Community interest company ‘Community Mentoring and Support’ (CMAS) is the latest social enterprise to receive investment of £250,000 from the Resonance Bristol Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) Fund, managed by social impact investment company Resonance.
CMAS aims to meet the needs of young people, their families and the professionals who work with them, which are not provided elsewhere. CMAS began as a response to cut backs in local services. Children’s services were being reduced whilst the need for the work was increasing. Therefore, CMAS was formed in 2013 and now operates across the South West of England (including Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Devon and Somerset) providing education, mentoring, support services and youth work to young people in the context of their communities.
CMAS provides services through three main streams. The first of these is through providing commissioned youth clubs and youth projects in local areas, on behalf of county, town and parish councils and youth committees, including involvement in international youth work. The second area of operation involves providing top quality professional mentoring for young people who have additional needs and thirdly CMAS provides alternative education for young people who, for a variety of reasons, are not accessing mainstream schooling.
The investment from the Resonance Bristol SITR Fund will provide working capital to support key new staff hires to strengthen the management team and governance, reflecting the growing needs and complexity of the business. The investment will also enable CMAS to scale and replicate its current model by setting up two further independent alternative schools, complementing and building on their mentoring service.
The Resonance Bristol SITR Fund is a pioneering social investment fund, which aims to help dismantle poverty in Bristol and surrounding regions through investing into high impact social enterprises. The Fund continues to raise investment from private individuals who want to back social enterprises and get the benefits of Social Investment Tax Relief, a recently introduced scheme similar to the popular Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS).
James Evans, Managing Director at CMAS, explains how the investment will help: “We are an ambitious community interest company and we are good at what we do. As a result, our services are in high demand from schools, alternative provision services and local authorities. Our challenge is that we have grown fast and concentrated on developing the scope and quality of our frontline work. Now we need to develop more sustainable systems and structures to enable us to build on our excellent reputation and create capacity to meet the unmet needs of a greater number of children, young people and their families.
“We are developing the role of a business manager to strengthen and grow our business along with investing in a CMAS IT system that will enable us to digitalise many of our systems. We are also opening new schools; the CMAS School in Gloucestershire opened in February. It has already been recognised by Ofsted as a “Good” school in all areas and was praised for its pupil centred curriculum. We are opening the CMAS School in Devon over 3 sites this Autumn. It is the support from Resonance that has enabled this vision to become a reality.
“We see the partnership with Resonance as a source of wisdom, guidance and support, particularly in the area of financial forecasting. We are becoming a more sustainable and self-aware business and as the recently appointed CEO I am working with our newly appointed accountant and individuals from the Resonance network to equip us as we continue to grow in 2020. This will enable CMAS to carry on offering high quality provision across the South West and ensure that children and young people remain at the centre of everything we do.”
Resonance’s Investment Manager for the Fund, Katalin Juhasz, added: “We’re very pleased to be working with CMAS to support such a high impact and high growth organization. Their work with young people shows how a joined-up approach to different needs, from youth clubs and mentoring to education options for excluded children, can also build a sustainable and diverse social enterprise ready to grow and expand its impact in the region.”
Resonance Limited is a company registered in England and Wales no. 04418625
Resonance Impact Investment Limited, a subsidiary of Resonance Limited, is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Firm number 588462.
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