Social enterprise

We have set up our trading company, Carers Support Centre Enterprises, to develop social enterprise opportunities, for example Carers Holidays.

This is an exciting step for us and we want carers ideas on the sorts of businesses and ventures they think could work and practical help to move those ideas on to reality.

What is social enterprise?
It might sound a bit strange for a charity to sell certain services, but it’s how we’re going to survive. This trading activity is what is known as ‘social enterprise’. It means that we will always put the needs of our carers first in whatever we do and all surplus that we make will be given back to the charity so we can continue to provide core services to carers.

Social enterprises are distinctive from businesses because their social purpose is central to what they do.  Social enterprise, for us, simply means setting up, or perhaps franchising, successful businesses with the profit coming back to the charity– so that we can continue to provide and develop more support services for carers.

To get things off the ground we’ll be looking for start-up funding – we won’t be using any of the charity’s own money.

Developments for 2013
We have been talking to carers to find out what ideas they have about developing social enterprise, and this has helped us to put together a plan to develop new initiatives. These include extending some of our existing services in 2013:

  • a training arm which will develop tailored courses— we will focus on carer awareness training for businesses and statutory bodies; and also training for teachers to help them identify and support young carers.
  • organising a range of day trips, activities, events and short breaks
  • offering a brokerage service, advice and guidance for carers who manage a personal budget.
  • looking at how we can offer a more flexible and varied sitting service.

You can help us!
We want your:

  • ideas — simple, weird and wonderful, unique or tried and tested
  • social skills and willingness to talk to other carers at events
  • strategic minds and expertise
  • business acumen or financial insight
  • warmth, enthusiasm and support.

If you want to get involved as a volunteer, we can help by paying your travel expenses to meetings or events, offering some training and paying for alternative care arrangements for the person you care for.