In 2015 Salford mum Sarah Whitehead set up Community Pride CIC with her colleague Joyce Kay after being introduced to social enterprise models as an employee at Unlimited Potential. Sarah was inspired and encouraged by her employer, Chris Dabbs, to pursue social enterprise as a way of maintaining and funding her community empowerment and engagement work that she had been conducting as a volunteer for six years.

Community Pride are successfully delivering community empowerment projects and affecting systems change at a local, national and international level. In some of the most innovative ways. As a grantee of Open Society Foundations they are working with the most disadvantaged and excluded people, helping them to identify and address the socio-economic issues that affect them, before supporting them to take action together that has an impact at an individual level and at a community level.

Their projects build strength, resilience and connectedness of individuals and communities. The ongoing support and opportunities they provide for communities to be represented and included in decision making that affects them helps to build representation and self-sustainability of positive community action.

Delivering CSR and social value needs to mean much more than buying from local partners and providing local jobs. True social value needs to be something that grassroots communities feel connected to – something they can see, feel and be part of. At Community Pride work is led with a focus on the wants and needs of local communities and grassroots participants; working together to help them fulfil their shared aims and objectives.

When they began engaging with a small group of homeless men living in the Narrowgate Night Shelter, they asked if they would like to come together and if so, what would they like to do? Quickly, the men responded that they would like to be able to prepare and cook their own meals as the meals in the hostel are prepared for them and served to them at regulated times.

The method of doing things TO people instead of doing things WITH people makes them feel like they are losing their freedom and independence.

After a few weeks of preparing and eating meals together, the group decided to constitute themselves as The Which Way Group and explore ideas for enterprise. They have worked with Clarion Housing Job Club to complete their Food Hygiene NVQ Level 2 and started a fortnightly community Sunday dinner that anyone can attend and, if they wish, make a donation. Some of the group are now working to transfer skills from cultivating cannabis and use them in a positive way with Gro-Cycle to start a community mushroom growing project.