My colleague Sian Lockwood OBE is Chief Executive of our sister organisation, Community Catalysts CIC, which has developed a highly effective model for helping local areas to find, grow and sustain community enterprises, some of them micro-scale, as a way of creating completely new care and support choices for local people. The model involves recruiting and training a local enterprise Catalyst who is embedded in the area to find, nurture and network local social entrepreneurs, helping them to set up enterprises and to navigate any bureaucracies they run into along the way. This can often be the missing link between personal budgets and real choice. Sian writes:
“We currently have a programme in Somerset with a focus on stimulating and supporting locally-led home and domiciliary care services in the most rural parts of the county. Domiciliary care services involving personal care are highly regulated and there are real challenges in enabling very small community enterprises to negotiate these regulatory and legislative barriers. Our Somerset Catalyst has found no shortage of local people keen to provide home and domiciliary care services for other local people. They drew on his personalised and patient coaching to create an enterprise that is legally compliant and sustainable. In 9 months he has uncovered and supported nearly 70 of these little ventures – each one different, formed by the passion and personality of the entrepreneur and local circumstances. Pearl, for example, runs a florist’s shop in one of the larger villages. Our Catalyst says that ‘she always has the kettle on’ and has become the person to go to if you need some local knowledge and advice. She found that many of the older people visiting her shop were asking for advice about people who might do cleaning, shopping etc and she started to look for local people who might do those jobs. Our Catalyst was able to help her out with putting some simple systems and processes in place that made that self-employment brokerage service safe and sustainable.
Pearl now has 27 local people on her books who between them are supporting nearly 50 older neighbours.”