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Supporting Social Enterprises to Build Community Wealth

The Community Wealth Builder programme is celebrating its solidarity with social enterprises and showcasing the incredible difference it’s making to mark Social Enterprise Day on 19th November.

The effects of social distancing, lockdown, loss of family members and work is having a huge impact on the population’s mental health. Numerous social enterprises across Doncaster are responding to this need, finding creative ways to support people to keep healthy during these difficult times. The Community Wealth Builder programme funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Doncaster Council provides support for social businesses across the Sheffield City Region.

One example is Doncaster based Empowered in Nature, a Community Interest Company (CIC) offering eco therapy using wellbeing and personal development workshops in the outdoors. This social enterprise has just been awarded a £10,000 National Lottery Community COVID-19 Relief Grant, allowing them to run ecotherapy workshops for people whose mental health has been challenged by the impact of COVID-19.

Gillian Wood and her colleagues met at an Aspiring2 Women in Business Networking event. Aspiring2 referred them to the Community Wealth Builder Project for further support. Co-Founder of Empowered in Nature, told us:

“We set up our CIC during lockdown and ran our first pilot in September, which was a huge success. We’ve been overwhelmed by the interest we’ve received in our workshops, and we’re hoping to get the go ahead to deliver our outdoor workshops during this second lockdown.”

Support through The Community Wealth Builder project is tailored to meet individual needs but includes one to one advice, workshops, training and networking events. One of the projects key aims is to break down the barriers to contract frameworks and link social enterprises with the region’s largest buyers so that wealth is put back into local economies, supporting local regeneration and job creation.

Led by Doncaster Council and supported by Doncaster Chamber of Commerce the project is now supporting over 40 new and existing enterprises, including many that are stepping up and delivering support in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Dr Rupert Sucking, Director of Public Health in Doncaster, said:

“As the pandemic continues to widen pre-existing inequalities in society, many social enterprises have been at the heart of community response, playing a key role in supporting people’s health and well-being across the borough.”

Councillor Nigel Ball, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure and Culture said:

“There are some amazing social enterprises across Doncaster that really are the backbone of their communities. By supporting businesses who reinvest profits back into their social and/or environmental purpose, we are helping to create a fairer and more inclusive society.”

If you have an idea that you would like to develop,  you are an existing social business wanting some advice, or if you are local business or institution interested in buying form local social enterprises then get in touch with the team on 01302 736717,

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