Social enterprises in Devon and Somerset have praised a partnership that has supported them during the Covid-19 pandemic – and now they are encouraging others to sign up.
The Enhance Social Enterprise Network Devon & Somerset was created to support the development of social enterprises across Devon, Plymouth, Torbay and Somerset following funding from the European Regional Development Fund.
Like traditional businesses, Social Enterprises aim to make a profit – but Social Enterprises use some of those profits to do social good.
As with other businesses, Social Enterprises have been struggling with reduced income and the uncertainty surrounding consumer habits as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This uncertainty has led to Social Enterprises signing up to the network in increasing numbers – membership has increased from 170 to 389 in just a few months.
Rosemary Heath Coleman, Chair, of the Queen Camel Community Land Trust Ltd said: “It was the network that made us aware of the government’s grant relevant to us to cover income lost due to the Covid 19 lockdown. We successfully applied. The staff have always been great supporters and encouragers, and this is especially valued now. It’s so encouraging to know that we are not alone.”
Another member, JoJo Spinks, Director of Interwoven Productions CIC, said: “On joining, the experience has been like coming home to people who understand your endeavour and who are excited by attempts to find new and innovative ways of doing things.
“It’s been so refreshing. I was particularly thrilled to be asked to speak and to contribute to two online events, resulting in lots of new leads and contacts. The team are friendly, knowledgeable and excited about new ideas. I’m so glad we joined.”
The Enhance Social Enterprise Network manager Geraldine Addo said: “Members have access to virtual networking, skills sharing webinars and advice and support.
“I have no doubt that the high level of support available to members and that members can tap into the knowledge and experiences of other members has led to a surge of applications.”
Social enterprises who sign up for membership of one of the networks can also showcase their business on the Enhance Social Enterprise Network online map, which highlights the range of goods and services provided across Devon, Plymouth, Torbay and Somerset.
To join the Network and get a listing on the map social enterprises should visit the website: https://enhancesocialenterprise.org.uk/