About Us

Who we are

Phoenix Enterprises is a mental health and learning disability charity and social enterprise founded in 2002. Each year we provide a vital safety net for over 100 vulnerable adults in Swindon. We give holistic day-to-day support, in a production environment; improving morale, life and employability skills, mental and physical health.

Mission Statement

Improving social and financial inclusion for people in Swindon with mental health issues and learning difficulties through holistic support and work experience.

What we do

Some of our people will be with us for just a few months and others have been here for over 10 years. Most are referred to us by GPs or mental health and support agencies. 70% take medication or attend GP or consultant appointments related to their mental health condition.

We provide each person with holistic support – advocating for them and working on their development, progressing towards paid employment / independent living; building self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth. We achieve this by providing the following services:

  • More than a day centre, our people carry out hand-assembly jobs in our warehouse, knowing they make a valued contribution to society through doing constructive work and for the financial wellbeing of their charity. Phoenix provides a place to go each day where they can feel included and make friends with people in similar situations.
  • Life Skills training activities which include healthy eating, positive relationships and being active.
  • Advice on budgeting and financial concerns; aiming for control over their finances and their lives.
  • Liaising with GPs, counsellors, social / case workers to ensure that support is targeted to the specific needs of each person and their families.
  • Supporting with Job Centre interviews and benefit applications.
  • Help to resolve landlord and housing disputes.

We aim to get our people that are able into sustainable paid employment. We act as a stepping-stone towards jobs in competitive employment by:

  • Providing work experience.
  • Rebuilding confidence.
  • Helping to find suitable roles.
  • One-to-one training programmes which include: CV writing and interview techniques.
  • Providing references.
  • Helping to educate employers about the stigma attached to mental health, learning and physical disabilities.

We ensure that everyone is given the opportunity to realise their full potential, which for many means finding paid employment, coming off benefits for the first time, living independently and making their way in the world. We focus on what each individual CAN DO, not what their disability means they can’t do.

It is key that our people receive the best possible chance of success and that mental health, learning difficulties or physical disabilities do not disadvantage them in their desire to learn, work, achieve and forge a career. The building of better relationships with employment agencies, employers and the job centre allows us to educate and knock down the stigma barriers attached to employing people with disabilities.


In the year to 31 March 2023 110 people attended Phoenix. We provided holistic, one-to-one support:

We improved Health and Wellbeing

  • We accompanied our people to 33 medical appointments (GP / nurse / hospital / mental health and psychiatric assessments)
  • We carried out monthly Wellbeing Assessments, taking action where indicated.
  • We delivered healthy eating advice, boxing fitness training and fitness with Swindon Town Football Club.

We advocated for all and improved financial circumstances

  • Social care – we supported our people at 418 meetings
  • We supported at Job Centre meetings and DWP assessments, helping people obtain and retain the appropriate benefits
  • We helped with housing issues, disputes, probate, etc.
  • We gave one-to-one budgeting and financial management advice.
  • Overall we gave people the confidence to manage their lives

We increased employability

  • 9 people left us for paid employment
  • 4 people took on volunteering roles in other organisations
  • 3 people did work experience outside of Phoenix and 9 completed training courses

We reduced social isolation

  • People attending Phoenix between 1 and 5 days each week.
  • Our social activities, like the Jubilee party, the 20th anniversary celebration, fireworks at Lydiard Park and the Christmas party, encouraged all our people to make friends and enjoy life.

We tackled the stigma attached to mental health and learning disability

  • We’ve developed partnerships with local employers Travis Perkins and WH Smith with our people doing work experience.
  • We mainly place people in Retail roles and are gradually raising awareness that a learning disability for example is no barrier to being an effective shop assistant.
  • We made it through to the shortlist for The People’s Project, run by ITV and the Big Lottery. Our project, which focussed on helping our people learn new skills to make them more employable in a more diverse range of jobs, was aired in May 2023.
  • Trustees and service users took part in local community radio interviews, raising awareness of the employability potential of people with learning difficulties and mental health problems.

Whilst our people are fairly spread across ages 18 to 55+, 70% are male and 30% are female. We address this by making our environment appealing to all and working with female focused entities like the women’s refuges to recruit new starters. However, the main issue is that the ratio of women to men diagnosed with Autism is 3:1 – this is because most women aren’t diagnosed, and if they are, it occurs late in adulthood. We, MIND and other organisations and the media need to raise ‘low female autism diagnosis’ awareness.

“Many people with learning disabilities have greater health needs than the rest of the population. They are more likely to experience mental illness and are more prone to chronic health problems, epilepsy, and physical and sensory disabilities. The Government’s objective is to enable people with learning disabilities to have access to a health service designed around their individual needs, with fast and convenient care delivered to a consistently high standard and with additional support where necessary.”

People don’t always ask for help with their health when they need it, or know what to ask for – as we work so closely with each person, we see any decline in their physical or mental health or wellbeing and support them so they get the help they need. This intervention prevents issues becoming chronic.

“People with learning disabilities and their families currently have few options about where they live. Our objective is to enable people with learning disabilities and their families to have greater choice and control over where and how they live.”

We work with each person that needs support to improve their housing, helping them find and move into the best solution available to them.

“Our objective is to enable people with learning disabilities to lead full and purposeful lives in their communities and develop a range of activities including leisure interests, friendships and relationships.”

We encourage all to lead fulfilling lives e.g. suggesting 3 days at Phoenix, gaining from all we have to offer, and on other days volunteering or attending centres which offer complementary activities, like social and crafting clubs – see Other Helpful Services. People highly value the social aspect of Phoenix.

“Very few people with learning disabilities – probably less than 10% – have jobs. Our objective is to enable more people with learning disabilities to participate in all forms of employment, wherever possible in paid work, and to make a valued contribution to the world of work.”

Most local organisations just provide training or signposting to other services. As we provide proper work experience, we do so much more to make paid employment a real possibility for our people.