ProMo-Cymru, the youth co-operative development agency, recently held a celebration of 30 years of operation at a small event in the Cardiff Story Museum, where an exhibition of their history is on show until February 2015.
The video below has been produced as part of the 30 years celebration and brings together some of the people from the past together with those still involved now:-
I joined the original working group, which was set up by Cllr John Reynolds, Alun Michael, John Southern and Sheila Rees in 1982, and after the first AGM I attended, I was appointed Vice Chair under John Reynolds. Cardiff & Vale Co-operative Development Association was registered as a Company Ltd by Guarantee in 1984, and traces its official history from that point.
Following the sudden death of John Reynolds in April 1990 I became Chair, a position I held until 1995 when John Rogers took over. I was obliged to stand down as I had a conflict of interest with my new position with Cardiff Council – in particular my responsibilities included the management of their grant budget!
Cardiff & Vale CDA operated a close partnership with Cardiff & Vale Enterprise, the local Enterprise Agency, with both based at Enterprise House in Bute Street. Following the death of John Reynolds who sat on the CAVE Board as a Cardiff Councillor, the two organisations decided to exchange Directors to promote good communications at all levels, so I sat on their Board, and their Director, Peter Fortune sat on ours. This lasted until 1995 when I took up a position with the Cardiff Council.
John Rogers was Chair from 1995 until 2001 when he stood down to concentrate on his work as a Blaenau Gwent Councillor, together with Don Wilcox (Vice Chair) who became the Council Leader. Having left Cardiff Council, I took on the role of Chair again.
The ProMo Project started in 1998 with a South Glamorgan Training and Enterprise Council (TEC) grant, which identified a resurgence in the cultural industries, especially creative ability amongst disenfranchised young people operating on the fringes of music and entertainment in Wales. These young people lacked practical experience, supported workspace, access to information and supportive business advice to enable them to turn desire and ability into economic success, thus providing a catalyst for them to aspire to.
At that point we were the last local CDA left in Wales, so we decided to merge our general co-operative work with the Wales Co-operative Centre, transferring 2 staff in the process, and concentrated on developing our youth co-operative work.
In 2002 following an application to the National Lottery for this youth development work being turned down on the grounds the organisation “wasn’t charitable enough”, we changed the company name to Promo-Cymru and registered as a Charity using the existing Objects. We were then successful with a second 3 year Lottery bid. This has grown beyond initial expectations into the ProMo-Cymru that exists today, which works across the whole of Wales, developing it’s services from the vast experience and expertise gained, and has attracted funding from various sources to ensure continuing development.
The underpinning themes of ProMo-Cymru’s work are to empower, sustain and develop young people and to sustain and work in partnership with others in the social and economic context for lifelong learning, personal and community development. Individuals benefit from team working, pooling skills and resources through mutual self-help groups, co-operatives and community enterprises.
In October 2007 I stood down from the Chair after 27 years as a Board member, including 21 years as Chair and Vice Chair, and made way for Len Arthur who was followed by the current Chair, John Rogers.
In the last 10 years, ProMo-Cymru has developed services that range from information websites, community regeneration projects to an advocacy helpline.
Follow ProMo-Cymru at http://www.promo-cymru.org