Laura Davis is the CEO of national member charity, The British Association for Supported Employment (BASE). The charity is the national voice for providers of specialist employment support. They promote the principles and delivery of high-quality supported employment services and work to improve the employment rates of disabled and disadvantaged people. Laura believes the decision to move to the new Victoria Road site will provide more opportunity for connection across their community.,
Helping Support People into Employment
BASE is a national members charity, which while small, has huge impact. As Laura says,
“We are approaching 300 member organisations, who all deliver the evidence based supported employment model, helping disabled and disadvantaged people into employment, and supporting employers to move from disability confident to disability confident in action.”
Through their community interest company (CIC) – Inclusive Trading CIC, they deliver a range of training and consultancy services, for schools, local authorities and businesses, who are committed to promoting Inclusive recruitment for all. They can support organisations to bring their ED&I disability strategies to life.
Currently part of a Department of Education Funded program, the company aims to double the number of Supported Internships in England and there is free support for education providers, local authorities, and employers.
The move to Aldershot
Laura was unaware that the Aldershot Enterprise Centre existed before a simple internet search led her to visit the centre,
“I have lived in Aldershot for 20 years and had no idea the Aldershot Enterprise Centre existed but what a hidden gem it is. I took over the role of CEO for BASE in April 2022, moving the head office from Bury to Aldershot, which felt overwhelming but thank goodness google brought me to the centre!”
Laura says that it’s been a difficult time for charities such as theirs,
“The pandemic was tough for many organisations but especially small to medium organisations and charities.”
However, the team managed to move the offer online and has been able to continue to reach into communities. The move to Aldershot has helped the charity to expand,
“Now settled in Aldershot, we are able to really begin to grow the charity and CIC to have the greatest impact for anyone who wants to work.”
Praise for the Aldershot Enterprise Centre
Laura is delighted with the service and transparency of the Aldershot Enterprise Centre team,
“The team at Aldershot Enterprise couldn’t have been more helpful, with clear and transparent information around the costs and benefits of renting a space, which is essential as a small organisation. We looked at other larger serviced buildings, that may well have a shiner outside but there were so many hidden charges and I certainly didn’t get the warm welcome I received from Lorna and the team.”
Laura loves the community feel of the centre and cannot recommend it enough,
“It is more than just an office space. I am the only person based in the office (apart from Baxter the dog), which could feel quite isolating but the centre has provided a community for me to connect with. There is always someone on hand to help, from working the phone system, to a cuppa in the onsite café.
I think anyone with a small to medium enterprise, would benefit from being part of the community here at Aldershot Enterprise Centre.”
Moving with the Centre
BASE is one of the existing tenants who have opted to move into the new central location on Victoria road this Summer. At first, Laura was a bit apprehensive, but is now believes that the move will be beneficial to the organisation,
“When we were first informed about the move, we were a little anxious. However, the location and facilities at the new building provides even more opportunity for connection across our community. As a charity, having the support of the Aldershot Enterprise centre and their amazing team, enables us to focus on what is really important, our customers. I look forward to meeting new tenants as they join us in our central location!!”
Laura’s Top Tip for Future Entrepreneurs
“Surround yourself with experts. Your role as a leader, is not to know everything but to find other people who do know- never be afraid to be vulnerable and ask for support.”