We started life as the Blackburn Partnership to encourage the private sector in the area to give their time and expertise for benefit of the entire borough. We originally focused on the business sector and helping it make community connections and it is here the Guardian Angel Entrepreneurs Network, Employers Forums, Charities @ SAMS and the School Friends project evolved.The past ten years has been a decade of massive change for all of us. We no longer simply focus on just Blackburn but on the rest of Pennine Lancashire and the North West region. As an organisation we recognised that a change in name was needed to reflect our widening influence in the region and in 2005 we became Community and Business Partners.
We were granted Community Interest Company status in 2008, which was a crucial step in the long-term development of CBP. Effectively it meant that if we were to ever stop trading, our assets — money, buildings and so on - would be safeguarded. And we have also moved to our current HQ at the Blackburn Enterprise Centre. The other big change has been the growth of SAMS. It started off as a stand-alone recycling project but has been a huge success. In 2010 SAMS became part of the Energy Zone, which was made possible with funding from HM Government supported by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. The building was modernised thanks to a community assets grant of £966,000 and also houses the Roman Road Community Centre, Gro Zone and some partner projects.
We have also added a whole host of mentoring programmes to our existing services, which are the Guardian Angel Entrepreneurs Network, Employers Forums and Charities @ SAMS, while the School Friends projects has become part of SAMS. Throughout these changes we have remained faithful to the ethos of The Blackburn Partnership. It was founded on a passion and drive to help the region and its people and it’s a philosophy that has never changed. It never will.