Celebrating success The Barrow Social Enterprise Network
A social enterprise is a business that can trade and make a profit and has a social purpose Liam Black The Fifteen Foundation
Social Enterprises are businesses with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are reinvested for that purpose back into the business or into the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.â€™ Social Enterprise: a strategy for success DTI 2001
A word from Harry Knowles
A word from Paul Dodson
Chief Executive of Furness Enterprise Ltd
Chairman of the Barrow Social Enterprise Network
The Barrow Social Enterprise Network was established in 2006 with funding from Cumbria County Council and the North West Regional Development Agency through West Lakes Renaissance. The Network delivers a programme of support and financial assistance to local voluntary and community organisations - the Third Sector. Furness Enterprise as lead partner formed close links with delivery partners InsideOut Enterprises Ltd, Inbiz Ltd and Firm Friends and launched the programme in September 2006.
Social enterprises make a big contribution to the national economy. Government research has estimated there are 55,000 social enterprise businesses operating in the UK, with a combined turnover of some ÂŁ27 billion.
Many of the challenges that face social enterprises are the same as those faced by the wider business community; however some challenges can be more complex because social enterprises deliver not only a financial but a social or environmental bottom line â€“ the triple bottom line. They therefore need access to appropriate support to maximise their business performance and in turn, their social impact. Over the last two years 63 organisations have benefited from expert advice, 167 individuals received training to improve their skills and a new Social Enterprise Forum was created to act as peer support to its members and to facilitate members to offer services amongst themselves. I am very pleased that this programme is building capacity in the social enterprise sector locally as a major contributor to economic regeneration in the area.
When you consider that all these social enterprises have key social and/or environmental aims in addition to simply making a financial profit, the scale of the benefits of the sector are clear. It is these benefits that Barrow Social Enterprise Network has sought to develop since 2006. Many of the challenges that face social enterprises are the same as those facing the wider business community, but those facing social enterprises can be more complex because social enterprises deliver both a financial and a social or environmental bottom line. These businesses therefore need access to the appropriate support to enable them to develop and maximise their ability to meet their business aims and deliver their social outcomes. By helping more people to understand social enterprises, raising awareness and ensuring that social enterprises have access to business support and finance, the Network is helping create a vibrant economy in which social enterprises can succeed and thrive. The County Council has welcomed the opportunity to Chair this project and support development of social enterprise in Barrow-in-Furness.
THEBOX A real success story
There are 55,000 social enterprises in the UK, employing 800,000 people and feeding £8.4 billion into the British economy. By any standards that’s a tremendous achievement. There are a number of extremely high profile businesses that are social enterprises. The Eden Project in Cornwall has become a world-renowned centre where both tourists and scientists have beaten a path to its doors. The Centre continues to develop and grow; putting the profits made back into the project and into the community. Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurants are also social enterprises. The enterprise’s high profile through exposure on television set the scene for a successful project that saw many of the trainee chefs develop their skills and become valued members of the catering world. THEBOX is the delivery mechanism for the Barrow Social Enterprise Network, formed in 2006. Since then over 63 individuals and businesses have engaged with the programme some of which have become or are working towards becoming social enterprises.
investing in communities through social enterprise
Individuals and groups with an idea for a social enterprise that will help their community come and
talk to us and we help them identify the type of support and guidance they need to give the best opportunity for success. Every individual and every group has a unique set of skills, abilities, interests and experiences that contribute towards their organisation’s development. The concept of a social enterprise is delivered across the borough and supported through training and development, advice and guidance and access to discretional financial assistance to help them start trading, expand and develop.
exceptional individuals who have put everything into developing their own social enterprises. Not everyone has needed the same support. It’s been interesting to be part of the process of identifying just what type of support and advice has been required.’ Since 2006 THEBOX has become recognised in Barrow as the organisation that anyone with a community-based business idea needs to go to, to get sound advice and guidance.
In Barrow there are many success stories to tell and on the following pages you’ll find a number of them sharing their experiences, the highs and lows of running a business and how they see the future development of their enterprises. Mike Brockbank, co-ordinator for Barrow Social Enterprise Network, is incredibly enthusiastic about how Barrow’s enterprises have grown. ‘My own background in the voluntary sector gave me a great insight into how a social enterprise network here in Barrow would be received. I’ve been really pleased to be involved with a range of
Photographs on this page by T+J Photographic
The Delivery team who make THEBOX what it is: Mike Brockbank; Neil Doherty, Val Robinson, Jeff Morgan and Kath Dalton
ARC Recycling is a community interest company which was established in April 2007. The company recycles furniture, white goods, computers and pedal cycles, specifically for low income families; it also provides opportunities for training people in refurbishment work and improves environmental awareness. Since its inception, the company has processed over 150 tonnes of domestic furniture and appliances; undertaken over 1,400 collections of goods and assisted over 680 low income families with discounted furniture and domestic appliances. ARC Recycling worked with THEBOX business advisers on their business plan, ensuring that they were able to prioritise the issues that has made it so successful.
Paul has also identified a need for architectural salvage items. There’s no one offering this type of service in the area and anyone who provides this service can demand premium prices. Paul doesn’t see what ARC Recycling does now as something static. He knows it needs to grow and develop and be able to offer other services to the public. They’ve got space to grow and his vision is a type of supermarket for goods and services that could be just like going into any high street store – with a different type of product to appeal to those on limited incomes, doing renovations or looking for a special piece or style of furniture that the customer knows they wouldn’t find on the high street.
Paul Mattinson is passionate about ARC Recycling. He sees the service they offer to disadvantaged people in Barrow as fundamental to helping them furnish their homes at prices they can afford. Arc Recycling is a hive of industry – the phone rings constantly with calls from people with items to donate, organising house clearances and talking to potential customers looking for something specific. From a fridge to a vacuum cleaner, from a sofa to a television the stock at Arc Recycling is extensive. There’s also a team of staff who provide a well-needed service to make minor repairs and make sure that everything that leaves Arc Recycling for a new home is in the best possible condition. So, electrical appliances – from a radio to a fridge freezer - are all tested thoroughly and certified operational. Paul has exciting plans for the future of the business which he sees as a logical progression to the service Arc Recycling offers now. Inevitably there are always items that cannot be sold so there’s always a stack of wood to be recycled.
Just a small part of the stock held in Arc Recycling’s substantial warehouse on Ironworks Road.
Barrow Busy Buses Barrow Busy Buses is a local community transport scheme which was created when Dave Morrison, the founder of Barrow Dad’s Group, realised that there was a gap in the market for a transport scheme that could work with community groups, getting them to different venues. Local schools were also struggling to find affordable transport for swimming lessons. Barrow Busy Buses now has a number of contracts with local schools and community groups. With the assistance of a grant from THEBOX, Barrow Busy Buses was able to lease a minibus that has the capacity to deal with their contracts.
Dave is a man with the focus and the determination to succeed. With fellow Barrow dad, Norm, Dave started Barrow Dad’s Group and, having seen that organisation grow from strength to strength, realised that there were many groups who needed access to transport who were finding the rates too high and sometimes not appropriate to their needs. Dave started out by hiring a small bus, providing transport for local groups who were desperate to find an affordable service. Local community groups soon heard what Dave was up to and beat a path to his door asking for help transporting youngsters to football and swimming; dance groups to performances; providing transport for respite care and much more.
From these informal beginnings the social enterprise grew, and Dave soon realised that there was a need to ensure success and longevity. This is where THEBOX was able to help. Professional assistance to put together a business plan has given the social enterprise a firm foundation to develop and grow. Currently there’s a full
time co-ordinator and three part time drivers. Barrow Busy Buses has recently secured a grant to purchase a 31 seater bus, which will provide the right scale of service for the needs of community organisations across the Borough. Dave is also a member of the National Community Transport scheme and sees the enterprise as fundamental to the support of community groups and charitable organisations across the country. Dave’s enthusiasm is astonishing and it is no wonder that he is planning growth for the future. Having identified a real need for effective and affordable community transport Dave and his team are out there making it happen.
Dare EPS DARE EPS is a social enterprise that provides the technical aspects of event management, such as lighting and sound. Based at The Nan Tait Centre in Barrow, the company works with local and regional event production teams, ensuring that the lighting and sound are right for each production, but more importantly are also safe. By working with THEBOX, DARE EPS was able to refine its business plan and successfully apply for a grant, which allowed for the employment of three trainee technicians. These three technicians have now moved on to full-time employment within the industry and the company has taken on a further three trainees. Alan Jackson
Alan has been involved in the entertainment industry for many years as an event manager and has worked on some extremely high profile events over the years, providing lighting and sound systems for music events all over the country. Alanâ€™s partner Amanda is a dancer whose company has provided community based dance projects and when they both decided that there would be a better quality of life for them and their family they moved to Furness from the south. Alan realised that there was a gap in the market in the provision of light and sound equipment and management in this part of the country, so there was plenty of opportunity to develop a sustainable resource that could offer this type of specialist project management, instead of having to pay a premium for bringing those resources from further south. There was also the need for additional staff, so a social enterprise was born and one of the key aspects of the process was to obtain funding for three technicians who Alan could train to be able to build and
install complex lighting and sound systems, wherever they were needed. Artgene, a Furness based arts and education organisation has provided dedicated studio space and some of their own equipment for Alanâ€™s enterprise, which not only provides much needed storage, but also workshop and testing facilities. The relationship has been successful for both organisations, Alan maintains and services Artgeneâ€™s own equipment in return for his studio space and access to their equipment.
The Doing Department The Doing Department is a community interest company with its head office in Chorley. It specialises in the field of education, working with schools on funding applications and business planning. The Doing Department’s experience in assisting community organisations to raise their profile and be able to offer more effective services has been firmly based on working at the highest levels nationally and across Europe.
Their original business headquarters in Chorley, Lancashire, has been a base for the company’s operations since 1999. Their desire to expand operations came from an initial conversation with a friendly business advisor who introduced Julie to Mike Brockbank and THEBOX. The company came to THEBOX for assistance in obtaining funding towards a feasibility study. The study was needed to ascertain whether there was a market for its services within the Barrow and Furness area. After receiving a grant, the study was completed and showed that there was, indeed, a market for their services. This resulted in The Doing Department opening a branch in Barrow.
support and guidance for a number of local organisations. Assisting Abbotsmead CDC and Walney School in the successful preparation and submission of a number of bids for funding resulted in the installation of state of the art equipment to enhance services to their communities. Grizebeck Village Hall will be replaced with a brand new, environmentally friendly building through assisting the organisers in the preparation of a business plan which successfully secured funding from a local benefactor. The company recently worked closely with Northern Rock Foundation which identified the potential for closer, joint working practices between two rape crisis centres in Cumbria. The Doing Department really care about making a positive difference to communities and their work has often been described as ‘ground breaking’ Julie’s enthusiasm is infectious and their commitment to making real differences to individuals and their communities is outstanding.
Since opening their Barrow office, Julie and her team have involved themselves in
The Doing Department team with European delegates involved in a European project managed by the Company pose for a group photograph in La Rioja.
Marsh Street Arches and garden
Marsh Street Arches community interest company was formed as a result of a group of people wanting to do something about a piece of waste land next to the railway line, on the edge of Marsh Street. This piece of land had been used for various anti-social behavioural elements, including drug and alcohol abusers. It was overgrown, and extremely unsafe for young children. After receiving funding from a number of bodies, the land is now being turned into an urban garden. Adjoining the land, are a number of disused railway arches which the company is looking to develop. By working with a business adviser from THEBOX, and also utilising the expertise of The Box’s consultant on legal structures, the group formalised themselves into a community interest company. Speaking to Graham Bromley about the Marsh Street project is like talking to a crusader – someone as keen as mustard to make a difference to this part of his town. The garden is taking shape – there are pathways and fences, raised beds for planting and a water feature. Local schools have become involved – only too keen to see this once derelict area become a place of peace, relaxation and study. The garden is on one side of a series of railway arches which look like becoming a real focus for future plans. There are plans for a small café and perhaps a fitness centre. During the whole process there have been negotiations with a variety of organisations, businesses and Barrow Borough Council to put in place the changes that will make this small part of Barrow a haven for young and old alike. Advice and guidance came from THEBOX and investment from West Lakes Renaissance and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Graham understands only too well that one of the most important aspects of the enterprise is that it should be sustainable. Whilst many community programmes start off well, it’s essential that if they are to demonstrate viability there needs to be a continuing involvement with the type of expertise that can be provided by THEBOX. The enterprise was extremely fortunate when they enlisted the support of Furness Building Society whose General Manager of Marketing and Development, Ian Bell is now one of the enterprise’s directors. To make sure the finances are always on an even keel, the accountant Scott Gomersall is also a director. The creative mind behind the project has come from Hugh Massey, an architect who has given his professional time to the project and continues, as project manager to ensure that the vision for Marsh Street is being brought to reality. Hugh Massey has worked on The Dock Museum and Victoria Hall, so is no stranger to Barrow and the work that needs to be done.
ns Across the other side of the arches is another piece of Borough Council land which the Company is trying to secure to give the project additional resources and provide more open space - hopefully for a multi use sports area. The arches are planned to have a variety of uses all contributing to bringing a real community spirit to the area. There are a number of individuals and organisations that are only too willing to be involved on the project. The enterprise has been supported by a growing number of organisations â€“ from the Fire Service (who were able to bring a fire tender to fill the new water feature!), the Junior Neighbourhood Wardens and the local schools. The future really does look rosy for Marsh Street.
St Mary’s Hospice As part of its fund raising strategy, and outreach work for service users, St Mary’s Hospice owns a number of shops within the Borough, and has a community centre based at Hartington Street, Barrow. The organisation has a large number of volunteers who assist with the work of the hospice, either in the shops or in the centre. The hospice approached THEBOX about training some of the volunteers and it was agreed that training would be offered for health and safety, customer care and food hygiene. To date 56 volunteers have received training from THEBOX on these subjects.
Zoe Guest is the Hospice’s Business Development Manager and also has responsibility for volunteer training. She believes it’s essential that the training their volunteers receive isn’t just about them understanding what their roles and responsibilities are or, indeed, how they work with the general public. Zoe understands that all the volunteers need to feel valued and recognises that the training they received makes them more effective and valued team members. Talking to her you soon realise the great belief she has in what the Hospice is trying to achieve and her vision of how St Mary’s is getting there. Zoe came from a background in banking and whilst she has worked within other charitable organisations in the intervening years, feels she has found her place at St Mary’s Hospice. The process of development for the Hospice received a great push forward when they became involved with THEBOX. Focused and work-based training has made it possible for staff to become qualified and therefore much more confident.
The Hospice has had to become much more focused both as an organisation and as a business. Zoe’s business experience, together with her extensive experience in the voluntary sector has brought with it the need for the Hospice to identify where external assistance and support can help build the charity on the road to sustainability. St Mary’s Hospice has a high profile in the area which has come from the hard work and dedication of an exceptional team of people. The need to continue to develop and grow and be able to respond to all the things that life, government policy, changes in legislation and public attitudes throws at
them, means that the Hospice has to be a dynamic organisation, operated and supported by highly trained and motivated people. There’s no doubt that St Mary’s Hospice has all this and the future for all aspects of the charity’s activities looks rosy.
The real success of THEBOX is not the network itself but all the organisations, businesses and individuals that have become part of the community through their social enterprises.
THEBOX will continue to support individuals and organisations that can make a real difference in our communities, bringing people together and developing, through social enterprise, businesses and organisations that will make lasting changes to our area.
The real success for our community is being able to see how THEBOX has materially changed the world of so many people, empowering them to make enormous strides for themselves and their organisations, providing services that would probably not have been made available in any other way.
If you’ve been motivated to do something for your community, if you’ve had a bright idea smouldering at the back of your mind but haven’t had the courage or the confidence to take it further,the next step is very simple. Come and talk to us here at THEBOX and we’ll see where, together, your idea and our support can bring something extra to our community and our area.
Abbotsvale Community Centre The Arc Recycling CIC Age Concern Barrow and District Ashton Theatre Group Askam Kids Zone Barrow AFC Barrow and District Society for the Blind Ltd Barrow Disability Association Barrow and Furness Fishermen’s Association Barrow Rugby League The Bluebird Study Centre CADAS Canteen Film Projects Cases Barrow Ales Ltd Cheeky Monkeys Nursery Conversations For Life Cumbria CVS Cumbria Development Education Centre Cumbria Primary Care Trust – Bay Call Dalton Community Association Dalton Traders Association DARE EPS Ltd Deemon Dance Studios Ltd The Doing Department Dowdales School Drop Zone Cafe DS Fitness Centre East Beach Studios Energy 4 All Ltd Ex-It Recycling Four Groves CIC Furness Community Media
Furness Credit Union Furness Multi-Cultural Forum Greendale Community Association Hands On Rhythm Hawcoat Park Sports and Leisure Club Hindpool Community Centre St Matthews Community Halls Integrated Therapy Team Junction 36 Recordings Marsh Street Arches Project MIND In Furness Northern School of Oriental Cookery CIC North West Fathers Consultancy CIC Ormsgill Primary School Phoenix Catering Pit Stop Signal Films St Mary’s Hospice Sameena Multi-Cultural CIC Shooting Stars After Hours CIC SAFA St Mary’s Carers South Cumbria Rape and Abuse Advice Service South Cumbria Mental Health Forum Sure Start, Barrow This ‘n That Crafts Thorncliffe School Uneek Art Walney Air Museum Walney Credit Union
Waterside House Bridge Approach Barrow in Furness Cumbria LA14 2HE t: 01229 820611 m: 07810 872526
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Barrow Social Enterprise Network