Celebrating the Work of South West Social Enterprises Working in Health & Wellbeing
Walking into the Moments Café Plymouth is a treat, a welcoming open space with snug featured areas displaying memorabilia from the past – the Fabulous 50s, the Swinging 60s, Super 70s and the Electric 80s. A warm welcome from Memory Matters CIC cofounder Kate Smith and my first thoughts were what a fantastic venue for our impact celebration.
The Health & Wellbeing Challenge Fund is an impact investment fund managed by Resonance and established with investment from the Growth Fund and South West Academic Health Science Network (SWAHSN). The Growth Fund is managed by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment and is funded from the Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital.
The Fund has been operational for two years and the impact celebration saw the release of the first social impact report for the social enterprises that have received investment from the Fund – reporting on the investment they have received and their impact so far.
Resonance CEO Daniel Brewer welcomed everyone and then Fund Managers Leila Sharland and Tom Crook picked some of the highlights from the social impact report to kick off the evening, showing what is being achieved with the £960,000 invested so far into Cornwall, Devon & Somerset.
Kate Smith from Memory Matters was up next describing the journey of their social enterprise that helps those living with dementia as well as their families and training professionals. Memory Matters received a Launchpad Loan from the Fund to take the first steps in turning their existing dementia support training in Plymouth into a franchise, which will be offered across the South West.
Natalie Frost from Urban Biodiversity also shared their story and how they hope to get investment from the Fund to create a bigger impact by allowing them to make changes to their Newquay Community Orchard site. One use of the loan will be to better equip their wood workshop to allow people referred to them to create products which can be sold. Another use of the money will be for creating additional work spaces in their community garden, increasing the accessibility of the site to a wider range of groups throughout the year.
Finally, before the networking began, Matt Bell of Resonance, who is looking at market development, describes some of his work and encouraged those present to talk to one another about potential collaboration opportunities. He said “We are in a great position to build a family out of those receiving investment from our funds and by doing this, increase the collective impact and growth of these amazing social enterprises.”
Other social enterprises that have received investment were present to share their stories including Action to Prevent Suicide, Danu Blue, Led by Dreams, QuoVita, Par Track, Dangerous Dads, Keep Cornwall Fed and Somerset Local Food.
The evening wrapped up with the presentation of some awards to the first six investees, recognising their different strengths as social enterprises:
Dangerous Dads – Award for “Best Use of a Launchpad Loan”
Danu Blue – Award for “Most Engaged Board”
Keep Cornwall Fed – Award for “Income Growth”
Memory Matters – Award for “The One to Watch”
Hollywell Housing – Award for “Impact Reporting”
Karrek – Award for “Expansion of Services”
Prosperity Hub – Award for “Network Development”
It was a really inspiring evening hearing the impactful stories of so many innovative enterprises and it was good see the many conversations taking place, where experiences were being shared, knowledge exchanged and ideas discussed. The Fund is open for investment to any social enterprise in Devon, Cornwall or Somerset that is delivering solutions in Health & Wellbeing. Just get in touch with the Leila and Tom to see if they can help you grow your impact.