Our timeline

A brief look at RIO’s History


50,000 attendees to Illuminate – the national launch of Mayflower 2020


Game Changer achieved sign up target of 900 young people on programme


Real Ideas supported a school to achieve the first in South West double platinum Artsmark


Real Ideas launched Future Make, a series of groundbreaking programmes and projects for children aged 7 – 11 years old


Construction work at C-Space started



28,000 experienced great art with friends and family at Illuminate light festival 


Real Ideas won the delivery of the Amibitions programme, a project that supports unemployed over 18s in Cornwall


Column Bakehouse shortlisted for the 2018 Food and Drink Devon awards


Real Ideas launched the new Bridge website


Lindsey Hall, Chief Executive of Real Ideas was recognised for the The annual NatWest WISE100


Internationally renowned designers Hemingway Design appointed by Real Ideas to join the design team to work on the Market Hall development



RIO celebrates its 10th birthday

RIO takes on the running of Ocean Studios at Royal William Yard

Plymouth Planning permission is granted for RIO’s Market Hall development

Column Bakehouse Cafe and Stores open at Ocean Studios

Lindsey Hall is named the inaugural WISE100 (Women in Social Enterprise) by Natwest Bank SE100

Column Bakehouse wins Silver in the Tiptree awards for its White Bloomer and Spelt Tin loaf

RIO’s co-founders Matt and Lindsey are inducted into the Social Enterprise Hall of Fame by SEUK

The first wedding was held at Ocean Studios


RIO begins delivering 2nd round of the Engine Room social enterprise start up support programme in Cornwall

Chancellor Philip Hammond MP awards RIO £1m in his Autumn Statement for the Market Hall redevelopment

RIO selected as preferred bidder to assist Liskeard Town Council with the devolution of Liskeard Library

British Council selects RIO as delivery partner for its international drive for social enterprise learning in schools around the world


RIO part of successful partnership that sees Cornwall designated as a Social Enterprise Zone

RIO establishes a new group structure consisting of a CIC with two wholly owned subsidiaries: Real Ideas Trading Ltd and Real Ideas Assets CIC

First Funeral held at Devonport Guildhall

Arts Council England re-appoints RIO as Bridge Organsiation for the south west of England


Creative Skills Initiative begins

RIO part of successful partnership which champions Plymouth as the UK’s first Social Enterprise City

RIO designs its own Impact Framework using the TI (Transformational Index) process

Ballot Street Spice, a school-based social enterprise at Victoria Park Primary Academy in Smethwick, West Midlands, is launched by RIO

RIO develops ‘Surplus for Purpose’ – an innovative programme developed to help local authorities with their commercialisation agenda

The Department for Work and Pensions selects RIO as delivery partner to engage local communities in the supply chain for Hinkley Point


RIO opens a social enterprise hub at No26 Fore Street, Liskeard

RIO, as lead bidder, wins the Big Lottery Fund grant to deliver Talent Match Cornwall; a programme to help long term unemployed people aged 16-25 move closer and into work

May 13th 2013 – Devonport Column opens to the public after a Heritage Lottery Funded renovation

RIO writes successful DFE bid for Sparkwell Free School

Column Bakehouse, RIO’s artisan bakery based in Devonport Guildhall, starts trading

RIO announces plans to develop the Market Hall building in Devonport as a new space for Digital


Arts Council England appoints RIO as Bridge Organisation for the south west, leading strategic work to deliver excellence in cultural education in schools

RIO part of winning bid to deliver social enterprise start up support in Cornwall through the Engine Room programme

RIO launches the SEQ – the world’s first social enterprise qualification – at House of Commons February 2012

RIO’s ‘Food for the Future’ project at Windy Ridge farm in Penzance launches a veg box scheme


First wedding held at Devonport Guildhall

Creative Partnerships – the programme that led to creation of RIO – comes to an end


The newly refurbished Devonport Guildhall opened to the public (April 2010)

Delivered schools consultancy in the Maldives


RIO established XtraVert – a social enterprise based in Newquay working with local skaters and training them in carpentry

Led and produced the ‘Sea Life’ project

Delivered ‘Silk Road’ a programme of social enterprise learning in schools…in Mandarin!


Chew TV is established

Took on the ‘Create Your Future’ programme to support 300 people into work


RIO takes on Devonport Guildhall in a community asset transfer from Plymouth City Council and secures £1.8million to refurbish it from the Community Assets Fund

Real Ideas Organisation CIC is officially set up on 31st January 2007


Lindsey Hall, Matt Little, Tamzyn Smith, Ed Whitelaw and Kate Reed form part of the original RIO team from work delivered during Creative Partnerships