Case Studies

Community micro-enterprise connects local people

What motivated Alex Corbett to set up her own enterprise?

Alex has trained in health and social care and now works part time for the NHS as a frailty co-ordinator. Through her work Alex saw that a lot of older and disabled people in Cockermouth needed a bit of extra help, not just with things like support to get washed and dressed, but also to support them to live in the way they want, following their own hobbies and keeping up with friends and neighbours.

“I believe regular visits with the same familiar friendly face does wonders for someone’s self-esteem and the prospect of having a chat with someone you know is something to look forward to. I like nothing more than seeing the people I support really enjoying their lives again and looking forward to the future.”

Creating a real sense of community

Social isolation and loneliness are a big problem in Cumbria, in part due to the rural nature of the location. Cumbria is a popular place to retire, but some older people can face health challenges which mean they find it harder to connect with others in the community.

Alex wanted to offer a care and support service which allows her to get to know the people she supports and create a real sense of community.

Alex, Canny Care
Alex, Canny Care

How did Community Catalysts support Alex to set up?

Cumbria Community Catalyst Becky collaborated closely with Alex to get everything together to enable her to set up her enterprise in a way that is safe and legal.

“I didn’t know where to start and then I saw the Community Catalysts advert and got in touch. Becky has supplied me with invaluable advice and support with regards to how to set up as a self-employed person. Becky also signposted me to a free three-day business course with the Chamber of Commerce and through this I was given free advice from a knowledgeable business advisor who has helped me set up my website. Becky has also linked me in with the local authority and I had the opportunity to meet social workers to talk about what I offer. I now feel I have the confidence, knowledge, resources and support I need, all made possible by the Community Catalysts team, especially Becky who has always been on hand to help and advise me every step of the way.”

What people say about Canny Care

“We find that Alex is friendly, helpful and willing. She doesn’t act like a paid carer but more like a helpful friend.”

“Alex has been coming to me for over three years now, her personality is fantastic. I would like longer sessions with Alex because we get on so well. I enjoy and look forward to her visits. I have been poorly and in hospital and Alex has even found the time to come and visit me. 100% top service.”

The outcome: more connections for all

Both Alex and the people that she supports at home have been able to benefit from more choice and control over their lives. Alex has been able to find employment close to home that fits around her own life and to create meaningful connections with the people she supports.

Could any of your customers be supported by a community micro-enterprise?

Canny Care is just one example of the range of community micro-enterprises being supported by Community Catalysts to get off the ground. They are safe, flexible and reliable and help local people live their lives they want. Community Catalysts can help enterprises set up but they need your referrals to be a sustainable and invaluable community asset. Some people can pay for the support from their own money but direct payments can also be used to pay the entrepreneur (no employment required). Direct payments are the key to enable people to use a range of community micro- enterprises which can provide real local choice helping people to live healthy, purposeful independent lives, connected to their community.