Dementia Adventure, a social enterprise working to enable people with dementia to take part in outdoor activities based in Chelmsford, has been recognised as a leading social enterprise, shortlisted in the 2015 NatWest SE100 Awards.
The NatWest SE100 Index is an online listing of social ventures, ranked and scored according to their growth and social impact. Each year the NatWest SE100 Awards recognise social enterprises on the Index who have demonstrated some of the best business practice within the sector, celebrating the growth, impact, ambition and resilience of social enterprises in the UK.
The Growth Champion Award is given to a social venture on the Index who has experienced positive, financial growth from one year to the next. The panel also look for a winner with sustainable and diverse income streams, coupled with a sustainable business model. Dementia Adventure has a growth percentage of 87.6% for the 2014-2015 financial year, and are ranked 18 out of 206 organisations in their turnover category of £250k – £1 million.
Dementia Adventure specialises in delivering ground-breaking adventure experiences for people living with dementia and their carers, from park walks and woodland celebrations to sailing holidays. The organisation also provides training and consultancy services to the health, social care and leisure sectors in order to help others encourage people living with dementia and their carers to get outdoors.
The establishment of the Dementia Adventure Trust means that profits from the organisation’s social enterprise activities are donated to the charity, which enables people living with dementia and their carers to continue to live full, satisfying lives through access to the outdoors and nature. Part of this is to underwrite the cost of many of the holidays and breaks that Dementia Adventure offers to make them as affordable as possible, and to support the organisation’s volunteer training.
The social enterprise arm has a solid trading income, achieving £114, 000 last year from the sales of it’s training and consultancy services, and £7, 706 of reclaimed expenses, totalling £121, 000 worth of enterprise and business income.
As well as celebrating financial success, the Growth Champion award recognises the social or environmental impact of an organisation. Dementia Adventure has a social impact score of 7/10 on the NatWest SE100 Index.
In 2014-15, 2,450 people were recipients of Dementia Adventure’s training, or attended the organisation’s seminars, and 989 people have been direct beneficiaries of their supported holidays and park walks.
Commenting on the organisation’s success, Lucy Harding, operations director at Dementia Adventure, said: “Dementia Adventure was born from our frustration that people with dementia had no choice or control over what was being offered. We wanted to produce a model of care that allowed people with dementia to get outside and have some fun – smell the roses – and its proven success has led to extensive funding.
“We also have a social investment deal with Andrews Charitable Trust to invest in our infrastructure for four years. With that money we have been able to underwrite the cost of some of our team’s salary, build up the Trust’s work and raise our profile. Also, running as a social enterprise and a charity on an equal partnership basis means that we have received money from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, as this model is appealing to them.”
She continued: “Our trading income makes us sustainable, and we have a target this year of £160,000, which we hope to achieve partly through social licensing. This business model enables us to increase the coverage and frequency of our work on a nationwide scale. This approach allows likeminded organisations to be trained and supported to organise and operate nature based activities for people living with dementia, their carers, and the professionals supporting them in their local areas.”
Commenting on the Growth award, Lucy said: “It’s great to have been recognised by the SE100. I think social enterprise is vitally important, and should be the future of all public services. It’s great that banks like NatWest are taking a positive interest and taking us seriously.”
Julie Baker, Head of Enterprise, Natwest, said: “Social Enterprises make a massive difference to local economies and communities across the UK and beyond. They are run by inspirational people who want to make a difference. That is why at NatWest we want to support them to get access to the finance, support and networks they need to flourish. That way not only do they benefit, but the economy benefits and our society benefits.
“The NatWest SE100 Index and Growth Champion Award allow us to recognise social enterprises that have seen growth through sustainable and diverse income streams, all while making a positive impact. We congratulate all shortlisted enterprises and look forward to celebrating their success at the awards ceremony on 19th October.”
The shortlist is divided into five categories: Growth Champion, Impact Champion, Trailblazing Newcomer and the Resilience and Storyteller award.