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Co-operative pioneers lead the way

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cooperativeFOURTEEN modern cooperative pioneers from across Wales have gathered together to participate in a photo-shoot to celebrate Cooperatives Fortnight 2014.

 The photo-shoot mirrors a photograph of the original Rochdale Pioneers co-operative taken around 150 years ago. Each of the ‘modern pioneers’ is involved in a dynamic cooperative or employee owned business which, between them deliver a range of vastly different products and services across Wales. From manufacturing to training, retail, communications, pubs and football clubs, co-operatives are still pioneers within their sectors so many years after the start of the movement. The co-operative pioneers of 2014 operate at the heart of their businesses and organisations and believe that cooperatives have an important role to play in supporting communities and developing the economy of Wales. Today the co-op sector in the UK is worth around £37bn per year and employs roughly 235,000 people. In Wales the sector is worth around £1.54bn per year and employs in the region of 11,000 people but many within the movement believe the sector offers even more potential for growth. Derek Walker is Chief Executive of the Wales Co-operative Centre, commented: “Working together is the central principle of co-operatives. Each of our co-operative pioneers know that co-operatives are viable and sustainable business models that work to achieve the aims of their organisations. “Today’s modern co-operative pioneers are symbolic of a resurgence of interest in co-operation and socially focussed business models. “The Welsh Co-operative and Mutuals Commission published an influential report earlier this year that made a number of practical recommendations which focussed on supporting the development of cooperative businesses across a range of different sectors. “The will is there to stimulate this sector because of the sustainable benefits co-operative business models can offer communities and to the Welsh economy as a whole”. Cris Tomos has been involved in many co-operative ventures. In north Pembrokeshire he helped set up Canolfan Hemron near Crymych, a community co-operative that is currently opening a community cafe as part of the old school site in the village and offering a 10.83% investment to local people for supporting the development www.canolfanhermon. org.uk. Most recently, he has been involved in a town regeneration cooperative, 4CG in Cardigan, and an energy generating co-operative, Cwm Arian Renewable Energy. He is also the volunteer treasurer of West Wales Credit Union. www.wwcu.co.uk “The role of co-operatives and mutuals is extremely important and the key is to have the vast majority of local people taking up membership. Having a community co-operative in every neighbourhood would allow the creation of community action plans, to address the weaknesses and develop the opportunities of the locality. Having co-operative energy companies in each community and town council in Wales would see money spent locally for local benefit”.

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Community

Christmas gift fair returns

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Last year at the Food Fair: The annual Christmas celebrations return this year

NEXT Friday (Oct 20), the annual craft and gifts extravaganza will return to Aberystwyth Arts Centre to get the locals in the mood for Christmas.

The Winter Craft & Gift Fair is sure to get visitors feeling festive in the run up to Christmas with over 80 stalls selling a wonderful array of crafts and gifts, many produced by local makers from Ceredigion and mid Wales.

This year will feature many regular stalls, as well as some who will be selling at the fair for the first time, so prepare to discover the unusual and unexpected at this year’s fair with it’s new layout and products for 2017.

The fair will be open from 10am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday and 12 to 5.30pm on Sundays all the way up until December 23.

On Saturday​,​ ​November ​​25, ​the Arts Centre’s Christmas Food Fair will take over the Great Hall for the day. There will be the very best of Welsh produce with cheese, meats, fish, wine, cider, pastries, puddings, jams and much, much more from many local producers. The Food Fair is the perfect place to stock up on a few gastronomic goodies in the run up to Christmas. There will also be live musical entertainment to get you in the Christmassy mood! The fair will be on 10am-4pm and entry is free!

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Community

‘​I​t’s ok to say’

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FUW raise awareness: Urging people to 'say' on World Mental Health Day​

​ON WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY, farmers across Wales are being reminded that ‘it’s ok to say’ and the Farmers’ Union of Wales is urging them not to hide problems from themselves, their families and friends and to talk about their personal feelings.

The FUW made a commitment at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show in July to continue raising awareness of mental health problems in rural communities and is therefore renewing the call for those who might be suffering from mental health problems to seek help.

“The focus of this year’s World Mental Health day is on mental health in the workplace and farms are just that. In our places of work we’ve faced some pretty low-points in the last few years. Bovine TB, price volatility and uncertainty about our future post-Brexit, this all puts a strain on our resolve and will have many feeling stressed and under immense pressure,” said Union President Glyn Roberts​.​

“But we must break the stigma attached to mental health, so if you’re feeling vulnerable, please open-up and speak to someone. That doesn’t just mean today, but always. Farmers and farming families need to continue talking openly about what they are experiencing and the FUW strongly encourages anyone who is worried about their own mental health or a loved-one, to seek help from the Farming Community Network, Tir Dewi, The DPJ Foundation, Mind Cymru or Call Helpline Wales,” added Glyn Roberts.

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Scholarship scheme funds student’s Masters

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One of the chosen few: Stella Foster (Pic. Mark Woodward)

A TALYBONT native is one of just 28 people in the UK to be awarded a scholarship granted by energy company ScottishPower.

Stella Foster, 32, gratefully received the grant from the Scottish Power Foundation for the 2017/18 academic year.

Having just completed an undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the University of York, Stella will begin her Masters in Environmental Sciences this week at the University of East Anglia. Environmental science degrees integrate biology, physical science and information sciences to examine environmental systems (air, water, etc.) and how they interact.

The sought-after scholarship covers full enrolment costs as well as a living allowance. On top of this, the scholars will receive unique opportunities including meeting leading industry professionals.

“Travelling around the world and living in China before I started my undergraduate studies made me aware of the astounding change of pace in urbanisation; the two-hour bus ride from where I lived to Shanghai, there wasn’t a moment where you couldn’t see a construction site,” Stella said.

“This fast and dramatic development creates issues with the environment, and I’m really excited to learn about the creative and fascinating solutions out there, and hopefully come up with some of my own,” she added.

Since it was launched in 2010, the ScottishPower Foundation scholarships programme has provided £1.5m in grants towards training the next generation in their chosen field.

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