Frequently asked questions

You’re sure to have questions. So we’ve put together a few answers, to help you decide if this is the right step forward. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, call us on 07726 599 267 or click here to send us a message.

Why does Purple Shoots run Self-Reliant Groups?
Starting a business is not for everyone. There are other ways to make a fresh start, and often that begins with small steps. So we run Self-Reliant Groups in communities across Wales and the West of England. Members can make new friends, develop new skills and rebuild their confidence – and by taking part in group projects, like making and selling handmade products, they may generate a small income too.

What’s the benefit for members?
It depends on what each member wants from the experience. Some use it as a way back into training, employment or even starting a business. While for others, it’s more about wellbeing – the fulfilment that comes from being part of a group of friends who share a common purpose.

How do Self-Reliant Groups make money?
That’s for members to decide. Usually, they’ll find a shared interest like gardening or craftwork, then come up with ideas for products or a service. Then they work on that together, while one of our facilitators helps with the business side, like keeping records and finding ways for members to sell their wares.

What happens to the money they make?
Self-Reliant Groups incomes are modest – usually, enough to cover running costs and buy materials or equipment, with a small amount left over. How that extra money is spent is a group decision. Some groups like to save together, with everyone taking their share. Some prefer to give something back, and donate the money to local charities. While others opt to set up their own emergency fund – then in times of need, a member can apply for a small repayable loan.

How does the money affect members’ benefits?
It depends on personal circumstances. So if members receive an income from their group, we encourage them to talk to a Benefits Advisor.

Who can start a new Self-Reliant Group?
A new group is usually a partnership between Purple Shoots and someone in the community – either an individual or an organisation like a charity, school, religious group or housing association. Typically, they’ll work with us to bring the group together, choose a purpose or activity and develop the skills to make it a success.

How does a group choose its “business activity”?
Sometimes, the people starting the group have a ready-made idea. Other times, it evolves as group members get to know each other and find common interests or complimentary skills. Our facilitators can help with this important process.

What kind of help is on offer?
We offer a full package of support, especially through the early stages. That includes training on essentials like how to get organised and manage the group’s finances – plus help with meeting spaces, publicity and advice on finding local customers. However, self-reliance is the key, so we don’t interfere – we only provide support when members request it.

Will you fund the group’s running costs?
No – after the initial set-up, groups need to generate enough money to stay afloat without any ongoing subsidy. That’s the nature of self-reliance.

How do I join a local group?
You’ll find more information here, along with a short enquiry form. Tell us about yourself and what you hope to get from joining a local group.

How do I start a group?
You’ll find more information here, plus an enquiry form. Tell us about your idea, whether it’s based on an activity or a social need.

Alternatively, call us now on 07726 599 267 or click here to send us a message.