Carter gives clarity on Enterprise Commissioning

Emma Carter, Manager of Commissioning for Enterprise at Adult Social Care

As mentioned in our first blog on Social Enterprise this week, we’re talking to Emma Carter who manages the commissioning side of all things enterprise at Adult Social Care. 

How would you describe your role as Commissioning Manager for Enterprise?

The focus for my role is delivering ‘Better Lives through Enterprise’ – one of the three priorities Adult Social Care has adopted to tackle some of the challenges we are facing. Better Lives through Enterprise is about making sure that there are a range of services available, delivered by different types of organisations (including social enterprises), so that people with care and support needs, and their carers, have a wealth of different care options available to them.

What does the word ‘enterprise’ mean for you in an Adult Social Care context?

 What we mean by ‘Enterprise’ is about doing things in a different way, with the ultimate aim that people needing support have a wealth of options, delivered by a range of different types of organisations that know their local communities well.

 We are doing this in three main ways:

 -          Developing a more diverse care market;

-          Developing corporate social responsibility; and

-          Building community capacity.

Why is social enterprise becoming increasingly popular and important?

Social enterprises have been around for a long time and come in all shapes and sizes. I’m not sure whether it’s that social enterprises are becoming more popular or whether there has just been a greater recognition about what they can contribute – both economically and socially. For example, a recent report showed that social enterprises have been growing strongly despite the recession.

I also think it’s important to be clear that not every idea can develop as a social enterprise. Social enterprises are businesses with social aims so they have to be able to generate enough income to pay the bills. Social enterprises also aim not to be reliant on grants or donations.

What are the main challenges for people wanting to start a social enterprise?

There are many challenges to starting up a social enterprise – like with any business starting up there will be a period of time where the enterprise does not have enough income to cover its outgoings. There is some financial assistance and business support available for social enterprises in Leeds but this might not cover everything so entrepreneurs need to plan for this.

Also, have you/your fellow entrepreneurs got the right skills to take the idea forward and if not how can you get help and support in these areas? You’re not expected to be an expert in all areas but if you’re not great at finance then you need to think about how you’ll address this – for example can you get someone with these skills on board?

Finally, marketing, marketing, marketing – the days of blanket e-mailing a leaflet to all of your contacts has long gone (junk folder anyone?). You really need to think about the different ways in which you can get your message out to the right people at the right time – this doesn’t always require a big budget but it does require time, effort and a bit of research.

How can they overcome such challenges

In Leeds we have a number of organisations which social entrepreneurs (both new and old) can turn to for help, advice and investment.

For example, Leeds Community Foundation runs two programmes which social enterprises can get both investment and business support from. The Yorkshire Philanthropy Fund (open to social enterprises working across all sectors) and the Ideas that Change Lives fund (supported by Adult Social Care) are specifically for social enterprises working in the health and social care field.

Social Enterprise Yorkshire and Humber is a regional body that represents and promotes the sector and is a good way of networking with other social entrepreneurs – they also run a series of useful workshops, conferences and seminars for the sector.

The Leeds City Region Partnership also has a list of useful support organisations on their website –

If you were on Dragon’s Den, what would someone looking for investment need to prove for you to invest?

First and foremost passion and drive – if you’re not passionate about your business idea and can’t convey this to a potential investor, why should anyone else be excited about it?

Then of course you need to make sure that you have done your homework – for example, have you done your research into whether people or organisations want to buy your service or product and what would they be willing to pay for it? If what people are willing to pay doesn’t cover your costs then your idea won’t work.

Social enterprises aim to generate a profit or surplus so that it can reinvest them to help achieve the organisation’s social aims – if you can’t balance the books then you’re not likely to be able to achieve those aims.

What sort of social enterprises have really made a lasting impression on you and why?

We have some great social enterprises here in Leeds. For example, the Heart Centre in Headingley – which is owned and run by local residents and provides work space, meeting rooms, a range of community events and activities for all ages and a great café. I’m probably biased as I live in the area but it is a place that I visit a lot for both work and pleasure ( ). There are also other similar centres in Leeds for example, Shine in Headingley and Hillside in Beeston.

Bramley Baths Community Ltd is a new community led social enterprise that took over the management of the historic grade II listed building through an asset transfer from Leeds City Council in 2013. It’s early days for the enterprise but it is an example of how local residents can be engaged in running a community venue – they aim to provide affordable health and fitness facilities, whilst also maintaining a historic landmark ( ).

 Our thanks go to Emma for taking the time to give a little more clarity on social enterprises.



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It’s payback time – I’ll put the kettle on.


I love going to charity shops. My house is full of random trinkets; art and ceramics and books all gleaned from my ‘no agenda’ shopping. By ‘no agenda’ I mean that I have no fixed idea what I’m looking for but I do know that when I’m buying yet another teapot I don’t need (14 and counting – yes I love my tea and yes I should start a cafe!), it feels good. It feels good because I know that I’m putting my money back into an organisation that’s trying to make a positive difference to someone or something somewhere –‘it’s not shopping, it’s giving to charity’ is my excuse!

Although not a charity, social enterprises are very similar in some respects – making a profit that is ploughed back into local communities; tackling social problems; improving the environment and for some, giving people a chance of ‘life’ back. For me, that’s worth supporting; it’s exactly the type of payback I like. Over the Easter period we explain a little further what social enterprises are; how you could start one up by attending some free workshops and seminars (see below) and we talk to Emma Carter, Commissioning Manager for Enterprises at Adult Social Care to see what it means for her. Continue reading

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‘You are an amazing example to older people’

The fitness class at Crossgates Neighbourhood Network

The fitness class at Crossgates Neighbourhood Network

Did anyone see Britain’s Got Talent last week? Well thanks to 79 year old Paddy and her dance partner, Nico, 40, the pair went viral, stunning judges and the audience alike. After what is fair to say a ‘slow start’, Paddy exploded into life, doing a series of splits as she was swung about the stage. Talking about the grandma of 7, Judge David Walliams said: ‘You are an amazing example to older people’, before Alesha Dixon added: ‘I pray to God I am like you when I’m your age and bravo Nico.’

Now I’m by no means suggesting that we all take up acrobatics, but I do think there is a valuable lesson to be learnt here. And to quote a former local legend, who was still playing ping pong at the age of 91 until he sadly passed away last year; Les D’Arcy once said during an interview with him, ‘Don’t just think you can’t do it, because you can!’

Leeds has a wealth of sports and wellbeing facilities to suit all abilities. In today’s blog, Allyson Bertram, Older Peoples’ Sport Officer at Leeds City Council, talks to us about ‘Active Ageing’, and explains what we can all do, no matter what your age, to keep you young at heart. Continue reading

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Helping older (and younger!) people become as fit as a fiddle!

Active 3

When someone has an ongoing health condition, there’s often a danger it can take over, reducing their independence and stopping them doing even simple, everyday things. But it doesn’t always have to be that way. For many people, taking part in regular physical activity can help them continue to do the things that are important to them for as long as they want.

As we age, we become more susceptible to major health challenges due to inactivity, such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Loss of muscle strength
  • Reduction in bone density – leading to fractures
  • Osteoporosis
  • Loss of mobility
  • Memory problems and dementia
  • Increased risk of injury due to falling.

“Since exercising I feel fitter, am not as breathless, I have more energy and my joints feel easier”

Regular physical activity can help prevent or slow down these conditions. To help get us started, the council has teamed up with Sport England to provide ‘Leeds Let’s Get Active’ – a programme of free gym and swim sessions at all Leeds City Council leisure centres as well as beginner running, family sports activities and health walks in parks across Leeds. To find out more, visit the Leeds Let’s Get Active website.

“I do circuit training, fitball, yoga and TRX class. It gives me confidence meeting people and also we have fun”

In 2011, physical activity recommendations for older people were published for the first time. These guidelines are suitable for all fitness levels but some activities may need to be adapted with advice from medical professionals, for example following a hip or knee replacement. For guidance, see the Leeds physical activity guide for adults over 60 and find out what local people had to say about keeping fit. There’s something for everyone; with a range of activities which cost little or no money at all.

Active 2

Although I’m not 60 just yet, I think it’s really important for people of all ages to fit in a little regular exercise into their day. Fit in body, fit in mind as they say! I’ll be the first to admit it’s not as easy as it sounds, especially after a long day at the office. That’s why I recently decided to park up my car and instead opt for commuting to and from work on public transport. It might not be as intense as going to the gym or a Zumba class but, I’ve found even that brisk walk to catch a bus or train, has helped me to get fit again, and ultimately feel better about myself. There’s something out there for everyone, you just need to find what works for you.

“The first time I went to a gym I felt very self-conscious. After going a few times, I realised no one was looking at me”

This week, I’ll also be speaking to Allyson Bertram, Older Peoples’ Sport Officer at Leeds City Council to find out more about the activities on offer in the city, and also what else we can all do, no matter what our age or medical condition, to help keep us ‘as fit as a fiddle’.

Gurpreet Sarai

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Protecting our health and social care services

Our latest post this week is by Dennis Holmes, Deputy Director of Adult Social Care.

His third ‘deputy blog’ post talks openly about how the Leeds £ could help protect health and social care services.

Dennis Holmes, Deputy Director of Adult Social Care

Dennis Holmes, Deputy Director of Adult Social Care

Deputy Blog, April 2014

This month I want to try to offer some thoughts on money, or to be precise, lack of money….

I’ve reflected previously on social care values and how important they are now and will be in the future. But I suppose that while the oversight of social care is still an important part of my job, overseeing the money has gradually overtaken that in terms of where my attention needs to be. Continue reading

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Celebrating 20 years of providing help and support for disabled adults and children in Leeds


David Kemp, stores manager at Leeds Community Equipment Service celebrates with Sam Prince, executive director of operations at Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust and Liz Ward, head of service for access and inclusion with Leeds City Council’s adult social care team.

Staff at Leeds Community Equipment Service (LCES) have been celebrating 20 years of providing help and support to disabled adults and children in Leeds. The service, which is a partnership between the council and Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust has been based on Roundhay Road since it opened in 1994. It provides equipment to around 17,500 residents across the city with a range of disabilities. Equipment is provided free and can be requested from the service by a wide range of health and social care staff. Continue reading

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Christine talks about her daughter Amber’s campaign to raise Autism awareness

Christine and her daughter Amber

Christine and her daughter Amber

In his latest update for our Better Lives blog, Cllr Adam Ogilvie helps to raise awareness of Autism.

I thought I’d do something a little different for my blog piece this time. Instead of writing about a particular issue, I have done an interview with Christine about her daughter Amber who has autism. I know Christine as she lives in my ward and we regularly interact as she is heavily involved in the residents association for the estate she lives on in South Leeds. You may have seen the campaign Christine established – Amber’s Autism Awareness – particularly over the last week of activities around World Autism Awareness Month in Leeds.

Continue reading

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