Our origins lie in a fair trade catalogue company that provided paid employment opportunities for people moving out of homelessness. The social franchise grew rapidly but closed in 2004, leaving a network of individual businesses across the country.
Community enterprise support
Originally, set up to provide business development, management and fundraising support to the network of franchisees, we have since gone on to collaborate and to advise a wide number of organisations that seek to promote community enterprise employment and training opportunities for disadvantaged people.
Although they ran different and independent organisations, the Aspire network of businesses all had a shared aim of creating paid employment opportunities for people moving out of disadvantage.
Our business was set up in 2004. It became a registered charity as Aspire Foundation in 2006, trading as Aspire Community Works from 2012 and finally in 2015 it dropped its charitable status and became a community interest company and formally changed its name to Aspire Community Works.
Our initial partnership with a housing association in the East end of London was set up in 2010. This achieved national awards for its impact on the community and local residents six months after it had been set up. Now we work with a range of partners in the commercial sector, not for profit sector as well as providing support for individuals in their homes.
We are constantly on the look out for new solutions that promote lively and healthy communities which respect both people and place. We seek collaborators for change that support our work alongside local communities in tackling deep-rooted disadvantage and inequalities that disrupt our wider society.
Over recent years, we have responded to the fiscal challenge by reinventing our operational model. In 2008 Aspire Foundation was wholly dependent on government and grant funding, nowadays 90% of our Aspire Community Works’ income comes from commercial trading . Dropping our charitable status has been a sign of our success.