Giving back to the community through our Social Enterprise
Earlier this month Rockingham Forest Trust Enterprises LTD, the trading arm for Stanwick Lakes was awarded the Social Enterprise Mark, which is designed to increase awareness of what social enterprise really means to people and planet.
Our Director Alyson Allfree commented “We’re thrilled to receive this recognition. It’s a great opportunity for us to tell everyone about what we give back to the local community through our social enterprise business model. Any profits are reinvested in the site and the Trust’s charitable work”.
Throughout the site, we employ many of our staff from the local area, including people with learning disabilities that might otherwise find it difficult to break into employment. In collaboration with local authorities Stanwick Lakes has also provided work experience and employment to a number of individuals with special needs since the enterprise’s creation in 2009.
For the last 12 months we’ve lead a regular series of Health Walks at Stanwick Lakes for people who like to walk as part of a group or have medical conditions or physical limitations, such as those recovering from hip replacement surgery. Izzy Shipton aged 12 said “I do health walks for fun and exercise. The company and the nature around the lake is beautiful.” Session leader, Jane Ivens, now has a whopping register of over 50 members, with walks normally attended by over 15 people.
Jane says “Many of the groups that come really appreciate having access to the indoor facilities here, especially on cold days.” Another participant, Linda Walker, commented “The company after in the cafe is great and it’s nice to be encouraged by Jane – this makes me do at least one walk regularly. We walk rain or shine all year”. The Headway group, which works to improve life after brain injury, have also begun attending monthly sessions at Stanwick Lakes.
Alyson Allfree reflected on what we’ve managed to achieve to date “The enterprise journey has been hard at times. Creating a new business in the depths of a recession was quite a challenge – but also rewarding. Most of our visitors and members understand that the modest charges at Stanwick Lakes fund the site’s future, and make all the charitable activities here possible”.