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Central Bedfordshire

Community enterprise development with a strong focus on the local systems and culture change needed to create real choice for people.

This project is helping local people to develop community enterprises who are able to offer care and help at home to older people. It also supports community enterprises offering other help to local people and new start ups or established enterprises interested in diversification or development of their model. As part of the project, we have developed a directory to showcase community enterprises in the local area.

In 2022 the project was extended for another three years, widening the reach across the North and South of the county.

Ian Hanton, Development and Commissioning Manager at Central Bedfordshire talks about working with Community Catalysts to disrupt social care conventions to bring more choice and control to residents:

“Finding the right care for the people we work with can sometimes be a challenge as agency care does not always work, people like consistency and that personal touch. The Community Catalyst/Enterprise scheme works wonders for those who are looking for just that! The people I work with have thrived since having care from community micro-enterprises, as they can be flexible and provide support how people choose.

From a social worker perspective, this is ‘personalisation’ at its best.”

Anne Ridpath – Social worker, Central Bedfordshire Council.

“When our practitioners connected with the micro-enterprises through Community Catalysts’ networking events, they experienced that relationship moment, that sense of community, an understanding of each other…and they started to find solutions – that was the opening door moment that allowed us to shift some of the culture away from ‘it’s a bit risky to do that’, ‘we’ve never done that before’, to actually saying ‘we’re on to something here’, with people going on to develop and implement solutions to tricky challenges.”

Ian Hanton – Development & Commissioning Manager @ Central Bedfordshire Council