Being a Social Enterprise to the core

Leading Lives is an employee owned social enterprise providing a range of high-quality supports to people with social care needs across Suffolk to lead the lives they choose.  We support people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, complex needs, people with autism, older people, younger people in transition and family carers.

Managing Director, Tony Carr describes how being a social enterprise is at the very core of Leading Lives.

As a social care provider, the ethos and values of being a social enterprise is at the core of Leading Lives and spreads through our organisation positively complementing and impacting the valuable work that we do.

We endeavour to make the world a better place for the people that we support by providing high quality, person centred care to meet their needs – and wants! But as a social enterprise we also try to impact the communities in which our customers live to create additional opportunities that they can access.

With this in mind, we established our Community Benefit Fund to support local groups and organisations who share our vision. Since 2013, we have allocated £120,000 to 45 local community projects that have delivered range of experiences, training, learning, opportunities and supports that might not otherwise have happened such as the Ace Anglia Talk Tech online safety easy read resources and peer educator led workshops or the fantastic “Festival Art” project run by Artlink that gave people with learning disabilities the  opportunity to create large scale artwork for display at festivals – as well as the opportunity to attend and enjoy the festival too.

We also reinvest the majority of any surplus into improving our services. In 2019 we invested over £400,000 to grow our services. We renovated John Turner House, our Short Break accommodation in Lowestoft to make all bedrooms en-suite and create a 2-bedroom flatlet. We also replaced the single glazed windows and doors throughout our Sudbury Community Hub – 278 panels in total! Alongside this we have recently purchased two houses to provide more homely living environments for 6 individuals requiring new or better living accommodation.

We also endeavour to take on a wider responsibility to improving the local environment and are committed to proactively taking steps across Leading Lives to minimise waste, champion awareness and work in partnership with our staff team, customers and local community to become (and continue to be) more environmentally responsible.

In 2019 we were shortlisted for the SEUK Health and Social Care of the Year and Social Enterprise of the Year awards, which was a wonderful recognition that we have succeeded in applying our social enterprise principles to benefit our customers, our employees and the community that we all live and work in together. Additionally, we were very proud to be crowned EOA Public Sector Mutual of the year (pictured with this story).

As a company we are fiercely proud of being both a co-operative and a social enterprise and are delighted that we are able to regenerate any profit we make back into developing our company and for the benefit of the local community. As one of the larger enterprise in the Eastern Region we are keen to work with other such organisations and would be very pleased to hear from anyone with a similar interest. 

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