Our History

Colebridge Trust registered as a charity in 2002 with the initial aim of “improving the life chances of local people”.  The name was taken from the River Cole which runs through Solihull & Birmingham.

The charity was started in recognition of the contrasting experiences of residents living in the largely deprived North of Solihull Borough and the more affluent South of Solihull Borough.

Chelmsley Wood, in North Solihull was built as one of the largest council estates in Europe and remains a sizeable area of social housing today.  Life expectancy in the North of the borough is nearly 13 years shorter than that of residents in the South.  The area also housed older residents and had facilities for those with physical or learning disabilities.  Unemployment has stayed consistently at well-above the national average and crime has also been relatively high.

The Trust developed services to bring opportunity into North Solihull, including the development of a learning disability project called Waterloo Woodwork, which has now evolved intoColebridge Enterprises – moving from woodworking / gardening to quality Assembly, Packing and Component Kitting services.  In 2013 we were ‘Highly Commended’ by Social Enterprise West Midlands, as “a social enterprise committed to growth”. Over 70 organisations were nominated for awards so it was very pleasing to pick up an award amongst such impressive competition.

Other notable projects include:- Skills for Jobs, which has been an employment and skills partnership with Solihull College spanning 20 years; Talent Match [photo below shows our CEO, Chet Parmar and partners including BVSC’s Brian Carr sharing the programme’s success with Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor] which was a 5 year Lottery funded programme to support unemployed 18-24 year olds; and 2015 refurbishment of the previously burnt down and subsequently derelict Chapelhouse Boys Club which has evolved into the Junction Community Centre and Health and Wellbeing Hub.

The Trust’s reputation grew as the charity became more established and other major work has included over 10 years of delivering Solihull’s VCSE infrastructure contract (Solihull Sustain) and Healthwatch Solihull.

As Solihull Sustain, our impartial role; as supporter, advocate, broker, facilitator and representative has helped voluntary and community groups to deliver targeted work that has improved the quality of life for some of the most disadvantaged residents in the borough. With our direct intervention and support, over £8M of additional funds have been levered into the VCSE sector – with a social value of many more millions.

The Trust has supported / facilitated many initiatives to regenerate and improve North Solihull, working closely with residents, local authorities, police, schools and health services.   In recent years we have worked with North Solihull Partnership and HS2 to ensure that the developments benefit local residents and groups.

In 2018, the Trust helped to develop the idea of a Social Supermarket to provide local people in need with access to low-cost essentials and deliver support that would help them to eventually overcome the cause of their need.  Interventions such as money advice, housing support and mental health workshops have resulted in many positive outcomes for the Around Again project.

In 2019 the Trust was awarded an Inclusivity Award at the Houses of Parliament in recognition of its work towards creating inclusive workplaces. Also in the same year Colebridge was a finalist in the Locality Awards for its Employment and Skills work which utilises a holistic health and wellbeing approach.

In 2020 The Trust remains very much at the heart of the community and endeavours to continue making a difference where it is needed the most.  The trust is also a firm believer in collaboration, believing that working together is paramount to achieving outcomes and changing lives. We currently deliver employment and skills work  in partnership with Solihull College & University Centre,  Solihull Council and West Midlands Combined Authority.  Our support for young people includes the Steps to the Real Me project in partnership with Northern Star Arts and Solihull Moors Football Club.  In June 2020 we started a new partnership with The Active Wellbeing Society to further opportunities for local people to participate  in health and wellbeing activites within Solihull – find out more here

Colebridge Enterprises won an award in October 2020, Best Charity Social Enterprise – Birmingham at the Midlands Enterprise Awards.


The past few years have seen us help record numbers of people into employment and training and we have addressed many barriers to leading happy and healthy lives.  We continue to support adults of all ages and abilities in North Solihull with a number of different employment and skills projects.

As well as securing the first community-led family hub in Solihull, we have submitted ambitious plans for community-led housing and a new community centre at the junction site in Fordbridge.  We remain keen advocates of social enterprise and in 2024 are responsible for the Solihull, social economy cluster.  Our assembly and packing operation continues to provide vital opportunities and we’re looking forward to helping to improve local population health through a range of projects, including:- social supermarket, family hub, industrial unit, community garden, street connecting and health champions.