Case Studies

Groundbreaking Initiative Is A Tower Of Support For Ex-Offenders And Those In Recovery


Not many social enterprises can boast attracting half a million pounds of funding and employing five people in the first six months. But then, Jobs, Friends and Houses is not like most social enterprises.The driving force behind the communiy interest company is a serving police officer and Sergeant Steve Hodgkins has seen how the abstinence community and ex-offenders are bottom of the pile when it comes to getting a job.
“What they need are Jobs, Friends and Houses,” said Steve.
So, with the blessing of his senior officers in the Lancashire force, he initiated the social enterprise that would essentially buy, renovate and sell houses using the skills of the people that the company aims to support. The idea is not new. Similar projects have taken place in Bristol, the Midlands and North Wales so Steve contacted their leaders and is now part of a loose consortium that is bidding for private finance.
Sgt Hodgkins was supported by staff at Social Enterprise Solutions CIC in Blackpool who were working on the ERDF-backed Start Up Lancashire programme, which is administered by Regenerate Pennine Lancashire and the Social Enterprise Lancashire Network, Selnet. The team helped to incorporate the new company as a CIC, explained the small print of the company, worked with Steve on the governance issue for the board and then scoped out a business plan.

Steve Hodgkins - Jobs, Friends & Houses CIC

Steve Hodgkins – Jobs, Friends & Houses CIC

The new enterprise has hit the ground running and was successful in a partnership bid with Blackpool Council to attract £450,000 because of the innovative way it was helping to get this community from benefits and into employment.

But the surprising aspect of the business has been how a range of organisations have been quick to offer their services to help Jobs, Friends and Houses CIC get off the ground.
These include:
• Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner
• Arts Council
• NHS England
• The Rank Foundation
• Rider Levett Bucknall, a global property firm
• Building contractors Eclipse Development
• Blackpool and the Fylde College’s Build Up centre
• Napthens Solicitors
• And a range of local universities, keen to evaluate its success

One private sector company in particular, Blackpool-based Danbro Accountants, were so impressed with the work that they are now planning to train one of the new recruits in accountancy skills so eventually he will be in a position to manage the finances of the CIC.

And, while Sgt Hodgkins is happy with the progress, he is also keen to ensure that it has a firm foundation. More work is being done to strengthen the board of directors to incorporate public, private and third sector representatives and ensure transparency so that the company can start to tender for property contracts and secure preferred bidder status. A local firm of HR specialists is also preparing bespoke contracts for the members of staff, tailored around the personal circumstances of the new staff.
Start Up Lancashire was also able to offer support to Jobs, Friends and Houses CIC when it came to procuring a website. Through the Enterprise Voucher initiative, 50% of the cost of the web design agency have been met.


Sgt Steve Hodkins received the award from Donna Sadler from Regenerate Pennine Lancashire


Jobs Friends and Houses CIC was awarded the Start-Up Social Enterprise Of The Year at the annual Selnet Enterprise In Society Awards


n-vision_01 “NVision has worked intensively with SES from 2010 to the present day and we are continuing to work with the team at SES to support our aspirations to grow as a business model supporting the Charity. The ‘Caregivers at Home’ project is proving to be very successful and is expected to develop. NVision has been very satisfied with the professionalism and support provided by Social Enterprise Solutions. Additionally, we are both delighted and grateful to have the Chairman of SES on our board of Trustees”  Kevin Winkley CEO N-Vision


Age UK Blackpool and District Logo RGB

“We have worked closely with SES and their involvement has been a catalyst to assist our organisation to adapt to a shift from an embedded culture to an open environment of empowerment and involvement of all levels of staff. The effects of these changes are now being felt and the organisation feels and acts differently with the benefits felt by everybody from Management to front line staff and volunteers”  Terri Sawkill CEO Age UK Blackpool & District



“I have worked intensively with the Directors of Social Enterprise Solutions since coming into post in 2008. Their support and collaboration has been consistent and invaluable in assisting SELNET to develop and grow. We have now developed a firm base as a respected Civil Society infrastructure and networking organisation serving the county of Lancashire. Much of their support has been, and continues to be, provided on a voluntary basis. In addition, we have jointly collaborated with funded projects such as the Future Jobs Fund and various ERDF programmes of support.All the work we have sub-contracted to SES has been delivered to a very high standard and SES has also sub-contracted work to our organisation such as elements of FJF rounds 1 and 2. SES has assisted us in the following areas:

  • Strategy and planning
  • Financial sustainability
  • Social innovation

We have found Social Enterprise Solutions (UK) CIC to be at the forefront of thought leadership in the sector and we would highly recommend them as a respected and trusted social enterprise support and development organisation”.  Liz Tapner CEO


SE UK logo

“Social Enterprise Solutions has been a leading member of our national infrastructure support organisation since 2008 and they have directly contributed to the development of SEUK in a number of ways; their chairman, Clive Hirst, continues to provide a valuable contribution in his voluntary capacity as a council member. In addition, SES has developed a Social Enterprise Town concept collaboratively with Liverpool Hope University, ourselves and other key partners. This initiative was launched on November 12th at UK Social Enterprise awards ceremony.

We would consider SES as responsible thought leaders in the development of the social enterprise sector”.               Peter Holbrook CEO SEUK



“Volunteer Centre Blackpool, Wyre & Fylde is an infrastructure organisation supporting many organisations across the Fylde Coast and has been in existence since April 2006. Prior to this the Volunteer Centre had been a project of Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) for ten years. In April 2006 the Volunteer Centre formed as a Company Limited by Guarantee and became independent of the CVS. The organisation became a Registered Charity in2008. We have worked closely with SES for a number of years and more recently with the development of the TLI project where we are partners in the transformational process and the incorporation and development of the new Cooperative Consortia model. In addition, we are using the business development advisory services provided by SES under the TLI project to look at our financial diversification and sustainability.  We consider them to be a respected and efficient organisation capable of delivering a high level of support and developmental services to the Third Sector”.        Lynn Saggerson,Chief Executive,Volunteer Centre Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde



“Social Enterprise Solutions was a 3SC key delivery partner in the North West of England for the delivery of the Future Job Fund project. In total 3Sc delivered 3 tranches of Future Job Fund allocations totalling just under 6000 places over an 18 month period-one of the highest for a 3rd sector organisation in the UK. 3SC was one of few National players covering all Regions. 3SC delivered all 3 tranches at 100% achievement and with high quality. FJF was a Government support scheme for young people to be supported in work for a period of 6 months. 3SC used a number of delivery organisation in each Region. From this successful project 3SC has now gone forward to deliver elements of The Work Programme with the Newcastle College group and A4E, ESF Families in Lincolnshire, Youth Contract and Access to Work in Wales.

Currently we do not have contracts in the North West which is why there is no ongoing project relationship but we would be talking to Social Enterprise Solutions in view of our working relationship if such an opportunity arose”.  Fred Bentley, Relationship Manager, 3SC


About Us

A specialist social enterprise infrastructure organisation working primarily in Lancashire and other parts of the north west,  Social Enterprise Solutions CIC started in 2006. Since then, it has been successfully delivering support to individuals, community groups, charities, the private and the public sector in the development of social businesses.  

The organisation delivered enterprise start-up support through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) during 2006 – 2009 and went on to deliver the highly successful social enterprise component of the Local Enterprise and Growth Initiative (LEGI) in Blackpool from October 2007 to March 2011.

The team has advised The Royal Bank of Scotland and the NatWest Community Banking division and Blackpool Fylde & Wyre NHS Foundation Trust on social enterprise and has developed a north-west reach through our contract with 3SC to deliver Future Jobs Fund placements, where opportunities were created for over 175 young people to work in the social enterprise sector.

As thought-leaders in social enterprise, the team have initiated and driven a national approach to establishing Social Enterprise Places working in collaboration with Liverpool Hope University, Social Enterprise UK, Co-operatives UK, RBS and The Royal Society of ArtsSocial Enterprise UK are now introducing the concept across the country.


Staff at Social Enterprise Solutions operate to the highest professional level as Chartered Management Institute accredited professional social business advisors, mentors and coaches specialising in social enterprise.

Here’s just a flavour of the types of projects which the team has delivered:

Made In Lancashire


Working with Myerscough College: We opened and managed a retail shop in St Anne’s for a Made in Lancashire pilot as a high street innovation project selling locally sourced ambient food products and crafts.


  • Blackpool & Fylde College: We developed and delivered a Social Enterprise Ambassador training pilot programme funded by the Learning and Skills Innovation Service.
  • JobCentre Plus: We arranged placements for people from disadvantaged areas to obtain private sector work experience. Also, we arranged a highly successful Linked-Up Start Up event in Blackpool bringing local employment-related agencies together with inspirational speakers to encourage economically inactive residents to consider the self-employment option
  • Housing Associations: Helping people to become employment ready.

P3 One Blackpool

One Blackpool Ltd is an infrastructure organisation supporting the Third Sector. Social Enterprise Solutions CIC is a founder and partner in the development of Blackpool’s first Cooperative Consortia.



Lottery Funded Big Assist Programme: Social Enterprise Solutions CIC are an approved provider organisation and have delivered strategic planning support to a number of infrastructure organisations across Lancashire, Cumbria and Yorkshire


PrintBITC Business ConnectorPrince Charles







We collaborate closely with Business In The Community and have hosted the Blackpool Business Connector and the BITC Place Coordinator since March 2013.

We also work with PRIME, another of Prince Charles’ charities to support over 50’s into self-employment

 Expertise also includes:

  • Third Sector Stakeholder Mapping
  • Strategic and Business Development assistance and training
  • Third Sector Marketing and Public Relations

Start Up Lancashire

12144 RegenPL Start Up Logo V4Are you a new social business or thinking about starting out?

Through the Start Up Lancashire programme you can get free advice and guidance from qualified business advisors who specialise in social enterprise. There’s also a wide range of free seminars to attend on a range of relevant subjects and receive on-going mentoring support.

Start Up Lancashire is administered by Regenerate Pennine Lancashire and Selnet, the social enterprise Lancashire network.

There’s also a host of information for people wanting to find out more at

For more information about how emerging social enterprises can be supported on the Fylde Coast, contact the team at Social Enterprise Solutions on 01253 344123.

erdf logo

Blackpool Works

Not having a job can be a huge burden on someone’s life and can lead to a wide range of social problems for them and others.

Social Enterprise Solutions developed a number of innovative programmes under the umbrella of Blackpool Works!  As an innovative organisation we encourage the development of social capital to hold communities together and to enable them to support themselves. We have developed new ways to get people into work or at least get them closer to finding a job.

  • Working with the Big Lottery Fund, Blackpool’s Works! is a programme of activities/media campaigns, signposting and events to promote employment through a media campaign, specialised job advertisements and buddy scheme, working alongside partner agencies.


Our most ambitious project for 2014 was a pilot scheme funded by European Social Fund (ESF) in partnership with PRIME – The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise. We supported over 50’s into self-employment by providing a bespoke course, plus mentoring support, for those who are economically inactive.The project started in August 2014 when we were looking for residents in the north-west to join the course who may be considering self-employment. Our courses were held during October and November 2014 at The Blackpool Enterprise Centre.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA       ESF Gazette 20th August 2014           HRH and PRIME

If you want more information on any of these initiatives, contact the team at Social Enterprise Solutions on 01253 344123

Previous Newsletters

For the latest news from Social Enterprise Solutions, please download their newsletter or call 01253 344123 and we’ll happily add you to our mailing list to receive future newsletters.

Training Courses


The experts at Social Enterprise Solutions deliver a range of training courses to assist groups and individuals to learn more about the world of social enterprise.

For more information on training packages available, please download the brochure below.

Training Programme



Secondary 2Blackpool Dream Becomes Reality

An idea to establish social enterprise towns across the UK, which was the brainchild of Social Enterprise Solutions cic, has now come to fruition.

Britain’s first social enterprise town, Alston Moor in Cumbria, was officially recognised in a recent ceremony. Dozens of dignitaries gathered to see Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office Gareth Thomas unveil the plaque.

The idea first came to life in 2008 when Blackpool was described as being like a social enterprise town. The concept was then developed by Social Enterprise Solutions with help from partners including NatWest, Liverpool Hope University, the Royal Society of Arts and SENW.

Social Enterprise UK is now championing the idea nationally and named Alston Moor as the first social enterprise town at its annual awards ceremony.

For more on the benefits of social enterprise towns, see this feature in the Independent:

Prince CharlesBlackpool Brief For Charles

HRH Prince of Wales has been briefed on a range of community initiatives that are taking place in Blackpool through his charity, Business In The Community.

Social Enterprise Solutions cic played an integral role in attracting BITC to establish a base in Blackpool and its Business Connector, Natalie Brown, now has her office at SES.

Natalie’s role is to link the business community with the voluntary, faith, charity and social enterprise sector in the town.

A delegation from Blackpool – including Tony Carr from SES, One Blackpool and Volunteer Centre Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde – recently attended a seminar in London to promote the local work of BITC to Prince Charles.

There’s more information on Business In The Community’s work in Blackpool in a feature in the Blackpool Gazette:

Main 3Knowledge Sharing and Innovation Programme

Dozens of delegates from Blackpool’s third sector have benefited from a day-long seminar on how to access grant funding, thanks to Social Enterprise Solutions cic.

The masterclass was part of the Knowledge Sharing and Innovation programme which is being administered by One Blackpool and funded by Blackpool Council.

The first seminar, which took place at Claremont First Step on Dickson Road, featured a comprehensive guide to how to access grants and trust funds from expert, Jonny Wineberg.

Later, the One Blackpool team provided delegates with a one-to-one surgery to give bespoke advice on funding options.

A host of further seminars are planned as part of the Knowledge Sharing and Innovation programme and all will be promoted via the One Blackpool website:

erdf logoGiving Lancashire’s Social Entrepreneurs A Start Up

Budding social entrepreneurs in Blackpool are being given a start up thanks to Social Enterprise Solutions cic.

The business support is aimed at people with a great idea for a social enterprise that will create jobs.

Also, established social enterprises under 3 years can access help if they are aiming to get to the next level.

Assistance for social enterprises is available as part of the Start Up Lancashire programme, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, administered by Regenerate Pennine Lancashire and delivered by Selnet.

fegg_hayes_signStoke Role For Social Enterprise Solutions cic

The community in Fegg Hayes in Stoke is benefiting form the work of Social Enterprise Solutions cic.

The team, working with partners, has been assisting the area’s Methodist church with its ambitious plans to apply for a £400,000 lottery grant.

This would pay for a new centre with facilities for all sections of the local community.

For more information on this project, contact Dennis Langley on 01253 344123


Below are some FAQ’s which answers many of the big questions you may have about social enterprise.

Produced with kind permission from the Social Enterprise UK.



1. What are social enterprises?
2. What are some examples of social enterprises?
3. What is the Social Enterprise Coalition?
4. What is the history of social enterprise?
5. What data is there on the size and popularity of the social enterprise movement?
6. In which economic sectors do social enterprises work?
7. What is the difference between a social enterprise and ethical business?
8. Why is it important for social enterprises to make a profit?
9. What legal forms can a social enterprise take?
10. Is my business a social enterprise?
11. Where can I get advice on starting up a social enterprise?
12. How can I learn more/get involved?

Getting Started

Social Enterprise Toolkit

All download are in PDF format, click here to download a free PDF reader.

A business planning guide to developing a Social Enterprise (PDF Format, 544Kb).

Please note the above guide was part-funded by the European Union (ESF Objective 3 Programme) and part-funded by the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Start your social enterprise (PDF Format, 365Kb)

1.0 The Idea

1.1 Generating Ideas; Need And Opportunity
1.2 Is It Feasible?
1.3 Planning And Presenting The Business Proposal

2.0 The Steering Group

2.1 Forming A Steering Group; What Makes A Good Group?
2.2 Roles And Responsibilities; Identifying Training And Development Needs

3.0 Market Research

3.1 Conducting Market Research; Drawing The Right Conclusions
3.2 Product And Service Design
3.3 The Sales Plan

4.0 The Business Plan

4.1 Contents Of A Business Plan; What Makes A Good Business Plan
4.2 Business Planning
4.3 Presenting A Business Plan

5.0 Managing Finances

5.1 Basic Financial Planning
5.2 Budgeting; Cash Flow Forecasts
5.3 Fundraising

6.0 Costs And Costing

6.1 Unit Cost Calculations And The Break Even
6.2 Cost Centre Analysis And Controlling Finances
6.3 Profit And Loss And Balance Sheets
6.4 Measuring Value Added

7.0 Management Structure

7.1 Different Structures; Legal Structures
7.2 Roles And Responsibilities; Decision Making
7.3 Managing Risk

8.0 Running The Enterprise

8.1 Countdown To Starting The Enterprise
8.2 Marketing And Promotion
8.3 Business Responsibilities
8.4 Human Resources
8.5 Leadership; Working With The Committee
8.6 Planning And Performance; Social Accounts
8.7 Accounts And Finance
8.8 Procurement

Appendix Answers & Resources


With kind permission of Liverpool Vision.