We are a small, not for profit, workers co-operative, based in West Wales. Established since 1996, under the broad remit of providing basic needs for our members and the community at large. Previously we have avoided any form of publicity, as we have been busy enough. This website is us now reaching out to explain what we do , and a bit about our future plans.
Our initial intention was to supply basic needs, but this proved not to be as easy as it sounds. We chose to start with food and fuel needs, and we soon encountered problems that were based on our lack of capital for equipment, transport, and machinery etc. and problems associated with scale. This lead us to realise, that if we were to supply our members with their needs, we would need to operate at an appropriate scale to cover the costs of investment, which would then enable us to supply the local community as well.
To earn money to pay for the needed investment, we established ourselves as forest contractors. Doing small thinning jobs, so we could use the timber as firewood, but mostly tree planting, for large forestry companies, and collecting tree seeds, for the forest nursery industry, enabling us to pay wages, and earn a surplus into the co-operative pot, to fund the development in the other areas. This has remained our business model since then. We have now planted in excess of 2 million trees, mostly native hardwoods, and collect tree seeds throughout Wales and the south coast of England. We hope to expand into collection in Scotland, and are currently looking for people to pick in that area.
We used this income to invest in a wide range of equipment, including commercial horticulture machinery, and forestry tractors, we are now able to supply on a commercial scale, firewood, kindling and fencing, as well as producing our own cider, apple juice, and certified organic vegetables.
All the above activity inevitably attracted some attention, and in September 2006 we were awarded a Cyd Coed grant for just over £500,000, which we used to purchase two woodlands, “Ffynone and Cilgwyn” which adjoin our current base at Henparcau farm.
Our intention is to develop our ethos further, creating a community woodland, under the Cyd Coed intention of “woods for all” where we hope to develop a range of activity for the benifit of the wider community. Click on the Ffynone page to read more.