We offered £150,000 to support projects designed to generate solutions to specific social problems in our areas. One of the first social enterprises to be awarded funding, EMERGE 3Rs, spoke to us about how the funding has helped to grow their waste wood upcycling project, Touch Wood.
They spoke to us about how they first found out about the Social Innovation call:
"We found out through a gentleman called Paul Halfpenny who works for Northern Social Investment Group. Paul had been working with One Manchester to help them find potential enterprises who might fit the bill in terms of the kind of social investment they were looking to fund.
"Paul asked if I’d heard about the funding One Manchester were offering and suggested that we might be eligible. After visiting the website, I registered interest and spoke to Anton Schultz, the Social Investment Manager, about the support on offer.
"We’d be running Touch Wood for a while, and we’d been thinking about developing it further. There hadn’t been a lot of activity due to a lack of investment.
"We’d also been considering how we could grow the team to offer more training and volunteering opportunities."
The aim of our Social Innovation Call is to help enterprises grow and flourish. The funding provides them with an opportunity to achieve their ambitious plans, and expand on their operation:
"We’ve now created a trainee workshop supervisor role, who is very focused on the production side of the enterprise. The trainee supervisor used to be a volunteer with us, but this funding now allows us to pay them a living wage and support them through training opportunities such as health and safety training, accredited use of tools, forklift truck driving and how they can better support other volunteers through in-house training.
"We also plan to introduce a full-time coordinator role, which will be very retail focused, which will help us to grow our sales platforms.
"Alongside the employment, your funding has also helped us to hire a consultant to carry out some market place analysis. We’ve learned more about how we can be financially sustainable, potential partners we could work with, and what we need to do to evolve Touch Wood into a profit generating enterprise, which will help us to contribute more in terms of social value.
"We’re also working on the refurbishment of our workshops, turning one into more of a training workshop, and the other into a public facing shop.
Our next steps are to improve our website and marketing activities, to help people find us and our services.
"Thanks to the Social Innovation Call, we’re now able to support more trainees and volunteers from the local area, and we’re planning to put better training offers in place. We can also promote the service which will help people and businesses in the local community recycle and reuse unwanted wood and find the bespoke furniture and reclaimed timber they’re looking for.
"The project also has a great environmental effect, supporting Manchester’s carbon neutral targets, and educating local people about the benefits of the ‘Real 3Rs’ reducing, reusing and recycling!
"Just go for it! Have a look on One Manchester’s website, make sure to register your interest and speak to Anton. He’s been a really approachable and supportive person during the project. We’ve recently had a follow up meeting, and he’s been great at helping us scope and develop the project.
"Everyone at EMERGE 3Rs and Touch Wood is so excited to find out what’s next for us."
"Thanks to the Social Innovation Call, we’re now able to support more trainees and volunteers from the local area"