Community Action Hampshire (CAH) is an independent charity based in the South of England. We are a community development organisation specialising in social action, community engagement and local self-help solutions. We believe in people-power! We currently have 509 members, our publications reach over 3,000 people, and our work aims to reach and support Hampshire’s 8,000 not-for-profit organisations.
As part of our work, CAH provides a range of services to social enterprises and social entrepreneurs. We offer one-to-one support, provide a voice and networks, and run specialist courses. We define a social entrepreneur as someone who works in an entrepreneurial manner, but primarily for public or social benefit rather than to make money.
As part of our services for social enterprises, we set up the Hampshire School for Social Entrepreneurs (HSSE) in 2009. Through HSSE we provide training and opportunities to enable people to use their creative and entrepreneurial abilities for social benefit. HSSE’s year-long programme is exciting and challenging, bringing together people who want to make a difference, to learn with and from each other. It is practical rather than academic and requires no qualifications – only a good idea and the drive and commitment to make it happen. As one of our current students put it: “The School encourages small people to think in a big way”.
Our students’ projects are often preventative, developed from personal experience of issues and typically reach isolated and marginalised individuals and communities. HSSE’s programme helps the students to actively lead change and regeneration in their communities, rather than being passive recipients of help.
Programmes created and run by our students include:
- A television soap opera to educate and give information to Congolese refugees
- A canine hydrotherapy service, staffed by people recovering from mental illness
- A therapeutic course “Hey Big Spender” for addicted shoppers
- “Addicts for Addicts”. Former addicts leading group therapy for current addicts
- “The Growing Project”, helping young disaffected adults through therapeutic horticulture
- Nutritional education to people living in residential care, through the use of fruit and vegetable smoothies
We have created a range of short films to provide more information about social enterprise. These can be viewed freely at http://vimeo.com/channels/282542/videos.