At DurhamEnable working alongside local partners with similar ambitions is key to our success and growth as part of our local community.
Becoming a key part of DurhamEnable’s delivery has helped a Consett based social enterprise increase footfall and benefit from custom as a hub of business, support and a valuable, inclusive space for collaboration.
The HUB Consett opened in June 2022 after a decade of dreaming and planning by founder Nicola Little, who wanted an inclusive space where small business owners from the North East could meet.
The HUB is one of three businesses Nicola runs, which also includes the MINT Business Club, a network which helps to combat isolation and promote small businesses, and Celebrate Difference, a social enterprise which offers support for neurodivergent people through mentoring and support, Access to Work applications, and training.
Nicola was inspired to found Celebrate Difference by her own experiences with an ADHD diagnosis.
Nicola said: “What I realised was that if I was an undiagnosed female at age 45, probably quite a lot of my clients were like me. As it turned out dozens of them were.”
She added: “Celebrate Difference is how we tie closely to DurhamEnable because its only objective is to support people who are neurodivergent. Particularly people who have had a late diagnosis and had the shock of their life in the middle of their life.”
The HUB was started as a place for MINT club members to showcase their businesses, but soon grew beyond that.
“The HUB is the home, heart, and headquarters, and all different communities and peoples can come here. DurhamEnable fit that.” Nicola said.
The DurhamEnable Community Employment Forum has been able to use The HUB to provide an inclusive and welcoming meeting place.
Nicola said: “The Forum has been manic, brilliant, and lush to see so many people come in and engage. It’s nice to see everyone in here and being as one.”
She added: “For us as a business it’s great, but it’s also great for DurhamEnable to have this space, so it works for both sides.”
As well as using meeting spaces, the partnership has also helped bring more people through the HUB’s door, where they can see the goods showcased by independent shops at the front of the building.
Nicola said: “If we don’t have anyone coming through the door nobody sees us and knows what we’re doing, and DurhamEnable has really helped with that.”
Nicola added: “It’s been humbling to see what DurhamEnable does. For us as a business, it helps us grow when DurhamEnable is using the space every week, but it’s much bigger than that, it’s the growing relationship based on trust and shared values.
“I’m really excited every time I talk to DurhamEnable, we have billions of ideas that we have to squish into one and I’m really excited about what could be, and you can see that those values are shared, what could you achieve?”