About Level Best Enterprises
Level Best Enterprises is a social enterprise project started by The Dacon Trust, which is passionate about providing high-quality work and life skills training for adults and young people with learning disabilities through personalised and community-based activities.
In our Colchester-based hub, trainees are encouraged to achieve their level best through growing, making, baking and creating – with our team of volunteers and specially trained staff supporting them every step of the way.
We are home to over 60 trainees and deliver more than 110 sessions each week, all of which are designed to encourage independence and creativity. These sessions cover four key areas, including cooking, making, gardening and creating, enabling trainees to explore their talents and gain valuable work experience across each of the organisation’s main enterprises.
We understand that every trainee who comes to us is unique, which is why we are always looking for ways to offer flexible training programmes that cater to each individual’s needs, capabilities and circumstances.
Our trainees are at the centre of everything we do. Using creativity, inclusivity and high-quality support, we aim to develop and nurture their life skills so that they feel confident pursuing their interests outside of Level Best.
Interested in making a difference?
Learn more about our volunteering opportunities and how you can get involved
Level Best and the Dacon Trust – Our Story
The Dacon Trust is an Essex-based charity dedicated to supporting adults and young people with learning disabilities.
Its story starts all the way back in 1970, in the picturesque village of Great Tey, where the organisation opened a school for a group of children with learning disabilities.
The school welcomed twelve children over its first fifteen years, offering a specialist curriculum of speech therapy, music lessons and physiotherapy, all of which were designed to help lay the foundations for a meaningful and enriched adult life.
But it didn’t stop there
After seeing how much these children had thrived in its school, The Dacon Trust was eager to continue supporting them in their adult lives as well. This inspired the charity to launch an exciting new project – ‘The Activity Centre’ – a programme of activities aimed at encouraging a new level of independence amongst the now young adults.
Volunteers and specially trained staff worked closely with each individual across a variety of fun and educational activities, including cooking, computer literacy, horticulture and arts and crafts.
Fast forward twenty years
Twenty years after the opening of its Activity Centre, The Dacon Trust started a new venture, the Level Best Social Enterprise. The new project aimed to challenge people’s perceptions of individuals with learning disabilities, which is why it created three sustainable business projects where trainees could gain genuine work experience and take part in a range of training opportunities.
Run from the original school building in Great Tey, ArtCo, Dacon Bake and Outer Limits enabled trainees to explore their interests in three key areas: art and publishing, catering and bakery, and horticulture and wildlife care.
A new beginning
To continue building on the projects that had been set up in Great Tey, the Dacon Trust opened a café and gallery space in the centre of Colchester. Open to the public, the new building invited families and friends to enjoy a freshly prepared meal to the backdrop of trainee artwork.
The move also saw the development of a new project, ‘Seasonal’, to cater for trainees who were interested in making well-loved preserves and gifts for special occasions. Staff started building connections within the local community, which enabled them to start offering new sessions where trainees could work alongside Park Rangers in Castle Park.
The Dacon Trust is always on the lookout for new and exciting opportunities for its trainees, which is why on 17th April 2023 Level Best Enterprises opened the doors of its new, larger headquarters on St John’s Street, Colchester. Complete with a gallery floor and a state-of-the-art kitchen, trainees at Level Best Enterprises will be able to learn a whole new range of skills which they can then share with our customers.