Business as ‘not so usual’: Investing profit for social impact


In November 2019, Employers For Childcare – Northern Ireland’s Social Enterprise of the Year 2019 – officially opened its new £2.5 million indoor adventure centre – High Rise – at Altona Road, Lisburn. High Rise incorporates a Clip ‘n Climb arena, along with a soft play area, sensory room and quiet room and a number of party and corporate rooms. But High Rise isn’t like any other indoor adventure centre, because High Rise is a social enterprise.

As more and more of us realise that business as usual isn’t good enough, given the range of social and economic challenges facing our society, social enterprise is a way of doing business that seeks to deliver sustainable, tangible, positive social impact.

We hope that High Rise will provide a significant new business stream for Employers For Childcare, to diversify income and ensure long-term sustainability. As a social enterprise, our business activities are designed to generate profit – but it is what we do with the profit that sets our business apart. Our profit is invested for social good in our charity supporting parents, employers and childcare providers. So every time a family or corporate group visit the centre, as well as having fun, they are helping us to continue our work with parents and families locally and across the UK.

Doing business better was also a key message from Sue Gray, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Finance, who addressed guests at the launch event for High Rise, highlighting the importance of social value and the vital contribution social enterprises make to the local economy.

In the 20 years of Employers For Childcare, we have invested £6.7 million into our charity, which includes the ‘Family Benefits Advice Service’, lobbying and policy and research work. This investment supports our team to deliver personalised benefits advice and to calculate savings towards the cost of childcare. As a result, we have identified collective financial support of £66 million for families right across the UK. These figures demonstrate just how far every penny invested in ‘buying social’ can go towards helping those within our society and improving outcomes for everyone.

To find out more about High Rise, or to book your visit today, please visit:

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