Growing South West Communities Together

We aim to support groups and individuals who are working within their local communities to deliver much-needed volunteer-led and co-produced support, which in turn will benefit community members to feel as if they are active participants in theirs and others’ daily lives. We aim to build on ‘what is strong’ and not ‘what is wrong’ within our communities, making us more resilient and diverse, where everyone’s contribution is welcome.

Many small/medium-sized groups struggle with volunteer engagement and fundraising. As we emerge from the pandemic, we know volunteer-led volunteers are often stretched and need support more than ever as the demand and complexity of service support needs grow. External support can often add another layer of admin rather than be seen as accessible and supportive.

Caroline Retter and Sharon Thorne set up Inspiring Connections in 2022 with the aim to use our skills and knowledge gained from our experience of working within the third sector in the South West. Offering a flexible and responsive support system, which will enable them to thrive and grow, building on their strengths and assets rather than an imposed model of the practice. We see ourselves as being different in that we aim to promote the services being provided by the community for the community. As a small CIC with local-level knowledge and understanding, we can spend time listening to the stories, rather than being dismissive of local knowledge and learning. Caroline resigned in 2023 to pursue other commitments. 

Values that lead us



We act in our clients’ best interests, only taking on consultancy/delivery projects where we believe we can add substantial and genuine value, delivering to brief and to deadline. We offer an honest perspective combining ambition with objective pragmatism.



We have a combination of professional and service delivery experience, striving for continual improvement through ongoing professional development and innovation.



We believe that effective development requires strong partnership. We work hand in glove with our clients to maximise the impact of our services. We are a close-knit team, working with you to deliver the true benefit of our collective professional experience to the sector.



We believe in a society that values culture and diversity and which champions under represented groups. We actively seek to work with organisations addressing disadvantage and injustice.

Our Aims

  • To work alongside community groups and individuals who support their local communities to be the best they can, by using the skills and strengths they already have and helping them to explore the potential they may not have yet explored.
  • To promote partnership working and resource sharing between community groups, for a more sustainable, robust, caring and effective community support network. To help promote cross community interaction and work to support the vulnerable and those in need within local communities.
  • To assist smaller community led groups increase their presence in their communities and the wider locality leading to engagement within the wider Voluntary Community & Social Enterprise Sector. We want these groups to have a voice in local service development and delivery.

Our Team

Sharon Thorne

Founder & Director

Mark Bradshaw


Our Partners

Inspiring Connections South West CIC is proud to be working in partnership with many great organisations

Honiton Community Spaces (CUB)

Honiton Food Save

Estuary League of Friends

….and more