Grace Enterprises, part of Grace Church, Nottingham, is an emerging network of businesses, big and small, aiming to provide meaningful employment opportunities for a whole range of people who might otherwise struggle to find work. The first of these businesses, Radiant Cleaners, was launched in November 2017.
As well as helping people in times of deepest need e.g. supporting people through the church food bank, they want to help people do more than just survive because Jesus promised ‘life to the full’. By creating a network of businesses big and small they are aiming to provide meaningful employment opportunities for a whole range of people, including those with who might otherwise struggle to get work.
Grace Enterprises is headed up by Matt Parfitt, who for the last 10 years has run a landscape gardening company called Fruitful Oaks with the same ethos. They pay the real Living Wage and they are a social enterprise - all the profits that they make are ‘locked in’ and by law have to be used for ‘social good’. They do this through giving money away to various partners and investing in further businesses that have the same aims.
Matt explains more:
"My heart is to employ people who are long-term unemployed, that potentially the world or the average company wouldn't give a job to. Those that either by mistakes they've made or the way that society's treated them and things that have been done to them, they haven't really got a chance. They haven't got a hope. Over the years I've employed lots of ex-prisoners, people that have been on probation, ex-addicts, homeless people - it's been a real mix.
"I was a teacher but I wanted to spend more time with people I was helping and I felt that's what God had got lined up for me. So handed my notice in, and started out on the route of being an employer. That was 10 years ago and now, with Grace Church, is to take that into the cleaning market, particularly the commercial cleaning market. So we've started with a cleaning company called Radiant Cleaners. When we launch our social care business in the future and other businesses, then there'll be more opportunities.
"I feel like the reason why I'm doing this is because of God and his love for me. It comes down to church showing the love and what they pray about and talk about on a Sunday, and it coming out of the doors and actually making a difference in people's lives."
Find out more here.
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Geoff Knott, 23/05/2018