GFI CIC Reports - Current report and archive

Social Audit Report 2016-2017 for Going For Independence CIC (GFI)

Company Registration date October 20th 2008 No. 6729549

For financial year 21st October 2016 to 20th October 2017

Part 1 - Description of the company’s activities and impact

Going For Independence - our core business:

Going For Independence has had a very successful year and we have extended our reach to directly help and support over 100 new people. Our core business is to enable individuals of all ages, older people and people with physical or sensory impairments to be able to live independently and safely with the best possible quality of life, able to do the activities that make them happy.

GFI is an advocate for the work of Independent Occupational Therapists (OTs) and the organisation facilitates connections between them and individuals in the community.

We support the social model of disability, and offer free advice and information about equipment and adaptations, including Telecare and electronic technology and new ways of doing things.

Social Activities in the community

Following the success of pilot work with the Centre of Excellence for Sensory Impairment charity in 2015-2016 , (GFI is a founder member organisation) we have developed a programme of social activities for people with visual impairments, providing tailored sessions with support to enable them to participate safely and effectively. These sessions build relationships and reduce isolation.

In June 2017 GFI won a Community Arts Award for our programme of activities in Stockton-on-Tees, through which we helped older and less able people who are not able to access mainstream activities to come together in a social environment to express themselves by creating art and craft works in a supported environment. Individuals have been inspired to do more craft work at home and to re-visit their hobbies, and we have had some very positive feedback.

Working with a BME group

Following the success of our social activity sessions for the visually impaired we were commissioned to run a series of specific social workshops in Stockton-on-Tees for a group of Asian ladies of various ages and abilities which have proved successful. Extending our learning to develop activities that appeal to people with different cultural backgrounds has been very valuable and we hope to extend the reach of this work to other areas of Teesside and across the NE Region.

Directory of Independent Living Centres

The National organisation Assist UK was the umbrella body for Independent Living Centres around the UK, and through loss of core funding it was forced to close in 2015. GFI continues to voluntarily list the Independent Living Centres around the country on its website.

Local GP Practice Patient Group

The MD of GFI is a member of the Brotton General Practice Patients Consultation Group in Teesside and in March 2017 we revised the GFI “Making Your Home Safe- Avoiding Falls” checklist and shared this with the Patient Group with a view to it being made available to give out to patients where appropriate. GFI also loaned a Memory Aid to the practice for demonstration to the nursing team.

COESI membership

GFI continues to be a Member of the charity Centre of Excellence for Sensory Impairment (COESI), and provides a volunteer to manage their website content. In 2017 the MD worked as a volunteer to support a project led by COESI.

Change in GFI Structure

After due consideration and much discussion with stakeholders and associates, the Managing Director of GFI decided to change the business structure from having a sole Director to  a model with a Board of Directors and appointed two new Directors in June and September 2017 to extend the Company’s expertise and the services it could offer. The new Directors bring their wide experience of working in the voluntary sector and for people with disabilities.

With its interests rooted firmly in the community, GFI team members do regular voluntary work and this change in structure has enabled us to apply for small grants to run projects for the benefit of the public and the specific groups of people we work with and to help us to develop a more sustainable organisational model.

Grant funding

We were successful in October 2017 with an application to the Big Lottery Awards for All for a small grant to enable us to run a series of social activity sessions for people with visual impairments across the Teesside Region during 2018. Through this work we will not only help to reduce isolation but will also be able to support people to find new solutions for independent living.


We are always looking for opportunities for income generation to enable us to invest in our services. Our business plan for 2018 is looking at how we can extend our activity services to people in residential settings. GFI is also developing an accessible table-top Board Game for people to share memories and experiences and is hoping to work on this with Teesside University business support in the New Year 2018, looking at innovation and the potential for using embedded technology to make it accessible. 

Part 2 - Consultation with Stakeholders

The Company’s stakeholders include a wide range of individuals and organisations and include: our social activity participants, customers who use our helpline; Independent OTs; charity contacts; Associates; Advisory Board members and people in the community that we reach through our networks..

GFI is represented at the North of England Tees Sensory Support Services Network of charities and not for profit organisations providing services for people with sensory impairments, and through its Board of Directors  is also linked with a similar network in London and Manchester. We consult regularly with people in these networks and actions taken include listings of non-profit organisations providing complementary services.


Going For Independence is a National company with network links to, and Associates from, a number of key national organisations that share our vision for people to be empowered to live independently with choice and control over their lives. Our work has found particular resonance in England in the North East region, a rural area with limited local services and support networks.

GFI continues to be a successful organisation which both directly and indirectly provides services for improving the health and wellbeing of people of all ages and abilities. The organisation is small and flexible with the ability to continually develop in innovative ways to ensure that it provides relevant and up to date information on equipment for independent living, community activities and support, helping people to live their lives independently and with dignity.

All that we do is focused on empowering people to live life to the full, maximising quality of life.


Pam Bennett -  MD Going For Independence CIC

January 2018  


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