There are no shortages of social initiatives across south Wales, with locals giving their time and energy to help improve the places they live in, drawing on the country’s strong community traditions. Here are ten of the best:
- Setting up co-working hubs for small businesses and freelancers: Indycube: A co-working company that has locations all over Wales, from luxury offices in Cardiff to desks in a converted church in the town of Ferndale in the valleys. Co-workers pay a flat rate of £10 a day for office space and wifi, makes it accessible for all, and those signing up are learning the benefits of collaborative working. http://indycube.cymru/
- Breathing new life into a small seaside town: Barrybados: A café owner coined the word ‘Barrybados’ to describe the Welsh seaside town of Barry Island. Two locals, tired of hearing that ‘Barry is not what it used to be’, took the brand and ran with it, producing a new website and branded products and helping the town re-gain a sense of pride. http://www.barrybados.com/
- Getting a whole city timebanking: The Cardiff Time Credits Scheme: Cardiff is hoping to become the world’s time banking capital with the launch of the first city-wide timebanking currency. Following on the success of timebanking through organisations like ACE, the scheme will see public, private and community organisations contribute opportunities for citizens to earn and spend time credits.
- Building and supporting community level enterprise: The South East Wales Community Economic Development programme (SEWCED): Over the last five years the SEWCED consortium – set up by the six councils in the south Wales valleys – has helped create and develop community level enterprises, including Elite Paper Solutions, which provides job opportunities for disabled people, and mobile app company Big Click. http://sewced.co.uk/
- Developing solar power schemes on community buildings: Egni Solar Co-operative: One of the first solar co-operatives in Wales, Egni Solar raised £171,000 from a community share offer in 2014 and has used the funds to install solar panels on community centres and schools. The community building sites planned for 2015 are all in south Wales: http://egni.coop/
Clare Goff is former Editor of New Start magazine