A social enterprise which helps disabled people to improve their skills has been given a major boost – in the form of free support from a local business.
Stanley’s Training Project in Cleckheaton, which provides training for people with learning disabilities, those with dementia and their carers, was given a year’s free ‘pro-bono’ marketing advice from ABL Business Ltd. The package, worth more than £9,000 enabled them to get the word out more widely about their good work.
ABL Business Ltd, based in Moorland Mills, Cleckheaton, provides SMEs with the knowledge, contacts and support to grow, through accessing commercial funding streams or marketing strategy and management. The company started trading just 14 months ago and is committed to giving back significantly to the local community. They are now looking for the next worthy cause from the Yorkshire area to benefit from their charitable support package.
Over the 12-month period, Stanley’s Training Project significantly increased their presence across social media, attracting more followers and likes and achieving better overall engagement.
As a result, the group’s Activity Cafés doubled the numbers attending the cafés every week. Service users with learning disabilities gain workplace experience by cooking and serving customers. The venue quadrupled its income and the increase in paying customers has made the project more sustainable. They are now much less reliant on external funding from key bodies such as UnLtd, Kirklees Council and The Big Lottery Fund.
The marketing support has raised awareness of the project in the local community and also raised the group’s profile, giving them wider-reaching contacts across regional businesses. This, in turn, has increased the number of external contacts who have come forward to support and promote them and the number of requests to work with the team.
Alex Beardsley MCIM, Director at ABL Business Ltd, served on the Stanley’s Training Project management team while her business was providing the marketing support.
The package included over 200 logged hours of practical marketing help in the form of:
• daily social media management and engagement,
• 14 e-mail newsletters,
• local and regional press coverage
• website and database development,
• leaflet design and print,
• commercial direction and mentoring.
If they were a company paying for this level of support with ABL Business Ltd, it would have cost them at least £750 + VAT per month – meaning the total value of the package was at least the equivalent of £9,000 + VAT.
Alex Beardsley, MCIM, Director ABL Business Ltd said,
“It is important to us to support one not-for-profit organisation each year. That way, we are putting something back into the community at the same time as learning and growing our own skills and knowledge of business. We don’t want to be a company that is solely centred on making money – We want to make a difference too.”
“We only work with one charity or not-for-profit at a time, so we can give them our full attention. The package given to Stanley’s Training Project comes to an end in March 2015 and we all feel it has been a real success. We are now looking for the next worthy cause to support.”
But to extend the relationship with Stanley’s after the pro-bono period is up, ABL plan to offer work experience placements to service users who have an interest in office-based employment, to further improve their skills and confidence.
Sara Gill, Managing Director at Stanley’s Training Project says;
“Thanks to Alex and ABL Business Ltd we now have a clear marketing strategy and raised local awareness. Our increased client-base means that we are working more in the community with five centres that span some of the most vulnerable groups; Elderly, Black Minority Ethnic and Learning Disabilities.
“People know about us now, so we can actually grow a business instead of begging for money. The training café generates four times the income it did meaning that we have a stronger business-base instead of a social enterprise. The help, support and mentoring has been invaluable and the project wouldn’t be the success it is today without it. Alex and the team clearly understand marketing and business and we have benefitted directly from this. Thank you ABL.”
Alex added; “It has been an absolute pleasure working with Sara and the team at Stanley’s Training Project. What Sara does is give a chance to those people who rarely get any positive breaks in life and it’s fantastic to see them rise to the challenge and thrive.
“The project is a fantastic example of how one person with an idea can change a whole community and bring people from all backgrounds and walks of life together.”
Anyone wanting to put forward a charity to benefit should contact Emma Duff at ABL Business by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 01275 965356