Building a brighter future in Braunstone through the power of Community Business

B-inspired News   •   November 21st, 2021

Today Braunstone welcomed Bethan Sparasci and Cailen Kinney from Co-op’s UK (Programme Managers for Power to Change) to the Braunstone Community. It is thanks to the support of the ‘Empowering Places Programme’ funded via Power to Change (National Lottery community Fund) and b-inspired’s vision on making Braunstone brighter for the future, that a number of new community businesses on the Braunstone estate have been able to be formed over the past 4 years.

A Community Business is run by local people, for local people.  Of course, they accept custom from anywhere, however local people volunteer their time to help the business run and in return the profits of the business are re-invested back into the community, for example by putting on community events of making donations to local causes.

This is the first opportunity in the past 18 months that Power to Change has been able to visit the local area and see the progress that has been made.  Their day included visiting each of the community businesses, looking at the ways they have developed since they last visited.  The day also provided a fantastic opportunity to meet the business Directors and volunteers.

Over the past 18 months, here’s how each of the Community Businesses have developed:

Preloved@45 Community Shop

Preloved@45 Community Shop has probably undergone the most dramatic transformation.  From refurbishing the old office space on Wellinger Way, to create a stylish modern retail environment. The community shop sells a range of good quality ‘Preloved’ women’s, men’s and children’s clothing and accessories, along with a great selection of homeware, furniture and white goods at affordable prices for local people.   Over the past 18 months their Community Shop Development Worker, Marian has worked to recruit committee members, who have planned and incorporated the business.  They have worked in the background sorting through clothes, pricing up items, putting all their policies and procedure in place before softly launching in August and running several taster sessions.   The shop is currently open on Wednesday and Fridays from 9.30am to 3.30pm and they will be increasing their opening hours and doing more days in the very near future.

“Our aim is to create a shop that people want to come to, that sells good quality items at affordable prices.  We want to meet the needs of local people by selling what they want to see.  The majority of the profits will go in to improving the lives of local people. We will do this by providing training for volunteers, possible paid employment and supporting other requests for funding.”

Marian Deacon , Community Shop Development Worker

For more information about Preloved@45 Community Shop, please like their social media pages

Parkside Community Café

Parkside Community Café has undergone several changes too.  From having a newly refurbished kitchen space at The Braunstone Grove, that acted as a blank canvas to design a café tailored to the community needs.  The café sells a range of freshly made drinks, snacks and sweet treats for centre users and the wider community.  Over the past 18 months Dawn Mckenna the Community Cafe Development Worker has recruited committee members who have incorporated the business, softly launched the business by running a range of taster sessions to get a feel for what the community wanted.  They are currently designing their menu and will be opening the café with more regular hours soon.  They are looking in to providing catering contracts for local businesses, schools and events and the proof is in the pudding so to speak (pun intended), as the Power to Change representatives had lunch at the café and sampled some of their favourite treats.

“It has been a pleasure meeting the Power to Change representatives.  The café reached a number of milestones over the past few months, and we are so happy with what we have achieved so far.  We are looking forward to what the future brings, in terms of making the most of this opportunity and ensuring that the café succeeds and becomes a beloved place for people in Braunstone to visit and relax with cuppa and slice of cake.”

Dawn Mckenna , Community Cafe Development Worker

For more information about Parkside Community Café please like their social media pages

The Penalty Box Social Bar

When the Penalty Box Social Bar Directors met the Power to Change representatives, they were able to inform them of all the exciting things they have done and are planning to do.  The bar is based at the Braunstone Grove and over the past 18 months, the committee members have been on business start-up training, developed their business plan, sorted marketing materials, and agreed a deal with a brewery to provide a range of beers. Since gaining their premises alcohol licence in late August, they have operated a pop-up bar for a community event, which was very well attended, with good feedback. The bar aims to open its doors full time once they have more equipment in place and completed a few more special fittings to make it a welcoming and comfortable bar venue for years to come.

For more information about The Penalty Box Social bar please like The Braunstone Grove Community Hub social pages for further updates.

ER Dance and Fitness CIC

ER Dance has been a community group that has been running in Braunstone for around 30 years.  Power to Change met their founder and Director, Mandy Shepherd who has turned a community group into a thriving community business dance school. ER Dance is mainly based at the Braunstone Grove and transitioned to a community business back in 2019 and have spent the last 18 months refining their business model.  Unfortunately with the number of restrictions that they have had placed upon their classes over the pandemic,  they did have to go online for some time but now the community is reopen they are building back up to thrive in the future.  They offer a wide range of dance and fitness classes for a range of ages throughout the whole week.

For more information about ER Dance and Fitness, please like their social media pages.

Reflecting on the visit:

“We were delighted to welcome Bethan and Cailen in person and very proud to show them what has been achieved over the last 18 months. Overall the day showcased what Braunstone has to offer and how it is developing for the future.  It has demonstrated the positive impact that the Empowering Places Programme by Power to Change has had on Braunstone over the past 4 years.  The programmes tailored support package which has included learning camps, support materials, conferences, online and tailored training; has been fundamental in enabling these community businesses to start-up and flourish.  Whilst we have a remaining year of support from the programme, we look forward to supporting these community businesses to grow and help create a local social economy for years to come.”

Angie Wright, B-inspired, Chief Officer

For further updates about the impact of the Empowering Places Programme and how our community businesses are doing and for the latest b-inspired news, please like our social pages.