Hertfordshire Independent Living Service (HILS) provides support to older and vulnerable people across Hertfordshire. HILS joined the SBT portfolio in 2015. CEO Sarah Wren recalls, “Initially, the idea of collaborating with corporate partners felt daunting, but we’ve now been able to develop relationships with the best of the best – people that we could never, ever have hoped to be able to afford to get expertise from.”

With SBT’s support and over 200 days of corporate volunteering, HILS has seen impressive growth since initial investment: from an annual revenue of £3.5m in 2015/16, to £4.76m in 2019/2020 and the number of beneficiaries rising from 11,108 to 17,000. Sarah describes the relationship as having been “brilliant on so many levels” – with SBT support in areas as varied as business planning, digital transformation, strategy development and improvement of client-facing interactions.

Beyond providing this help to its social enterprises, SBT strives to create a platform for them to nurture strong relationships with the corporate partners. HILS team members – including Sarah herself – have benefitted from mentoring, and several corporate partners have also joined HILS’ board. “The great thing about SBT is that it really does become a family and we’ve become stronger overall as a result of this relationship,” summarises Sarah.

Sarah told us the story of Derick, a man whom HILS was able to support thanks to the development of the business that came through the relationship with SBT. When HILS first met Derick, he was a very poorly man who had used up all his NHS physiotherapy and had very little autonomy. HILS supported him and within weeks, he was able to stand up again with his walker and enjoy his garden. “Through our joint work with SBT, we were able to make a real difference for Derick. And that’s what SBT does: it enables social enterprises to transform and have more impact, so that we can help thousands of people like Derick,” adds Sarah.

SBT supports its social enterprises in good times and bad. Throughout the global pandemic, SBT organised a series of webinars on crisis response.

“SBT and its partners have been great friends to HILS over the last five years, and during the COVID-19 crisis they have gone even further. We have adopted some of the frameworks used by EY and Bain & Company in dealing with the pandemic, which has helped us manage the crisis internally ourselves. It has been priceless", Sarah Wren, CEO, HILS

In 2019, HILS was approved for reinvestment, continuing its journey of growth, support and impact. 

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