reasoned and detailed contributions.

She had a powerful intellect but was still very interested in making practical observations about what a store should stock, what services it should give to the customers/ members and how they could be engaged at shop level.

I remember her observing back in the early days of Recession, that the support work of the Co-operative Group, through such things as the Community Divided Fund would become far more vital, as Public Expenditure Cuts bite and she is being proven right.

To think when she arrived in South Wales in 1986, she did not come for a rest, because at the age of 76, she set about with vigour in a whole new co-operative and mutual scene.

 She was instrumental in establishing the Newport University of the Third Age, The Wales Food Alliance- together with David – which had a number of collaborations with the Group. She was a member of the WG Older Persons Advisory Committee and made a considerable contribution to policy formulation. Of late she has been engaged in modelling social enterprises to deliver home care.

I last saw Hilda at the Members meeting last year at St Fagan’s, when the meeting was somewhat hijacked by Disability Rights Protesters.  I will remember her contribution for a very long time. She was not prepared to sit idly by but rose to make an impassioned speech about how Co-operatives had been at the forefront of protecting and promoting the rights of the disabled for getting on for 100 years.

David, Hilda was highly principled, creative, dynamic not just a thinker and dreamer about the Co-operative Commonwealth but who has actually contributed to help make it happen over 60 or 70 years.

We are all the better for knowing her and she has left you with much to live up to!

Brian Rees

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