Last November saw the launch of Cambridgeshire Social Enterprise County, a consolidated effort by the local community to engage with and promote Social Enterprises in the county.
The 14 October is Social Saturday, a national campaign with the same goal. To celebrate, we got in touch with some of the amazing ventures in Cambridgeshire to learn more about what they do, why they do it, and how the public can make an impact by choosing to #buysocial this weekend.
Our first catchup was with Andy Ahmad-Cooke, Recovery Coordinator at The Edge Café, on Mill Road in Cambridge.
What does your social enterprise sell?
We are a community café; we work with people in recovery from addiction. We sell delicious coffees, teas, infusions, soft drinks and delicious homemade food. Our breakfasts, including a range from a Full Edge: eggs, bacon, sausage, baked beans, mushrooms and tomato with toast, to a Vegan Breakfast, to Granola with yoghurt. Lunches include sandwiches, toasties, soups, stews, baked potatoes with a choice of fillings and delicious daily specials. All our food is homemade on the premises.
How can members of the public/businesses buy it?
Poppin to The Edge Café, 351 Mill Road, Cambridge, CB1 3DF
Orders can be placed by phone on: 01223 212478
Our menu can be found at: http://theedgecafecambridge.org/menu
Why should people try to #buysocial? What impact do your customers make?
As we are a not for profit company, all our profits go towards funding our program of workshops and support groups for people in recovery from addiction. People in recovery can volunteer here to gain skills and confidence. Everyone should always #buysocial wherever possible.
Why did you start your social enterprise/what motivates you and/or your team?
There was perceived to be gap in support when people reached the end of their treatment or rehab. The Edge fills that gap by providing support, wellbeing and skills workshops, volunteering opportunities where we give training in all aspects of running a café. We also offer peer mentoring training and volunteering opportunities to support people in recovery.
What does ‘success’ look like for your social enterprise?
A café full of happy customers enjoying their food and drinks and volunteers learning skills and moving back into full employment.
What’s been the most difficult thing about running your social enterprise?
Balancing the needs of our volunteers and those who come to us for support with the needs of a commercial business.
What’s been the most rewarding experience running your social enterprise?
The most rewarding experience has been watching people’s confidence grow volunteering with us and the popularity of the café grow as our reputation grows. We were also a finalist of the Best Newcomer category of the Cambridge News’ Food and Drink Awards 2017.
Have you got anything planned for Social Saturday?
We will be open as usual 9.00 – 16.00. We have a Pilates workshop at 10.00. In the afternoon we have a gathering of our Support Group to plan our forthcoming activities.
Want to keep up to date with Cambridgeshire Social Enterprise County news and opportunities? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org