Updated: Nov 2, 2022
Saltash Gateway CIC, trading as Community Enterprises PL12
AGM 2022, 28/09/2022
This year has been a time of change and turbulence, globally, nationally, and locally. Community Enterprises PL12 has been no exception. Over the last twelve months we have taken on a new premises, new Directors, staff, and volunteers. All of these changes have had an impact on our organisation, but, as this report demonstrates, we have risen to every challenge.
Earlier this year Jo Baskott stood down from her positions of Chair and Kitchen Director, over the years she has worked tirelessly for our organisation, her dedication, enthusiasm, and energy have had a significant impact across the PL12 community and will continue to do so in the future.
More recently, David Bremner also stood down from his positions of Finance, Digital Inclusion, and joint Dementia Voice Director. During his time with us his commitment and vision have helped to shape our organisation and enabled us to plan more effectively for the future.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank both Jo and David for their invaluable contributions, we aspire to continue to build on their grow CEPL12 over the forthcoming months and years.
This year our team has been strengthened by the appointment of two new Directors: Cathy Jane joined us earlier this year as Shop Director and Melanie Cowie joined us this summer as Marketing director. In the short time they have been with us they have already made a positive impact and, I’m sure, will continue to do so in the future.
The economic climate has been, and continues to be, a cause for concern (both nationally and closer to hand). Whilst we are beginning to get back on our feet following COVID but are well aware of the challenges to come in the future. Although we are a ‘not for profit’ organisation, we do need to cover the growing cost of our overheads, we rely totally on donations and grant funding to ensure we can continue provide our invaluable support through our various enterprises. We are always on the lookout for someone with experience in accessing funding, so, if you know anyone - please tell them to get in touch!
The finance report will provide more detail.
With ever changing and increasing legislation, together with our expansion, we recognised the need to have an Operations Director and Manager. Al has taken on the role of Ops Manager and has risen to this challenge amazingly, together with the Ops Director he is working through the lengthy list of policies and statutory requirements to ensure we are compliant. We recently had all our properties inspected and, and pleased to say, we are beginning to get everything in hand.
All our thanks must go to Al as we truly would not be able to function as efficiently without his guidance and expertise.
The year got off to a slow start, however recent months have shown a great uptake on people benefitting from the wide range of trips we have to offer. We now have a dedicated ‘trips team’ who research different destinations that appeal to a wider section of our community.
Our thanks go to Roger and the trips team who have spent much time and energy researching different venues and planning a wide variety of trips.
Our weekly shopper has been extended to include Landulph, again the popularity has increased, and our ‘Shopper Hopper’ is regularly full.
The biggest change over the last twelve months have been the number of local organisations who are now hiring out the buses to enhance their own activities, these include local schools, the bowling club, U3A, Live at Home to name but a few. We also support Town events whenever possible, recently we provided a shuttle service to the Waterside during the Regatta. We are thrilled that we can provide them with this much needed support.
Our small bus continues to be regularly used to pick up produce to support the Community Fridge and Larder. Our volunteer drivers give freely of their time to make sure that we can benefit from the food rather than it is ending up in landfill.
John Penney, our Transport Director has worked tirelessly to build up our Community Transport, so much so that we now need to recruit more drivers to ensure we can continue to grow in the future.
Our Community Shop provides an outlet for over 20 local crafters who are able to make use of our space to promote their wares. We have a range of Saltash themed products that promote our town and make lovely souvenirs and gifts.
The shop continues to take bookings for Hopper Trips and events in No 8.
We have a band of volunteers who give freely of their time to ensure we can maintain our opening hours.
After months of planning and tremendous support from Weatherhead Shopfitters we were thrilled to open our Community Kitchen in the spring. Chris Cook was appointed as our Kitchen Manager and, together with an impressive set of knives, joined us in the summer. Alongside a team of volunteers, he provides tea, cakes and light refreshments using food that would otherwise have gone into landfill.
We were aware that there was a need for this facility, but have still been taken aback by how quickly we have become a part of the local community. A range of groups use the space to deliver their own services, including Chatter and Natter, Your Voice and Mandown and we have provided a space for feast nights and a community play. We are also hopeful of securing funding to put on cookery demonstrations and classes … watch this space!
As we approach the colder months, we are looking to become a ‘warm space’ for people suffering from fuel or food poverty.
If we are able to do this, it will mean we have truly filled our aspiration of evolving a ‘community kitchen’ where people feel welcomed and valued.
The Community Fridge now operates from No 8, this has enabled us to review the opening times as we are now no longer tied to the shop hours. Over the year we have maintained the uptake of people visiting the fridge, however the amount of food we receive has diminished over time. Volunteers still collect from Waitrose, Lidl, the Co-op, FareShare and Rowes. We greatly appreciate their support in ensuring we can maintain our commitment to reducing food waste.
Sam Gardner has taken over as Director with responsibility for the Community Kitchen and Fridge, this means that the two enterprises are now working in tandem for the benefit of all.
Rose and Carol stood down as Directors last year, but continue to play a leading part in maintaining our existing activities. All of these, the café, singing and veterans groups, provide a valuable service to members of the PL12 community who are living with dementia. The proof of their success is that growing numbers attending each session, so much so that the café, which moved into the Community Kitchen in the Spring, is rapidly outgrowing the space.
Whilst the current activities are thriving, the lack of a permanent Director means that we have not been able to expand as we would have liked. We would dearly love to resume a group for people living with cognitive impairment, but need someone with enthusiasm to lead this venture. If you know of anyone, again, let us know.
18 Belle Vue Road
We now have 7 occupiers in the building along with a small office used for our own administration. The income received supports our other enterprises and enables them to remain viable.
Belle Vue Project; Toilet Block, Belle Vue Road This now provides valuable storage space for food from the Foodbank.
Digital Inclusion This has been a slow burner, but, following a recent article in the Observer we have had a number of enquiries from people needing help to use their technology. We anticipate responding to need by using our current volunteers to provide general support, and accessing more specialist help if needed.
We are thrilled that our website is now up and running the number of views increase on a regular basis. Hopefully we will be able to take advantage of the online booking system to support all our events.
On another note, we continue to have problems with internet access in both Belle Vue and No 8 which hinders our work. We are working hard to resolve these and hope to have a resolution soon.
With the exception of three paid members of staff, we are totally run by volunteers at all levels, without their amazing contribution we would not be able to function!
We are always on the lookout for more people to join our team and are now revising the way we induct potential volunteers to make sure we are able to put their skills and expertise to good use.
We are actively looking to engage young people in our enterprises by offering opportunities for work experience and DofE students.
Marketing and publicity
We are delighted that Melanie Cowie has joined our Board as our Marketing Director. Her knowledge and skills will help to further promote our organisation across the PL12 community.
Conversion to CIO
This has proved to be a lengthy, complicated process – despite devoting much time to the application, we are still not ready to submit it. Hopefully we are nearing a resolution as we believe gaining charitable status will make a significant difference to services, we can provide to support the PL12 community.
To the future
Reflecting on the past year clearly demonstrates the amazing headway we have made over the last twelve months. Rather than continue to expand, we now need a period of consolidation to ensure we fully embed all our enterprises and build on our successes.
Expanding the activities in our Community Kitchen is a key aspiration for the future, building on the current usage we are hoping to make links with other organisations to offer a wide range of training sessions.
We would also love to open our doors to children and young people before and after school in order to provide a warm, safe space during the cold winter months.
As we have expanded, our reliance on volunteers has also grown, we could not operate without the amazing band of people who give freely of their time to support us.
We now need to widen the number of volunteers available to us in order to make sure we don’t place too much burden on any one person. We are already talking about changing our recruitment and induction processes in an attempt to reach people with skills, expertise, and time to join us.
We should all appreciate the commitment that the board of Directors give to ensure the continued success of CEPL12.
Over the past months it has been inspirational to see how everyone has pulled together to keep things going. I would like to give my personal thanks to everyone who willingly devotes so much time in order for us to continue to evolve and grow.
As a result, we can look to the future with optimism.
"Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success." Henry Ford
Together we can, together we do.