Creating Enterprise (CIC) is a subsidiary of Cartrefi Conwy Housing Association, which owns 4,000 social housing properties in the Welsh county of Conwy. Cartrefi Conwy, run by MD Adrian Johnson, wanted to channel the money it was spending on property maintenance into helping the local economy.
A consultation with tenants found that 59 per cent had struggled to remain in employment within the first year, for a variety of reasons. Sharon Jones, who has 20 years’ experience in the social enterprise sector, came on board to help set up a social enterprise that could deliver property maintenance services, as well as supporting tenants who were struggling to find work.
Three years later, Creating Enterprise now carries out most of the maintenance and repairs for Cartrefi Conwy properties, and for a growing number of private clients too.
All profits go to the Employment Academy, which gives unemployed tenants opportunities for paid work (for 12 to 18 months), with on-the-job training, qualifications and mentoring to help overcome the barriers preventing them from long-term employment. So far, 23 tenants have been through, all of whom have moved on to permanent jobs.
Creating Enterprise also offers volunteering opportunities, while the recently launched ‘training lounge’ - where tenants can come in for a coffee and apply for a job - has had 300 people through its doors in the first three months.
The organisation has now won a £500,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund, to look at innovative ways to help families that are in work but still living in poverty.