On 17th November it was Social Enterprise day. Hope is very committed to the social enterprise model as an additional way of funding and working alongside the charity approach we champion. Yet a social enterprise is challenging and demanding to manage, and no easy profit-maker to support the charity.
On Hope Enterprises’ twitter account, and through our joint Facebook pages, I celebrate and share good examples of practice from the social enterprise world, useful reading, learning and events. If you want to get an understanding of social enterprise from the ground, it’s a useful feed of information (@EnterprisesHope).
Many companies are not community interest companies, or social enterprises, but express their social values through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that includes working with charities but also in looking after their staff. It’s an area of work I have worked in throughout my career, leading national work on health in the workplace. All CSR work can dovetail into supporting the work of charities like Hope. A company that raises money for Hope through physical activity challenges, also has public health benefits alongside benefits for the charity.
We encourage any business or entrepreneur to think about how they could partner with Hope as an expression of their social values. We can help you build social and community commitment into your core work, through volunteering, giving work opportunities for clients, offering development opportunities for your staff, and animating their team building. We want to grow a network of businesses linked strongly to Hope, and a cadre of businesses in Northamptonshire with social responsibility within their DNA. Contact me at robin@northamptonhopecentre.org.uk to discuss ideas!
Hope Enterprises itself continues to look to consolidate and expand. It’s a tough trading environment with tiny margins in our core business of catering. If you can use our service don’t hesitate to contact enquiries@hopecatering.org.uk or on 01604 289111. We also always need tools for repair, and if you are interested in helping repair or sell the tools, contact us.
We start with people: we emphasise our training role and encourage referrals. Our work is as much about training as it is about business; it’s about enabling people to work, as much as providing work or doing a specific new thing. Some social enterprises are focused on being innovative and flashy with new solutions, sometimes to problems that don’t exist, or even to express faith or personal belief with only a slight gloss of interest in training, rehab or development of people in need – the idea seems to come first, not people who need help. Hope’s vision is clear: we don’t provide a thing that is new or innovative in itself, just offer very good catering and tools. By doing so, we grow and recycle people.