The Healthy Hub is a social enterprise that provides accommodation for charities, meeting rooms for community events, a healthy eating cafe and a shop. It has operated for six months in central Lincoln.
The organisation was formed to provide employment for people at a disadvantage in the labour market because of disability, long-term illness or lack of qualifications.
It was set up with £300,000, raised over six months, which included grants from several sources, such as the East Midlands Development Agency, the local council and what Rebecca Dray, chief executive of the organisation, calls "NHS end-of-year money". It also received a £100,000 loan from the Social Enterprise Loan Fund.
The organisation is a community interest company limited by shares. All staff hold non-dividend paying shares in the company, an attempt to give workers a sense of ownership in the project. Dray admits the structure was chosen with a minimum of information.
The model has so far proved a success, Dray says. "We felt it was important to have a number of businesses operating out of the premises that could cross-subsidise. We also wanted to provide a place for people to come and meet.
"We've attracted a lot of business from local community groups and the statutory sector, and we're turning a profit in our first year. We've also been able to use our status as the only social enterprise in Lincoln to generate a lot of free publicity."