Many community recycling businesses will start small and will not be ready
to compete for a share of large contracts for some years. A solid partnership
with the local authority is no less important in these cases. It is wise to spend
time discussing plans with local authority officers and councillors before an
enterprise is started, to find out what support they may be able to offer.
Also, as a result of the Waste Strategy 2000, every local authority is currently
working to produce a Municipal Waste Management Strategy (MWMS).
The government document Guidance on municipal waste management
states that all local authorities must outline their approach to
working in partnership with the community sector. It is essential that
community recyclers engage with this process, as it is through the MWMS
that each local authority's policy on how they intend to increase recycling
and composting rates will be outlined.
Potential support to a new start recycling enterprise could come in several
forms, such as providing resources `in kind' (officer time, help with premises,
publicity or even a vehicle), direct funding or help with accessing various
external sources of funding.
Social enterprises often have opportunities to develop in deprived areas.
Not only are these the areas where people are most likely to think of starting
a social enterprise, they also often benefit from regeneration funding. The
88 most deprived areas in England will be targeted by the government's
Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (NRF)
, which aims to improve the quality of
the local environment and public services in the most deprived areas. Many
other areas qualify for funding under European and national regeneration
programmes and the council Regeneration Officer should be able to advise
on what sort of projects may qualify for funding.
Partly in response to the Neighbourhood Renewal agenda, the government is
encouraging every local authority to set up a Local Strategic Partnership (LSP)
which will bring together the public, private, voluntary and social enterprise
sectors in each area to help shape the way services are delivered to residents.
Social enterprises should involve themselves in these partnerships, as they are
set to become a key driver of local government policy.
The social economy has something of a reputation for poor financial
management and having an aversion to borrowing money. These two issues
are linked. The recycling industry can be capital intensive (operations rely on
a certain amount of capital equipment depots, vehicles etc.) and the main
client, local government, can be slow to pay its bills. It is unlikely that a
significant scheme could be launched without some borrowing, at least in the
form of an overdraft to help with cash flow. Any lender, however sympathetic,
will want to see evidence of good financial management systems. Therefore,
if financial skills are lacking from the originators of any new social enterprise,
there are only two options: bringing in a person with these skills, or getting
some training. Several agencies provide excellent, often free training in
financial management, some of which is aimed specifically at those with little
experience. See the Business planning guide for more details.
15 Available to download from the internet at
16 Available to download at www.defra.gov.uk
17 See the government strategy A new
commitment to neighbourhood renewal
for a list of NRF areas and further details,
downloadable at www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/seu
...as a result of the
Waste Strategy 2000,
every local authority
is currently working
to produce a Municipal