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Housing in the spotlight at Co-operative Congress in Cardiff

Press Release   •   Jun 06, 2013 16:46 BST

Co-operative housing could play an increasingly important role the UK’s housing market, a conference in Wales will hear.

A seminar being held as part of Co-operative Congress in Cardiff on 29 June will consider how co-operative housing can help to tackle problems such as the shortage of affordable housing and the problems young people have getting on the housing ladder.

Innovation within the co-operative housing sector now means that the range of options is greater than ever and the latest research shows that there is a strong potential market for co-operative housing.

The one day seminar, from 1pm to 4.30pm on 29 June at the SWALEC stadium has been organised by the Confederation of Co-operative Housing and the Wales Co-operative Centre as part of Co-operative Congress. It will look at a range of successful co-operative housing schemes from around the UK and consider exciting proposals for co-operative pioneer housing projects across Wales.

There will be interactive workshops focussing on how to kick-start and grow housing co-operatives and practical information and support available for potential new housing co-operatives in Wales.

Speakers include Nic Bliss, Chair of the Confederation of Co-operative Housing and Dave Palmer, Manager of the Wales Co-operative Centre’s Co-operative Housing project. There will also be several people who are currently developing housing co-operatives in Wales at a grass roots level.

Co-operative Congress will also include a number of workshops on housing, including a focus on student housing co-operatives and an exhibition including stands from co-operative housing schemes and co-operative finance.

Derek Walker, Chief Executive of the Wales Co-operative Centre commented, “Co-operative housing can provide a positive response to some of the challenges facing housing in Wales. The Welsh Government has shown a strong commitment to exploring this approach and, together with the Co-operative Group, funds our co-operative housing project. Currently the Wales Co-operative Centre is working with several innovative pioneer projects. We look forward to discussing this early work at Congress as well as taking the opportunity to learn from good practice across the UK”.

There is no charge to attend this seminar but booking is required at http://www.walescooperative.org/co-operative-congess-2013-co-operative-housing

Those attending may also choose to attend the rest of Co-operative Congress as a day visitor at a discounted rate of £75. Bookings can be made through 0843 2893237. The theme for Co-operative Congress is ‘The Business of Co-operation’ – focussing on the environment that co-operatives operate in. It will include an update on the Welsh Government’s work on the Co operative and Mutuals Commission and a keynote speech by Chuka Umunna MP, Shadow Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Co-operative Congress will include opportunities to learn more about co-operatives in a fun way by sampling co-operative food and drink, listening to musical performances and having the opportunity to buy co-operative produce including food and clothing.

Cookery demonstrations and tastings will take place in The Co-operative Group’s kitchen and there will be games and activities to keep children entertained.

Film screenings and workshops will also be provided and visitors will get a glimpse of the co-operative future, with a growing trend for community owned shops, pubs and even sports clubs.

Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, Ed Mayo said:

“We are delighted to be coming to Cardiff and very excited about holding our national conference at a co-operative venue – the SWALEC stadium. Housing is a key issue in the UK and we believe that there are important co-operative solutions that can help us to provide a more diverse and balanced housing market. There are some very inspiring housing co-operatives and this seminar should be very thought provoking. We hope that visitors to the housing seminar will take some time to find out more about the co-operative sector as a whole too.”

Wales Co-operative Centre

The Wales Co-operative Centre was set up thirty years ago and ever since has been helping businesses grow, people to find work and communities to tackle the issues that matter to them. Its advisors work co-operatively across Wales, providing expert, flexible and reliable support to develop sustainable businesses and strong, inclusive communities.

www.walescooperative.org

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