Headlines: August 11th, 2003

The Welsh Assembly plans to boost social enterprise across Wales to foster social inclusion. The Assembly believes that social businesses are under rated and under represented in influencing Government policy and public awareness. It also believes that high street banks and other potential funders have a poor understanding of their values and abilities.Edwina Hart, minister for social justice and regeneration, has launched a consultation in collaboration with Assembly Members, the Social Economy Network and Wales Council for Voluntary Action. The consultation will seek views on the role social enterprise might play in providing public services, particularly traditional welfare services that have previously gone to local authorities. Currently the social economy numbers some 30,000 organisations, it employs about 23,000 paid staff and provides a turnover of 630 million pounds.

The areas for potential expansion include childcare, health and social care, environment and recycling, housing, renewable energy and green tourism.

Draft proposals include setting up specialist groups that would bring together key agencies to provide business expertise, and a publicity campaign to raise the sector’s profile and persuade enterprises to take part in awards schemes. There is also a proposal for a social angels scheme which would put investors in touch with businesses needing capital.