Blog article

Giving service users a say - the story of Cartrefi Cymru Co-operative

Cartrefi Cymru Co-operative used to be a very good but fairly typical top-down, charitable provider of social care in rural Wales. But they saw that the values and principles of co-operation were hugely relevant to the provision of sustainable, high quality support and over the last year have converted to a co-op.

Cartrefi Cymru Co-operative, with a turnover of £21 million and 1,250 employees, is now a co-op owned by the stakeholders that are involved with the organisation  - the people it supports, employees, and family supporters. They have the opportunity to become voting members who can stand for the board and have a democratic voice in decisions.

"Despite all the challenges we are doing what matters to the people we support." Adrian Roper, Chief Executive, Cartrefi Cymru

The co-operative structure, which was developed with support from the Wales Co-operative Centre, offers a way to hard-wire user involvement and accountability into the organisation’s governance, meaning that can reassure it’s users that it is committed to the highest standards of social care and employment practice, and has effective channels in place to listen to their needs.

Recognising the role that reciprocity and well-being play in sustaining effective social care, Cartrefi Cymru has also put a new focus on bringing users, families and employee together to strengthen their communities by using local member forums to make decisions democratically and as equals.

“Our brilliant teams are embracing new, co-productive and co-operative ways of working” says Adrian Roper, Cartrefi Cymru’s Chief Executive. “And despite all the challenges we are doing what matters to the people we support.”

Share your story of co-operation or read others by using #coopstories on social media.

Written by Dominic Mills
Updated: 16/06/2017