Investing in Social Entrepreneurs
Revive & Thrive is always pleased to receive and share stories about social entrepreneurs such as this one from media partners, UnLtd –
Social entrepreneurs are improving their local communities across the UK, working hard to respond to specific challenges in their areas. In a new partnership, UnLtd, Local Trust and 19 Big Local areas will be working together to accelerate social enterprise and increase local job creation over a three-year co-funded support programme.
The 19 areas taking part span a wide range of communities, including rural areas, new towns, market towns, suburbs and cities. All of them are part of the Big Local programme, a unique initiative that provides £1m and a package of support to each of 150 areas in England. Each of the areas put forward a proposal to UnLtd outlining their ambition to strengthen local social enterprise, and the selection panel also drew on UnLtd’s energy index, which measures social entrepreneurial activity in a neighbourhood.
The 19 participating areas are:
London and the South East:
Bountagu Big Local, in Enfield
St James St Big Local, in Walthamstow
William Morris Big Local, in Walthamstow
South Bermondsey Big Local, in Southwark
Riverside Community, in Essex
Dover Big Local, in Kent
Par Bay Big Local, in Cornwall
St Peter’s and The Moors Big Local, in Cheltenham
Whitleigh Big Local, in Plymouth
Birchfield Big Local, in Birmingham
Palfrey, in Walsall
North: Big Local Central Jarrow
Little Hulton Big Local, in Salford
Collyhurst Big Local, in Manchester
Sale West Big Local, in Greater Manchester
Barrowcliff Big Local, in Scarborough
Greatfield Big Local, in Hull
Tang Hall Big Local, in York
Keighley Valley Big Local, in West Yorkshire
Social entrepreneurs are uniquely well-placed to create change in their local areas because they deeply understand the problems facing their communities. The new partnership will support Big Local areas who are working to make their places even better, boosting confidence and inspiring other local people to tackle the challenges that matter to them.
With support from UnLtd, each Big Local area will be able to:
- Access an annual grant fund of more than £16,000 in each area
- Get dedicated help and support from UnLtd staff to unlock people’s potential and support the growth of social ventures in the area.
- Forge new connections with local decision makers, government and investor communities, to create a culture where social entrepreneurs can thrive.
The three partners are contributing equal financial support, with UnLtd, Local Trust and each of the 19 Big Local areas providing £50,000 towards the project for the next 3 years, with work starting in January 2018.
In York, UnLtd will be working with Tang Hall Big Local to support social entrepreneurs like Sue Williamson, who founded Tang Hall SMART to fill a void in her community after the local school closed.
Using her experience as a teacher and skills as a musician, she gives vulnerable people the chance to be involved in a community, enjoy themselves and participate in music and the music industry. As her venture has grown she has begun to offer employment to other local people who have been farthest from the labour market and launched her own record label.
Sue is one of a collective of social entrepreneurs in the area working to provide resident-led services that benefit local people, from pre-school & Yorkey dads’ cookery to all-inclusive riding classes from ages 18 months to seniors.
Mark Norbury, UnLtd CEO said: “We are living in increasingly turbulent times; economically, culturally and socially. The social challenges we face have no easy answers, but Local Trust and UnLtd understand that the solutions lie with social entrepreneurs who have the spark and commitment to change their community for the better. We must invest in the energy, talent and ideas in these local people and communities. This partnership will enable them to have a voice, create opportunities and build confidence so that they become fairer, more optimistic and resilient communities. There’s lots of hard work to come, but we’re looking forward to rising to this challenge.”
Matt Leach, Local Trust Chief Executive, said: “Residents involved in Big Local have a brilliant track record of finding imaginative ways to meet local needs. We’re delighted to renew our partnership with UnLtd and offer further support to Big Local areas that are harnessing local entrepreneurial spirit to explore and develop new social enterprises.”
This work is part of a wider focus for UnLtd on building resilient communities, through harnessing the power of social entrepreneurs. In total, over the next three-years UnLtd plans to support 400 social entrepreneurs to transform their places for good. This will involve funding and supporting ventures to help them grow, building new collaborations between social entrepreneurs and other organisations, enabling access to further investment, and fostering a local support infrastructure of embedded social ventures.