Agenda item

West Flintshire Community Enterprises (Presentation)


            That the presentation be received. 



The Chief Officer (Community and Enterprise) introduced Mr. Nick Taylor, Chair of West Flintshire Community Enterprises (WFCE) and Mr. Mike Dodd, Social Enterprise Development Lead Officer to Communities First.  


Mr. Taylor and Mr. Dodd provided a detailed presentation on the WFCE  the main features of which were:-


·         Background

·         Current and Planned Projects

·         Arts & Crafts Mill

·         Bubble Gum

·         Artisan Shop

·         Future Plans and Opportunities

·         Greenfield Docks


Councillor Nancy Matthews sought clarification on how WFCE was funded  and the sort of grants that could be applied for.  Mr. Dodd explained that £100,000 funding had been provided to set up West Flintshire Community Enterprises (WFCE).  He added that WFCE charged rent on the office space above the Artisan Shop and for delivery of training in the IT suite/training room which would provide WFCE with an income.  Mr. Dodd said that it was more important to break even in the first year rather than make a profit and it was hoped that the revenue from the Artisan shop would increase in line with increases in the rent for the shop.  Mr. Taylor explained that bids were submitted in association with other partnerships which was a positive way of submitting an application.  Mr. Dodd confirmed that WFCE did not employ a grant funding officer. 


Councillor Chris Dolphin referred to his ward and felt that he would like to discuss issues relating to Social Enterprise in Carmel and Whitford with Mr. Taylor and Mr. Dodd.  He commented on the work undertaken in the Greenfield Docks area and asked whether it was problems with planning permission that were preventing the work progressing.  He supported the proposals suggested in the presentation but queried why the process was taking so long.  Councillor Dolphin also felt that the issue relating to the transfer of the asset of the Old Gatehouse needed to be resolved. 


The Cabinet Member for Environment raised significant concern about the comments of Councillor Dolphin in relation to the Planning Department and referred to the process that needed to be followed when submitting a planning application.  Mr. Dodd indicated that discussions had taken place with Planning Officers and progress had been made.  The Chief Officer (Planning and Environment) advised that officers would undertake discussions with any potential developers and added that he was happy to address any problems which had arisen. 


Councillor Joe Johnson asked for further information on the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) and where the cards could be obtained from.  Mr. Dodd said that the cards were currently only available from offices in Rhyl or Sandbach but that he was to apply for a licence to deliver them in Holywell.  He also commented on the fee for the cards and how this could be funded for those unable to afford it. 


The Chief Officer (Community and Enterprise) commented on the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) programme and suggested that the proposed CSCS Testing Centre could be used to deliver the contractual training requirements for the programme. 


Councillor Peter Curtis spoke of his background with the Communities First project and his involvement with the WFCE.  He commented on the work which had been undertaken with Planning on the Greenfield Docks project and added that it was necessary to identify whether there was contamination on the site.  The café facility in the Artisan shop, which provided wholesome food at a reasonable cost, had been extremely successful.  He said that initially WFCE had been seen as a threat to Communities First but he was pleased to report that both projects were working hand in hand.  He encouraged other Members to undertake a community enterprise in their area. 


On the issue of asset transfer and social enterprises, Councillor Carolyn Thomas said that it was important that information was available to provide details which included who to contact and where grants could be obtained from.  The Cabinet Member for Environment confirmed that a pack containing all of the required information was being prepared and would be shared with the Committee once it was available.  He appreciated that there were legal issues which could slow down the process of asset transfer but added that the Chief Officer Team were aware of the need to streamline the process.  The Cabinet Member for Waste Strategy, Public Protection and Leisure added that the Flintshire Local Voluntary Council would also be able to assist with information on community asset transfer.  Councillor Veronica Gay queried whether One Voice Wales could also be included in any details on asset transfer.  Councillor Curtis spoke of the importance of having a person who had experience of preparing grant applications to ensure all available funding was sought. 


The Chair thanked Mr. Dodd and Mr. Taylor for their presentation and suggested that an update on WFCE could be provided in the future.                                




            That the presentation be received.