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 2016
1) Supporting those with sight loss to be independent
Beacon Centre provides a wide range of charitable and social enterprise activities from our premises in Sedgley and Stourbridge.
Our transport services generate over £20,544 of income annually.
Our seven charity shops generate over £650,000 of sales annually from donations that generate a further £30,000 of Gift Aid.
Our Beacon4Work service supports over 52 people annually into job trials, internships, training and employment through over 1500 hours of £41,432 grant funded employment support.
We enable and support over 80,000 hours of volunteering each year in our retail shops and activities to support people with sight loss funded by a £14,104 grant.
Our Beacon Opticians+ social enterprise has generated £18,000 of income from sight tests and spectacle and contact lens sales.
We have sold over 44,700 meals at an average spend of £3.96 generating income of £177,264.
Our gym generates over £6,000 from session fees per year.
Our low vision sales generates income of £41,776 annually.
Our contract to provide sight loss support to Bromford Housing Residents in the 82 on site apartments is worth £81,025 per annum.
We receive a grant from Dudley Council of £30,614 for producing the Talking News for the Black Country.
2) Measures of support/activities
Our seven Charity shops recycle over 40 tonnes of potential waste to landfill each year including clothing, furniture, metals, plastics and wood.
We provide over 150 hours per week of paid for community based domiciliary care and contracted day services for over 350 people with sight loss per week.
We provide over 300 paid journeys per day over five days for people attending activities at our centres to enable people with sight loss to shop, access services and maintain social connections.
Beacon provides over 750 hours of sight loss awareness training and promotion each year across communities in the Black Country.
We also supported 1965 people with face to face and telephone low vision advice and assistive technology sales.
Beacon Centre has facilitated over 20 conferences and 80 training events for corporate, public and community organisations.
Our Beacon Opticians+ social enterprise has provided over 200 sight tests and sight loss prevention advice sessions in our first six months of trading and has recycled over 550 donated spectacles to be sent to people with sight loss in Sri Lanka.
We have delivered over 750 hours of IT skills training for people with visual impairment.
Our gym delivers over 200 hours of physical activity support to 195 people per week.
Our Activeyes support service has delivered over 5000 hours of support to over 120 people in the past year.
45 editions of our Talking News has been distributed to 7875 listeners and our Punjabi and Arabic editions reach 40 people per week. The monthly Talking Magazine has been distributed to 200 subscribers.
Beacon provides over 1,250 hours of independent living support and purposeful activities through our contracted day services to over 250 people each week.
3) Outcomes and impact of activities
Increased recycling of clothing, household goods, furniture, soft furnishings, books, cd's and spectacles that would otherwise be sent to landfill.
Increased independent living for over 300 people living with sight loss in the Black Country.
Increased awareness of the prevention of avoidable sight loss and rehabilitation of visual impairment for the 35,000 people living with some degree of sight loss in the Black Country.
Improved access to high quality sight testing, eyecare advice and low vision aids and adaptations for people with sight loss resulting in earlier interventions and prevention of avoidable sight loss.
Improved health and fitness of people engaged in wellness coaching resulting in reduced risk from Diabetic Retinopathy and Age Related Macular Degeneration.
Improved social connections to local communities and access to local information through the Talking News resulting in listeners reporting improved daily living skills, feeling engaged with their community and raising awareness of assistive technology.
Improved self-care and resilience for older people with degenerative sight loss conditions.
Increased social contact with others experiencing similar barriers and challenges as a result of visual impairment leading to increased self-advocacy, choice and control.
Increased partnership working with similar organisations for co-morbidity with Diabetes, Alzheimers and Dementia, Deaf/Blind and Cognitive Impairments/Mental Health leading to improved access to holistic support.
Improved opportunities for training and employment for people with sight loss.