Following on from the success of our Re-Use Store, we are working on the development of new social enterprises.
All of our social business ideas come from the people in our community who tell us where there is an unmet need. We then seek to develop sustainable business models – sourcing grants and other types of funding to bring investment into our community to set these businesses up – and deliver solutions to meet the local need.
These business models are volunteer-led, providing fund and rewarding opportunities for those willing to share their time and skills to make a positive difference to the lives of people in their communities. We keep the need for paid staff to a minimum, but where professionals are needed to ensure the business is managed safely, efficiently and effectively, we seek to recruit from our local community. We also build in opportunities for those who may otherwise struggle to find suitably supported roles to build skills and confidence through meaningful work experience.
Community Works businesses exist to make a positive social impact, and this includes our local business community. Our projects actively avoid competing with local businesses – if a business already provides it then there isn’t a gap to fill after all. Instead we seek to form partnerships and collaborations with other businesses operating in similar fields to support them to thrive too.
So – onto our business idea – and it’s one that has come from Community Works’ members who tell is there’s an unmet need for vulnerable people to have a trustworthy and reliable team of people to call on for help with one-off, D-I-Y-type jobs around the home and garden. These are tasks that require very little skill and so are considered too low-level to require the services of Professional Tradespeople or Handymen/women. They will just need a person or persons who are physically able and might include tasks such as:
- Changing lightbulbs/lightshades
- Tidying a garden or yard
- Changing curtains/chair covers/bed valances
- Moving furniture around
- Defrosting a freezer.
Our local demographics data demonstrates a large population of older people, many of whom no longer have family living in the immediate area. We know that some of those who do have family nearby are reluctant to ask them for help when they need it as they have busy lives of their own, juggling work and family commitments. And although many older or vulnerable people are committed to living independently in their own homes, it would help to have a hand with those small jobs causing a headache from time to time.
That’s where our business will come in. We will charge a small fee to cover our costs such as transport, premises, insurance and equipment. Any surpluses generated will be invested back into our businesses and frontline projects, supporting those who need it in our community. We’ve thought about how we go about helping those who can’t afford to pay, and are working out how to manage a ‘Pay-It-Forward Pot’ where donations or ‘over-pays’ will be held so those who can’t afford the fees will still be able to get help from us.
We’d like to work out how we can collaborate with local Tradespeople, Handymen/women to ensure those jobs we are asked to do that require more expertise or time than we can offer are referred appropriately, so if you are one of these people please get in touch.
Do you have any thoughts or ideas on this? Do you think you or a family member would use/benefit from this? Do you know of anything similar that already exists in Thirsk and District? Would you like to get involved? Do you have any concerns? Are you a tradesperson who would like to collaborate with us? We’d love to hear from you! Please contact us (01845 524494) for a chat or email firstname.lastname@example.org.