At MOVEability we believe the world would be a better place if those with disabilities, limited mobility and chronic conditions had the same opportunities as able-bodied people to improve their physical and mental health. It is why we have become a social enterprise.
Inclusivity and accessibility
Inclusivity and accessibility are at the heart of everything we do. We want people to be able to join our seated chair exercise classes. We don’t want them to be excluded because they can’t reach the classes, pay for them, or they cannot make the scheduled class time. We don’t want people to feel they cannot join our classes if they know or expect that they will need to take a break for health or other reasons.
It is why:
- we offer Zoom as well as on-site classes
- we are committed to keeping our prices affordable
- we spend the time helping new joiners understand how to access and use Zoom
- we make sure we keep in touch with clients who have had to take a break for health or other reasons
- we are committed to increasing the number of classes, including creating a hub where people can download classes on demand.
All of this requires investment.
If we were to run everything on a purely commercial basis, we would not be able to keep our classes at such an affordable price as we would need our revenue to fund our ongoing operations, marketing and other projects. We also spend valuable time on the phone with (and even meeting) clients, which isn’t revenue generating but critical for the wellbeing of our clients.
Operating on a purely commercial basis would also mean we’d need to seek investments and/or take out loans. Seeking investments would mean being answerable to a third party, and we wanted to be free to run MOVEability in accordance with our own morals and values.
If we took out loans, we would inevitably have to use some of our revenue to pay these back. Not an issue when you can raise prices and cut overheads to cover costs but keeping our prices accessible is a must for us. As is the non revenue-generating support we provide.
It was clear that seeking investments or taking out loans to achieve our growth goals would almost certainly affect the way MOVEability operates and the cost of our classes, and so we decided we needed to think laterally. How else could we source funding? We went back to the essence of what we do. Yes, we need to make a living, but the point of MOVEability is to make a better world by giving all people with disabilities, limited mobility and chronic conditions the same opportunities as able-bodied people to improve your physical and mental health.
There was an obvious social element in what we do, and so towards the latter part of 2021 we began to investigate becoming a social enterprise.
We couldn’t believe how closely our aims met those required to call ourselves a social enterprise.
Certified Social Enterprise
Contrary to popular belief, we can remain a Ltd company and operate as a social enterprise. We do not need to register or pay any fees to anyone. This guide, created by UnLtd in conjunction with DLA Piper, explains it well.
Discovering we were so aligned with the social enterprise model, we put the wheels in motion and have been operating as a social enterprise for a while now. We have already started to see some of the differences it can make in the form of a donation from the Waitrose & Partners ‘Give a little Love’ campaign.
Although it’s not a requirement, we have joined the UK National Body for Social Enterprises, which will provide us with knowledge, advice and access to opportunities. Look out for our membership badge on our website and other forms of media.
At the time of writing we were also proud to have made it through to the panel stage with UnLtd in our application for an award . We then went on to win an award from them and the funds have really helped us. So much so that we plan to apply for a scaling up award.
How operating as a social enterprise benefits MOVEability
As a social enterprise we will be able to access awards, grants and other funding that will enable us to put the infrastructure in place needed to reach more people, put on more classes, build the hub and continue to talk to our clients when they need us, all without having to raise our prices to a level that will ‘price out’ those who need our classes most.
Part of being a social enterprise means we are able to crowd fund, and we have set up a crowdfunding page. Crowdfunding is a fantastic way to reach out to those who see, love and are able to support our mission, receiving a little from those who are able, means being able to give so much to those who want and need our support. We would love you to help us spread the word about MOVEability, our mission, our passion and our commitment to making a difference, so please share the page, either as a link or by downloading this flyer.
Blog originally published in MAY 2022. Updated in NOVEMBER 2023