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Social Business Approaches 30th Anniversary with Record-Breaking Results

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An inspiring charity operating in the Vale of Glamorgan, that supports disadvantaged and vulnerable people in south Wales, has joined a national campaign this summer to encourage the Welsh public to visit social enterprises across the country.

The Amelia Trust Farm in Barry was founded in 1990 with the goal of creating a community space to provide educational and therapeutic support to disadvantaged and vulnerable people within a ‘care farm’ setting. The farm also serves as a therapeutic countryside sanctuary for the wider public to enjoy.

As part of its summer activity, the organisation has partnered with the Wales Co-operative Centre to be part of the Social Summer 2019 campaign, which is encouraging families across Wales to make more use of the wide-range of family-friendly social enterprises over the summer holidays.

The charity celebrated a record-breaking 2018 after welcoming over 20,000 visitors to the farm and has become a firm favourite with families from across the local area. Amelia Trust Farm also opened a new farm shop on its premises, which sells local produce, carved wood products and ceramics, some of which have been crafted by the young people the charity supports.

Speaking about the importance of social enterprises in Wales, Becca Palmer, marketing manager at the Amelia Trust Farm said:

“As we head towards our 30th year, our commitment to supporting some of society’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged people remains the core purpose of our charity. With the support of the public who visit our farm, we’re able to build a fairer and more inclusive society, and together we can continue delivering vital services for people in south Wales.

“We’ve got some brilliant events planned for families to come and enjoy over the summer holidays, which will support the delivery of our support services, and together with the Wales Coop Centre we want to highlight the important role social enterprises can play in putting the interests of people and the planet first.”

During term-time the Amelia Trust Farm runs programmes for vulnerable young people who are struggling in mainstream education, whether it’s due to abuse and neglect or neuro developmental disorders such as ADHD or autism. The charity also supports adults with learning disabilities.

Alongside it’s inspiring charity work, the Amelia Trust Farm also offers a whole host of family-friendly and inclusive activities to enjoy year-round. There are woodland walks, animals on site, family events, play areas, the newly launched shop, and a café.

Over the summer holidays, the charity is also running a series of family events, that encourage young children to play together, enjoy nature and embrace their creativity.

Some of the standout events in August include the popular ‘Be a Farmer’ days, where children can get hands-on experience in caring for the animals at the farm, and ‘Teddy Bear’ day, where children can enjoy a picnic together, along with their favourite teddy bears.

Catherine Evans, marketing manager at the Wales Co-operative Centre, said:

“Social enterprises create huge value for the Welsh economy and they also create so many benefits for local communities, which is why are Social Summer 2019 is so important. We want to raise awareness with the public that there are social enterprises nearby, where they can visit over the summer holidays to enjoy themselves, while also supporting a wider social cause.”

Last year, the charity launched its ‘Grow’ programme, which included the introduction of an occupational therapist into its delivery team. The programme’s aim is to support individuals in 3 key areas – therapy, education and work – by providing therapeutic activities, qualifications and occupational planning.  Young people develop confidence through a sense of industry providing them with the hope and coping strategies to make positive life choices.

The programme has been a huge success with 84% of young people on placement with Amelia Trust Farm moving on to further education, training or employment.

With the Amelia Trust Farm approaching its 30th anniversary, the organisation is a glowing example of the thriving social business sector in Wales, and its importance for the Welsh economy.

The ‘Mapping the Social Business Sector in Wales’ report, published earlier this year, found that the social business sector in Wales is worth an estimated £3.18bn to the Welsh economy, a 34% increase on findings in 2016.

Social enterprises play a key role in creating job opportunities for local communities. The 2,022 social enterprises in Wales employ around 55,000 people and provide volunteering opportunities to an estimated 58,000 individuals.

In addition, around a quarter of all social businesses invest their profits in their social objectives and more than 75 per cent pay the Real Living Wage to all their staff, compared to just 48 per cent of Welsh SMEs.

If you want to support social enterprises like the Xcel Bowl, you can learn more about the Wales Co-operative Centre’s Social Summer 2019 campaign by visiting https://wales.coop/social-summer-2019/ or looking for the #SocialSummerCym hashtag on social media.