ACCESS was founded in December 2011, out of need, after a local service closed. The volunteers from that closed service looked into providing an affordable counselling service to serve the Lancaster, Morecambe and surrounding areas.
Simon Denerley from Help-Direct heard about what we were trying to do and put us in contact with Mandy Naylor from Shared Futures CIC. After meeting with Mandy we were put in touch with Jez Hall who offered us a place on the Lattice Works Program, which supported new start-up community interest companies. This was invaluable support and information and was a big step in getting up and running.
Lattice Works helped us get our heads around all the official stuff, registering the company etc. It also offered us a chance to obtain very much needed seed money, so we were able to rent our premises. To achieve this we had to present our business plan and vision to a panel and other Social Enterprises for the chance to receive some funding to start up. (Participatory Investment Program funding)
We presented our vision, along with other CIC’s vying for the opportunity, to a room full of people who would then vote. This was something we had not tried before and we were nervous. Three of us presented our case and were delighted when we were awarded enough funding to get us started.
ACCESS WAS BORN!