Sharing inspiring stories from across the SSE community, curated by Helen Mincher
Another week passes, and I have once again, been flooded with examples of social enterprises adapting to meet the needs of the people they support. Devastatingly, as we settle into this ‘new normal’, the potential impact on our sector is starting to become clear. Social Enterprises are falling through the cracks of government support. An estimated 50% may not survive. The concept of charities and business is more widely understood and this is where the majority of current support is geared to help.
And yet it is the very structure of a social enterprise that enables them to pivot and respond to the needs of people in their community. Unlike charities, they are not locked into supporting a specific issue, and so can adapt and direct resources into meeting an immediate need.
This video chat with Nathan Hopkins from Woodshed Workshop and Sue Osborne, SSE Yorkshire and North East CEO, highlights the above point very well. His top tip for navigating the crisis as a founder and business leader? ‘Be kind’.
Be Kind: Helping the frontline directly
Josh Turner, currently on our Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Scale Up programme, having progressed through Start Up and Trade Up, is Founder of Stand4Socks and a great example of using Nathan’s motto; ‘Be Kind’ to drive company efforts.
Upon learning that hospitals urgently need socks to help to keep workers safe, as PPE only covers down to ankles, he created a promotion that directly helps frontline staff. The Stand4Heroes campaign now gives a pair of socks to a health hero with every purchase, as well its usual donation to a homeless person. Proving that once again, socks can help to change world.
In a similar move, Sue Morgan, SSE Start Up fellow galvanised her community group of crafters to create items that directly help frontline workers stay safe.
Tadcrafters are now using materials to create scrubs, ear protectors (things with buttons to hang masks off) as well as thoughtful items, such as washbags to put work clothes in.
Be Kind: Helping people who may otherwise be forgotten during the crisis
Since lockdown, Jacqueline Hollows has challenged her team at Beyond Recovery to find new ways to continue their work supporting people impacted by mental health.
Many inmates on their mental health programmes are now spending up to 23 hours a day in their prison cells. Initially Beyond Recovery began writing letters as a quick way to maintain contact. This has progressed to curating well-being activity packs and distributing them across the UK prison service each week. Monthly meet ups for those who have left prison are now run weekly online, due to the need for support through this uncertain time.
Jacqueline acknowledges that this experience has challenged her to look critically at their work and channels used. This will continue beyond lockdown as they explore digital channels and the use of prison TV and radio channels.
Rhiannon Griffiths, SSE Start Up Fellow, founded Comics Youth CIC with the aim of creating more inclusive communities in which young people can have a voice. They run creative services to empower young people to express themselves. During lockdown, they set up Comics Youth Radio as a way to maintain connection across their community and to spread positive vibes via the power of music and online connection.
The SSE has joined forces across the sector to launch a campaign #SaveOurSocEnts. Read more about this action and what you can do to help.
Register interest in our Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme, in partnership with The National Lottery Community Fund.