When Caritas Westminster began it was as a response to growing inequality in our society. Since then we have continued to respond to the needs of the marginalised and vulnerable thorough our hubs and services: Bakhita House, Caritas St Joseph’s, the Deaf Service and most recently, the Volunteer Service. This year we are starting a new service, in response to society’s need for meaningful, fulfilling jobs.
Pope Benedict wrote: ‘The Church's social doctrine has always maintained that justice must be applied to every phase of economic activity, because this is always concerned with man and his needs. … This is not merely a matter of a ‘third sector’, but of a broad new composite reality, one which does not exclude profit, but instead considers it a means for achieving human and social ends’ (2009, Caritas in Veritate).
Caritas Westminster has embarked on a strategy that embraces this teaching through the establishment of businesses that exist for a social purpose. Supported by the Cardinal’s Appeal and in partnership with St Mary’s University, this strategy is being implemented in new and exciting ways. Such businesses are known as social enterprises, seeking a common or social good and trades for a social purpose that puts people before profit.
More broadly social enterprises are businesses that: are led by an economic, social, cultural, or environmental mission consistent with public or community benefit; trade to fulfil their mission; derive a substantial portion of their income from trade, reinvest their profit/surplus in fulfilment of their mission.
This new social enterprise strategy will help people find dignified pathways into work, especially those often locked out of mainstream employment and will provide inspiration and leadership across all the diocesan networks and supply chains to consider how best to support a social approach to business.
Two new and innovative social enterprises are currently in start-up phase. In June 2018 a new Social Innovation and Enterprise Hub will open in Wembley, and in addition to this a new Property Services social enterprise has been operating across the diocese since January. Both these new enterprises will combine into a new Caritas entity called SEIDs (Social Enterprise Ideas Development).
SEIDs Social Innovation and Enterprise Hub will look at every aspect of building a social enterprise. There will be unique resources, inspiration, and collaboration opportunities for those who have a credible enterprise idea. We will also offer support to those who have developed further: community co-working space, with access to support from Hub staff, business mentors, workshops, networking opportunities and formal and informal training in partnership with St Mary’s University.
What is unique about SEIDs Hub is that by intention it will provide progression pathways for disadvantaged people. Those who find themselves at risk of poverty, homelessness and disadvantage will be helped to move into dignified and decent self-employment. Mirroring the work Caritas does on inclusion, SEIDs will seek those who fall out of mainstream employment and training. They will provide bursaries to people who have a credible enterprise idea and would otherwise be excluded from the Hub due to a lack of financial resources.
SEIDs Hub will be open to anyone who has a business idea they would like to test. We welcome people who have heard of social enterprise and are curious but have never thought about it for themselves; people who have a social enterprise idea but are not sure what to do about it; and people who are in the early stage set-up of a social enterprise and want support to bring the idea into reality.
We are currently looking for business mentors from across the diocese who are willing to offer volunteer support and coaching for people who become members of the Hub. We need volunteers who can provide support across a range of business activities that support new and start up social enterprises. If you can offer this type of business support and want to become a business mentor or want to know more about the Hub generally, contact Elena Bologna at email@example.com or visit www.caritaswestminster.org.uk/social-enterprise
SEIDs Property Services provide high-quality painting and decorating and general maintenance services at an affordable price across the Diocese of Westminster and we are looking for jobs!
To find out more go to www.caritaswestminster.org.uk/property-services. To obtain a quote or discuss your job email Pawel Szkolnik at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07737 147717. If you want to know more, do not miss the information event on 8th May at 17:30, Vaughan House, 46 Francis Street, SW1P 1QN.