Sunlight Social Enterprises
Creating training and real job opportunities by trading as a CIC
At first glance the story of Sunlight Social Enterprises seems simple. A charity – the Sunlight Development Trust – needed to find trading income to replace lottery funding that was due to run out in 2006. It decided to set up a new organisation called Sunlight Social Enterprises CIC.
But the CIC is not just there to support the work of the Sunlight Development Trust – which runs a community hub called the Sunlight Centre in Gillingham, Kent. The new enterprises were developed to deliver a social return in their own right. By creating a separate Community Interest Company, Sunlight was able to expand the scope of its work and focus on doing business without the traditional restrictions of charity regulation.
The range of social enterprises controlled by the CIC is broad. It includes a radio station, studio space, catering and cafés, design, publishing, web design and training.
Sunlight has grown the catering operation from a community cafe to a business delivering corporate catering contracts, local working lunches, and exceptional catering for functions and events. The team has catered at venues ranging from 10 Downing Street to the O2 arena and many others.
And the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Steve Wyler, Director at Locality said, “Café Sunlight provided an impeccably smooth and professional service. It is really exciting working with an organisation that not only prides itself in its quality of service but also uses its skills and successes to bring benefits back to local people in the communities they serve.”
In addition, Sunlight Studios provides industry standard recording facilities and sound engineering to local bands, community groups and commercial and public sector customers.
The CIC also provides training and consultancy services ranging from children’s workforce development to social enterprise business development.