Housing trust and partners launch a business network with a social conscience
Published by Becki Ord for City South Manchester in Housing and also in Communities
A new business network has brought together some of Manchester’s brightest companies to work together to create jobs and training opportunities to help make Hulme and Moss Side a more prosperous place.
The South Manchester Enterprise Network has been founded by City South Manchester Housing Trust - a social landlord with homes in Hulme, Whalley Range Moss Side and Fallowfield – with partners Laing O’Rourke, Manchester Science Parks and Manchester City Council.
The network enables members to help each other, while at the same time, jointly delivering recession-busting community projects in the south Manchester area. These shared community projects will focus on job creation, work placements, business-to-business mentoring and skills training.
Members of the newly formed network include Heineken Brewery, Beever and Struthers, Contact Theatre, Manchester Science Parks, Hulme Community Garden Centre, Big Life, Firmstart and Bridgewater Hospital. At least twenty businesses have signed up to date, the majority of which are SMEs.
Niall Power, Head of Regeneration for City South Manchester Housing Trust said: “With the economic downturn continuing to bite, many SMEs are understandably focused on keeping their own heads above water. Community regeneration can often take a back seat.
“The South Manchester Enterprise Network encourages businesses to make the leap, by allowing them to work as part of a team of like-minded organisations. There is a huge amount of collective experience in the group, and we’ll be putting it to work by creating new jobs and training opportunities, and by providing business mentoring and work experience.
“We feel confident the group will be a real force for good in some of Manchester’s poorest communities, as well as a great networking opportunity for members.”
An introductory meeting of the South Manchester Enterprise Network, attended by representatives of more than 20 local businesses, was held in mid-October. The group’s next meeting, on November 7, will focus on identifying the first project for delivery.
Carrie-Ann Huelin, Regeneration Officer for Laing O’Rourke, which has an office in Hulme, Greater Manchester, said: “Corporate responsibility can be daunting for a lot of SMEs. Many of them feel they should be doing it, but don’t quite know how. And when it is done, it’s often as a supplement to the day job, so can be rather hurried and lacking in focus.
“The new Enterprise Network will bring structure to these efforts. Rather than going it alone, businesses get to be part of a wider community, delivering ambitious projects. We’re really excited about the possibilities.”
City South Manchester Housing Trust is committed to creating job opportunities and tackling social and financial exclusion in the neighbourhoods it serves. The organisation has helped over 500 local residents into jobs and training, actively supports a community-based jobs, training and advice centre from one of its local housing offices, and brings a wide range of partners and suppliers together to help raise local aspirations and prosperity.