Press release

Empowering and improving the lives of young people is focus of Wales Co-operative Centre-organised national conference

The provision of affordable housing and routes into employment for young people, through co-operatives, can help them lead more stable and secure lives.

That’s one of the points that will be made at a national conference during Co-operatives Fortnight, the UK-wide awareness campign. 'Building A Co-operative Country' is organised by the Wales Co-operative Centre - on behalf of the Mutuals Alliance - and takes place in Cardiff on 26 June.

Derek Walker, Chief Executive of the Wales Co-operative Centre and member of the Mutuals Alliance, said: "Following the huge success of last year’s event at the Principality Stadium, we will once again be covering the big questions when it comes to how we grow and sustain the co-operative movement here in Wales.

"This year we will be focusing our event on the millennial generation and exploring a variety of ways in which co-ops and mutuals can support and empower young people to improve their lives. Two of the key issues we will be discussing will be housing and employment."

Bron Afon’s Ty Cyfle, a housing co-op in south east Wales, will run a workshop at the conference. They help young people in Garndiffaith overcome significant challenges, provide them with essential life skills and support them to take the next step on the property ladder.

Cardiff Council and the Co-operative Foundation will run sessions on employment and skills. As a co-operative council, the local authority has worked to reduce youth unemployment through the ‘Cardiff Commitment’. The Co-operative Foundation has supported a number of organisations throughout the UK develop projects that help increase the skills of young people and improve their employment prospects.

Other themes that will be explored at the event include education, the environment and the link between co-ops, young people and the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act. The conference is aimed at organisations that help young people to improve their lives and young people that have an interest in co-operatives.

Keynote speakers include Huw Richards from Aberystwyth, who has developed a strong fan base on YouTube through his series of videos on organic and sustainable farming; Polly Robbins , of tech co-op called Outlandish, and Ieva Padagaite, the outgoing UK representative on the Young European Co-operators Network.

Building A Co-operative Country is sponsored by Arup Group, Cartrefi Cymru, Merthyr Valleys Homes, the Co-operative Group, the Co-op Party and ProMo Cymru.

Tickets are priced £25 and can be booked online at http://bit.ly/bacceventpress.