Social enterprise makes communities cleaner and greener while changing lives
A not for profit social enterprise called Neighbourhood Investor Environmental Services (INES) is changing lives while making communities cleaner, greener and nicer places to live.
The multi-award winning business, part of the housing association Plus Dane Group, was set up 10 years ago in Toxteth, Liverpool, with the aim of creating much needed local work and training opportunities.
INES now works commercially throughout the region and specialises in cleaning and greening neighbourhoods and turning eyesores into places of community pride.
The team undertakes a wide range of environmental services, from cleaning up school grounds to providing free hanging baskets to brighten up neighbourhoods and currently ‘cleans and greens’ the equivalent of 77 football pitches every two weeks. With a core of 23 fully trained and qualified permanent staff, INES also recruits people at risk of permanent exclusion through the employment of 12 seasonal staff.
The company operates on a ‘tenure blind’ basis, clearing all fly tipping and enhancing and maintaining areas which were once classed as ‘grot spots’. To deliver enhanced environmental services to residents across Liverpool, including community gardens, allotments and designing out crime. It continues the original aims of the environmental service – to use local people, doing a local job, providing local services. This place – based social enterprise model ensures that any profit is invested directly back into the business and the local area.
“Working with INES is a breath of fresh air. The go ahead, can do attitude of the team is what will make the difference to the Speke and Garston Coastal Reserve. Only by involving and engaging local people in a meaningful way can we ever hope to achieve our goal of sustainable communities. Working with INES is helping us to achieve this goal.” Iain Taylor, Mersey Basin Campaign
INES is a Living Wage employer and all staff can access formal training opportunities which are relevant to environmental management. Seasonal job opportunities offer temporary staff an opportunity to gain a stable period of employment, obtaining recognised qualifications and creating a CV that will comply with the skills and attributes required in the wider employment market.
“Some months ago, I noticed some men working in our area… clearing up various places, moving debris, litter and overgrown shrubbery. The site was a bad eyesore, but since they came it looks completely better. They do a very good job, they leave nothing behind and it has made a big difference since they have been clearing the area. They deserve a pat on the back for a job well done.” Mrs Collins, L8 resident.