Social enterprise community changing the economy

What happens when you get together a bunch of complimentary social enterprises under one roof?
Welcome to Brimscombe Mill, a social enterprise network that is taking the idea of community to the next level, not just changing how we shop but creating a new local economy in the process.

Brimscombe Mill is the culmination of herculean efforts by The Grace Network, who act as an investor and incubator for social entrepreneurs in the Stroud area. Nestled in the heart of Stroud in old mill buildings, you will find a hive of activity that is fast becoming a business and cultural centre for the area.

Businesses built around local people

The network is made of a total of seven businesses, all of which serve the community in different ways. Kids Stuff, as the name suggests, sell pre-loved toys, clothes and children’s accessories at low prices, while offering bundles for referred families facing hardship. In a similar fashion, Furniture Bank have an array of used furniture for sale and referral, which is donated, or provided by their sister company and network member, Gloucestershire House Clearances. There’s also The Bike Drop, for bike servicing and eco-deliveries, and healthy school dinners from The Great Plate to name a few.
All of the businesses have created fiercely loyal communities, who donate, shop and regularly spend time at Brimscombe Mill, adding to the unique and joyful atmosphere found on site.

At the epicentre of Brimscombe Mill is The Long Table whose entire ethos is based on bringing people together around food. Quality home made meals are served daily and always pay as you can, with visitors invited to ‘pay it forward’, allowing someone else to eat for free. Its popularity in the area has seen them host big name collaborations and events where they have fed over 200 people.

Changing the economy

Their model is unique, taking local people and instilling skills and confidence to create great social enterprises. As part owners, The Grace Network is able to support in a hands-on way, and develop each business with the aim to help them expand into new hubs in Gloucestershire, and beyond.

It’s a structure that resembles a new economic model with people and place at the centre. It’s highly circular, considerate of the environment, and makes money, helping to employ and train local people, who then go on to form social enterprises of their own.

Marketing support from Good Beans

Good Beans has had the pleasure of working alongside the team since 2022. A major aspect being a series of marketing masterclasses, focussing in detail on a different tactic, such as collaborations, storytelling or events. Each workshop has welcomed special guest speakers, and it’s been fantastic to see the ideas and inspiration that stem from each event.

“Partnering with Ella and Claire at Good Beans has been a pivotal asset for The Grace Network and is proving invaluable as we continue to grow, adding a thread of clarity and brilliance to our organisational tapestry and a calm and confident know-how that’s been just what we’ve needed”.

We are also working to develop the Brimscombe Mill brand as its own distinct entity, creating a new look and feel at the site, website, and written style that matches their values and personality.

We can’t wait to show you what we have been working on, and are excited to support this fantastic organisation as it continues to grow and make such positive changes to the community.