Co-operative Congress

Co-operative Congress coming to Wales.
Three-day event at the Swalec Stadium, Cardiff 28th – 30th June

Co-operative Congress is the co-operative sector’s premier event in Britain. It brings together those with a passion for co-operative action to share ideas, learn and be inspired.

The event takes place over three days and is an opportunity for those with an interest in co-operative approaches to hear from experts and leaders within the sector, as well as network and learn more about co-operatives working in the UK today. The programme for the event includes the annual business event for co-operators, as well as events organised by the Wales Co-operative Centre, The Co-operative Cymru/Wales and Co-operatives and Mutuals Wales.

Co-operative Congress is organised by Co-operatives UK. They selected Cardiff as this year’s location because of exciting developments such as the establishment of the Welsh Government’s Commission on Co-operatives and Mutuals. During the weekend 350 delegates will attend the formal Congress sessions, whilst 1000 people are expected to visit the exhibition area.

The Wales Co-operative Centre is pleased to be hosting several events within Congress that showcase our activity in new and developing areas of co-operation.

Employee Ownership: Solutions for the Private Sector

On Friday 28th June, the Wales Co-operative Centre’s Business Succession Team present a seminar and workshop session, ‘Employee Ownership: Solutions for the Private Sector’, which is aimed at the business intermediary sector in Wales and those who have an interest in employee ownership.

Business succession is an often overlooked, but essential element of long term business planning. Too many businesses in Wales fail because of poor succession planning, resulting in loss of intellectual property, assets, supplier relationships, and most importantly, jobs. Employee Ownership offers a vital succession approach that will ensure that businesses are passed to a team of people who have a vested interest in their future success, its employees. The session will equip delegates with the latest thinking and developments in Employee Ownership from those at the forefront of business development and guidance.

It will focus on:

  • The importance of succession planning
  • The Employee Ownership opportunity for the Welsh economy
  • Managing the Employee Ownership transition.

Speakers include the Business Succession Team from the Wales Co-operative Centre and two clients who have led their respective companies through the Employee Ownership process:

Barry Wise, Aber Instruments. Based in Aberystwyth, Aber Instruments produces measurement instruments used for fermentation in brewing. After creating an Employee Benefit Trust, supported by a Share Incentive Plan, the founding owners have been able to reduce their shareholding and transfer their shares in the company to their employees.

Steve Meredith, PrimePac Solutions Ltd. PrimePac Solutions Ltd is a worker co-operative based in Ebbw Vale that fills bottles, sachets and tubes for clients including leading brands in the health and personal care sector. In 2005, the then owners decided to close the factory. Staff members invested their redundancy payment into setting up PrimePac Solutions Ltd as an employee owned company which now has a turnover of £3.8million (2012).

This event is free and is open to attendees who are not participating in Congress. Use the link below to secure your place.

Co-operative Housing: A model for accessing homes in Wales

The following day (Saturday 29th June), the Wales Co-operative Centre hosts a seminar on the opportunities for developing co-operative housing in Wales. The issue of affordable housing is never far from the headlines. This event is intended to bring together experts in housing with anyone who has an interest in co-operative housing. It will investigate opportunities for using co-operative approaches to tackle the shortage of affordable housing.

The event will explore:

  • Different options for co-operative housing schemes
  • Latest research on the potential market in Wales for co-operative housing
  • Success stories from around the UK
  • Exciting proposals for co-operative pioneer housing projects across Wales
  • Interactive workshops on how to kick-start and grow housing co-operatives
  • Information on the support available for housing co-operatives in Wales

One of the key-note speakers will be Nic Bliss, Chair of the Confederation of Co-operative Housing for the event. This event is free and is open to attendees who are not participating in Congress.

Plenary Session ‘Creating a Business Environment for Co-operatives’

In addition to these events, Wales Co-operative Centre Chief Executive Derek Walker will chair a plenary session entitled ‘Creating a Business Environment for Co-operatives’.

The session will include presentations from:

Andrew Davies, Chair, Co-operative and Mutuals Commission for Wales

‘Growing the co-operative economy through government action’

Sarah Deas, Chief Executive of Co-operative Development Scotland

‘Growing the co-operative economy through business development networks’, and,

Pierre Liret, Training and Human Resource Manager, Confédération Générale Des Scop (French worker co-operative movement) ‘Growing the co-operative economy through changing perceptions’

This event is a plenary session within the main Congress event. Day tickets are available for the event via the Co-operative UK booking website


The Wales Co-operative Centre will also be exhibiting throughout the weekend in the exhibition marquee situated at the front of Swalec Stadium Gate 5, opposite the pavilion.


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