While the majority of the UK was preparing roast turkey and sprouts for their Christmas dinner, and thinking of making preparations for the celebrations to herald the New Year, I was at 37,000 feet on the way to Australia. In fact, it would be late January before I would return to Britain. I won’t bore anyone with the amazing adventures I had, however it is fair to say that I wasn’t overly excited at the prospect of leaving horizon to horizon sunshine, white sandy beaches, azure seas and vibrant coral reefs to return to a cold, wet and dark Merseyside. After taking a day to catch up on email, I began to reconnect with the community entrepreneurs who had been working hard while I was away. It is fair to say that the first two weeks back in the UK went by in a flash.
On reflection, I realised that this was entirely down to the incredible energies and enthusiasm of the community micro-providers that I am working with. Their drive and ambition is amazing. They take the guidance and support provided by Community Catalysts and transform it into active planning and action. One micro-provider, who in early November had only a seed of an idea about supporting men with mental health problems, is about to launch with a fully funded, six-week programme of work in collaboration with a local housing provider. This was achieved after only three short meetings; with me helping him to focus on a target market, clarify how he would find his customers and ensure that that his service delivery would be safe. Another micro-provider has in very short space of time developed a new enterprise offering personalised, uniquely tailored help to the family members of people with dementia and additional sensory impairments.
The energy and enthusiasm generated by entrepreneurs combined with the structure and guidance provided by Community Catalysts, and local partners allows people to be creative; designing activities to help people live better lives things, knowing that regulatory matters, policies, procedures and processes will be addressed and shaped around the offer. Some entrepreneurs have described the apprehension they feel when approaching the obstacles in setting up a micro-enterprise, especially in the world of social care. They have told me that the advice framework that forms the basis of my work with entrepreneurs has given them the confidence to aim higher and be more innovative.
The memories of Australia are fading, as is the sun-tan! However, the enthusiasm and ambition of the community micro-providers in Knowsley has not. In fact, word seems to be spreading and I’m looking forward to a busy spring. If you know of anyone who has a great idea that might help people live better lives, ask them to get in touch with Community Catalysts to see if we are working in their area. Alternatively, they could look at our Small Good Stuff website and/or contact their local authority to ask what help is available.
Community Catalyst – Knowsley