CB Plus has been a great friend and loyal supporter of The Flower Bank (TFB) since I first approached them in March 2017, several months after I began road-testing my project.

They had the foresight to see TFB’s full potential and helped me focus my approach from scattergun to a more disciplined one. The team has helped me with everything from training courses to formulating policies and writing bids. They’ve given me an open platform, endless support, empathy and knowledge which has helped me to develop my social enterprise.

From an early stage, they urged me to address the future development of TFB – although initially reluctant, it has meant that TFB is dynamic. Through CB Plus, I’ve been fortunate to join an Action Learning Group, a group of fellow Barnet social entrepreneurs at different start-up stages. The knowledge, wisdom and support I acquired from fellow entrepreneurs have been invaluable.

A curse of self-employment is that the simplest of tasks can render you useless – talking to colleagues at the Action Learning Group helped me to find solutions and recognise that these difficulties are entirely normal. For example, with CB Plus’ experience in Barnet, they arranged for students from Middlesex University’s MSc Innovation and Enterprise course to help me set up procedures to measure and evaluate The Flower Bank’s social, economic and ecological impact. I loved working with the students who recognised my issues quickly and helped me find practical solutions.

After two years of working with CB Plus, I’m still learning about their full range of services. They offer everything a voluntary organisation could need. I can’t recommend them enough, and I owe my success to them.

Since January 2017, young offenders from Haringey and Barnet have been helping TFB to create and deliver weekly designs for care homes, day centres and community buildings in North London. The residents of the care centres love “the flower lady” and enjoy our activities and visits.

A true pinch-me moment was the opening of our New Barnet Shop in 2019. This journey started at my kitchen table, and we have been humbled by the support we have received.

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