THE economy secretary for Wales has visited the Racecourse Ground, to find more about how co-operatives such as Wrexham AFC Supporters Trust, benefits the football club and surrounding community.

Since August 2011 Wrexham AFC has been a supporter-owned football club.

Fans can become members of the trust for as little as £1, with all adult members over 16 years of age being entitled to vote on key issues affecting the football club at the annual general meetings and participate in the election process for Trust board members.

A major part of the Supporters Trust work was co-ordinating a share scheme back in 2012, helping raise over £120,000 in vital funds for future developments.

Phil Salmon, Supporter’s Trust Member and Director of Stadium and Facilities at Wrexham AFC, said: “The Supporters Trust believes that the football club should be run in the best interests of the local community. The survival of the club over the last few years has been down to the fantastic support and loyalty the club has received from its fans and members of the Trust. We are a big family but an ambitious football club, with plans to increase our annual turnover by £500,000 within the next three years.”

The visit, from economy secretary Ken Skates AM was organised by the Wales Co-operative Centre to celebrate Co-operatives Fortnight, June 23 to July 7.

With funding from Welsh Government, the Wales Co-operative Centre works to inform, communicate with and raise awareness of the co-operative sector across Wales.

The work raises awareness about the wider sector with the general public to encourage them to support co-operatives, helping them to grow.

Ken Skates said: “I was pleased to visit Wrexham Football Club as part of the ongoing celebrations of Co-operatives Fortnight and see first-hand the difference their work is making to the local community. The club’s decision to become supporter owned has helped keep Wales’ oldest football team alive and it was obvious from my visit that there is a true sense of shared ownership and community running through the ground. Wrexham Football Club’s transformation was supported by Social Business Wales, an initiative funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Welsh Government to help social enterprises to prosper and grow. The club’s success is an excellent example of the many benefits that member-owned organisations can bring to their employees, communities, and the wider economy and I hope it will serve as an inspiration to others.”

A report by Social Business Wales and funded by the Welsh Government revealed that the social business sector, which includes co-operatives, mutuals, social enterprises and employee owned businesses, adds around £2.37 billion of value to the Welsh economy and supports in the region of 40,000 jobs. The Wales Co-operative Centre is Wales’s national body for co-operatives, social enterprises and employee owned businesses. The Centre champions and strengthens co-operatives, mutuals, social enterprises, and employee owned businesses.