Social enterprise case studies

How the local enterprise and funding team support local groups

These case studies show the range of activities and social enterprises we have supported in recent years. 

To find out what support could be available for your group:


Young dementia hereford logo

Young Dementia Herefordshire

An embryonic group named Young Dementia Herefordshire initially visited us at our Funding Drop In, as part of our support for Small Charities Week on 20 June 2018 at Hereford Library.

It was interested in expanding the remit of the group catering for the needs of younger people with dementia related issues, living in Herefordshire. 'Young dementia' includes anyone under 65 years of age who may be diagnosed or affected.

The group was concerned that while Herefordshire was nationally recognised as a leader in conventional community dementia intervention, through projects such as the Courtyard's Ageing Well Programme, little was being done to help people of a younger age, whose plight was being overlooked because it 'doesn't affect them'.*

Initially we supported the group with general guidance around organisational matters, including the workings of a registered charity and the process needed to get there. Through this relationship, we were able to assist its initial development. So for example, if its turnover were to exceed £5,000 a year, it would need to register with the Charity Commission, which in turn would open up doors to more funding opportunities. This is the route the group chose to take and with our support, it is on the verge of being registered as a charitable organisation.

We worked with the group to decide on its initial priority - a programme of rural outreach to the more isolated areas of the county, coupled with publicity material and drop in days to raise awareness of the issue.

The team has helped the group to gain valuable knowledge and insight into the workings of a charitable organisation, being clear about what it wants to achieve, as well as having a long term plan to ensure it is viable and sustainable.

To date £25,000 in potential local and national funding has been identified to support this work, and the group will continue to be supported in the forthcoming months to proceed with these applications.

Find out more about the group and all the support it is providing for young dementia sufferers in Herefordshire on their Facebook page.

*Young Dementia UK reports that 1 in 10 adults between 50 and 65 can develop early onset of dementia between the ages of 50 and 65. In 2014, the same organisation estimated that there are 42,325 people in the UK who have been diagnosed with young onset dementia. This constitutes about 5% of the national total dementia population.


The Life and Soul Kitchen Ltd

Life and soul cafe logo

The Life and Soul Kitchen Ltd is a registered charitable company who provide the services of a regular café but also have a defined social purpose by providing training and education to people who have a learning disability and want to learn new vocational and social skills in a real work place environment.

They have recently extended the premises so that there is space for pre-school and school holiday activities in the form of Pace Boogie tots, Dinophonics, Circus tots and gym tots and they are dog friendly too. This means that the charity café is a friendly, fun and inclusive place to be. They provide volunteering opportunities too.

They found out about our services from another social enterprise, Choices Foundation CIC, which provides work place opportunities for people with learning disability through manufacturing items from recycled wood, in particular garden furniture.

The local enterprise and resources team has supported the Life and Soul Kitchen Ltd through a re-branding and re-focussing of their charity aims and brand, to access funding and increase trading income through diversification and seizing new business opportunities. The difference our support has made has been that their governance is much more robust and the activities are diverse. Just a few months on and the charity is fast becoming a sustainable enterprise and provides 10 placements for people with a learning disability.

They have a large following and buy in to their services, warm and welcoming environment and very active on their Facebook page.


C.A.R.E. Herefordshire CIC

C.A.R.E CIC logo

C.A.R.E Herefordshire CIC is based at Pontrilas Business Park and is an award winning 'social enterprise', working in the community for the community.

The local enterprise and resources team has supported C.A.R.E to develop its business model which is to run the local Post Office and village shop and use the profits to fund services and activities that support older residents to continue living independently in their own homes. The team provided advice to Sonya Cary, the founder of C.A.R.E to develop her business plan, which had to be approved by the Post Office, to demonstrate that the enterprise would be a sustainable business as well as fulfilling a social purpose.

As C.A.R.E. has developed, advice has been provided on funding and finance to develop activities as well as a bespoke social impact model to demonstrate the positive impact it is having on the local community. Activities includes community lunches, a foot clinic and fitness classes as well as a good neighbour scheme, all serving Pontrilas and the wider Golden Valley community. C.A.R.E. has been helped to expand through significant funding provided by the Herefordshire LEADER Programme (funded by the European Union and managed by DEFRA). This has enabled it to provide a community café in premises adjacent to the post office and shop. It is also about to open its latest venture - a fitness centre.

Sonya Cary, Founder/Director, C.A.R.E. said

"At the heart of the area, we aim to attract people of all ages and abilities to exercise on a regular basis and benefit from improved health, wellbeing and social connectivity. Our facilities will feature a full suite of brand new fitness equipment including, CV, resistance and free weights areas as well as a fantastic functional training area that doubles up as a group exercise studio."

"We've a great deal of gratitude for the council's support in all of C.A.R.E.'s community endeavours. Words could never express my sincere and humblest gratitude. "

C.A.R.E fitness studio impression

Golden Valley Fitness Centre architect simulation

Avenbury Care Farm

Images of animals and people at the Avenbury Care Farm

Avenbury Care Farm has been developed in Bishops Frome, for the purpose of delivering high quality outdoor and indoor farm based activities for people with physical and learning disabilities, additional needs, mental health and dementia.

The care farm includes a large barn, a training kitchen, arts, crafts and woodwork rooms.  The 3.5 acre site is completely wheelchair accessible including sensory planning which provides quiet places.  A large vegetable growing area comprising of 12 raised beds.  There are friendly animals for opportunities to connect with and learn about animal care.

Avenbury is an Approved Specialist Provider for Herefordshire Council and firmly fits into principles of supporting residents to remain independent and lead fulfilling lives, whilst creating and maintaining a successful economy.

Social objectives
  • Improve mental health and wellbeing
  • Provide positive contact and connection with people
  • Learning new skills
  • Create a beautiful and tranquil, natural community space for people to visit and enjoy
Support from the Community Enterprise and Finance Officer

Advice and support has been provided since the beginning of their venture by Elaine, our Community Enterprise and Finance Officer. From advising on incorporation, to discussing different company models, advising on writing a professional business plan, income generation and social finance, Elaine has supported them closely on their journey. 

Elaine has also helped with funding applications and networking opportunities enabling, them to form valuable connections, especially in the Adults and Communities directorate within Herefordshire Council.  Avenbury were put in touch with the national organisation NYS by the team, where 10 volunteers created raised beds and outdoor seating.

Founder and CEO Ina said

"Elaine's vast knowledge of the funding and enterprise landscape is only a phone call away and we have been very lucky to receive advice when we need it".

The service they are running is very successful and valued by those who use it, but as a start up, it is also about building the brand to encourage more people to use their services.

Improving health and wellbeing is one of their key objectives, and spending time with the animals has a definite positive impact on service users.

Ina, reports that

 "our current service users have shown marked increases in confidence and learning new skills when it comes to undertaking regular activities at the care farm. Developing life skills such as cooking is an important aspect of what we do."

Quote from a carer

"...this is the best place I have ever taken disabled adults. The experience they received was out of this world, the staff were friendly, helpful, kind, caring, patient, knowledgeable and nothing was too much for any of them.

Quote from one of the service users

What do like best? "All of it!"

Watch Harriet's video on her morning at the Care Farm.

You can find out more about Avenbury on their website