How SSE fellows & students are adapting to the Covid-19 crisis

2 Apr 2020

We all need some positive news right now. In a new blog series, Helen Mincher from our team in Yorkshire & North East will be sharing inspiring stories from across the SSE community…

It is with an enormous sense of pride – and indeed awe – that I have witnessed how our SSE fellows and students are dealing with the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. They continue to flex their business models and trial new products. They are creating new services, to support newly vulnerable groups in this challenging and unprecedented environment we all find ourselves in.

This is the first of a series of posts detailing how these remarkable social entrepreneurs are adapting, in order to continue to deliver against their social missions.

Shifting business online

A toddler sits on the floor next to a laptop

One of the young learners enjoying a Twinkle Boost session

Hannah Broughton from Twinkleboost runs a team of speech-therapy professionals delivering classes and support to families across the North of England.

She has shifted her service online, offering a mix of live virtual sessions and pre-recorded classes, and trialing different platforms.

Hannah has found that it has been a case of ‘learning on the fly’, but pivoting her business quickly has helped her to manage cash-flow. She has mitigated some of the losses from cancellations of events and classes.

With the first week of ‘live’ online classes under her belt, 138 clients signed up, with 108 partcipating in the live sessions and the rest opting for the recordings.

Hannah acknowledges the extra work and effort involved in taking a business online, at a time when both her children and team need extra support. But she is excited about the potential for wider reach and impact. She’s encouraged by how her team have overcome their initial fears and adapted to online service delivery.



Liverpool-based Scale Up Fellows Paul Myers from Farm Urban and the Greens for Good campaign and Daniel Robinson of Agile Liverpool have collaborated to get nutritious, locally grown vegetables out to vulnerable people isolated across Liverpool.

Paul has had to close his office and restaurant, but his vertical growing farm remains open, thanks to his staff now volunteering their time.

Together with Daniel’s E-cargo bike delivery enterprise, they have launched a home delivery service, providing living greens to people’s doors and allowing them to donate fresh produce to the most vulnerable in their community.

Paul says: “It has been important to keep connected and take care of each other through regular online meetings and simple check-ins.”

Paul completed the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme.  Register interest for learning, up to £7,000 grant and mentoring.


Managing capacity

Some of the Rising Stars team in action

Rising Stars, founded by LaToyah Lewis in the Midlands, provides commercial and industrial cleaning solutions, specializing in bio-hazards.

At this critical time, she is stepping up the capacity of her enterprise to help keep public spaces – such as hospitals, transport and schools – safe, and help to prevent the spread of Covid-19.


Purple flower in close-up

Kindness is blooming at Clem’s Garden

The beautiful Clem’s Garden in Huddersfield, on the other hand, has had to close its doors to volunteers and the public. But founder Vicky House is working hard to ensure that the British flowers that “Team Clem” grow don’t go to waste.

She is cultivating them herself and donating hand-tied bunches to frontline workers in the NHS.



Share your stories of positivity and hope using #SocEntSolidarity on social media.

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