A Merseyside-based social enterprise providing training and placements for vulnerable groups and individuals
Having struggled with drug and alcohol addiction and come through a difficult rehabilitation himself, Ben Donnelly knows a thing or two about the long path to rebuild lives, families and careers. He has put this experience to good use by setting up the Elixir Foundation.
“I set up Elixir Foundations following my own recovery through addiction and rehabilitation,” he says. “I wanted to provide a practical approach for others giving the necessary support to help them through.
“I was originally looking to develop partnerships for placements for unskilled and semi-skilled work streams, but there was nothing out there. It was very difficult to get any placements.” So Donnelly created a company that would.
Elixir provides employment, training, coaching and mentoring opportunities for people recovering from addiction, ex-offenders and the long-term unemployed – 800 individuals to date. It also offers high quality abstinent accommodation.
In addition, Elixir is built on a sustainable business model of PVCu recycling, and has recycled 6,000 tonnes of waste destined for landfill and saved over 10,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Elixir collects and prepares PVCu window frames and doors. Clients include social housing providers, local authorities and commercial businesses. The combination of social impact and excellent business services has won Donnelly and Elixir Foundations several national and regional awards.
The surplus from this commercial venture is reinvested into the CIC’s social projects. While funding from grants is scarce, says Donnelly, they do try to access it whenever possible.
“The CIC model fulfilled my personal objectives for a start – it states upfront what we as an organisation are about, what our values are, that we’re not in business for profit maximisation,” says Donnelly. “It also turned out that the CIC model brought other financial support – a start up grant and business support – that we hadn’t expected.”
The business model succeeds on both the financial and social impact fronts. Indeed, 97 per cent of ex-offenders who have worked for Elixir have not re-offended. It’s this sort of positive impact on lives, families, communities and the environment that Donnelly is most pleased about.
“I’m proud of the number of people we’ve engaged through training, employment and support, and the environmental impact we’ve had,” says Donnelly.
Having proven that social enterprise can provide first class services to the private sector and compete with well established private businesses, Donnelly says that Elixir’s next step is to expand and replicate the model to other deprived parts of the UK.
||Elixir Foundations CIC|
||Bootle and Knowsley|
||CIC limited by guarantee|
|COMMUNITY INTEREST STATEMENT
||Creating opportunity for socially excluded groups and individuals from deprived areas through practical, work-based experience and coaching, promoting recovery from addiction and removing barriers to employment.|
||£1.2m in the latest financial year|
|NUMBER OF STAFF