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Wales Co-operative Centre unveils new name as strategy launched

Cwmpas new name for Wales Cooperative Centre unveiled by North Wales based mountain bike centre and social enterprise Antur Stiniog

The Wales Co-operative Centre has announced that it has changed its name to Cwmpas.

Founded in 1982 by the Wales TUC, the organisation has established itself as the UK’s largest development agency for co-operatives, social enterprises and employee-owned businesses, with a strong track record of collaboratively delivering multi-million-pound projects that build a fairer economy and promote social and digital inclusion.

The new name signals the next chapter for the development agency working for economic and social change in Wales and in other parts of the UK. It is designed to reflect the organisation’s role in helping people and communities set out a path to a better future.

Announcing the changes, Chief Executive of Cwmpas, Derek Walker, said:

“The time is right to pursue a new name and brand for our organisation to reflect who we are today and where we are headed. For forty years, the Wales Co-operative Centre has successfully helped people and communities on journeys to create co-operative jobs, businesses, and communities. As the organisation has grown, our work has expanded and diversified.

“The new name change seeks to address challenges with the current name, and heralds our next chapter as a development agency working for economic and social change. We will stay true to our co-operative roots while evolving to respond to new challenges and opportunities. While our focus will always remain in Wales, we plan to grow the volume of work we do in other parts of the UK.

Da ni o gwmpas means We’re around in Welsh and could also be taken to mean We are from Cwmpas. This sense of working with people, communities and businesses and helping them get to where they want to be, will always be at the heart of the organisation’s ethos and we are excited about our future.”

A new strategy from Cwmpas has been developed alongside the new name in response to the unprecedented social, environmental, and economic pressures faced by the country. The strategy sets out Cwmpas’ plan to help build a fairer, greener economy and more equal society, where people and planet come first.

Company history (40-year timeline):

  • 1982 – Cwmpas (formerly Wales Co-operative Centre) was established in 1982 by the Wales TUC to provide business support to co-operatives in Wales.
  • 1984 – Cwmpas published the first list of co-operatives in Wales and launched a programme of training courses to help Wales’s co-operatives thrive under the organisation’s support.
  • 1988 – Cwmpas helped to establish Wales’s first credit union in Rhydfelin (now called Dragonsavers)
  • 1992 – Cwmpas was making waves in UK co-operative working, being announced as the largest co-operative development agency in the UK.
  • 1995 – Tower Colliery became the UK’s largest employee-owned business with the guidance of Cwmpas – it went on to become the longest operating deep coal mine in the UK, finally closing in 2008.
  • 1995 – landmark year for the organisation, as it helped set up the UK’s first credit union based on an NHS Trust in Bridgend.
  • 1999 – Cwmpas began working with social enterprises in Wales, becoming the first Chair of the All-Wales Social Enterprise Network.
  • 2001 – Cwmpas brought together the Communities First Support Network to support the work of Welsh Government’s Communities First Programme, which supported work to tackle poverty in Wales’s most deprived areas.
  • 2004 – Cwmpas secured funding from the European Objective One fund to continue work in developing co-operatives, which led to a major expansion of the organisation.
  • 2006 – the [email protected] digital inclusion project for the Communities First programme was launched by the Communities Directorate of the Welsh Assembly, a precursor to what was to become the now Wales-wide, Digital Communities Wales
  • 2009 – Cwmpas won contracts to deliver the European funded Social Enterprise Support Project, as well as the Welsh Assembly’s Communities 2.0 digital inclusion project, which provided digital inclusion support for SMEs and community groups in Wales.
  • 2011- Cwmpas launched the Business Succession and Consortia Project to promote employee ownership to exiting business owners as well as promoting co-operation within the private sector in the form of a co-operative consortia.
  • 2011 – The Coop Housing project was launched, and new pioneer schemes were established in Cardiff, Carmarthen and Newport.
  • 2014 – Cwmpas successfully proposed the creation of the Welsh Co-operatives and Mutuals Commission so that recommendations could be formally made to government on growing the co-operative and mutual economy in Wales.
  • 2015 – Cwmpas secured European Union and Welsh Government funding to launch the Social Business Wales project, which provides expert support to social businesses seeking to expand and benefit their communities.
  • 2015 – Cwmpas was contracted to deliver Digital Communities Wales – a digital inclusion project that has just been extended by Welsh Government until 2025.
  • 2016 – Care to Co-operate was launched, which set out to help people set up their own co-operatives to help deliver community care and support services.
  • 2016 – The innovative Community Shares Wales project was also launched. The project was created to help communities finance new projects locally by investing in community shares.
  • 2019 – £3m in funding was secured to develop a new start business support service to supplement Social Business Wales’ offering.
  • 2020 – the decade kicked off with launch of the bold Transforming Wales Through Social Enterprise action plan, a 10-year vision for social enterprises to be at the heart of Wales’s post-COVID-19-economy.
  • 2021 – Cwmpas passed an organisational milestone, by employing over 100 staff who are all working towards ensuring a more co-operative Wales.
  • 2021 – A mapping exercise conducted by Cwmpas in the same year found that the social enterprise sector in Wales has grown to over 2,300 businesses, employing up to 56,000 people, and generating £3.1-3.8 billion in value.
  • 2022 – Digital Communities Wales project extended until 2025, with £6million in funding secured from Welsh Government in a commitment to see the most digitally excluded in Wales benefit from being online.
  • April 2022 – Wales Co-operative Centre changes its name to Cwmpas.