Category Archives: Social enterprise

Be more Hebden Bridge!

A conference taking place in Birmingham (Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd February) is to look at ways to make more places like Hebden Bridge!

Future Co-ops 2019 logo

Future Co-ops 2019 will address how the co-operative sector can grow and has found that Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire has almost 50 times more independent co-operatives per head of population than Hull, only 80 miles away.

As independent, democratically-owned and controlled businesses, co-operatives often tackle some of the most important issues in a locality such as employment, access to healthy foods and care issues. But the establishment of these businesses is very sporadic and Future Co-ops 2019 will explore new, practical actions to help co-op deserts bloom!

While Hebden Bridge has been identified, in this study, as being one of the top English towns in terms of number of co-operatives per inhabitant, a number of other towns and cities have a significant density of co-ops too.

University cities, especially those with a tradition of social innovation, seem to display a higher density of co-operatives with Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford, Brighton and Manchester all scoring relatively well.

After Hebden Bridge, Totnes in Devon has been identified by Co-operative Futures as another strong example of an English ‘co-operative town’, although Hebden Bridge still has twice the number of co-operatives per head as Totnes.

According to Jo White of Co-operative Futures, the organisers of the event, co-operatives can be found right across the UK, but their distribution is very uneven.

“Our figures give an insight into the uneven distribution of co-ops. There are brilliant co-operatives across the country, and we all want to see them replicated. Future Co-ops 2019 gives delegates the opportunity to learn from Central England Co-operative’s Think Digital team some innovative, engaging and effective techniques in generating solutions to problems. We’ll be applying those techniques to the conference’s central theme – how to make co-operative deserts bloom and turn everywhere into Hebden Bridge. Only with less rain. Join us for fun, challenge, learning and great networking!”

Find out more: https://futures.coop/future-coops-2019

Credit union marks Armed Forces Day with Forces Finance commitment

London Mutual Credit Union launches a dedicated new financial support service for the armed forces on this year’s Armed Forces Day (Saturday 30th June).

Forces Finance PhotoSince first partnering with the Ministry of Defence in 2015, London Mutual Credit Union has provided £2 million worth of loans to over 1000 armed forces personnel, saving them an estimated £1.3 million compared to the cost of high street lenders and various payday lenders such as Wonga.

The new Forces Finance initiative will give serving members of the armed forces and their families access to a range of specially developed financial services which meet the unique requirements of armed forces personnel.

London Mutual Credit Union is a financial co-operative that exists for the benefit of its members who live and/or work in the London boroughs of Southwark, Lambeth, Westminster or Camden, and serving members of the British Armed Forces. Established in 1982, London Mutual Credit Union has over 28,000 member-owners.

Historically, service personnel have encountered difficulties accessing credit and other financial services, due in part to moving regularly and not being able to build up a good credit rating. Some have also been targeted by payday loan companies.

Lucky Chandrasekera, Chief Executive of London Mutual Credit Union, says: “Our figures show the clear demand for financial services built around the specific needs of armed forces personnel and their families. The disruptive and often highly mobile nature of life in the services can make financial planning difficult for many service personnel, as well as making it harder to build an address history or a strong credit record.”

Unlike banks, credit unions are owned by their borrowers and savers and serve a specific community. This enables them to offer advantageous rates, products and terms tailored to the specific circumstances of their members.

Lucky adds: “The launch of the Forces Finance service is designed to build on our experience of working with armed services personnel over the past three years and underscores our commitment to delivering a bank built around ‘serving those who serve’.”

In the months ahead, the credit union will work with its 1000 members who are in the armed forces to design new financial products and member benefits built around the needs and realities of forces life.

In addition, on this year’s Armed Forces Day the credit union will launch a dedicated website and large scale marketing campaign designed to reach serving members of the armed forces.

Phone Co-op members vote for Transfer of Engagements to Midcounties Co-operative

Members of The Phone Co-op, the UK’s only telecoms co-operative, have voted overwhelmingly in favour of their Board’s recommendation for a transfer of engagements to The Midcounties Co-operative.

Phone Co-op logo91% of members attending The Phone        Co-op’s Special General Meeting in Sheffield on 28 April voted for a merger with Midcounties. 223 votes were cast by delegates attending in person and online, with 202 voting in favour of the motion and 17 against.

The transfer of engagements was confirmed at a second Special General Meeting in Droitwich on 12 May, where it was passed by 75 votes out of 76. The transfer is due to take place on          1 June.

Jane Watts, chair of The Phone Co-op said: “I am delighted that The Phone Co-op’s members have voted to join Midcounties Co-operative. This move will make sure that we have a              co-operative provider of telecoms, as it becomes ever more central to our lives, and extends the offer we can make to our members.

“Our co-operative and ethical values will continue to be central to the service and our staff will contribute their expertise and shared values as we move forward.”

Ben Reid, CEO of Midcounties Co-operative, welcomed the result of the vote which he described as, “…an opportunity to bring together two strong businesses [The Phone Co-op and Co-op Energy, part of Midcounties Co-operative] to create a co-operative utility provider.”

In a separate motion, members attending the Sheffield AGM of The Phone Co-op voted by a simple majority to approve The Phone Co-op’s Strategy for 2018-2022. 136 members voted for the motion, with 50 voting against and 37 abstaining.

The second Special General Meeting was held at Chateau Impney Hotel and Exhibition Centre in Droitwich, Worcestershire. The meeting followed the Midcounties Co-operative AGM which was being held at the same venue earlier in the day.

Ethos public relations supports charity communications

Ethos public relations is committed to supporting charities and was delighted to sponsor and manage the design and print of a flyer and poster for a new music festival.

Music for the Monty posterMusic for the Monty takes place in June as part of Welshpool Transport Festival. One of the directors of Ethos public relations has been involved in helping to organise the event and Ethos public relations took responsibility for preparing an A4 poster and an A6 flyer to promote it. One of the Ethos team designed the publicity materials and the logo was kindly donated by designer Dave Clucas.

Public relations is important for all types of organisation, but for charities and not-for-profits it is especially important for reaching new and existing supporters. Ethos public relations is committed to helping charities publicise their activities and has worked with many local and national charities in its 20 year history.

This website, which is managed by Ethos public relations, contains lots of useful information to help charities promote their organisation, including advice on social media, video production and photography. There are also some ‘top tips’ on PR for charities.

Shaun Fisher, one of the directors of Ethos public relations, said: “We are passionate about working with charities, community groups and voluntary organisations to get their messages out to the wider public. This isn’t just because it is our business, but because we have a longstanding commitment to raising awareness of the activities and achievements of the charitable sector.”

You can find out more about the work that Ethos public relations does to promote charity events here and to contact Ethos public relations click here.

Music for the Monty takes place on 23 and 24 June 2018 and features an evening concert at Welshpool Town Hall on Saturday 23 June, as well as free music at venues across Welshpool over the weekend. The event has been organised to raise funds for the restoration on the Montgomery Canal which stretches from Shropshire to mid-Wales.

Credit union calls for volunteers

London Capital Credit Union is looking for volunteers to help deal with the ever increasing number of member enquiries.

Volunteering graphic

The credit union is a not for profit savings and loans co-operative based near Archway tube station in London, which is dedicated to encouraging people to save rather than borrow, while also providing low cost loans when needed. They are looking for additional volunteers to help their busy team assist with enquiries from members.

Volunteers need to have certain skills and capabilities, including being good with numbers, competent in basic spoken English, honest, reliable, friendly and outgoing. In return, the credit union will provide experience and training including in customer service, effective telephone use, using computers and different software packages and effective office management.

Volunteering with the credit union can provide many benefits, including a ‘feel good factor’ of knowing you are helping people, excellent work experience in financial services, experience of working in a busy commercial environment and access to training and improved employment opportunities.

Martin Groombridge, London Capital Credit Union Chief Executive, said: “As a financial co-operative, which is owned and run by our members, the credit union relies on the support and dedication of a team of volunteers working alongside our small staff of paid employees. A number of additional volunteers are now being sought to assist with the increase in our business as we help more and more people manage their money.

“Although the positions are unpaid, they offer several benefits, including meeting new people and making friends while working in a supportive and friendly team, gaining direct experience of the financial services industry, strengthening your CV and helping to benefit the community.”

To find out more about volunteering with the credit union click here, or call them on 020 7561 1786 for an informal, no obligation discussion.

Powys communities sign up for new plastic film recycling scheme

Town and Community Councils in Powys are introducing a new recycling scheme, developed by Welshpool-based charity Cae Post, to deal with unwanted plastic film.

Mayor of Brecon, Councillor Ieuan Williams, at the launch of the  plastic film recycling scheme with Chair of Cae Post, John Harrington

Mayor of Brecon, Councillor Ieuan Williams, at the launch of the plastic film recycling scheme with Chair of Cae Post, John Harrington.

Following the decision by Powys County Council to stop the collection and recycling of plastic film, waste and recycling experts Cae Post were approached by a number of Community and Town Councils to see if they could fill the gap.

Although Powys County Council no longer offers recycling collections for plastic film and suggests disposing of it with household refuse, stretchy plastic film items, such as carrier bags, magazine wrappers, bread bags, frozen food bags, cling film and bubble wrap, can be recycled.

Cae Post is working with eight councils in Powys, including Brecon Town Council, to roll out its new film recycling scheme and the results to date have been very encouraging.

Mayor of Brecon, Councillor Ieuan Williams, said: “We are delighted with the response to our new plastic film recycling point that has been set up outside the Co-op in Brecon. Although we were originally expecting to empty the bin once a month, demand has been so great that we are now emptying it at least once a fortnight. This shows that the people of Brecon recognise the importance of recycling plastic film and that there is a real need for the service. We would like to thank Cae Post for setting it up.”

John Harrington, Chair of Cae Post said: “We are pleased to be working with councils in Powys, such as Brecon Town Council, to manage plastic film recycling for their communities.

“The environmental impact of plastic film should not be underestimated. Studies suggest that plastic bags, for example, can take anywhere between 20 and 1,000 years to degrade, if they degrade at all in modern landfill sites. In fact, many countries around the world have now banned them. So, if we are going to use items made from plastic film, it is important that, as a society, we do what we can to recycle them.

“At Cae Post, we believe it is vital that these items do not end up in general waste and so we are pleased to offer a collection service for communities in Powys, as well as for businesses, charities and other organisations.”

While it is true that plastic film can be difficult and expensive to sort from other materials by mechanical means, Cae Post has maintained its manual sorting capacity and so is happy to offer this service.

John Harrington added: “As a charity and social enterprise, Cae Post has a mission to tackle disadvantage and create opportunity through environmental initiative. By using Cae Post to recycle plastic film, communities in Powys are helping us to fulfil our social objectives, providing work opportunities for disabled people and those who are disadvantaged in the jobs market.”

The other Community and Town Councils in Powys that are trialling the scheme include Banwy, Castle Caereinion, Dwyriw, Llangunllo, Llangynidr, Llanwrtyd Wells and Trewern.

If your community group or organisation would like to find out more about plastic film recycling in Powys, contact Cae Post on 01938 570426 or email info@caepost.co.uk.

Charity recycling service expands in Llandrindod Wells

Environmental charity and social enterprise Cae Post is expanding its trade waste and recycling service in the Llandrindod Wells area and is inviting local organisations to a drop-in session to find out more.

Cae Post colour logoWelshpool-based Cae Post, which specialises in collecting waste and recycling from businesses in Powys and North Shropshire, will be meeting business people and charity representatives from the Llandrindod area at the Herb Garden Community Café on 18th July.

Cae Post has over 30 years’ experience and, as a charity and social enterprise, the work they do benefits people with disabilities and those who find it difficult to access the jobs market. At the drop-in session, Cae Post is hoping to encourage businesses and organisations in Llandrindod to put their waste to good use and recycle as much as they can.

Sue Packer, General Manager of Cae Post, said: “Although all businesses have a duty to deal with their waste in a legal and environmentally responsible way, many people we speak to do not realise exactly what can be recycled.

“At Cae Post we offer a wide range of recycling collection services across Powys, including food waste, stretch film and pallet wrap, and all sorts of plastic packaging. At our drop-in session at the Herb Garden Community Café on 18th July, we will be showing businesses in Llandrindod just how much can be recycled and how their waste can be put to good use.

“What’s more, by choosing Cae Post, businesses will be supporting a valuable local charity and social enterprise which provides work to disadvantaged people.”

Cae Post will be holding its drop-in session at the Herb Garden Community Café, Station Crescent, Llandrindod Wells, on Tuesday 18th July from 1pm to 3pm.

Sue Packer added: “Anyone who has their own business, or who works for a local business, organisation or charity, is welcome to drop in and see us – no appointment necessary. Just come along and find out more about recycling and how we can help – we’d love to meet as many people as possible.”

For more information about the drop-in session, please visit www.caepost.co.uk.

Welshpool’s Cae Post in tie up with Dutch recycling business

Refil recycled 3D printer ink - greenCae Post, the Welshpool based environmental social enterprise, has become an exclusive distributor of Refil recycled 3D printer ink.

In an innovative tie up with Rotterdam based Refil BV, Cae Post will distribute Refil’s recycled 3D printer filament to the UK market.

Speaking about the collaboration, Sue Packer, General Manager of Cae Post, said: “Cae Post is well known locally as an innovative supplier of environmentally based services and we are now looking forward to working with Refil to develop the market in recycled plastic filament for 3D printing.”

Refil recycled 3D printer ink - blackCasper van der Meer of Refil believes the 3D printing industry is set to boom and said: “3D printing is today’s trendiest industrial revolution. At Refil we aim to make it a sustainable one as well. Why do people continue to use new plastics, when there’s so much old plastic we can re-use?”

Refil’s recycled filament is made using old car dashboards or PET bottles and helps to stop some of these plastics ending up in landfill, or worse, in the sea. Recent reports suggest that ‘plastic soup’ could grow at such a rate that there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050.

3D printing is a relatively new development and is being used to create models in 3D from extruded plastic filament.

Cae Post has championed environmental awareness for over 30 years and provides supported employment opportunities to local people. All profits from its activities are used to support its charitable work locally.

For more information, please visit www.caepost.co.uk.

London Capital Credit Union reports record growth

Members who went along to London Capital Credit Union’s AGM heard how the credit union has continued to grow rapidly and that 2015-16 was another record year.

LCCU logoIn the financial year 2015-16, the credit union’s membership increased by 19%, savings by 22% and loan balances by a huge 30%.

The AGM, which was held at the UNISON Centre in London on 2 February, saw a fantastic turnout of 148 members who found out how their credit union had performed over the past year and its plans for the future. At the meeting, members agreed an increase in the credit union loan interest rebate and Young Savers Account interest from 0.75% to 1% while maintaining dividend on savings at 0.75%.

Helen Baron, Director and President of London Capital Credit Union, said: “London Capital Credit Union is one of the fastest growing credit unions in Britain. We now have some 15,000 members who between them have more than £10 million in savings. In 2015-16 we gave out over 5,700 loans to a value of nearly £8 million.

“The last twelve months or so have been very exciting for the credit union as we work to meet our social goals as well as providing fair and affordable financial services. We were one of the first financial institutions in the UK to sign up to the Women in Finance Charter; we became an accredited London Living Wage employer and the Fairbanking Foundation charity awarded its first 5 star mark to us for our ‘Saver Loan’ and ‘Instant Saver Loan’ products.

“We continue to focus on providing first class customer service and our annual member survey continues to show high levels of overall member satisfaction. This is borne out by the fact that much of our growth comes through personal recommendation.

“We look forward to continuing to offer a range of fair and flexible financial solutions which meet the needs of all members of our community – whether that is loans provided at a reasonable rate of interest, the promotion of thrift through the accumulation of savings or education in the wise use of money.”

London Capital Credit Union was established in 1962, and provides services for anyone living, working or studying in Barnet, Camden, City of London, Hackney, Haringey or Islington, as well as any member of Unite the Union or UNISON in Greater London, any member of The Co-operative Group South East Region and the employees of many other local and national organisations.

Cae Post becomes right Waste, right Place ambassador

right Waste right Place logoCae Post, the environmental charity and social enterprise based in Welshpool, has become an ambassador for the right Waste, right Place campaign, a national initiative aimed at raising awareness of the Duty of Care for waste amongst UK businesses.

Managed by the Environmental Services Association (ESA), the campaign was launched in April 2016 following damning evidence of widespread non-compliance with Duty of Care legislation for waste, and mounting costs on local authorities and private landowners for tackling fly-tipping.

Recent research has revealed that 56% of UK businesses are not complying with the law, despite recent changes to sentencing guidelines and the removal of the £5,000 maximum fine in the Magistrates Court.

Cae Post offers trade waste and recycling services in Powys and Shropshire and is committed to promoting best practice when it comes to duty of care for waste. Cae Post is keen that businesses in the area are fully aware of their responsibility for the good management of waste and recycling.

Speaking about the announcement, Sue Packer, General Manager at Cae Post said: “Our mission as a charity is to create employment and promote positive environmental action. We support right Waste, right Place, as a way to encourage all organisations to think about the environmental impacts of their waste and to adhere to best practice with regard to waste management.”

Sam Corp, Head of Regulation at the ESA, commented: “We are delighted that Cae Post has become a right Waste, right Place Campaign Ambassador. We are looking forward to working with Cae Post to raise awareness of Duty of Care in their area and to many more organisations signing up to the programme in the near future.”

As a social enterprise, Cae Post has a firm commitment to the environment and its mission is to provide meaningful employment and work experience opportunities to people who would otherwise find it difficult to gain these opportunities.