Come on, let’s get together
We’ve been supporting community enterprises to start and grow for 10 years and during that time we’ve got to know so many inspiring people. People who, over time, have taken an idea, turned it into a successful micro-enterprise and then developed it into a really sustainable local business, employing people and changing lives. Once in a while it gives us great pleasure to be able to introduce those established enterprises to new and emerging ones – giving bigger enterprises a chance to help the people they once were.
When East meets West (Midlands), great things happen!
In 2009 we supported mother and daughter duo Jill and Jessie to start Pulp Friction CIC , a Nottinghamshire enterprise which aimed to offer young disabled adults the opportunity to develop work-skills. It started out as a mobile smoothie bar venture – powered by bicycle! We loved the pair and their enterprise and told their story far and wide. 10 years on Pulp Friction has grown into something amazing. They now support over 60 adults with learning disabilities and/or autism along with their parents and carers. They run the canteen for the Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service and a café in the National Justice Museum, they host a choir and have plots on a community allotment.
This year in Birmingham, our local Catalyst Zoe met budding entrepreneur Shamala to explore her ideas. Shamala’s passion for health and wellbeing and her desire to help people gain skills for employment was closely aligned to the ethos behind Pulp Friction. So, after we brokered a quick introduction, Shamala made a visit to Jill and the Pulp Friction team. Since then Jill has been fantastic in supporting Shamala to get her enterprise off the ground – even to the extent of lending one of their smoothie bikes, enabling Shamala to hit the ground pedalling! Shamala has now founded Impact4Life Wellbeing CIC – and Jill is on the Board of Directors. Shamala will shortly become a Director for Pulp Friction too. A fantastic example of collaboration and mutual support which will help these two enterprises to do more great stuff in the Midlands
The help from Community Catalysts and the connection with Jill has been so valuable and given me great insight and confidence to start up in Birmingham. Seeing them do their thing so well has really inspired me to give it a go!
Shamala Antonio, Impact4Life Wellbeing CIC
Solving joint challenges in Rotherham and Nottingham
Rotherham Catalyst Harry has also been making introductions between established and emerging enterprises. Both Dexx Life Skills Centre, a new enterprise in Rotherham and Space Inclusive a successful, established enterprise in Nottinghamshire have a focus on helping people develop life skills and gain employment. After starting up 10 years ago Space Inclusive have gone from strength to strength and now have fantastic success in helping people to gain qualifications, make and sell goods and get into jobs
The great thing about working for an organisation that has projects happening across the country is that you get to hear about the stories, ideas, challenges and successes from a fantastic variety of enterprises across the UK.
Harry Clarkson, Community Catalyst in Rotherham
Harry arranged for each enterprise to visit the other to discuss success stories and how they have helped local people to achieve their goals. They talked about the barriers they face and how they are working to overcome them. They discussed the potential for future meetings, using each other’s facilities, offers and activities, continuing to support one another and share ideas. Space Inclusive now offer an extensive training service and workshops to other enterprises locally and across the UK which was of particular interest to the folks from Dexx.
We are delighted to be working across counties with another organisation. We feel it demonstrates a real community spirit which can be vital when looking to develop an enterprise. Community Catalysts gave us a significant start into the world of micro-enterprise so it’s our privilege to continue their ethos going forward.
David Bingham and Richard Mynett – Space Inclusive
It was really good to meet Space Inclusive through Community Catalysts to gain insight from an organisation working in another authority, understand the challenges they have faced on their journey and how they dealt with them, giving us knowledge when we face similar challenges along the way.
Lee Mckeith – Dexx Life Skills Centre
For us at Community Catalysts it is great to know that the micro-enterprises we supported years ago are still going strong today. It is also a real privilege to reconnect with them after all this time and humbling to see them so generous with their knowledge, skills and time. In times when there is such a strong focus on the challenges and negatives facing the sector we are so happy to work with such amazing folks, at both ends of their community enterprise journey.