Business backs innovative elderly care social enterprise

Press Release:London, 1 June 2015:


Business backs innovative elderly care social enterprise


Thousands of vulnerable adults set to benefit as Social Business Trust charity awards support worth £550,000 for innovative independent living social enterprise to expand


Hertfordshire Independent Living Service (HILS), a pioneering social enterprise that supports elderly and disabled people to live independently in their homes, has been awarded a package of funding and high-calibre business support worth £550,000 by Social Business Trust(SBT).


HILS provides a 'meals on wheels' delivery service to vulnerable adults, along with welfare checks, companionship and other assistance. Since 2010 it has increased the number of clients provided with daily lunchtime meals annually from 2,500 in 2010 to 4,000, up 60%.


With support from SBT, HILS is set to grow extensively, extending its meal delivery client base and providing additional services all aimed at supporting elderly and disabled people to live happily in their own homes.


Whilst some similar preventative services reliant on either volunteer support or private providers have been cut, HILS' charitable model, combining business efficiency with compassion, has enabled it to expand. A 2014 client survey found:


  • 97% said my life is easier since having meals on wheels
  • 81% said I feel less lonely
  • 69% said I visit my GP less as I feel healthier
  • 52% said I would be in care without HILS' service


The investment in HILS brings the number of social enterprises supported by Social Business Trust, since it launched four years ago, to thirteen. They all have in common the potential to achieve significant growth and make a positive difference to the lives of people facing disadvantage in areas including education, employment and mental health.


Last year, SBT gave £3m of support to its social enterprises in the form of cash grants and 5,000+ hours of business expertise from its partners: Bain & Company, British Gas, Clifford Chance, Credit Suisse, EY, Permira and Thomson Reuters. All provide expert volunteers and secondees, many at senior level, to work with social enterprises in SBT's portfolio.


The first SBT volunteer working with HILS is David Alexander, Managing Director of British Gas Home Repairs. He worked with SBT to review HILS' potential for growth and recommended its inclusion in SBT's social enterprise portfolio. He will continue to support HILS through SBT, working with its management team.


David Alexander said: "Like millions in the UK, I have parents in their 80's who wish to remain independent for as long as they can and I feel proud to have the opportunity to support HILS who have an effective business model to support people like my parents to live happy and independent lives. It's very satisfying to have the opportunity to use my business experience in such a positive social context and it's fantastic to work with the energetic, committed team at HILS whilst seeing what learnings I can take back into British Gas."


Adele Blakebrough MBE, CEO of SBT said: "As a nation we face the extraordinary challenge of having an ageing population alongside large government cutbacks in preventative services. Whilst many other 'meals on wheels' services are declining, HILS with its broader portfolio of preventative services is bucking the trend, with enormous potential to benefit many more elderly people while reducing the cost of care.  It's a win-win situation."


"By drawing on business expertise from across our partners we look forward to supporting HILS in improving life for thousands more elderly people in Hertfordshire and beyond."


Sarah Wren, CEO of HILS said: "Getting support from SBT is an incredibly welcome endorsement of our work and the power of social enterprises like HILS to change lives for the better.  No other organisation provides the tailored, sustained business input that SBT can offer. We look forward to benefitting from that and extending our service to thousands more elderly, vulnerable people as a result."