A new Community Interest Company (CIC) is being set up to deliver a range of ambitious projects to benefit the people and communities of Epping Forest District.
Established through a partnership between Qualis Group and leading regeneration specialists Primera Corporation, the CIC (to be known as Qualis Community Ltd) will work to improve the socio-economic aspirations for all, including the most disadvantaged communities, and collaborate with existing community groups and stakeholders.
Profits used to benefit communities
The creation of a CIC, which sits alongside Qualis Group and its core functions, will see profits and assets generated and used for public and community good. A rigorous and transparent governance structure will ensure that activities align with local need and are developed through close dialogue with local communities and wider stakeholders including district, town and parish councils. Projects could include the development of apprenticeship schemes, community environmental and wellbeing projects and initiatives to engage hard to reach members of the community.
Consultations and workshops
The first phase of activity will focus on a series of community and stakeholder consultations and workshops with a view to creating a detailed business plan and programme of activity to be delivered throughout 2021-2022 in the first instance. Members of the public will be given the opportunity to feed into the process with suggestions invited through the Qualis Group website and social media.
Delivery of core services
Paul Hewitt, Group Operations Director of Qualis Group said:
We are delivering ambitious plans for Epping Forest District and alongside our investment programme and delivery of core services, it’s vital that we support our local communities. We can most effectively do this with the creation of a CIC. Working with the specialist team at Primera, we are excited about the initiatives we will be able to develop. We are committed to ensuring no community is left behind and that residents across Epping Forest District are given the best opportunities to thrive and benefit from the investment being made across the area.
Empowering local communities
Ruth Duston OBE, OC, MD of Primera Corporation said:
From our work across London and the south east I know the power of community and how people working together to enhance their local area often delivers the very best outcomes. This sits at the heart of a CIC, and I am looking forward to bringing our experience and expertise to Epping Forest District, working across the communities that make up this vibrant area. This is not about top down regeneration, but about empowering local communities to bring their ideas to life, creating meaningful projects that meet the needs of local people.
Helping residents after the impact of COVID-19
Chris Whitbread, Leader of Epping Forest District Council said:
Qualis Community will be a wonderful addition to the Qualis Group. The proposed projects will allow us to engage with residents on different levels and enhance the fantastic community projects Epping Forest District Council currently runs. Projects like an apprenticeship scheme or ones that focus on wellbeing are crucial in helping people get back on their feet after the impact of COVID-19.
About Qualis Group
Qualis Group was established by Epping Forest District Council in late 2019 to ensure that the council’s objectives to create more jobs, grow the local economy, improve housing and public amenities are achieved. It operates as a LATCo (Local Authority Trading Company). Through investment, regeneration and asset management, Qualis Group is ensuring that the council is taking a commercially sustainable approach to the long term future of the area.
LATCOs are bodies that are free to operate as commercial companies but remain wholly owned and controlled by the parent council. They offer many advantages as delivery vehicles, not just in terms of delivering best value but also in regards to the transformation of council services.
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