Spacious Place Engage provide practical help to the hardest to reach within the local community. Their wide range of services includes a home delivery food bank service, affordable furniture sales, wrap around welfare support, a Community RePaint scheme and volunteer placements to provide supported routes into employment.
Spacious Place Engage has conducted research which has identified that, from over 2500 referrals to their Home Delivery Food Bank, over 40% of recipients were in debt from lease-to-own furniture schemes, where high interest rates and the long term of the finance mean that the total cost of the furniture is exorbitant. Spacious Place Engage also introduces customers to the Credit Union to promote financial education and a savings culture.
Originally operating from inadequate back street premises, they have recently secured a retail outlet in Burnley, offering enough space to accommodate all of their retail needs and parking. It will also house the food bank in a warehouse space to the rear and provide some office accommodation.
With our involvement Spacious Place Engage now aims to grow and become more commercialised. The grant provided through First Ark Social Investment will be used to develop and organise a launch event, a new website, signage, digital/social media, leaflets and banners. Additionally, the loan they receive from First Ark Social Investment will enable them to take on two additional staff to assess and coordinate referrals to the food bank for additional support and a Wellbeing Coordinator to manage a case load of clients to progress away from their crisis and also to buy additional RePaint stock to allow them to expand their paint offering.
“Spacious Place Engage connects with some of the most vulnerable people in our area and has provided a home delivery food bank for several years. Funding for this and for the development of our wrap-around services was becoming increasingly difficult. At the same time we were becoming painfully aware that many of the people we were trying to support were in massive debt with some of the local rent-to-buy stores for essential furniture and electrical items. We knew that we could offer an alternative but needed to move the business to a suitable retail space to accommodate the idea.
Thankfully we were introduced to First Ark Social Investment who embraced our plans and offered us a way to move forward. Without their help, I genuinely feel that we may not have been able to develop the plans. With them, we have more than exceeded our Social Impact expectations
We are now in the new retail space and offer brand new furniture and paint with huge savings to local people and the less fortunate with our partnership with the local Credit Union (PCCU).”
– Mark Hirst, Managing Director of Spacious Place Engage Ltd