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Social Enterprise Boost: Luminary Photography CIC

Luminary Photography CIC is a social enterprise that firmly believes in the power of photography to transform lives. Founded by Simon Green, Luminary Photography strives to provide access to the field and is a dedicated advocate for photography in education, industry and art.

Luminary Photography actively creates exhibitions, publications, and workshops while contributing to research, community projects, and discussions within the field. The team foster inclusive opportunities for photographers of diverse backgrounds and cultures, enabling them to engage in meaningful projects and play an active role in shaping the representation of themselves and their communities through exhibitions. 

Simon and his CIC are committed to breaking down financial, educational, and social barriers and supporting individuals pursuing photography careers. Additionally, Luminary Photography CIC collaborates with various organisations and non-profits, leveraging its expertise in photography, video production, web design, and other creative services to promote their work, elevate their visibility, and provide support. 

“I have been working with social enterprises, charities, and community organisations for over 20 years, but wanted to have a greater impact and focus my work on this area. Photography had a significant positive impact on my own mental health, and I know firsthand how photography can change lives, it can help people communicate, connect with the world around them, reduce social isolation, and can be used as a tool to improve mental health. Having experienced these positives, I want to help other people benefit through photography.”

Collaboration is crucial to Luminary Photography CIC's mission, as it partners with other organisations and non-profits. This collaboration involves promoting their work, elevating their profile, and providing support through various creative services such as photography, video production, web design, and more.

The decision of whether or not to establish a social enterprise was a challenging one for Simon. Everyone he knew who had embarked on a similar journey shared their experiences of their challenges, emphasising the substantial time and effort required to bring their missions to fruition. With a year of tenacious effort since its inception in January, Luminary Photography is just beginning to witness the tangible impact of its relentless dedication. 

The difficulties of launching a business are demanding in themselves, and when coupled with the aspiration to create a social impact, additional hurdles inevitably emerge. Recognising the importance of financial support, Simon applied for the Social Enterprise Boost Fund and is one of the successful businesses to be awarded a grant from the first round of grant awardees.

The first part of the funding enabled them to purchase a large format printer, which will significantly reduce the costs for some of their projects and exhibitions, improve what they can offer to their beneficiaries and open avenues for printing services to commercial clients. 

"The Social Enterprise Boost grant has also allowed us to pay staff for admin work such as bid writing and project management."

After a year of planning, Luminary Photography CIC is beginning to solidify its framework. Significant partnerships have been established with esteemed collaborators, affording access to remarkable opportunities and expanding outreach to unexpected audiences. Mainly, the social enterprise has successfully collaborated with individuals facing barriers such as neurodiversity and mental health challenges. The focus has been on guiding them towards creative career paths, and there is a concerted effort to develop this facet of the business further. Looking ahead to the next year, Luminary Photography CIC aspires to strengthen its capacity, allowing for the organic growth of these relationships and, consequently, an amplified social impact.

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