Published 4 November 2011
A Cabinet minister met trainees of a local scheme for adults with a learning disability.
Andrew Stunnell MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, met the trainees of social enterprise partnership, Accession, on Thursday, 4 November 2011.
The minister visited Café on the Hill in the St Bernards Hospital building, on Uxbridge Road in Southall, along with Councillor Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing Council, to launch a new report by the Young Foundation called "Grow Your Own: How local authorities can support social enterprises".
A social enterprise is a business run using commercial methods, but for charitable or social purposes. It is different to a normal business, because the charitable goals are central to what they do and all profits are reinvested into the company, rather than distributed to shareholders.
Café on the Hill is one of a number of such schemes run by the successful, Ealing-based Accession Social Enterprise Partnership. Accession is run in partnership by Ealing Council and the West London Mental Health NHS Trust and is funded by the European Social Fund. It currently helps around 200 adults and is one of the case studies highlighted in the Young Report.
They provide training and work experience to people across west London. They mostly work with those who have severe learning difficulties, those with long-term mental health problems and people on the autism spectrum, but they also help the long-term unemployed.
Their projects are run on a commercial basis with the aim of eventually making them financially self-sufficient.
As well as Café on the Hill, they run another café in Acton at the Learning Curve Centre in Roslin Road, an arts and crafts business, a design and print studio and a commercial gardening business. They also operate a business support and development consultancy for other groups wanting to set up social enterprises in west London.
Councillor Bell said: "We are really proud of the work that Accession is doing. It has been running for just a year, but is already making a positive impact on the lives of traditionally marginalised people in Ealing.
"Their business-like approach is helping to secure the long-term future of their schemes by making them self-sufficient so they cover their own costs."
Communities Minister Andrew Stunnell said: "Our social enterprises play a hugely important role in communities across the country, providing vital services that are not only relied upon by local people but contribute to strengthening the community as a whole.
"It is more important than ever that local authorities and social enterprises work innovatively together to deliver the frontline services that matter the most. The Grow Your Own Report offers a valuable insight into how government, local authorities and the sector can work collaboratively to achieve best results.
"The Accession Social Enterprise and the Café on the Hill project are excellent examples of what can be achieved when local authorities and social enterprise work together. Today has been a great opportunity to meet the trainees and see how the skills they are learning now will help them in the future."
For more information on Accession and their employment and training schemes call 07538 156 864/ 07889 317 467.