St Peter’s Partnerships
Founded in 1998 to work in one of the most disadvantaged wards in England, St Peter’s Partnerships (SPP) in Ashton-under-Lyne has been a beacon of hope and inspiration for over a decade.
Nationally recognised for its pioneering and creative approach to tackling the deep rooted problems of multiple disadvantage, SPP has successfully delivered a very wide range of initiatives ranging in size from a few hundred pounds to hundreds of thousands of pounds in value.
Throughout that time the common threads of “grow your own” and “added value” have guided and informed the SPP delivery model.
In the 12 months leading up to September 2012 the staff and trustees wrestled with both a reducing appetite from local and national government for their work and attempts to reposition themselves in new and emerging markets promised as the public sector shrank and “social” enterprise filled the gap.
Finally it was recognised that a radical reorganisation and refocusing exercise was needed if SPP was to survive in this new financial and political environment.
In partnership with Locality, Social Investment Business and Tameside Council, a review process was put in place with the objective of preserving the community centred ethos that underpins the charity’s mission while at the same time continuing to deliver contracts and local jobs and leave SPP ready to take on the new challenges that are now emerging.
If a single lesson stands out it is that we have to change the way services are commissioned and delivered on behalf of our most vulnerable citizens and in our most challenged communities.
Greenscape – a sustainable enterprise
Greenscape carries out grounds maintenance and landscape contracts and looks to deliver services in new and sustainable ways while negotiating funding cuts, localism and the big society.
Greenscape provides personal development and training work with its ‘grow our own policy’ using existing staff and volunteers to mentor and provide a strong, safe and positive direction for new staff. SPP plan to develop the business into a sustainable enterprise that will benefit both staff and the local community.
It operates as a social enterprise, donating its surplus profit to support St Peter’s Partnerships’ community-based charitable activities and to ensure financial demands and social aims are evenly weighted. Greenscape built those aims into the business model, ensuring that financial success depends on their delivery. Profits are reinvested into developing activities or expanding services.
As a model, it fits SPP’s charity objectives perfectly – to grow their trading arm commercially and enhance their social, ethical or environmental offer in the local community.
A confident community
St Peters has a strong local community that’s confident and determined about what should happen next.
Mick Brickell of St Peter’s said: “For the future we need to provide more opportunities for interaction between communities because it’s when we work together that we grow together. This’ll help bridge language barriers and help change cultural differences.”
“I would like us to grow and include more people in the community, get more people back to work through Greenscape and keep St. Peter’s Ward a clean and homely place for people to live in.”