Since its inception in 1984 EDS/LCDA has provided support to a range of social and community enterprise businesses. This support has always been tailored to the specific requirements of the business, whether that is capacity building, business planning, HR advice, marketing advice, or advice on legal structures. The following projects provide a flavour of the range of support we have provided to third sector organisations:
- Marybone Performing Arts Project, Liverpool
- Dreams Come True, Preston
- DIY Recycling Centre, Morecambe
EDS (NW) Ltd was commissioned through a Guide Neighbourhood Programme Investment Grant, managed by the Eldonian Group, to undertake an independent study into the feasibility of establishing a Performing Arts facility at the Marybone Youth & Community Centre, Liverpool. The long-established Centre is situated in the Marybone area of Liverpool, on the fringe of the City Centre, and is seen to be a focal point for the local community operating as a multi-use youth and community resource centre with a childcare facility, and office accommodation.
The study investigated the potential demand for and supply of community arts facilities in the area and potential income streams which could be accessed to support improvements to the facilities and revenue streams within the Centre. The study concluded that the Centre should be rebranded as a City Centre venue and also identified opportunities to extend the scope and range of facilities to be provided by the Centre and potential income streams.
In 2004 two local community organisations in the east of the City, One Voice and Brookfield Spaceplace, undertook a community consultation to set up a project to find out what young people wanted to happen in East Preston and their vision for the area in the future. The initiative known as Dreams Come True (DCT) established a programme of fun activities such as football coaching, fishing, DJ workshops and musical events to encourage participation by young people in the process. The success of this project was overwhelming and it was decided to establish a community business which would be driven by an over-riding commitment to the young people of the area, providing activities which would really make a difference. In order to realise their ambitions EDS provided support to DCT with the following:
- Establishment of a Board of Directors, drawn from the local community
- Registration of DCT as a Company Limited by Guarantee
- An application for charitable status
- An application for Lottery Funding from the Young People's Fund.
Following the award of Big Lottery funding the Company was able to appoint staff and continue with their programme of activities to support and develop young people in partnership with other organisations in Preston.
Signpost, a multi-agency resource centre, established a DIY Recycle Shop in Morecambe, with the intention that the shop would be a social enterprise, offering affordable DIY goods and training to the people of the West End of Morecambe and encouraging community involvement and pride in the area. It was envisaged that this would in turn assist with the stimulation of the local economy, generate community cohesion and create local employment opportunities.
Soon after its establishment, it became clear the DIY Recycling Shop required significant support if it was to transform itself from a volunteer organisation to a viable social enterprise. The NWDA appointed EDS through its EU funded Sustainability Grant scheme to assess the medium to long-term sustainability of the DIY Recycle Shop.
The assignment entailed a review of the existing business plan; revisiting original business assumptions; appraising the current market for the products sold by the shop; undertaking an initial assessment of the potential sustainability of the business; consideration of the City Council’s wider regeneration and development plans for the area; and clear recommendations for a the way forward.
The study concluded that the shop should merge with the Signpost Community Shop on to a single site, develop new product lines and work in partnership with other similar environmental initiatives and organisations in the area.
Environappies is a social enterprise which provides fresh laundered nappies to parents and organisations in West Lancashire and the Fylde. The aim of the service is to supply new mothers with easy-to-use cotton nappies which are professionally laundered and re-used through the provision of a door to door collection and delivery service, thereby reducing the amount of waste going into landfill sites.
EDS recognised the potential of the business and assisted Environappies in the preparation of funding applications and market research which resulted in the social enterprise developing a strong customer base linked to local nurseries and the maternity hospital.
Inprint is a lithographic printing company run by the Lancashire branch of the Brothers of Charity, and has been based at Fylde Road in Preston since 1990. Its role is to provide work-based training and experience to people with learning disabilities. Inprint’s goal is to help people progress towards employment. The company ethos is very much “people before profit”. Nevertheless, it has established itself as a credible service provider and has developed a niche market, undertaking contracts for clients that require relatively small quantities - e.g. 100 leaflet print-runs. Services include producing business and personal stationery, leaflets, magazines, carbonless forms, raffle tickets, invitations, photocopying, laminating, shrink-wrapping, assembly and collation, labelling, mail shots, design and typesetting.
EDS was asked to review the business in order to identify how its services might maximise opportunities for service users. EDS therefore organised a "Focus on the Future" survey which concluded that there was a direct correlation between trading activities and the range of training opportunities available to those undertaking the work. Therefore, by adopting a more innovative approach and increasing the level of work - and, in turn, income - the range of training opportunities would increase. The Brothers of Charity adopted the recommendations of the study and expanded the scale of their business.