The role of community businesses in providing health and wellbeing services: challenges, opportunities and support needs

Document type
Stumbitz, Bianca; Vickers, Ian; Lyon, Fergus
Power to Change
Date of publication
12 July 2018
Community Development and Regeneration, Mental health services
Social welfare
Material type

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This report examines community businesses that deliver health and wellbeing services to address the needs of individuals and communities, including those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged. There are many types and forms of community business, but what they all have in common is that they are accountable to their community and aim to generate positive local impact. They give primacy to a social mission while adopting a business-like approach to trading in goods or services to ensure their financial viability.

A growing body of research shows how community businesses may be well-placed to address a wide range of health and wellbeing challenges. Recent survey evidence shows 'improved health and wellbeing' to be the most common primary aim for 25% of community businesses and a secondary aim for nearly 50%.

This research utilised a qualitative case study approach to gain in-depth insight into the factors that enable health and wellbeing community businesses to thrive. The ten case study businesses were selected from across England and involved a total of 30 semi-structured interviews with leaders, staff, volunteers, service users and other community stakeholders including public service commissioners. The report also makes recommendations for policy and support providers interested in promoting the growth and sustainability of the community business sector.

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Case studies of community businesses providing health and wellbeing services

Five case studies accompanying the report by the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR) at Middlesex University and Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) entitled 'The role of community businesses in providing health and wellbeing services: challenges, opportunities and support needs'.

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