I do however find myself waiting for a train following having spent the morning celebrating Social Enterprise Day at the House of Commons. Its only now that i sit here and reflect that i can see that what we have achieved as Nimbus and continue to achieve with CredAbility is quite remarkable.
Nimbus is a very natural and organic social enterprise but what are we actually talking about what we talk about social enterprise. My own personal reasoning is the term social enterprise is simply a business model through which we increase and maximise social impact and its social impact that is the most important thing. Something we can all have without necessarily being a social enterprise. This was the message of today’s celebrations; to Buy Social, to spend our money wisely and to make sure that it has the broadest impact possible.
Its as we think about the contributions large and small made by our CredAble providers that we can really take stock of what we achieve together for disabled people, the choice to have a yoga lesson, learn to cook, visit a cinema or to camp out at a festival for the weekend. It can be about the choice to do none of these things but the impact we have as a collective is clear, people having a better opportunity to live their lives the way they want to.
Being a CredAble provider cements our individual contributions to this and for that I say thanks to all involved for being a part of this incredible journey.
For many of the past 10 social enterprise days I have been working in organisations which support social enterprise but this year I find myself working in one! I was constantly harping on about social impact and why it is important for the sector to get that measurement right. Now that I am ‘in the trenches’ I am getting to grips with the impact we are making not just as an organisation but as a connector of organisations which do good things for disabled people.
For the first time I have really been able to think about how we know we are making a difference, and what that difference means to people who use the services of our CredAble Providers. While certainly the ability to have choice and control over how your support is delivered has a positive impact for the individual, I think it is bigger than that. Working with businesses to help them to have a better relationship with their disabled customers is good for everybody.
When a disabled person can freely choose which cinema to attend, which restaurant to eat in or to directly employ their own personal assistant to support them, then it is not just a positive outcome for themselves but also for their families, friends and others who are part of their circle. By breaking down the barriers to access and bringing more and more CredAble Providers on board will have a positive outcome on society.
While we celebrate the fact that some of our CredAble Providers are also social enterprises, we recognise that even those that aren’t are doing their share to create positive social impact for their disabled customers and in so doing broadening society’s perspective.
As a quick example we are aware that one of our niche micro providers are delivering culturally specific home care support services to a sector of society that had been previously overlooked. Instead of sick and older individuals being shunted to care homes in scattered parts of the city, they are now able to stay in their homes and remain part of their community. Their families do not have the burden of traveling to see them and the neighbourhoods benefit by having access to the life experiences of these important members of society. The State also saves some money but that is a discussion for another day! Admittedly, without becoming part of the CredAbility family this organisation was having difficulty getting off the ground.