Sixteen Social Enterprises and Charities took part in the first Social Enterprise Network Event held in Macclesfield Town Football Club on Thursday 7 April. The event was initiated by Enterprising Macclesfield and Canalside The Thread to provide a forum and a voice for Social Enterprises and charities in the Macclesfield area. David Rutley MP welcomed the establishment of the network. “These organisations and their volunteers are doing great work which is making a real difference in our local community,” said David, “it is so important that these groups are supported and encouraged to continue and expand their services to reach more people. It is equally important that they are aware of the valuable support available to them and tap into it. That’s what this event was all about.”
Tim Shercliff, Chairman of Enterprising Macclesfield facilitated the discussion amongst the group and shared examples of how Enterprising Macclesfield can support Social Enterprises through a combination of coaching, access to Macclesfield based advisory partners and help with funding. “It is inspiring to hear the incredible work that these social enterprises are doing locally”, said Tim, “what we have learned through this event is that many of them are wrestling with similar challenges around recruiting volunteers, building awareness of their service, finding premises and funding their enterprise. By working together we are confident that Enterprising Macclesfield can help address these challenges so they can focus on delivering valuable services to the local community.”
Nick Wright from Canalside The Thread addressed some of issues raised by the social enterprises on the night. “We are very fortunate in Macclesfield to have a community radio station and we are really keen to work with Charities and Social Enterprises to help give them a stronger voice, said Nick, “through the radio and our online channels we can increase awareness of their work and increase engagement with the Macclesfield community, that’s what we are here for”.
The event ended with universal agreement amongst the charities and social enterprises that there was value in establishing a forum to enable these organisations to cooperate and share learnings. “We know this is the tip of the iceberg and there are many more social enterprises in the area, who unfortunately couldn’t make it to the event”, said Ray Clarke of Enterprising Macclesfield, “we would encourage those organisations to make contact with us and join this free network to help them move their social enterprise forward.”