Mark Smith


Marketing Officer, Wales Co-operative Centre

Blog Posts

Coastal Housing – co-ops putting communities first

From Ross Williams, Coastal Housing Coastal Housing Group manages three co-operatives across its housing stock. These are: Gwynfyd – Blaengwynfi Glynneath Housing Co-operative – Glynneath Bron Allt – Crynant Although the three have many similarities, they are unique in their own way and as such, are managed slightly differently in each case. Gwynfyd Housing Co-operative […]

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Mastering Corporate Governance and Engagement

From Deb Oxley, CEO, Employee Ownership Association This year I had the pleasure of chairing the UK Employee Ownership Awards, which recognise employee owned companies that have set their markets alight and delighted their customers by effectively engaging their employees via an ownership stake and culture. It’s been a privilege to hear firsthand these success […]

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Network proves that houses become homes in co-ops

I work on the marketing team at the Wales Co-operative Centre, and while I’ve been here for ten years, I don’t really specialise on any area of our work. I do, however, have to have a good grasp of all our work, including social business support, digital inclusion, financial inclusion, social care, community shares and, […]

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Newport housing co-op member stars in volunteer awards

Many thanks to Jill Stringfellow, Co-operative Housing Development Manager at POBL Group, for sharing this story with us. The story is about Luana Dee, a member of the Loftus Village Housing Co-operative, who has won a Highly Commended Award through the Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations (GAVO) Volunteer Recognition Scheme. A housing co-operative is not […]

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New website will help develop collaborative, co-operative and inclusive care and wellbeing services in Wales

A new digital toolkit has been launched today to help local communities and voluntary groups to develop co-operatives delivering personal care and well-being services. The Care to Co-operate online toolkit ( provides advice and resources to groups who want to set up or run care and wellbeing services in a more collaborative, co-operative and inclusive […]

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Leading re-use social enterprise awarded £500,000 to open new base in the Valleys

Toogoodtowaste is thrilled to announce that it has been successful with its application to the Big Lottery People and Places Fund, and has secured a grant of £500,000 to open a showroom, workshops and community space in Treorchy. Nearly three years ago the social enterprise purchased the Former Education Centre on Horeb Street, in the […]

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Time for a Full Public Bank in Wales? Yes.

Mick Brown and Pat Conaty make the case for supporting a Public Bank for Wales. With due care, but Yes. The positive thrust of PPIW’s report to Welsh Government on the benefits and viability of a Public Bank for Wales is to be welcomed.  The report reviews prominent international examples of public banking, and finds […]

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Direct Payments – Some real progress but so much further to go….

Vin West has been a parent and carer for 30 years. His daughter was the first person in Gwynedd to receive Direct Payments. He helped found the Gwynedd Direct Payments Forum in 2000 and recently supported Gwynedd Social Services, through co-producing a new Direct Payments policy and staff guidance, in line with the 2014 Social […]

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Goodwash gives Vi-Ability’s Kelly a clean start

In a reflective blog, Kelly Davies explains her reasons for stepping down as CEO of social enterprise ‘Vi-Ability’ after seeing it go from strength to strength. This time of year, I always start to feel reflective and begin looking back at all we have achieved in the past 12 months. In fact, at the moment I am […]

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Exploring the future of health and social care in Wales

Recently, the Parliamentary Review of Health and Social Care in Wales held a consultation event in Cardiff. Ceri-Anne Fidler, Policy and Development Officer for the Wales Co-operative Centre, gives her perspective on the day’s events. The Parliamentary Review Panel has been exploring the future of health and social care in Wales.  Looking at current challenges faced […]

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