Building the foundation for Denbighshire to look to a future with community enterprises as a sustainable long-term option.
Community Catalysts started working in partnership with Denbighshire County Council in early 2020. The aim was to assist the start-up, development and growth of community enterprises that provide help and support for older and disabled people in their homes.
Early work consisted of completing a diagnostic of the area and the local community. This was about learning to understand potential partners, systems, resources and unmet needs relevant to kick-start the project.
A local Catalyst was recruited by Community Catalysts to build partnerships with community agents, promote the programme and connect with people interested in working for themselves to offer care and support. Whilst the initiative was clearly embraced by local people, the start-up phase was slowed by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, as people, groups and organisations started to again become active in their communities, we gained real momentum and began developing a strong network of community enterprises.
Our work in Denbighshire greatly benefited from the Council’s ongoing commitment to community-led support. The Council’s strategic team ensured availability of infrastructure and support critical for Community Catalysts’ work, including:
- Training for social work and health practitioners, to secure their buy-in and empower them to confidently utilise and support community enterprises
- Vital adjustment of structures and processes related to Direct Payments, so that community enterprises and their customers can benefit from this essential source of funding, and
- Creative and consistent project promotion, passionately driven by a dedicated member of the Council’s communication team
Two years later, the local Catalyst established a group of 20 community enterprises, offering a wide range of support, including personal care, practical support and companionship, but also services such as DIY and IT support, physiotherapy and foot care; they offered 450 hours of care and support to 130 people.
With a strong foundation for further growth in place, and after careful assessment by Denbighshire Council, supported by Community Catalysts, it was felt that the Council was in a strong position to start taking greater ownership of the project. In January 2023, the local Catalyst transitioned to employment with the Council, where he continues to grow small community enterprises with support from Community Catalysts, flexibly tailored to the project’s changing needs.