What is a social enterprise?
Social enterprises are businesses that trade to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment. They make their money from selling goods and services in the open market, but they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community.
How does Levenshulme Market operate as a social enterprise?
We set up – in 2013 – because we believe that a Market can help improve the high street. However, from the outset, we have always been clear in our vision that a healthy high street needs to be underpinned by an economically healthy community and that – as a social enterprise – is the mission we seek to support.
How do you create value for the community and how is that measured?
In 2017 we had our social value independently assessed and measured by a social value consultant. They looked at our work over the last five years and the impact it has created for people in Levenshulme and beyond. They also made recommendations for how we can increase the social value we create and provided us with a system of tools which will allow us to measure how we are improving and share that information with the community as we progress.
Some of our key projects so far
Levenshulme Market Fund – We launched our first ever Market Fund in January 2015 and awarded £15,000-worth of grants to people who wanted to make a difference to Levenshulme high street or to residents who want start or develop their own retail businesses. The Fund was assessed as part of our social value assessment and a report on it can be read here.
Levenshulme High Street Community Economic Development Plan – In 2015 Levenshulme Market CIC received a funding and support package via Co-operatives UK as part of the Community Economic Development (CED) programme – a new initiative designed for local community groups and organisations who want to take a lead in shaping their economies for the benefit of local communities. Following stakeholder engagement meetings and with the support of the New Economics Foundation (NEF) the market team devised a research project designed to answer some critical questions about the retail environment in Levenshulme. Informed by the findings of the research and working with the high street stakeholders and Manchester City Council we have developed a plan of activity to help encourage the high street into better economic health – the research report and the plan can be found here.