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Friendz & Co.

Back in early 2020, we featured a lovely story about how longstanding community enterprise Pulp Friction CIC provided a helping hand to new entrepreneur Shamala when she set out to found her new venture Impact4Life CIC.

This saw connections made from Nottinghamshire to Birmingham through our Community Catalysts network. Jill and Jessie from Pulp Friction generously shared insights from their experience setting up and growing their community enterprise, and were also kind enough to lend Shamala a smoothie bike to get the wheels turning too!

Two years on and Shamala is now very busy running Impact4Life CIC delivering a range of projects in the Birmingham area supporting local people to take positive steps to better health and wellbeing.

Now the helping hand has spread even further with the smoothie bike being passed on to another community enterprise – ‘Friendz & Co.’ from Scunthorpe.

The connection was made through the local Fareshare Operations Manager. Pulp Friction have great links with Fareshare and they utilise a great deal of surplus food in the canteen they run at the Nottinghamshire Police and Fire Headquarters.

Just like Pulp Friction, Friendz & Co. is a mother-and-child run community enterprise set up to provide meaningful opportunities and work experience for young people with learning disabilities. Sue, her son and his friends came down to Nottinghamshire to meet the Pulp Friction gang and see them in action. They all hit it off straight away…

Sue explains:

Friendz & Co. was formed around 6 years ago with the intention of supporting adults with a disability to gain employment skills, along with essential life skills. We initially formed a pop-up cafe where some of our young people baked sweet and savoury products and sold them at events. We saw the potential of developing this so we became a registered charity in 2019 and for a time we took over a catering facility at a local football club.

Our current projects include volunteering at Fareshare in Lincoln twice a week and also at a local farm once a week. The benefits of both of these projects have been extensive and our young people have gained a huge amount of work experience and developed lots of skills.

“We have been in contact with Jill at Pulp Friction for a few years now and we find Jill a true inspiration. We’ve visited her premises a few times and we are in such awe of what she has achieved.”

We were delighted to be offered the smoothie bike from Pulp Friction. It is our intention to initially take this into schools and colleges, particularly those that our young people attended so that we can promote the fact that there are opportunities out there, along with the benefits the smoothie bike can offer. We want to use these visits to promote our work and will begin to take our bike into gyms and other public areas and events.

“This is creating a lot of excitement among our young people as they can all see the benefits of using the bike: exercise, health, environment.”

Jill adds:

Friendz and Co. are a brilliant charity and we are so pleased to be able to support them with sharing our knowledge and lending our smoothie bike out to help them get started with a new branch of their work.

We love hearing how community enterprises grow and develop, often starting out small – or ‘micro’ – but gradually increasing to take on more staff and support more people.

It’s great to see how the generous help of Jill and the Pulp Friction team has already enabled one new community enterprise to flourish. It will be exciting to hear how Friendz and Co. get on – and who knows where the ripples will spread to next?!

By Zoe Miller – National Project Support Worker