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An apprenticeship scheme in the social care sector in Monmouthshire and the development of a specialised autism centre in Nantgarw are among 12 social care projects set to share more than £1 million from the Welsh Government to test new ways of improving and transforming the everyday parts of Wales’ economy.

First published:
30 October 2019
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, Julie Morgan made the announcement on a visit to one of the projects awarded funding - Drive, an organisation based in Nantgarw which supports people with learning disabilities. 

The 12 experimental projects have been awarded funding from the Welsh Government’s Foundational Economy Challenge Fund because they have potential to make a real difference to people’s lives. The Fund is for innovative projects which explore new ways of supporting foundational economy sectors such as social care. 

The Foundational Economy is made up of the everyday goods and services we all use and need. Wales is the first country in the world to embrace the ‘Foundational Economy’ approach, which is being taken up by cities and regions across the world. 

The Welsh Government’s Foundational Economy Challenge fund aims to drive prosperity throughout Wales and reach out to those communities across Wales who are feeling disengaged and left behind. As a result of the quality of applications to the fund, its budget for the whole of Wales has been almost trebled to over £4.5 million. 

Drive has been awarded £75,000 from the fund to develop an existing project into a centre for people with Autism. The funding will also offer specialised training for learning disability nurses so that they can learn about supporting people with autism, including those who can challenge services. 

Rhian Jones, Chief Executive of Drive said:

We are thrilled to be awarded this funding, which will be used to transform an existing horticulture project into a much needed specialist autism centre. There is a lack of provision for people with autism in the area, particularly young people transitioning from school to adulthood, and I know this project will prevent some young adults from having to move to out of county placements for specialist support. It is set in a beautiful location with a log cabin and poly-tunnels, and will provide a calm space to learn new skills in horticulture, gain qualifications, and progress to other community opportunities in the area.

Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, Julie Morgan said:

I am pleased that our Foundational Economy Challenge Fund will be supporting 12 innovative social care projects that will hugely benefit communities across Wales. The fund will support a number of pilot social care projects which are aimed at developing the sector and providing a boost to the services users who will use them. The funding will support some interesting and creative new approaches to social care and I look forward to visiting and hearing more about the 12 projects over the coming months.

Deputy Economy Minister Lee Waters, said:

In a time of great uncertainty our Foundational Economy Challenge Fund is designed to trial new approaches to change the way the local economy works, and the way services are delivered. 

We’re experimenting with 52 different projects across Wales, 12 of them in social care. 

Care is a key part of the foundational economy, it’s one of the core pillars that keep us safe, sound and civilised. But at the moment is too often characterised as a low-skill and low wage part of the economy, where too often the needs of the person being cared for is not centre stage. 

We’re trialling a dozen new interventions to make a difference to the lives of so many people throughout Wales who receive care, or who give care. And we’ll be watching closely to see what we can learn and spread.

More information about the projects awarded funding can be found on the Business Wales website