Press Release: Citizen trailblazers transforming Social Services in Wales

Disability Wales and Wales Co-operative Centre are delighted to announce the three pioneering groups selected to take part in Stage 2 of the Citizen Directed Co-operatives Cymru (CDCC) project.

CDCC will set up one Citizen Directed Co-operative in Wales, empowering citizens to gain greater control over their support requirements and creating a new option for managing direct payments. CDCC is funded by Big Lottery Fund’s BIG Innovation grant until March 2018.

The project has selected three groups from across Wales to develop their ideas for the project: Cymydog, GOYA Co-operative; and The Independent Life Co-operative. These groups will be invited to apply to Stage 3 of CDCC to access the training, support and finance available to set up what is believed to be the first co-operative of its kind in the UK.


Cymydog (Wrexham)

Cymydog is a community group in Wrexham looking to set up a direct payment co-operative initially based in Plas yn Rhos Older People’s Unit in Rhosllanerchrugog.

Cymydog plans to pool the residents’ direct payments in order to provide full time care provision,  this will include night time cover which has previously been at risk of removal. The group wants to use the co-operative as a way to increase members’ support networks and improve general wellbeing through arranging outings and organising various activities.


GOYA Co-operative Cymru (Monmouthshire)

GOYA Co-operative is a group of likeminded individuals and organisations from across Monmouthshire who have come together to develop a county wide direct payment co-operative.

The co-operative aims to support disabled people in the area to use direct payments to find ‘ways of getting a good life’, including supporting members to use direct payments creatively. In an area where rurality can often be a barrier to wellbeing, the group hopes that GOYA Co-operative will enable members to increase their support networks.


The Independent Life Co-operative (Pembrokeshire)

Pembrokeshire Access Group (PAG) are looking to expand the support it currently offers across West Wales by developing The Independent Life Co-operative. The co-operative aims to promote direct payments across the region in order to support more disabled people to take advantage of their benefits.

The group aims to establish a West Wales ‘hub’ based in Pembrokeshire, with plans to work with other Disabled People’s Organisations to set up branches of the co-operative in neighbouring counties.


Professor Mark Drakeford AM, Minister for Health and Social Services, welcomed this announcement:

“Co-operation and mutuality is the way forward to deliver real and positive changes for people who use social services. This project provides an opportunity for people to drive forward the design and operation of direct payments in their area. We know that to operate direct payments effectively you need to be responsive to people’s needs and this is what the project is about. I look forward to seeing it go from strength to strength”


Rhian Davies, Chief Executive of Disability Wales, said:

“Following the Project launch in March and Citizens Roadshows held around Wales earlier in the summer, it is very exciting to have reached this stage of the CDCC project where three groups from different parts of Wales have successfully submitted innovative proposals to develop Direct Payments Co-operatives in their area.

Together with its project partner Wales Co-operative Centre, Disability Wales looks forward to working with each of these groups to develop their proposals more fully, leading the way in citizen directed services that enable genuine voice and control”.


Derek Walker, Chief Executive of Wales Co-operative Centre, said:

“This is a ground-breaking project which will put people in full control of their own support services. The ambition, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of the three groups is hugely exciting and we look forward to working with them as their co-operative business ideas develop into a reality.”


Big Lottery Fund Wales Director John Rose said:

“The Big Lottery Fund is committed to bringing about real improvements to communities most in need but recognises that existing ways of meeting need do not always work and that some needs are new with no ways of addressing them. This project demonstrates that our funding can help turn people’s big new ideas into a reality.”


CDCC will select one group to move to Stage 3 to access the training, support and finance available to set up their co-operative. The successful group will be announced March 2016. The co-operative will go live and start supporting its members by April 2017. For more information about the project, or how to get involved, please contact:

Rebecca Newsome (Disability Wales) / 02920 887325

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