As I recently blogged I’ve been working in the renewable energy sector for more than fifteen years, with nearly half that total coming from my post as Director of RenewableUK Cymru, a position I was very happy in.
So….why am I starting work today, for the first time, for a start-up partnership with no guaranteed income, no pension, no sick pay. Why – on the cusp of Brexit, with all the uncertainty that brings – would anybody want to augment that uncertainty ten-fold?
Perhaps to answer that question satisfactorily, the first question to answer is — what? What is Afallen?
Firstly, the name itself. The word ‘Afallen’ means ‘Apple Tree’ in Welsh. The apple tree has many positive connotations around renewal, replenishment and sustainability. It is also the likely derivative word for Avalon, the island central to the Arthurian legends.
Afallen is a limited liability partnership (LLP), currently made up of three people. We work with gifted and experienced associates from across Wales and beyond.
We are a values-based organisation working on projects which we can influence for the good — in terms of the long-term benefit for environment, community, and the economy in its widest terms.
We champion and support the open-source and creative commons communities, and are busy building a supply chain which rewards suppliers who hold similar values to our own (see this blog about Triodos as our first ethical supplier).
We have committed to donating 10% of our net profits to a charitable trust to support sustainable economic development in Wales — though I am keen to widen this to enable us to financially support the amazing open-source products which enable us to work effectively, and to develop our own skills in-house on a range of platforms.
We want to maintain as much financial and intellectual capital as possible within Wales — all parts of Wales — as possible. We want to build resilience in communities the length and breadth of the country. And we want to help others deliver their own projects in the letter and spirit of the Well-being of Future Generations legislation. For me, that includes the ability to deliver as many project outcomes through the medium of Welsh as possible.
The ‘why’ is obvious when you understand the social and economic context of the Wales we are proud to call our home in 2019. One of the poorest ‘regions’ in Europe with one of the worst infrastructure systems, we see all too often our financial and human capital leaving Wales.
That’s why we want to build an organisation which can deliver extremely high-quality services across a range of sectors, and support delivery by skilled professionals who live and work in the communities where the projects are carried out. This organisation — Afallen — will increase the amount of money retained within Wales from public and private sector activity, and redistribute it as widely as possible to our associates across Wales.
If we are successful in our aim, we will make a material difference to individuals, households and communities across Wales for a number of reasons:
- Highly skilled professionals living outside major urban conurbations will be able to work within their communities. This will reduce the need for commuting, increase the viability of remote and rural working, and improve outcomes by bringing project delivery much closer to the beneficiaries
- We will improve the resilience of the communities we work in by empowering the people and organisations we work with. We hope to reduce the need for future intervention by the ways in which we work today
- We will retain greater financial, intellectual and social capital within our communities the length and breadth of the country
I am incredibly proud and humbled by being able to work with Mari Arthur and Peter Trott, two highly experienced, motivated and delightful people.
I’m looking forward to developing our network further so that we can make good on our promise to provide exceptional project delivery, delivered locally, right across Wales.
And in the longer term, it’s not impossible that we will be able to take the expertise we’ve developed in Wales, and take it elsewhere. Our experience marrying sustainability with project delivery through a minority national language might be instructive and useful in countries such as Scotland, New Zealand or Ireland. Well….I can dream!
If you’re interested in finding out how we can help your project or service deliver its full meaning and value, and demonstrate superb alignment with the goals and ways of working of the Well-being of Future Generations Act, I’ll be only to happy to chat to you on the phone or over a coffee.