A visitor attraction in the historic mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog is on course to develop new trails and create jobs as it joins a campaign to encourage more families across Wales to spend summer holidays with social enterprises.
A quarter of a million mountain bikers have visited Antur Stiniog’s Llechwedd Slate Mountain site in the past 12 months, with 15,000 visitors across the not-for-profit mountain biking centres other locations.
Now the organisation has partnered with the Wales Co-Operative Centre to be part of its 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. Antur Stiniog’s mountain biking centre, with seven tailored trails for riders of all abilities including beginner riders and family groups, offers year-round family-fun leisure and sport opportunities for the people of Ffestiniog and the tourists to the area.
Discussing the importance of social enterprises in Wales, Elin Hywel, Antur Stiniog’s Finance and Business Development Manager, said: “Since the establishment of Antur Stiniog we’ve seen the impact that social enterprises can have on a community. Here in Blaenau Ffestiniog we re-invest money back into our community, to further develop our outdoor tourism sector. We’re excited to be part of the Wales Co-operative Centre’s Social Summer 2019 campaign to show the people of Wales how the money that they spend at organisations like ours supports their local communities and can lead to investment and development.”
With plans to increase its mountain biking trail network in the Ffestiniog area, employment opportunities are on the rise for Antur Stiniog and its 22-person team.
The site expansion could mean up to six new full-time jobs created. The proposed expansion is part of a wider initiative to make North Wales the European capital for adventure tourism. Talking about the exciting development plans for the site, Elin said:
“The proposed expansion of Antur Stiniog will confirm the enterprise’s reputation as one of the best mountain biking centres to visit in the UK. Further employment opportunities will be created, benefitting not only the local community but to boost the local economy.”
Antur Stiniog is part of the wider Cwmni Bro network which includes 14 social enterprises all located within the Ffestiniog area sharing the same aim of producing a positive social impact in the community.
The organisation runs its own tourism information centre and offers social enterprises and local artisans an outlet for their products in the Antur Stiniog shop and café. In addition, Antur Stiniog work with clubs and groups which undertake outdoor activities, providing equipment and opportunities for the community to partake in wherever possible.
Discussing the importance of social enterprises like Antur Stiniog, Catherine Evans, marketing manager at the Wales Co-operative Centre said: “Social enterprises create huge value for the Welsh economy and they also create many benefits for the local communities, which is why our Social Summer 2019 campaign is so important. We want to raise awareness with the public that there are social enterprises close to home they can visit over the summer holidays to enjoy themselves, while also supporting a wider social cause.”
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.