Our Social Enterprise Mark accredited trading activities have changed over time to meet the needs of different generations. Today we operate retail shops, coffee shops, conferencing and catering, health and social care services, transport and housing for people with visual impairment. Our new social enterprise, Beacon4Life CIC, opened the UK’s first ophthalmic opticians as Beacon Opticians Plus + in October 2015, providing an opportunity for customers and businesses to choose social enterprise for their eye tests, prescribing of glasses and recycling facilities.
If you are looking for a quality, accessible and affordable meeting or conference venue, the Beacon Centre is conveniently located in the West Midlands close to all major transport networks. If you are an employer looking to provide eye tests for your staff, Beacon Opticians Plus + can help. If you need sight awareness training or vision advice, we can provide a cost effective and accessible solution. The Beacon Bus can be hired to provide you with a truly mobile service across the West Midlands.
By choosing Beacon, you will be directly supporting our work to improve the lives of people living with sight loss, every day. Beacon Centre for the Blind was first established as a social enterprise in 1892 when we acquired a house in Alexandra Street where five blind people could work. By 1899 it had workshops and a retail outlet where baskets, chair seating and mats were woven and sold. In 1961 we purchased seven acres of land at Sedgley and in 1963 a new centre was opened. This included a concert hall, canteen, handicraft centre, Braille library, offices and a large single storey building containing workshops. Two of the workshops were used to provide visually impaired people with employment in the engineering field, marking the creation of the Industries for the Blind and Disabled in 1965.
Social Impact Declaration: Social-Impact-Declaration_Beacon-Centre.pdf
Social Impact Statements:
Social Impact Statements
The Social Enterprise Mark criteria includes a requirement that the applicant can demonstrate that social and/or environmental objectives are being achieved.
In support of this, new applicants and renewing Mark holders must submit Social Impact Statements that summarise their headline activities and achievements, helping show how they are striving to make a difference and stand up to scrutiny of purpose as a social enterprise.
Updated July 2017
1) Supporting those with sight loss to be independent
Our social inputs include:
- Local authority commissioned and contracted support services budgets totalling £765,000
- Over £947,000 of traded income through our seven Charity Shops
- Donations, legacies, sponsorship and fundraising activities including grants received
- Volunteering hours and work placements
- Staff time, skill sets and knowledge
- Network resources and access to strategic data and planning
Our social outputs include:
- 200 people each week attending our Independent Living Centre
- 210 registered clients of the Employment Programme
- 2,000 clients engaging with the Low Vision Advice service annually
- 200 weekly subscribers to the Black Country Talking News
- 212 Volunteers delivering 42,000 hours of volunteer time annually
- Over 40 tonnes of furniture and electrical items diverted from landfill each year
- Over 5 tonnes of books, dvd’s and cd’s and over 10 tonnes of cardboard, rag and metal recycled through our seven Charity Shops
- 188 Christmas Lunches served to local groups supporting Beacon and raising awareness of sight loss
- Over 50 events attended by the Beacon Bus, raising awareness of avoidable sight loss prevention and rehabilitation to over 500 people
- 46% (115) of volunteers report an increase in their own understanding and awareness of good eye health care and sight loss
- Volunteers report that 27% (67) of them support people to access services at Sedgley and Stourbridge
- 22% (55) of volunteers report increased social contact and reduced isolation.
2) Impact of services provided
- Over 14% (420) of our customers report increased wellbeing as a result of our support
- 13% (390) report an increase in enjoyment of social activities
- 11% (330) are less isolated and feel less lonely
- 9% (270) report increased independent living
- 9% (270) helped to improve their physical health
- 7% (210) report increased self-confidence and feeling good about themselves
- 7% (210) have increased their learning and development of new skills
- 7% (210) have accessed new assistive products to help them live more independently through our Low Vision Advice service
As a result of the outcomes above we believe that our customers are more independent, healthier, resilient, employable and less isolated
- 6 people gained permanent employment from participating in our Employment Programme
- £4,642 of land fill tax credits could have been claimed as a result of our recycling and charity shop sales of over 55 tonnes of electrical, furniture, books, clothing and household goods
3) Adding social value
We add social value in a numbers of ways :
- Volunteering and placement opportunities at a value of £284,000 per year
- From a door to door service that meets customers individual needs and integrated service delivery that increases accessibility and peace of mind leading to improved wellbeing
- Information, advice and guidance to customers, families and carers on how and where to access the most appropriate services and navigating across several public sector departments including health and social care
- Helping re-able customers to be more independent and less reliant on others through additional services beyond the paid for and commissioned services offered. Our wider service offer provides best value for public funded services and private paid for services by combining a range of choices and options for customers
- Providing interventions that reduce the pressures on statutory services by reducing the risk of falls, trips and slips, increased wellbeing and reduced isolation leading to mental distress or clinical depression and anxiety and delaying or preventing a need for residential or acute primary care admission
- Reducing the pressure on families and carers by providing respite and increased independence and resilience for customers.
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