SWITCH.uk.com, a social enterprise based in Llanhilleth Miners’ Institute, provides quality digital solutions to SMEs, third sector organisations and community members across South Wales. 

The business began in 2006, when a consortium of local community centres and community development providers were awarded funding from Communities@One - a Welsh Government initiative concerned with digital inclusion - to set up a community ICT project. 

After a local market exercise revealed that a high number of third sector organisations and small businesses did not have access to technical support, Switch.uk.com was created and set about helping 126 individuals and 10 community organisations.

The end of Communities@One coincided with the announcement by the Welsh Government of the launch of the Communities 2.0 programme which aimed to support ICT-based social enterprises.  As a result, SWITCH made the natural progression into a social enterprise.

A SEWCED grant helped with the salary costs of the project manager for the first 12 months of the business, allowing it to develop and focus on local initiatives such as ‘E-nable’, a digital inclusion project providing basic IT tuition for disabled groups and local residents aged 50-plus.

Current projects include working with the Ebbw Fach Communities First clusters to tackle ‘the digital divide’ through a community portal. Some of the other services Switch provides include website and digital marketing development and IT networking, including wide area wireless infrastructure and IT support.

IT Project Manager Sean Granville said: “We’ve received assistance from SEWCED since 2010, and it’s fair to say that without the continued support of the programme, there would be a very strong chance that the company would not exist today.

“In funding SWITCH.uk.com, SEWCED has indirectly helped numerous individuals, groups and small businesses across South East Wales.”