Community power: community enterprises transforming care in Wrexham
Wrexham is a traditional market town on the border of England and Wales. It is a place full of history and natural beauty, and it has a proud tradition of enterprise and production. It is a place where ideas, cultures and languages fuse – creating innovation.
Wrexham has always had a heritage of production and entrepreneurship, from being a major location for brewing, markets, mining coal, football and, more recently, manufacturing the Covid-19 vaccine.
That’s why I wasn’t at all surprised that local people jumped at the chance to start their own enterprises. The people I have met have combined their creative and caring skills with a sincere desire to create change for the better in our community.
It has been great to work in my hometown as a Community Catalyst, helping local people to start their own community enterprises offering bespoke care and support to older and disabled people in the area.
These enterprises are changing their localities for the better. It has been truly inspiring to see local people making a real difference. For example, many older people in the Ceiriog Valley had struggled to get personal care in the valley due to its rural location and it was becoming a big issue for all involved.
The community rallied together using social media and the local Community Agent for Glyntraian Davena Davies to promote our project and the support we offer. This resulted in seven people in the Ceiriog Valley signing up to our programme to start setting up their own community enterprises to offer support to older people in the area. Three of these enterprises have now launched, and are already making a big difference to older people’s lives in the Ceiriog Valley.
It has been inspiring for all involved to see the difference this new type of support is already making in the Ceiriog Valley and across Wrexham – and to see the entrepreneurs’ confidence grow in the process. What’s more, these enterprises operate hyper-locally meaning their travel and transport demands are low, reducing their carbon footprint.
The Community Catalysts project is all about empowering local people to improve their own lives and the lives of people in their community. I work with the people to support them on their journey, helping them to understand the key things they need in place to operate legally, safely, sustainably and effectively. Linking the enterprise leaders up for peer support and connecting them with social work teams is also essential for success. Our support is free to enterprise leaders and it has enabled local people to take control of their own destinies.
Trevor Bates, Councillor for the Ceiriog Valley said about the project:
It’s been very refreshing to see an innovative response to the shortage of carers in my area and quite a relief for local residents who were beginning to suffer as a result. I think this is real “Care in the Community” with local people being looked after locally. It just needed the help and advice that Tom Hughes has provided to give people the confidence to start their own business or become self-employed. The world is changing rapidly and we need to constantly review the way we respond as situations emerge.
Reflecting on what these extraordinary people have been doing in the town makes me think of Wrexham in the future. Wrexham has been known for its industrious people and enterprises over the years, I wonder if, in the future, it will be known for its plucky community enterprises supporting local people. I certainly hope so.
To find information on the amazing enterprises that have set up as part of this project follow this link to Small Good Stuff.
For more information setting up your own micro-enterprise to provide personal care contact Tom Hughes on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07880 195114. You can follow the projects progress across the county on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/ComCatsWrexham