Supporting more passionate people make positive differences

29 April 2021 · Categories: Bulletins

Making the case for supporting more passionate people make positive differences locally

Community Catalysts has been working since 2007 to help local people use their energies and talents to deliver social care and health support and services for other local people. They do this by setting up very small businesses which we call community micro-enterprises. These community micro-enterprises provide much more choice for people needing care and support. Their services are usually co-designed and often co-produced. They help people live a good life, connected into and contributing to their community.

In 2016 we extended our support to community businesses interested in diversifying to deliver health and care services to people in their neighbourhood. Community businesses are locally rooted and accountable to local people. They trade for the benefit of the local community and have wide community impact.

The world of regulation, legislation and local authority commissioning is complex for small community-led enterprises wanting to deliver care to people in their neighbourhood. We knew from our work that, without expert help, few local people can negotiate these complexities and set up sustainable, viable and high-quality services. There was however no independent evidence of the need for expert help to grow a market of locally-led and delivered care services in local communities.

Three charities, Esmée FairbairnPower to Change and Barrow Cadbury recognised the importance of independent research to establish both the value of these small, community-rooted services and their need for expert help to become established and thrive. Their generous grants allowed us to work with both the New Economic Foundation and the University of Birmingham on separate pieces of research. The New Economic Foundation examined the impact of community enterprise on local economies, while the University of Birmingham looked at the contribution of community enterprise and business to local care markets and the case for investment in specialist support to enable more community enterprises and business to deliver help and care to people in their neighbourhood.

These papers bring together the findings from these two separate pieces of research that make the case for investment in support for community micro-enterprise and business. They found that these small community-rooted services are easily overlooked by policymakers, commissioners, and funders, who are seeking to respond to multiple changing needs and concerns in the wider health and care sector. They are nevertheless well-placed to deliver support that generates positive outcomes for people and their families and contributes to wider social and economic policy priorities. They can adapt and change with the changing needs of their communities. They create wider benefits to their communities through ‘ripple effects’ (which are often harder to capture and quantify). The specialist help provided by organisations like Community Catalysts is important in enabling these community-rooted organisations to overcome not only business challenges and legislative and regulatory barriers but also barriers created by the systems, culture and practice of funders such as the local authority.

“[Community businesses] actually have a role to play in helping individual commissioners understand how to […] look at what are the social value opportunities and how smaller organisations can really compete in terms of, the benefit that they bring to communities to make them fully competitive […] not just on the core service that they’ve been commissioned to deliver, but also on what was their social value commitment.”

Local authority commissioner

The evidence that underpins these business cases makes them hard to ignore. We believe that local authorities and integrated care systems will find them invaluable as they work to transform health and social care services so that people who need support can get help in ways that suit them and let them live the lives they want – and local communities can thrive.

Download the business cases …

… for supporting the development of community micro-enterprises

… for supporting the development of community businesses

Welcoming a new CEO to Community Catalysts

The Board of Community Catalysts is delighted to announce the appointment of Pip Cannons as our next CEO, taking over from our founder Sian Lockwood who is retiring later this year.  Pip has a proven track record of development and innovation and has spent the last six years working at Somerset County Council to design and implement new community-based models of care and support that build on people’s gifts, skills and experience.  She is committed to working in partnerships and enabling community-based organisations to be at the heart of local solutions.

“I am excited to take on this role as I share the vision and values of Community Catalysts and hold the organisation and its people in high regard.  I am looking forward to using my skills, passion and experience to take Community Catalysts into a new and bright future that builds and expands on our success to date.”
Pip Cannons

Find out more

Re-launch of The Buzz

At the beginning of the month we re-launched The Buzz for a limited period. The new videos have been made possible through a Small Good Stuff grants scheme, funded by Community Catalysts, which has seen grants of up to £500 distributed to 23 small community enterprises from across the UK!

The Buzz provides a one stop shop for accessible, varied and fun ideas aimed at adults. New video activities to look forward to include: cooking, dancing, crafts, exercise….and lots more.

Find out more and join in

Social care reform reflections

We’re following on our podcast series ‘Changing it up’ where hosts Nick Sinclair and Clenton Farquharson chat with people from across the country who have dedicated their lives to changing things for the better in their communities.

In our sixth episode, Caroline Speirs outgoing Head of TLAP, reflects on how far self-directed support has come, the power of genuine co-production and her hopes for Social Care reform.

“I want to see this country have a great big conversation about social care. There are just far too many people who don’t get it and don’t know what it is. [They] think it’s something to do with beds with not having to sell off your family home. We have got to get past that…social care is something amazing.”
Caroline Speirs

Listen to the podcast

Building Blocks of “Better”: Reflections on the 10 principles of Local Area Coordination

The Local Area Coordination Network has released a collection of reflections on the 10 principles of Local Area Coordination. The report features powerful contributions from speakers at the Local Area Coordination conference last year.

The principles of Local Area Coordination are amongst the fundamental building blocks needed to achieve a better, more equitable world in which all people are celebrated for their strengths and gifts and where policies are designed to build strong and resilient communities with people at their core.

Our hope is ‘Building Blocks of Better’ will serve to inspire and encourage those who feel the same.

Read the report

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