Growth Rings are a Community Interest Company (CIC) set up to create beautifully crafted quality wooden products whilst providing training and employment opportunities. Last year, they were finalists in the UK Social Enterprise Awards.
Location – Romney Marsh
We established as a Social Enterprise on Romney Marsh because we feel the business will thrive here; it’s a unique and beautiful place that reflects the philosophy of our business. We aim to promote, raise awareness, and build a market for social enterprise at a local, national and pan European level; we firmly believe that Romney Marsh and Shepway can become a hotspot of social enterprise activity.
Our sector is outpacing and out innovating comparable SMEs – while doing the unexpected. Therefore, we are particularly interested in looking at how we can work with local and regional partners, to ensure that social enterprises play a key role in generating economic growth. Genuine social enterprises can act like a strawberry patch for the local economy; as their businesses grow and develop, so gradually, will the local economy. As the local economy grows, so too does pride and trust between the people who live, work and visit an area.
In short, we wanted to help bring the most dynamic sector in the UK to one the country’s most unique and beautiful places – Romney Marsh.
At Growth Rings CIC we are proud to be working with Marsh Million partners, including Shepway District Council who are investing in the idea of a Heritage Skills Centre on Romney Marsh. With this investment we are creating a small scale Heritage Skills training programme to include traditional wood working; stained glass artistry; blacksmithing and a local food Community Chef programme.
With the evidence created from this, Growth Rings CIC aims to work in partnership with Shepway District Council and other Marsh Million partners toward the establishment of a full scale Heritage Centre somewhere on the tourist route between Folkestone and 1066 country.
Support and Networking
The Romney Marsh Partnership Coordinator played a key role in facilitating the development of Growth Rings CIC on Romney Marsh. It is refreshing to know that Shepway District Council appoint people to such a role with an understanding of Social Enterprise and the opportunities for economic growth therein.
Advice for Start-Ups
Seize the opportunity to innovate that Romney Marsh and Shepway presents. The location benefits are obvious, situated in tranquillity between Capital and Continent; but it offers more than that – an opportunity to work with people who live, work or play in this unique place – and tap into their resourcefulness, character, talent and ambition.
Romney Marsh is a place that is ideally suited to bottom-up economic growth. The opportunities are endless; from small business like ours to large scale community energy businesses or housing schemes, (in the form of Community Land Trusts). We believe this is the right place to come and start something to be very proud of; to run a successful business and get a good night’s sleep.