left to right: kelly davies, ceo & founder of vi-ability, derek walker ceo of wales co-operative centre and keri harris, manager of street football wales.

left to right: kelly davies, ceo & founder of vi-ability, derek walker ceo of wales co-operative centre and keri harris, manager of street football wales.


During the first two weeks of February, the Wales Co-Operative Centre is running its third Tackling Poverty Fortnight campaign. With the next Welsh Assembly elections looming and the Welsh Government’s current Tackling Poverty Action plan due to end this year, the Centre hopes the campaign will help to support and inform future efforts around these issues. The campaign will promote successful co-operative projects that are currently being delivered by the third sector and social businesses in Wales to help tackle poverty, in the hope the incoming Welsh Government builds on current good practice, and explores new, innovative ideas.

Due to our success as 2015 UK and Welsh Social Enterprise of the Year, Our partners, Wales Co-Operative Centre asked us to be a part of this campaign and kick start the event alongside our longstanding partners Street football Wales, who improve the lives and opportunities for individuals facing social exclusion through homelessness, substance misuse, mental health or cultural issues.

jo price, education officer delivering community engagement module of our 'run the club' programme. 

jo price, education officer delivering community engagement module of our 'run the club' programme. 

Those who are new to Vi-Ability, may think what do we actually do? Vi-Ability started life in Conwy, and has since expanded to South Wales, London and India. Our ‘Bread-and-Butter' is the ‘Run The Club’ programme. Through engaging in the 8-week programme, Individuals develop insight and a real experience into the commercial side of football and sports clubs. This lays down a pathway for people of all abilities to become much closer to their community. Created by industry professionals, the educational programme is highly innovative and provides people furthest from the job market with the skills and knowledge needed to work within the sports industry in a variety of business fields. To date, the programme has helped to find sustainable employment for 84% of people, with 90% of participants (NEETs) achieving at least two qualifications. Click below to find courses starting near you!

Current programmes

Kelly Davies, Founder and CEO of Vi-Ability says, “Events like these are great to showcase the hard work we are doing to help those with fewer opportunities. Vi-Ability want young people to be seen as assets in their community, with the vision that every community should have a thriving sports hub at its heart, where everyone has the opportunity to learn and grow. We are looking forward to launching our ‘Run the Club’ Programme at Cardiff Central Youth Centre, Funded by the Active Inclusion Fund. We really want to continue our work in helping those furthest from the job market, helping people realise their potential and the progress they can achieve through our programmes, as well as helping the clubs in providing this transformative environment. We want this movement to spread to all communities across Wales, England and globally.’’

Bobi, who is an administrator at Vi-Ability has come a long way since we first met him, he says, “Before I took park in a Vi-Ability programme, I had no idea what I was going to do. My time at School was difficult and I had no career direction. I was offered a Jobs Growth Wales post with Vi-ability and then completed an apprenticeship in customer service. I’ve never looked back since, I enjoy the work because it helps others. Vi-Ability’s helped me in many ways and massively improved my confidence after I was dented in school.”

Social businesses, such as us, play an important role in tackling poverty and we make an important economic contribution in some of the poorest parts of the country. Social enterprise is a way of doing business that delivers sustainable economic growth while fostering positive social change and innovation.

We believe that we can grow the movement and create three key systemic changes;

  1. Vi-Ability services work towards a reduction in the number of disengaged young people. Not only does Vi-Ability want to use the motivational power of sport & business to assist young people with progression into further learning, volunteering or employment – which will help measure it’s true success. Vi-Ability want to go beyond that and make a cultural change happen, whereby, in the future more doors are continually open for young people to raise their aspirations, and realise their true potential.
  2. Vi-Ability want to bring about is the expectation that: a sports club should be ran like a business – which as a measurement of success is at worse case ‘breaking even’ but hopefully achieving a growing surplus year on year, and creating jobs within the local community. Vi-Ability will educate club owners & make them aware that it is far better to invest in local talent, who have come through our programmes and live on their doorstep.
  3. Vi-Ability want sport to be seen as a very cost effective tool that can be used to address national political agendas in areas such as health, education and employment, and have a lasting impact on society.

The Tackling Poverty Fortnight campaign is using the Twitter hashtag #PovertyInWales. You can also access the Wales Co-operative Centre’s manifesto which sets out their actions that are needed to support and strengthen the development of co-operative approaches across Wales . Click here for the manifesto