In celebration of the first ever UK Social Saturday this weekend, each day this week we are running a series of case studies to showcase different social enterprises operating in Leicester.
Social Saturday is a new campaign to drive awareness of social enterprise and the impact that they have on the community around them.
Today’s study is of Saffron Acres, a co-operative working to enrich the lives of the local community.
Saffron Acres is a local co-operative run by the Saffron Lane Neighbourhood Council (SLNC) to enrich the lives of local people through providing them with educational and volunteering opportunities and empowering people to live a more sustainable lifestyle. By providing access to work placements and volunteering opportunities, Saffron Acres teaches the local community how to grow and cook their own produce, generate green energy and live a healthier lifestyle.
CASE assisted Saffron Acres to establish by providing key members of SLNC with access to the WISE programme of training, mentoring and support. This specialised training and their dedicated business adviser provided the members of SLNC with the confidence and skills needed to set up and develop the Saffron Acres project.
In 2013 the group partnered with Central England Co-operative to produce jam and chutney from fruit grown on the Saffron Acres allotments, working with a team of disabled young people from the Learning for Living project run by Leicester College to turn the produce into a delicious Spiced Apple Chutney and Spiced Plum Jam. The products were sold in Central England Co-operative stores around Leicester to rave reviews.
SLNC has drawn up plans for what will be the biggest eco-housing project in Europe. Having acquired 13 acres of derelict lane from Leicester City Council, the charity intends to build 50 energy efficient houses, while extending the Saffron Acres Co-operative to run alongside this.
The new housing development will conform to the Passivhaus standard, which uses high levels of insulation, efficient draft exclusion and careful ventilation to reduce heating bills by as much as eighty per cent.
This investment will not only benefit the residents of Saffron Estate, but will also benefit the city of Leicester as a whole though attracting additional investment and providing employment for contractors and apprentices in the city.
Neil Hodgkin, senior development worker for SLNC said: “This new development will allow Leicester to regain the mantle of environmental city. It shows how proactive Leicester is when it comes to new ideas and ways of working and will create new jobs, provide new homes and help us to expand our already innovative environmental projects.”
Social Saturday takes place on Saturday 13th September 2014. Choose Social Saturday as your day to buy from a local business that puts people and planet first. Visit www.socialsaturday.org.uk for more information.