Something positive is happening in social care and Wales is at the forefront, says the national body for co-operatives

The Welsh public no longer want to be passive recipients but active players in the design and delivery of their care and well-being services, according to Wales’ national body for co-operatives and social enterprise.

25 Jan, 18

The Wales Co-operative Centre is two thirds of a way through delivering a three year Welsh Government funded project called ‘Care to Co-operate’ and has already helped a number of people and communities with shared needs and interests to start forming their own care co-operatives.

The project has recently supported Arthur Jenkins care home, in Blaenavon, to create meaningful well-being opportunities for their residents, with the children in the local community. The Care to Co-operate team facilitated a session between the Blaenavon Heritage V.C primary school, Hafod Care and the Big Pit National Coal Museum to share ideas on how they would like to create a mutually beneficial intergenerational co-operative.

The residents and school children jointly decided on a name for their co-operative, ‘Sharing & Caring’ and have already participated together in three events. Sharing and Caring is now helping the older residents express their voice and choice about activities that lift their well-being, particularly through their continued and valued involvement in the local community.

Charlotte Witney, Business Development Manager at Hafod Care, explains:

“Both our older residents at Arthur Jenkins and children from the local primary school expressed interest in running joint activities in their local community, working to break down any perceived generational barriers. The activities have provided positive interaction for both generations, particularly for residents whose families do not live in the area and for the children whose grandparents have passed away.”

Hilary Roberts, support teacher at Blaenavon Heritage V.C primary school in Blaenavon, said:

“Bringing generations together to understand each other was our primary aim when we accepted the opportunity to join together with the residents of Arthur Jenkins care home. We have enjoyed participating in a number of community projects and are delighted to be part of such a rewarding scheme. I have watched how the uncertainty that can be felt by both groups towards each other can quickly dissolve away and replaced by understanding and respect.

“I would urge other schools to take the opportunity of being part of an intergenerational co-operative within their own community as I have seen so many instances of the positive impact it has had on all the members involved.

Donna Coyle, Project Manager of Care to Co-operate at the Wales Co-operative Centre, said:

“The introduction of the Welsh Government’s Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act has been instrumental in getting new and innovative delivery models off the ground, which puts the citizen and community at the heart of service decisions.

“Welsh Government wants more co-operatives to deliver care and well-being services because the structure and principles encourage people who require care and support and the people who provide support, to work closely together in the design and delivery.

“And co-operatives can work on any scale, from a small community group to a multi-national care provider. Last year we worked with one of Wales’ biggest care providers, Cartrefi Cymru, to become a multi-stakeholder co-operative, where it is now owned by the people it supports, family members and its employees.”

The Care to Co-operate service has created a step-by-step online toolkit for those interested in setting up a care and well-being co-operatives. Please visit www.care.wales.coop for more information or telephone the Wales Co-operative Centre on 0300 111 5050 and ask for ‘Care to Co-operate.’