Our group sustainability team worked with Studio306 Collective, for a creative team away day with a purpose beyond profit.
Studio306 is a social enterprise that offers a creative space for those who are recovering from/living with a mental illness. The studio benefits a range of individuals from those living with autism, depression and isolation, to those who have sustained a severe brain injury in an accident. The studio helps these people rediscover forgotten skills, develop new ones and boost their confidence within a working environment.
What are social enterprises?
Social enterprises are businesses that are changing the world for the better. Like traditional businesses they aim to make a profit but it’s what they do with their profits that sets them apart – reinvesting or donating them to create positive social change.
By selling goods and services in the open market, social enterprises create employment and reinvest their profits back into their business or the local community. This allows them to tackle social problems, improve people’s life chances, provide training and employment opportunities for those furthest from the labour market, support communities and help the environment.
What the day involved?
On the day, the team had the opportunity to try two activities out of a selection which included:
- Jewellery making –making a pendant out of silver. This involved smelting recycled metal, pressing and sawing it into a design
- Textiles –making either a cushion cover or a tote bag
- Ceramics –moulding clay ornaments by hand, as well as having a go on the pottery wheel
The team were supported by a tutor and some of the ‘makers.’ Makers are the individuals who completed the initial six-week recovery course but chose to continue to come to Studio306 to design and make their own products. The makers can sell their products either directly from the studio, online via Big Issue Shop or at local markets.
How can I get involved?
It’s not just team days you can use social enterprises for. There are whole rafts of options: from venue hire to catering, to cleaning and office supplies, to printing services, to training and marketing solutions. I would really encourage everyone to consider using a social enterprise, you can find out more information at www.socialenterprise.org.uk