The Genesis story is inspirational and is well worth taking the time to read. It will give you a real understanding of the basis upon which the Genesis Foundation was formed and the experience and expertise that underpins our work.
Introduction and Early Days
The Genesis Enterprise Foundation started in 1991 out of a vision of 4 local Christian couples in a Derbyshire coalfields town wishing to make a difference in their community.
The first number of years saw the development of several buildings projects accommodating and serving teenage expectant mothers, disaffected young teenagers and a youth hostel, foyer scheme. These projects were delivered with minimal capital grants support and sustained by a mixture of grants, service level income and income generation plus personal contribution and sacrifice of the Board and staff.
The learning curves were significant but what became evident was always the need of funding to survive, with projects sometimes faltering once grant support had failed, also our desire to grow was always limited.
In 1999 as part of a study group to examine the story and structure of Mondragon in North Spain, Steve Holmes was first inspired by how a region had been transformed initiated by a Catholic Priest and local entrepreneur working together. Steve also formed some key relationships one which became significant with a Doctor in Entrepreneurship at Cambridge and an experienced person in business incubation and incubation centres.
The challenge was how to grow the organisation to serve its community objectives producing wealth or social capital and also how ethical business work alongside community. As an ex-Corporate banker and entrepreneur, the challenge attracted Steve.
During the next few years the organisation continued to grow into childcare and youth delivery supported by a restaurant, free range chicken farm of 20,000 birds and several other ventures! The organisation also developed training days for churches and established a network of 90 organisations building community projects, the programme funded through ESF priority 4. This project brought a number of key thinkers together.
Big Challenge, Big Breakthrough
Locally to their base, an old and very dilapidated bus garage had been left to rot for 10 years. With a large group of youths to keep active, and connected, the foundation approached the bus company to ask to use one of their spare bus sheds as an impromptu (and cheap!) 5-a-side facility. They had football coaches lined up, kids interested in taking part, and the time to make it happen. All they needed was a cheap place to run it in. The answer came back as “no, you can’t rent the shed, but you can rent the entire site, if you want!
At that time (2001) an opportunity arose for the foundation to make an application (maximum sum of £500,000) into RDA (Regional Development Agency) underspend to deliver sustainable community projects. .
The timing was right as we had identified and dreamed of building a centre that would produce wealth and also serve the community. We now had heard of Social Enterprise as a relatively new Government theme and we submitted a proposal for the redevelopment of the bus depot into a Centre for Social Enterprise and Incubation Unit.
The foundation negotiated a rental deal with the owners of the bus depot with a buyout clause which included all rent paid to be knocked off the selling price.
The Genesis Centre became the successful output of receiving £498,000 capital from the EMDA and £328,000 from the Coalfield Regeneration Trust that pump-primed the development. With only £25,000 cash reserves, £150,000 property equity, 4 full-time and 12 part-time staff we set out on converting the redundant bus-depot with office and warehouse space in the centre of Alfreton, Derbyshire into the Centre for Social Enterprise.
With various stages of development the site is now complete with diverse delivery which has become the catalyst for both social and economic regeneration of the ex-coalfields town.
The centre now has 76,000 sq ft of office, community, leisure and training space.
For more information see the following websites that explain more about our work
We’d love to engage with you. If you’d like to discuss your plans for the future as a pioneer then talk to us today. Call us on +44 01773 522422.