Supporting new social enterprises and connecting them to opportunities (Deafscope Link CIC, Breathing Space Therapeutic Services CIC, MAN_AGE CIC, Bloom Creative Wellbeing CIC)

We supported people to explore and refine their ideas for new social enterprises and connected them to learning and development opportunities, as well as to like-minded people and organisations. Through this support, four new social enterprises were established, Deafscope Link CIC, Breathing Space Therapeutic Services, MAN-AGE CIC and Bloom Creative Wellbeing CIC. They work in a variety of areas such as accessibility and equality, mental health and wellbeing worked with people who wanted to explore their ideas for new social enterprises.

 

One of the new social enterprises we helped get established this year was Bloom Creative Wellbeing CIC. 

Bloom Creative Wellbeing CIC was the vision of Louise Bloomfield, based on her years of experience in community mental health, wellbeing and the arts, and her passion for creative wellbeing and social change. Louise wanted to explore setting up a not-for-profit that would improve community wellbeing and resilience and needed some help to get started.

 

Our group development team helped Louise to understand different types of not-for-profits, how they are owned, run and how they might be financed and sustained. We were there for informal chats, moral support, and practical help with things like planning and exploring what ideas might work.

Find out about the support we gave to Bloom Creative Wellbeing CIC in Louise’s own words:

“Dudley CVS has helped me make my dreams a reality! I can’t believe how much things have changed since I tentatively emailed Dudley CVS to see if anyone could help in early 2019. Up until that point Bloom had been something I’d been working on alone at home, late into the night after my day job, doing lots of research online and finding it all very confusing! I’d been building a website that captured and manifested what I wanted Bloom to be. But I hadn’t shared my ideas with anyone. 

 

Becky responded to my email with enthusiasm and we soon met up for coffee to explore my ideas and aspirations. Becky was so helpful, knowledgeable and kind. She provided me with good information I could trust from reputable sources, and encouraged me to continue my research and make the best possible choices about how I wanted the company to be set up and run. Becky was impartial, supportive and encouraging. I am so grateful to have had her guidance through the whole process of setting up the company. I chose the CIC model for our company because we want to make a difference not a profit. A CIC allows us to do just that, whilst at the same time maintaining effective means of attracting financial support. Any profit we do make is put right back into the company to benefit the community. It’s the perfect model for us! Bloom is here because we had to be the change we wanted to see in the world. With social and economic inequality growing in the UK, innovative 

and sustainable business ideas are needed to help drive social change; to empower and support individuals, families and communities. We want to make a difference and Bloom is how we can do that. Dudley CVS helped us make that happen. 

 

Once the decision to become a CIC was made, Becky helped me with all aspects of incorporation and governance. She made complex information easier to understand and helped me with all the forms and paperwork. She was amazing. We were incorporated in July 2019! Once we were incorporated as Bloom Creative Wellbeing CIC, Becky trained me and the other directors so we all understood our responsibilities. We had our training at Brierley Hill Civic as we couldn’t afford to hire a training room – another way that Dudley CVS helped us out! Thank you!

 

Becky encouraged me to apply to UnLtd and I was thrilled to be awarded funding and mentoring to set up Bloom! The fund allowed us to purchase essential equipment, and provided start-up funds. I was looking for premises for Bloom and Becky helped me with information on places to look. Unfortunately, there’s not much available in Dudley, especially for start up social enterprises. We faced lots of challenges on that search for a home; rents were totally prohibitive and some landlords didn’t support social enterprises. I determined that the company would continue to run from my spare bedroom and community venues! 

 

Through my application to UnLtd I was introduced to Lorna Prescott, and my journey became even more amazing! I can’t believe where I was a year ago and how things have changed over these last few months – just from a couple of conversations with Becky and Lorna, and daring to dream and have a go! Lorna and I met for a coffee and she let me know all about CoLab Dudley. It became clear very quickly that Bloom and CoLab were on the same page, and that the skills and experience I have were a good addition to the CoLab Dudley team. Since that conversation, and many more in community venues, coffee shops, and pubs, Bloom has become a Creative Partner at CoLab Dudley, I have joined the Lab team, and we share a beautiful space on Dudley High Street. A place for Bloom to bloom! With support from the amazing CoLab Dudley Team, the wider collective of makers, doers and other social entrepreneurs, and Dudley CVS. It really is a dream come true! 

 

In February, after many months of hard work, and the kindness and support of some amazing people at CoLab Dudley, Dudley CVS and UnLtd, Bloom finally took root in a shared space on Dudley High Street with CoLab Dudley. We spent the following weeks co-designing the space with local people, scrubbing the place clean, painting and redecorating, assembling furniture, accepting kind donations of supplies, and making it our home. Together. The space was ready for theatre, and art, and music, and dance, and workshops, and community! Creating a place to sit, play, move, learn, and just be. A place to connect, create and bloom. 

 

Then, in March, no sooner had the paint dried, coronavirus arrived. We rescheduled and postponed lots of wonderful things. And we’re poised to move now from our creative wellbeing activities on social media to real life (including our Rainbow creative wellbeing challenge through lockdown!), when it is safe.  We can’t wait and none of this would be possible without the support Bloom has had from CoLab Dudley and Dudley CVS. 

 

It is impossible for start-ups, especially social enterprises, to find support in Dudley outside of the voluntary sector. I have found no financial support, apart from business loans, to start-up in the borough. And there are no affordable or accessible premises available to Bloom or other social entrepreneurs. Being able to share the space on the High Street, in the centre of the town, opposite the iconic Bostin’ sign is amazing. It means we can start. Without this opportunity, through CoLab Dudley and Dudley CVS, we wouldn’t be able to plan and deliver the work we want to do. We are so grateful and can’t wait to be able to be in there supporting communities and people to bloom through creativity.

 

The support we had from Becky was practical, supportive and exactly what we needed. Becky helped us make the right decisions about the kind of company we wanted to be. She was supportive and encouraging, she found us great information, and she walked beside us through the whole process from the seeds of my ideas to becoming a registered social enterprise. We couldn’t have done it without her!

 

The support I’ve had from Lorna has been amazing too. Lorna is a fantastic network weaver – she has such knowledge and experience of the borough and has connected me with other people and organisations working in similar ways or with shared goals. I now feel part of a community of like-minded people, which is a long way away from those early days in my spare room wondering if there were other people out there who ‘get it’. Lorna’s support has been wonderful and I am so grateful to have the opportunities I do as a result of meeting her. 

 

We really can’t thank Becky and Lorna enough! They’re blooming marvellous!!!”

 

Address: Bloom Creative Wellbeing CIC, 201a High Street, Dudley, DY1 1QQ

Website: www.bloomwellbeing.org.uk

Email: hello@bloomwellbeing.org.uk

Facebook: bloomcreativewellbeing

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BloomCIC

Instagram: bloomcreativewellbeing

 

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