#GoodNewsCymru | Co-operative

Twitter Q&A: Co-production co-operative makes passions and interests a community reality

Looking back at how the ‘DO-ERs’ do it from our Twitter Q&A with Mark Williams at Flintshire DO-IT.

By Ben Bostock · 7 August 2020

See this page in: Cymraeg

During #CarersWeek we held a Twitter Q&A with Flintshire DO-IT and Mark Williams told us all about how the collaborative co-operative took root in their North Wales community. Read how the ‘DO-ERs’, including previously isolated carers, get together to turn passions and interests into inclusive projects for anyone and everyone to take part in.

Asked what kick-started the project, Mark told us that the key aim was to bring people together regardless of the categories they fell into and to collaborate based instead on what each individual had to offer as a person.

“Developing Opportunities and Interests Together… We get on and DO-IT.”

Mark Williams

Asked what made the ‘DO-ERs’ so special, the message was simple. Positivity is the vital ingredient to allowing them to do what they do, with the can-do attitude reigning supreme.

Carers are among the throng of members who have joined in and learned new skills as part of the co-operative, with initial support from the Care to Co-operate project at the Wales Co-operative Centre. Activities offering equal opportunities help instil self-confidence and allow carers to flourish by sharing their skills with others and collaborating with musicians in the community.

The co-operative fundamentals of Flintshire DO-IT also allows respite for carers from their day-to-day responsibilities, in the knowledge their relative is in safe hands, among a community which helps ensure the well-being of all involved.

“Carers make friends too”

Not only are there friendships to be made but carers are also fully involved in the nuts and bolts of structuring how they provide the care they give while striking a balance between the carer and the person.

A great deal of their co-operative ethos relates to identifying and growing individual strengths to enable very organic and natural personal development, which is so effective for those, particularly carers, who can become isolated and lonely.

"As a full-time carer with mental health issues I often struggle. I feel welcomed and encouraged into the DO-IT family. We feel valued and cared about. I have begun to find some purpose and am also discovering my own voice, identity and self-worth"

Flintshire DO-IT carer

Creativity is a key element of what the co-operative is all about, where opportunities to create new collaborations are limitless – it’s all down to the imagination of the community who can create the things they want to do and design self-initiated solutions.

“One of our carers said that when Covid struck, their world suddenly got small very quickly. We overcame that using creativity and determination. Her son is now centre stage on Zoom. We are DO-ERs, we used our strengths and our community to find a solution.”

Mark Williams

Mark told us more people in their wider community are noticing the value of their co-operative, asking for assistance with becoming more community-focused and extracting the true potential from assets. In the near future, the DO-ERs are also looking to grow their Board and you can get involved by getting in touch with them directly. No matter what your strengths, passions and dreams – if you have the steadfast community values, the Flintshire DO-ERs will welcome you!

Flintshire DO-IT has received business consultancy support and advice from Social Business Wales, funded by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre.

If you are looking to create a co-operative in your community or want to share your story of resilience and positivity in your community, get in touch with us.

We are also looking for social businesses to get involved in our new ‘Activate’ campaign to place individuals with all types of passions and interests on the boards of social businesses in the South Wales Valleys. Interested? Register your interest with the team.

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If you know of anyone who’s been making a difference in their community or have a story about your good deeds, get in touch and tell us about it.