STORY: Reach helps North East Dance find their groove
North East Dance (NED) use dance and fitness as a means to tackle health and social issues in Sunderland. When they were looking at how to diversify their income the Reach Fund helped them get the investment they needed to grow.
One of the key challenges facing NED was the need to develop more diverse income streams and deliver services to a wider range of customers. They saw investment as a way to move away from relying on public sector funding and increasing the amount they earned though trading.
They already had an impressive track record of delivering social impact in Sunderland. Working with three regeneration agencies, five local authorities, 30 community groups and 55 schools their services help address obesity, low fitness levels, mental health problems and help improve confidence and skills.
The people they work with tend to have low levels of fitness, have been referred by their GPs or may have disabilities. They also deliver services to people of all ages including young offenders, teenagers and people over 50. Their services are suitable for all ages and backgrounds and provide a fun and enjoyable way to stay healthy and fit.
After speaking to several social investors they partnered with Big Issue Invest and applied for a Reach Fund grant. The Reach Fund allows charities to apply for grant funding to help pay for the targeted support they need in order to raise investment. For NED, the grant meant that they could work with a consultancy, New Leaf New Life.
Deloris Martin CEO of NED said
“The Reach Fund was great, very accessible and relevant to our organisational needs. We were able to work with a local support provider who knew has known our organisation from the start. This relationship really enabled us to move forward quickly.”
New Leaf New Life provided business mentoring as well as helping NED conduct the market and product development and strategy planning that they needed in order to raise investment.
Following an investment of £86,000 from Big Issue Invest they have now launched a new range of products aimed at new markets and hope to see a significant increase in revenue as a result.
Established in 2007, North East Dance (NED) Community Interest Company is a social enterprise based in Sunderland. Their mission is to promote healthy lifestyle choices through dance and movement to encourage people to become fitter, healthier, motivated and inspired. The aim is to make health and fitness classes accessible across social and demographic groups.