Two Plymouth Social Enterprises Receive Investment to Deliver Greater Impact

Plymouth Lighthouse Project CIC and Plymouth YMCA have each received £150,000 of investment from the Health & Wellbeing Challenge Fund (South West) (H&WCF), managed by social investment company Resonance.  Both enterprises will use the money to upgrade their facilities and enable them to offer support to even more people.

The Plymouth Lighthouse Project will provide supported housing for men with drug and alcohol issues to share in a mutual aid community. The community is abstinence based and focused on helping its participants establish sustainable lives for when they move on. Whilst living in the house the residents learn about their own neuroscience using an online course, and access further support through organisations like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. The first project has been running successfully for nearly three years in Bideford and remains full with a waiting list. This investment is facilitating the refurbishment of a ten-bed property in the Stonehouse area of the city so that a Plymouth Lighthouse Project can provide a similar service here.  The Lighthouse projects provide high quality ‘homely’ accommodation, with experienced support staff with a passion for what they do. They are ‘not for profit’ organisations with the sole focus and purpose of providing a safe and loving environment for the residents to share helping each other achieve long term real change for themselves, their families, and their communities. The Plymouth Lighthouse Project will house men aged 18 and over.

Everyone involved in the project has a clear understanding of the issues that affect those with addictions, most of them through having addressed their own addiction issues.  The culture is a community of like-minded people who are actively engaging in a mutual aid process together.

Tom Crook, the Senior Investment Analyst for the H&WC Fund explained some of the challenges faced by the Lighthouse Project: “They encountered a number of hurdles to get the project started and I was impressed that all involved kept the reason for doing what they were doing at the front of their minds showing real persistence. It is really exciting for the Fund to be investing in Plymouth Lighthouse, knowing the impact they are going to make to those with drug and alcohol issues in the Plymouth area and beyond.”

Dominic Robinson, Managing Director of Plymouth Lighthouse Project describes how the investment will help: “The men we help have often spent years trapped in cycles of self-destruction and suffering. They arrive feeling very low and at a loss to make sense of how and why things have gone so wrong for them. This investment will help us to provide a high-quality homely environment, so our residents enjoy a felt sense experience that they are being valued and cared about as they engage in their mutual aid processes of learning and recovering.”

The second investment to Plymouth YMCA (PYMCA) is to convert a city centre space into a commercial and accessible gym featuring Plymouth’s first fully immersive spin studio.  PYMCA are a longstanding feature of the city, offering a range of health and wellbeing focused services for young people and the wider community, however the existing PYMCA gyms have poor accessibility for transport and those who are less mobile so the new space will add to the offering, increasing the number of vulnerable and cardiac patients who can use the service by 300 – 500 per year as well as offering affordable facilities to students, nearby residential properties and city-centre workers. The gym will also offer preventative and post-operative provision for people with cardiac problems as well as referrals from GPs.

Andrew Robertson, Managing Director at PYMCA explains more about the impact: “We are grateful for the help from Resonance in terms of their financial support for the project. The mission of YMCA Plymouth is to reach out to all people, inspiring them to develop in mind, body and spirit. Our project in Plymouth City Centre will help us achieve this by raising our profile and accessibility within the city. Giving people, especially those belonging to vulnerable groups, a greater opportunity to use our services. The YMCA previously had a successful city centre operation, and as an organisation we are keen to return to this area of the city. Thanks to the help of Resonance this will now be possible.”

Leila Sharland, the Fund Manager at Resonance explained that the team at PYMCA were critical to the deal: “It was immediately apparent that the senior team were professional, capable and motivated and that they had made recent significant, positive changes to a social enterprise that has been running for over one hundred years.”