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Social and community enterprises

There are many alternative ways that people and communities can organise themselves to help tackle social problems and bring community benefit. Some examples include:

Social enterprises

These are businesses that trade to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment.  They make their money from selling goods and services in the open market, but they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community (Social Enterprise UK).

GOV UK provides advice and support about setting up social enterprises.


Community Enterprises

These are a sub-set of social enterprise, with projects formed by a community for the benefit of its community. Devon is rich with an inspiring range of dynamic enterprises, owned and controlled by people for the benefit of their community. Devon Communities Together provides social enterprise support, which includes the Devon Rural Social Enterprise Network.

Locality provides advice and support about setting up community enterprises.


Development Trusts

These are a particular type of partnership organisation – one that offers benefits to the local community and has advantages for many public bodies, non-profit agencies and funders.

While there is no one model for Development Trusts, they do have common characteristics of being concerned with the regeneration of an area, not for private gain, aiming for long-term sustainability, and are community-based and accountable.

Several Devon case studies are available on the Devon Communities website:

Visit Partnerships Online for more information.