Vale business showcased in national campaign to raise profile of social enterprises
12:42pm Wednesday 18th September 2013 in News
A VALE business is fronting a new campaign to showcase the contribution of social enterprises to the Welsh economy.
Cardiff and Vale Credit Union is being featured in ‘Go Full Circle’ - a national campaign to raise the profile of social enterprises, businesses with primarily social or community objectives.
The co-operative provides residents and employees of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan with access to ethical and affordable financial advice and services.
The organisation’s aim is ensure the financial health and security of its membership, by providing its community with ethical savings services and loans from £100 to £15,000. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) , Cardiff and Vale Credit Union currently has 6,000 adult members and 500 junior savers.
With average loan values of £2,000 - an amount deemed too low for most banks - the credit union provides its members with a secure and affordable alternative to high-interest, short-term lenders or credit cards. As a result of local need, the co-operative is set to open an additional new centre on Holton Road, Barry.
The ‘Go Full Circle’ campaign, which has been launched by the Wales Co-operative Centre, will demonstrate to consumers the services offered in their local communities by social enterprises. It will encourage a broader understanding of the benefits of using the goods and services offered by social enterprises.
Running throughout September, the ‘Go Full Circle’ campaign will highlight the vast and varied nature of social enterprises in Wales, challenge common myths around the business model and educating people on the importance of a thriving social economy.
The campaign will culminate in Wales’ first ‘Social Saturday’ event on 21 September, on which people will be encouraged to support their local social enterprises, for example through shopping with or visiting a local firm.
Leanne Herberg, chief executive of Cardiff and Vale Credit Union, said: “The work of social enterprises is vital to many communities across Wales. We’re working to ensure that everyone in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, regardless of their economic standing, has access to ethical financial guidance and services.
“In times of payday lending and high interest loans, we believe it is essential that members of our communities who are in need of financial support understand that they do have options. This view is shared by our higher earning members, who elect to save with us to provide low cost loans for members in their communities. Understanding that we are a local social enterprise provides the confidence that all the profit we make is returned to our members in the form of interest on their savings, or used to improve our services and products. Knowing that savings deposited with us are safe and protected in the same way as banks and building societies gives our members added assurance. ”
Derek Walker, chief executive of Wales Co-operative Centre, said: “Raising awareness of the existence and contribution of social enterprises and co-operatives in Wales will be key to increasing their number, sustainability and growth in the future.
“The aim of Go Full Circle is to promote the benefits of social enterprises in Wales, highlighting their widespread offerings and encouraging consumers across Wales to recognise that using social enterprises can benefit themselves and local communities.
“Research shows that, while generally there is a good level of support for social enterprises, not enough people actually understand what they are or how they operate. Support for social enterprise is there but more must be done to increase understanding among the public.
“Part of these efforts must focus on tackling common misconceptions about social enterprise – such as that social enterprises rely on grants or donations to exist – and Go Full Circle is aiming to do just that.
“The campaign’s also aiming to empower the enterprises themselves to shout about their good work to demonstrate how they’re helping the community in which they are operating.”