Headlines: April 5th, 2007



Groundbreaking local social enterprise schemes are to get a share of 1.4 million pounds of Government money to help them provide community services in health and social care. Twenty six schemes across England will act as pathfinders and get some of the funding announced by the Care Services Minister Ivan Lewis.

The money will go towards start up costs and wider support, such as business advice and training, to help the projects lead the way in delivering innovative social care services. Lessons from these pathfinders will be then be shared across the health and social care sector.

The Department of Health’s social enterprise trailblazers are expected to provide a lead in areas including tele-health services for rural communities and mobile drug and alcohol rehabilitation services. The model is a well known social enterprise magazine “The Big Issue”, which has provided opportunities for homeless people to help themselves. Mr. Lewis said the enterprises work would be in line with the Department’s White Paper commitment to put patients at the heart of its services.

“What we learn from this initiative will provide learning opportunities for health and social care professionals in general and simultaneously create greater choice for patients through a wider selection of convenient, innovative and responsive services,” he said.

Jonathan Bland, Chief Executive of the Social Enterprise Coalition, welcomed the funding as a sign of encouragement to the public sector to tap into the potential of the social enterprise model. It would give the enterprises the capital they needed to be sustainable businesses offering practical solutions to the issues faced by the health sector. “I believe it’s the ability of social enterprises to combine a public service ethos with commercial efficiency that sets them apart – and that’s precisely why health commissioners are taking notice,” he added.