Thursday 19 November is National Social Enterprise Day, and it's a day to celebrate the impact that social enterprises have on local communities.
A social enterprise is a business with a difference – they exist to create social good whether by employing people facing barriers, reducing environmental impact or by investing their profits in communities. One of the most well known social enterprise’s is the Big Issue.
As a member of the Greater Manchester Housing Providers, we have pledged to do more to support social enterprises as part of our commitment to increasing social value. As a sector, we can play our part to enable a more thriving social economy.
A fantastic example of a social enterprise we have been proud to support is Swan Kitchens, who applied to our Catalyst Fund back in 2018, and since then we have supported them further in a range of ways.
Through our Catalyst Fund they were granted £5,000 of our funding, and this money went towards the costs of employing a catering apprentice. From a social enterprise point of view there was a lot to like about the proposal. They were supporting around 50 disadvantaged, unemployed local people a year to learn highly transferable business and customer service skills, as well as catering and hospitality.
They were also reducing food waste by using surplus food through Fareshare, and ingredients grown at their own allotment.
Importantly, we also saw the opportunity to develop our future trade with them. Swan Kitchens is run by people who have been affected by homelessness, drug and alcohol misuse, mental health problems and offending. Working on the project means they get the skills and experience needed to imagine and build a better future.
The team had recently started providing outside catering to local organisations, developing a menu of sandwiches, salads and quiches that strongly features vegan and gluten free options. Mostly this has been for meetings at their centre in Ancoats, but they were aware that there was a growing demand to deliver further afield.
Our catalyst fund provided some much needed financial support to help them expand the team with a new catering apprentice, paving the way for further new jobs and a successful external catering enterprise.
Two years on, we have now purchased over £16,000 worth of Swan Kitchens services for a wide range of meetings and events and introduced them to other regular clients. It’s a business relationship that works for both of us, and also brings significant additional benefit helping people from our communities who need some extra help to get back on track.
For more information on social enterprises working with housing providers in Greater Manchester click on the link below!