Enterprising Communities: people transforming where they live!

A celebration of social entrepreneurs

On 23rd January UnLtd held their first event since the announcement of the collaboration between themselves and Local Trust.

Social Entrepreneurs created a community pub called The Bevy
More on this event can be read in the latest Place Magazine – click here to download

Held in the spectacular setting of the Conservatory Terrace at the Barbican Centre, the event attracted social entrepreneurs from all parts of England, Wales and Scotland.

The event was part celebration of successes so far reflecting on social entrepreneurs who have served their communities with projects such as community gardens, community cinemas, supporting ex-offenders and much more.

But the key theme was celebrating here and now and building excitement for the future with more areas coming online and 500 more awards in the pipeline.  

The direction of social entrepreneurs was also considered, and it was acknowledged that they are now moving into even bigger projects such as green spaces.

The keynote speaker was Lord Andrew Mawson OBE who describes himself as a serial social entrepreneur, best known for founding the Bromley by Bow Centre in East London, the Community Action Network, Poplar Harca (social housing company) and Leaside Regeneration.

Lord Mawson’s speech focused on doing and not debating.  He used the metaphor of the hot air over Brexit discussions in Government getting in the way with getting on with the job in hand.

In fact, Government was mentioned more than once with his suggestion that we should “Be bold and not follow Government. Governments come and go.”

The afternoon moved on to workshops from experienced and successful entrepreneurs who offered their experiences to motivate the audiences.  These workshops included inspirational speakers from –

After another break-out session for conversations and discussion to generate innovative ideas, everyone came back together to hear from the key speaker Erik Paul Howard.  

Erik, who came from Detroit especially for the event is co-founder of Inside Southwest Detroit, Young Nation, and The Alley Project in southwest Detroit.  He shared with us anecdotes and inspiring words about how he combines his passions for youth and community development with his love of photography.  Through cultural and place-based activities such as lowriding and street art, Erik has been building with neighbours and youth in southwest Detroit for over 20 years.  

It was an extremely powerful and at times emotional event.  Without doubt, everyone left with new ideas and refreshed and enthused about their local projects.


Social entrepreneurs:

sound bites from the day


Read more about UnLtd and their social entrepreneurs in Place Magazine“Ordinary people doing extraordinary things, showing what can happen if you give people resources, support, time”

“Social entrepreneurs are driven by making a real difference and not necessarily following rules”

“We can’t do it if it’s not driven by the local voice”

Mark Norbury “We are creating an ecosystem to grow, all driven by the Revive & Thrive spent the day with some of UnLtd's Social Entrepreneursneighbourhood – listening to local people about what they really need. We’re building hope and creating communities.”

“Entrepreneurs should focus on the mechanics and detail not the ‘hot air”

“Look up into the machinery of government from the perspective of community to understand how best to support place says Lord Andrew Mawson”

People Power is one of the catalysts for Business Improvement Districts“Social entrepreneurs see a problem and want to do something about it. They are fuelled by passion… Government can’t sort *every* problem. We all need to solve problems too. Take responsibility.”

“Get behind people not process”

“The only opinion I care about are the people who live here”

“Councils ask how did the The Bevy manage to get 200 people to donate £10?   Answer, because it’s a real grass roots project”

Read more about this event in Place Magazine
Read more about this event in Place Magazine

“Social Entrepreneurs fill in the gaps in the community”

“The reason that residents, students and academics can come together for a meeting at The Bevy is because it is a pub”

“Work with people not at people”

“The way to big things is the through the small things”

You need a wide range of partners, funding and resources to create #social change”

“Get rich and go to heaven”

“Social enterprises are best at operating where individuals, community & business interests intersect”

“It doesn’t matter where you are. It’s all about participating, communicating with people, knowing your assets and feeling empowered about your future”

“We need a holistic approach, using community assets as a toolbox to support specific community needs.”

“Unlikely relationships unleash outcomes and opportunities”

“Social enterprise isn’t a magic money tree- it needs a whole range of approaches, funding, and support”

“Frequency and depth of unlikely relationships that arise as a result of the work”

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A new partnership to support social entrepreneurs to thrive in their communities.

Revive & Thrive have a media partnership with UnLtd

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 –

UnLtd and Local Trust have announced £2.8m will be invested in building sustainable and socially-beneficial local economic growth in communities around England as part of a new support offer.UnLtd Supporting Social Entrepreneurs

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 

South West:

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 UnLtd supports social entrepreneursareas 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 Revive & Thrive supports UnLtd and social entrepreneursprovide 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.