Text size: A A A A


community enterprise

community enterprise

Imaginative, cost effective solutions helping people to get a good life

What are community enterprises and ventures?

Lots of people need some extra help, perhaps because they are older, disabled or have a long term health condition. The type of help that people need could include personal care, support with the home or garden, to get out and about, meet friends, pursue hobbies or to work.

Community enterprises are very small (typically less than 8 workers) local ventures that offer people the help they need to live the life they want. Community enterprises offer services and supports that (in the broadest possible sense) link to the worlds of social care, housing and health. They usually offer support in really flexible (and often unusual) ways, at times that suit people and with an emphasis on putting people first.

All sorts of people run community enterprise and ventures including disabled and older people and family carers. We call these people community-entrepreneurs. The business models they use are on a continuum from fully commercial at one end to fully voluntary at the other. Some community enterprises that deliver personal care require regulation with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

People who use the services and supports offered by community enterprises might pay with their own money or a Direct Payment or Personal Budget. They might get financial help from their local council or health authority.

Why are community enterprises and ventures important?

Community enterprises and ventures offer something different to mainstream care providers. Clause 5 of the Care Act creates a new duty requiring local authorities to promote the diversity and quality of local services and supports. With the right help, community enterprises and ventures can help councils to meet this duty and to play a key part in the kind of vibrant and diverse local market that people and their families want.

The government realises how important it is to keep people well and away from services. Strong communities and thriving community enterprise have a vitally important role in helping people stay connected and well.

Community enterprises tend to be personal, flexible and responsive and really co-produce what they offer with the small number of people that they support.  They provide local people with the kind of help and support they need to connect with others in their community. Community enterprises create jobs and volunteering opportunities and keep local money and resources local.

What do Community Catalysts offer?

We know that, for all their difference and diversity, community enterprises need help and guidance to get their venture established and to enable it to thrive, survive and deliver good quality support to local people who need support.

Community Catalysts knows how to help and support community enterprise and ventures. Over the last 6 years we have worked with 37 local authority areas keen to improve their market diversity in order to provide more choice for local people.  We work with local partners such as local and health authorities and third sector infrastructure organisations. We support our partners to understand and create the necessary culture and systems change needed to enable community enterprises to flourish in their area.

Using tested methods we can:
• Help authorities and organisations to map what is already happening in their community or area
• Identify and connect with existing advice-givers, community groups, organisations and community providers
• Help identify local catalysts for change and provide them with the coaching and expert advice they need to find and help existing and potential community entrepreneurs
• Help identify and overcome barriers
• Design and deliver dynamic events and workshops

Entrepreneurialism and community activism is contagious; in every area where we work new people emerge who want help to explore ideas, harness resources and energies, get the help they need and make the necessary connections.

Small Good Stuff

To extend our local work with community enterprises and ventures Community Catalysts has established Small Good Stuff www.smallgoodstuff.co.uk

Small Good Stuff aims to help community enterprises and ventures to get going and keep going. It also helps people who need care or support to link with local community enterprises who can offer what they need.

Small Good Stuff offers an accessible web directory which gives community enterprises a chance to show people what they can offer. Small Good Stuff also offers advice, information, resources and publicity to community enterprises.

Community Catalysts believe passionately in personalisation and in putting people in control of the care and support they receive to enable them to live full lives. We also believe in the talents and assets in local communities and the power of people to affect local change. These passions underpin all our work to nurture and develop community enterprises and ventures.


Hear more about Community Catalysts and see 4 community enterprises in action: