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Changing systems and cultures

Nurturing and embedding the right conditions to develop a diverse marketplace of flourishing community enterprises.


Due to the complexities of health and social care systems and historic silo working, staff team cultures can vary within a local area. Ways of working may differ and don’t always join up with each other. This means people can have very different experiences in drawing on health and social care support. A more creative approach is needed.


Community Catalysts has an established approach which creates an improved experience for people and develops positive local system change with a more collaborative culture. A local coordinator or Catalyst mentors other local people who are interested in doing care differently and supports them to complete a development programme underpinned by coaching and mentoring. Alongside this work is an emphasis on shared local networks which help public sector organisations understand and make the systems and culture changes necessary to sustain this more creative approach.

Picture of people sat at table

Our projects are steered by Change Groups of local stakeholders which help us all work together so that community enterprises flourish.

In many areas, we organise speed networking events between social workers, other professionals and community enterprise leaders. These events enable social workers and other professionals to find out about the range of support on offer and provide feedback to community enterprise leaders about gaps in local support.

“When people connected [through the Community Catalysts speed networking sessions] they could have that relationship moment, that sense of community [and] understand each other…and they started to find solutions – that was the opening door moment that allowed us to shift some of that culture away from ‘it’s a bit risky to do that’ to actually saying ‘there are some really cool solutions here.’”

Ian Hanton – Development and Commissioning Manager, Central Bedfordshire Council

“Community Catalysts has worked creatively and in partnership at all levels to support the necessary system and culture change required for our transformational vision.”

Garry Parvin – Joint Head of Learning Disability, Autism and Transitions Commissioning, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

People sat on chairs

Community Catalysts also runs a Shared Learning Network to help public sector organisations understand how to make the necessary systems and culture changes to sustain a more creative approach. The network brings together representatives from all of the local authorities in which we work with a focus on mutual learning from shared challenges and good practice. Past sessions have included presentations from TLAP and Self Directed Futures.

“The Shared Learning Networks hosted by Community Catalysts provide an excellent opportunity for commissioners to learn from each other re how we can create the conditions for community micro-enterprise to survive and thrive. System and culture change provide the underpinning essentials to develop community based support – a great space to share ideas and learning.”

Steven Watt – Commissioning Manager, Essex County Council


Our approach helps create the right conditions for new innovation. By bringing people together we highlight what is working well so great ideas can spread. Our commitment to creating networks on a local and national level ensures that the impact of our projects can be long-lasting.

“The Community Catalysts community micro-enterprise project has helped us improve our social care options available to people who choose self-directed support through a direct payment or individual service fund as well as those who fund their own care. Colleagues have established good working relationships with Community Catalysts to increase and diversify our social care workforce so people now have more care and support options.”

Sam Wood-Ede – Direct Payments Manager, Hertfordshire County Council


We are commissioned, contracted or funded by public, third or private sector organisations to design and deliver this approach. We co-design and co-produce whenever possible.