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Ebbw Vale social business wins Welsh Government backing for infrastructure upgrade

Press Release   •   Dec 18, 2013 08:00 GMT

A social enterprise which offers employment opportunities to people with disabilities has received backing from Communities 2.0, the Welsh Government’s digital inclusion programme.

The support will help road sign manufacturer Monwel Ltd to upgrade their ICT hardware, network infrastructure and software.

Communities 2.0 has supported the business with an investment of just over £8,000, which will help Monwel Ltd to improve their business efficiency and develop their online presence. Communities 2.0 is a Welsh Government programme which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The programme has also provided technical expertise and advice to the company.

Monwel Limited is the largest manufacturer of road traffic signs and ancillary products for major road schemes in Wales. They have been producing signs for 45 years whilst providing employment opportunities to people with disabilities and those furthest from the jobs market. The company takes great pride in employing a diverse workforce and providing a working environment that is inclusive, enabling and progressive.

Monwel, was originally run by Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council as a semi-commercial operation but has recently undergone a period of transition from ownership by the local authority to become an independent social enterprise, As a social enterprise, Monwel has secured 26 jobs and created 11 more, including employing six ex-Remploy staff.

Leslie Barr, Managing Director of Monwel said,

"The support Monwel has received through Communities 2.0 has been a great help and the business will now be able to reduce costs and improve both performance and efficiency, which will be a key part in the growth of the business"

Communities 2.0 project director Cathryn Marcus commented:

“Communities 2.0 is delighted to be able to support Monwel Ltd with investment in its ICT infrastructure. The company is a great example of a social enterprise that can deliver a sustainable and marketable service to its customers whilst at the same time offering long term employment opportunities to people who are normally furthest from the job market”.

This investment is just part of a total of over £75,000 invested across Wales as part of this round of Communities 2.0 funding. To date over £540,000 has been approved for direct investment in social enterprises and micro businesses in Wales, supporting 100 enterprises.

In addition, Communities 2.0 has supported 267 enterprises with significant assistance and advice for adopting or exploiting Information Communication Technology. Over 330 community groups and organisations have also benefitted from significant assistance and advice from the project, many of whom have used this to inform the creation of new social enterprises.

Communities 2.0 

Communities 2.0 is a Welsh Government programme and is part of the Delivering a Digital Wales strategy. Communities 2.0 is delivered by four partner organisations – the Wales Co-operative Centre, Pembrokeshire Association of  Voluntary Services, Carmarthenshire County Council and the George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling (University of  South Wales). Communities 2.0 works in the Convergence area of Wales and parts of Wrexham, Flintshire and Powys, helping communities and small enterprises to make the most of the internet.

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