Our bespoke training gave co-op business experts the knowledge boost they needed to better support their clients.
Wales Co-operative centre is the UK’s largest co-operative development agency, delivering a range of services and activities with the aim of growing the number of co-operatives, mutuals, social enterprises and employee-owned businesses.
The organisation offers several enterprise support programmes and works with different communities across Wales. It has a team of business advisors who support clients with incorporation and governance advice.
They came to Co-operatives UK seeking focused training for their business advisors. “Our team work with lots of sporting organisations. We felt that it would be useful to have refresher training on legal structures for sports clubs, community benefit societies and community amateur sports clubs,” said Claudia Limpert, Project Manager at Wales Co-operative Centre.
“We receive queries from football, rugby, golf and cricket clubs – as well as many others – usually at community level. They often want to know which legal structure would suit them best.
“We also get lots of enquiries about community share offers, from clubs wanting to raise funds. So we felt it would be useful to better understand the community benefit society structure for sports clubs – to help us advise clients which structures are available to them and the pros and cons of the different models.
“We’ve worked with Co-operatives UK for years. They’ve delivered training for us before, on governance and legal structures. So we knew they had the level of specialist knowledge we were looking for, as well as a specialism with co-ops, which aligns with our values and our work. They understand the clients we are working with and the sector we are working in.”
Claudia worked closely with Linda Barlow, Co-operatives UK’s Co-operative Governance Advisor, to develop bespoke training tailored to the needs of the team. It had to suit the level of knowledge the business advisors already had while filling in the relevant gaps.
“I’ve got a good relationship with the Advice Team having worked with them before. Their response was quick and I had the opportunity to properly discuss what we wanted from the training – so we were able to put a lot of detail into the brief,” Claudia explains.
“There was quite a bit of back and forth between myself and Linda before it was finalised. She sent me a rundown of what the day would look like, and I got to feed back on that.
The result: a one-day Zoom training session focusing on the higher level detail of the different structures, with examples of more complex cases that Linda had encountered in the past.
Claudia and the other attendees enjoyed the session. “There was a good balance between Linda delivering theory and technical information – and turning off her slides so we could have discussions as a group.
“If people wanted more information on a particular point, they had the chance to ask. Everyone was happy with the pace as it was quite conversational,” she says.
“The team fed back that they found it really useful, and that as a result, they felt more confident advising on sports club structures. They were happy the session gave them the knowledge they were hoping to get.
“All in all, it was a really good experience. There was a quick turnaround and it was all very low stress for me. Linda was helpful and amenable. It’s also very good value for money in terms of the level of knowledge that Linda and the Advice Team have. And it was all delivered in a friendly, personable way.”