Prosperity for All: the role of social businesses in the new national strategy

 

This week, Welsh Government published its national strategy to deliver its key priorities for the rest of the Assembly term. It sets out commitments and actions aimed at creating prosperity for all and improving well-being in Wales. In this blog we highlight key points from the new strategy, explore how social businesses can help deliver this and consider what additional support the sector might need to do so.

The national strategy sets out how Welsh Government will deliver its key commitments of building a Wales that is prosperous and secure, healthy and active, ambitious and learning and finally, united and connected. To achieve these commitments, Welsh Government has decided to focus on five priority areas that it believes will have the greatest potential contribution to long term prosperity and well-being: early years, housing, social care, mental health, and, skills and employability.

Welsh Government’s focus on building a Wales that is prosperous and secure places more emphasis on spreading opportunity, addressing regional inequalities and promoting fair work. These are important steps in the right direction towards building a more inclusive economy.  The new strategy also sets out how Welsh Government aim to deliver this through three key objectives: delivering the right support for people and business, addressing regional inequalities, and promoting fair work and driving sustainable growth. This will include committing to a new economic contract between business and government to stimulate growth. It will also simplify the range of financial support on offer, establish the new Development Bank for Wales and maximise the value of Welsh public sector procurement to Wales.

In many ways, social businesses are already delivering against this agenda. At the Wales Co-operative Centre we believe that social businesses play key role in creating more balanced, inclusive economies. They are ways of doing business that deliver sustainable economic growth while fostering positive social change and innovation. Social businesses are anchored in their communities; investment in them stays in the community and is recycled for wider economic and social benefits.

Social businesses in Wales also operate across the priority areas identified by Welsh Government. Organisations such as Dylan’s Den provide essential services to parents enabling them to fulfil work commitments and take advantage of training. Social businesses operate in the social care sector across Wales, with organisations such as Catrefi Cymru providing person-centred care. Social enterprises such as CAIS support employability and skills by working to help people further from the job market into rewarding and sustained employment. People across Wales are coming together to form housing co-operatives, such as Home Farm Village. Finally, organisations such as Training in Mind provide training in the areas of mental health and well-being.

We welcome the objective around delivering the right support for people and businesses. Social businesses have particular needs and objectives that are distinct from mainstream businesses. We believe that support for the sector should reflect this. We will be arguing the case for a social business action plan to support the sector in Wales to complement the national strategy. This will help to ensure that social businesses are equipped to help deliver the strategy. As part of this, we will be making the case to the Cabinet Secretary for the Economy through the Third Sector Partnership Council. For updates on this work as it progresses, subscribe to our blog or sign up to our newsletter for social businesses in Wales.

 

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