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Stephen Timms is about to conclude a national tour that saw him visit...
Stephen Timms is about to conclude a national tour that saw him visit

social enterprises in the South East, Wales, the East Midlands,

Plymouth, Cornwall, the North East and Yorkshire.

As minister for social enterprise, Mr Timms has seen at first-hand a

range of social enterprises, in both rural and urban areas, tackling

a wide range of social and environmental issues. In total, he will

visit 22 businesses over seven days between 16 and 24 October.

Social enterprises are businesses driven by social rather than

economic goals. They seek to create profit, but use the profit to

further that social purpose rather than to maximise value for

shareholders. Examples range from small community businesses to

national organisations such as The Big Issue and The Eden Project.

Mr Timms said:

'I am glad to have this opportunity to gain a greater understanding

of the social enterprise sector.

'Social enterprises have an increasingly important role to play. They

are contributing to increasing local productivity and

competitiveness. They are promoting social inclusion and

neighbourhood regeneration. They are developing new ways to deliver

public services and are creating a more cohesive society.

'Earlier this year I launched the social enterprise strategy, which

highlighted the value of social enterprises. However it also pointed

to a need for a greater understanding and awareness of these


'I am looking forward to meeting some of the people who are

contributing to make a success story out of social enterprise in the


By the end of the tour, the minister will have visited:

- Greenwich Leisure, Woolwich is a nine year-old employee owned

'Leisure Trust', structured as an Industrial and Provident Society,

which manages twenty-six public leisure centres in partnership with

four London boroughs;

- Parchmore Place, Croydon runs three core services: PJ's Community

Service provides domiciliary care for older people who live in their

own homes, Afro Caribbean Ethnic Youth and Community Services

(A.C.E) gives older people a better quality of life and empowers

young people through education, recreation, music and arts and PJ's

Community Service provides home shopping for house bound, physically

frail and older people;

- Ealing Community Transport, Greenford is a not-for-profit

organisation whose main focus is the provision of accessible

transport services and environmentally sustainable re-use and

recycling services;

- Vision 21, Cardiff is an independent registered charity and a

company limited by guarantee. The company established its reputation

by providing vocational training for people with disabilities;

- Pack-IT, Cardiff was established in 1988 in order to provide

training opportunities and permanent paid employment for people with

learning disabilities;

- The Arts Factory, Rhondda is an independent development trust

established to create a new income stream to fund local regeneration

work and provide employment opportunities.They are developing, in

conjunction with United Utilities Green Energy, a£10m wind farm

development project;

- TABS, Rhondda is a social enterprise providing film, training and

IT services. It currently employs 16 people, including people with


- Aberfan and Merthyr Vale Youth and Community Project, Merthyr is

a registered charity established to promote community regeneration in

the Merthyr Vale following the closure of coal mining in the area;

- Sheffield Rebuild Ltd, Sheffield is a not-for-profit

organisation, using construction contracts and funding programmes to

create local employment and training opportunities;

- Reclaim, Sheffield is a plastics recycling specialist based in

Sheffield employing people with learning disabilities and mental

health problems;

- Shepshed Carers, Leicestershire is a co-operative providing

domiciliary care for elderly people in their own homes in Shepshed

and Loughborough;

- The Eden Project, St Austell is owned by the Eden Trust, a

registered charity. Money raised by the Project is used to further

the charitable aims of the Trust;

- Co-active Ltd, Plymouth has a long and successful record

developing social enterprises in the South West of England. It

provides a range of services tailored to match the needs of the

enterprises it supports;

- The Ouseburn Trust, Newcastle was formed by public, voluntary and

private sector partners to regenerate the Lower Ouseburn Valley. The

work undertaken includes development of an urban village, a heritage

project, environmental projects, leisure developments and

improvements to safety and security;

- Community Ventures, Middlesbrough established as a community

initiative in East Middlesborough, is now a fully-fledged social

enterprise. Its core business is the training of local people for

jobs in the security sector;

- The Goodwin Centre, Hull is a resident-led provider of services

to Hull's deprived Thornton Estate and Riverside Area. The Centre

incorporates a community café, conference facilities, a 25-place

crèche, a 16 place IT suite, a Jobshop and offices to let to partner


- Round table of social enterprises in West Yorkshire, Leeds has

been organised by Leeds Community Enterprise Consortium. A selection

of social enterprises in the West Yorkshire area will attend a round

table event in Leeds, at Trade for Change, a locally-owned Fair Trade

co-operative; and

- Hoxton Bibliotech, Hoxton was set up as an educational company

limited by guarantee. The company's intention was to provide training

in IT skills to match the technological transformation in media. It

has evolved into a specialist e- commerce and digital media solutions

company to help local businesses and community organisations to

maximise the potential offered by the World Wide Web.

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