Social Enterprise

We run student bars, cafes and lounges- where everybody knows your name. We operate housing for students- the most student focussed in Norwich. And we run a student run shop- things you want, prices you need. We put on safe, great value nights out with friends for life. We run the best, most diverse SU live music programme in the UK. And we help students run events where you and your mates shine.

The Context

Thousands of students love the SU and the LCR, but our programme is not seen as diverse and many students go elsewhere. Some students are under real financial pressure, they’re demanding faster change to our services and ranges than ever delivered before, and we know that this generation of 18-25 year olds demand high standards in ethical purchasing and processes.

Our ambitions

This is where we want to be by 2019:

  • We will be run efficiently, to a high standard, and generate a healthy surplus that can be ploughed back into the union (making the link between surplus and service delivery for members much clearer) 
  • We will employ a high number of student staff who are paid well and gain valuable experience at all levels of our business
  • We will be an exemplar in relation to safety, security, responsible retailing and ethical practices and purchasing
  • In our programming and product ranges we will seek to meet the widest possible range of students’ needs, we will focus on minorities as well as majorities, and we will provide a platform for student talent to shine

The year ahead

This is what we’ll do to get there in 2016-17:

  • We’ll complete pricing and range reviews, focus on margins, ensure our wage ratios and GP see us operating as efficiently as possible, double our income from marketing and advertising, and deliver £1m contribution to the union’s finances to spend on student advocacy and opportunities.
  • We’ll develop a low cost offer across our outlets (and encourage UEA to do the same), ensuring students can access the essentials of student life at a price they can afford.
  • We’ll work with student managers, student reps and customers to develop and launch service promises in all our outlets, getting queue times down and satisfaction up across the SU by publishing feedback and stats- and we’ll review and improve our safety and security operation.
  • We’ll open new Grab and Go retail in key hotspots on campus, further expand our catering offer, support students to launch a catering offer for club and gig go-ers and further expand our ethical, vegan and gluten free ranges.
  • Starting with Welcome Week, we’ll review our entertainments programme working with students on and off campus to offer a wider range of types of events targeted to the full diversity of our membership, both with and without alcohol- as well as investing in and relaunching the Waterfront as the essential alternative Venue in Norwich.

And then we’ll go further:

  • We’ll review our Student Managers and Development Boards initiatives, ensuring students have a say at all levels of our business.
  • We’ll develop a new relationship with UEA Catering that works to reduce its losses, improve the range and lower the price of food on campus. 
  • We’ll drive wider implementation of our social enterprise model, developing innovative work on safety, security, responsible retailing and ethical practices and purchasing that has an impact on UEASU and the wider community
  • We’ll refurbish our on campus facilities to ensure they are fit for purpose and offer multi functional, student focussed spaces that students want to use day and night

The impact

  • The proportion of students who agree that the Union offers “good value for money across its range of services” will have increased each year.
  • 80% of students will agree that the union “provides an exciting Events and Entertainment programme”.
  • We’ll consistently meet or exceed financial targets for the social enterprises for every year of the life of the plan.