SEN-den is a social enterprise. We are a small and local, not-for-profit organisation. We are a community business. If you want to get really technical, we’re a Community Interest Company (CIC) limited by guarantee; our Company Number is 12164083. We exist purely to serve the community. We care about social justice and advocate for the rights of young autistic children and their families in Enfield. We’re mission-focused and impact-driven. Our purpose and objectives are 100% charitable and we can receive donations (without Gift Aid) – but technically speaking, we’re not a charity.
What does all of this mean in practice? Why does it matter?
We charge for our services but we do our best to find ways of keeping the costs as low as we can without compromising on quality. It is a really tough balance and that is why we are always on the lookout for “community-spirited” therapists and practitioners willing to work with us and our families at more affordable rates.
Families have told us that they need more play, information and specialist services to support their young autistic children – and that they are willing to pay for them, provided they are relevant, good quality and not so expensive that they cannot be accessed by the majority of families. Currently private therapies offered at “market rates” are well beyond the means of average-income families and therefore inaccessible to many of our children who need them most.
We aim to set up all our services so that we can cover the costs of delivering them, and anything we can make on top of that, we use to pay our rent at the Lancaster Centre, which is our biggest expense. If we ever did generate a surplus (i.e. make more income from a service than we spent delivering it), we’d reinvest this into providing further services for families.
We are based at a lovely venue, and space of this quality does not come cheap, however we want to provide services to families in a really comfortable environment that is welcoming, inclusive, easy to get to, and most importantly, disability and family-friendly.
None of the Directors are paid, including Lubna who runs SEN-den on a day to day basis – we are volunteers. We are passionate about supporting local families directly, advocating for improved statutory service provision (across Education, Health and Care) and delivering positive impact for both parents and children across Enfield.
As a start-up business, the timing of the Covid-19 pandemic couldn’t have been more disruptive to our plans and income streams. We are currently having to rely on the generosity of grant funders to help us to keep going, but we are confident that with the support of local families, who are our valued clients and customers, we’ll get back on track.