While things here at SSE in the past few months have felt at times like a mix between swimming through treacle and sprinting on a treadmill, it's very nice to hear about the impressive progress of others, and especially SSE Felllows. Here's a few recent examples arriving in the inbox…
1) Andy Gibson, who came to SSE in 2007-8, is a co-founder of School of Everything but has been spending most of his energy and focus this year on Mindapples, an initiative which promotes mentally healthy living through simple daily activites; neatly summarised by asking "What's the 5-a-day for your mind?" (something you can answer here). This year, Mindapples has done a huge amount of engagement and outreach at various events (for example, see this video at Brixton Market), given talks + advocated for the cause in policy circles, run workshops for commercial and other clients, developed their website, and become, as Andy puts it a PROPER ORGANISATION, with a legal structure, accounts, VAT reg and brand protection.
Perhaps most excitingly, the organisation has recently been awarded some funding to pilot their work with GPs surgeries across Lambeth, which is a hugely significant development and demonstrates how far it has come from that initial (very good) idea to real work helping real people on the ground. Big festive congrats to Andy and his team, and all those who've been part of the journey so far. As we all know, social entrepreneurs never do it alone.
2) Jude Habib, who came to SSE in 2006-7, and set up SoundDelivery, a digital media, training and production company. Jude has demonstrated real persistence and entrepreneurial flair in winning work, building a track record of delivery, and networking herself and her organisation into the sector. Too many highlights for me to list (and you can read the SoundDelivery Highlights 2010 page for the full version), but they have worked with the Big Lottery Fund, the Guardian, Third Sector magazine, North London Adoption Consortium, BookTrust, London Youth, and many, many more. And on a whole range of activities: podcasts, social media, videos, PR and events.
Also congratulations to Jude for running the London Marathon and raising £5000+ for charity: inspired our own paltry half-marathon efforts later in the year! And due credit to the great team Jude is building there as well, with Mark + Eric and a host of other affiliates and supporters.
3) Nadia Williams, who came to SSE in 2008-9, and has established Didi Trading, a fair trade business that sells fleeces made from sustainably-sourced materials, all giving economic and social impact to the Nepalese people who inspired Nadia to begin with. As the website puts it:
"To this end, we found a production centre in Nepal who have adopted the socially responsible working practices outlined by the SA 8000 certification and sourced a polyester that was not only of the highest quality but also recycled. Around ten 1-litre used plastic bottles make one of our fleeces, bottles that would otherwise end up in landfill."
Nadia's website boutique is only recently online, and we would encourage you all to check the clothes out and consider buying them for Xmas, birthdays and at any other gift-giving times! Congratulations to her too on her persistence and commitment on getting to this point.
Keep on keeping on all: inspiring stuff.