December 7 2013 Latest news:
Duncan Brodie, business editor
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Employee-owned co-operative Leading Lives, which provides support services around Suffolk for adults with learning disabilities, has elected its first board of employee directors.
The new 12-strong team replaces the interim board which steered the organisation through its spin-out as a social enterprise business from Suffolk County Council.
Leading Lives operates a network of community hubs across Suffolk and specialist short break respite services to enable family carers to have time off from their caring responsibilities, plus two older people’s wellbeing services, in Felixstowe and Stowmarket.
The new board was elected at the organisation’s annual general meeting, held at Trinity Park, Ipswich, which also heard that the business had made a trading surplus in its first year of operation. This will be used to build up recommended operating levels of reserves and to invest back into the business, with a further amount also to be set aside to create a new fund for community benefit projects.
Leading Lives, a member of the EADT’s Future50 community of up-and-coming businesses with high growth potential, ranks as the seventh-biggest co-operative in the East of England and in the top 100 nationally.
Since leaving county council control, it has been re-structured around four localities, consolidating services under a localised management system to better respond to customer needs at a community level.
Managing director Tony Carr said; “We have had the challenge, during our first full trading year, of establishing a former public service into a new social enterprise business which we have now done successfully.
“Our staff have responded to all the different challenges, working together to build the organisation around a locality structure. This was an important step and will enable us to respond more flexibly to our customer needs and for us to really support them to live the life they choose.”
He added: “Our customers and family carers have also been really understanding through all these changes and I’d like to thank them for all their support. The task ahead is exploring new market opportunities and to position the business to best respond to the introduction of personal budgets and to the increasing funding pressures to do more for less.”