This week we were excited to see one of our Fellows featured in a BBC article as a beacon of hope in a report that spells out the real situation on the ground for one coastal community in need of help to support its lower-than-average figures for unemployment, disposable income and wages. The Communities on the Edge report, featured in the article, found that in the East of England, the average weekly wage is £549, but in Great Yarmouth it is £479. In Great Yarmouth the unemployment rate is also higher than the national average at 3.9% and the average disposable income is just £16,600.
Bread Kitchen CIC, a community group in Great Yarmouth that helps locals get work experience and qualifications in subjects like maths and English, animal care and horticulture.
“There is a desperate need, particularly here, where we’ve got some of the highest rates of deprivation and unemployment,” says Bread Kitchen CIC co-founder Cathy Cordiner-Achenbach, who is also a Labour local councillor. “We’re working with people with disabilities, people with mental health concerns and single parents. “There are a lot of barriers that are stopping people being able to access mainstream training or employment”.
But they don’t stop at providing social value; co-founder Mike Smith-Clare has attended two Match Trading programmes at SSE; to improve his business and leadership skills and increase the CIC’s trading income, thus providing more local jobs and more community focused support.
Alongside running Bread Kitchen day-to-day, Mike is now advocating for more funding to go directly to communities and social enterprises on the ground.
Over 1/3 of the social enterprises we support are based in the most deprived regions of the UK and we know that when they are supported to increase their sustainability and trading income; they also increase their impact.
Jamie Shackleton, 19, from Great Yarmouth, is getting support at the Bread Kitchen to pass GCSE maths. He says he expects it to be a struggle to find work locally.
“For beginners looking for a job, they’re probably going to find it hard to find anything within their possible reach,” he says.
At SSE we know organisations such as The Bread Kitchen CIC can turbo charge their income and impact with incentivised support from an innovative grant approach such as Match Trading. The approach has supported at least a 64% traded income uplift for organisations working in deprived areas. We believe, with further support and increased agency, social enterprises can ignite devolution plans, harnessing networks and stimulating growth in areas that have been left behind.
SSE’s director of strategic projects, Robin Chu says “Devolution done right needs to be more than just shifting money from budgets in Whitehall to budgets in local councils. We need to create the right financial incentive and support that puts power in the hands of local leaders like Mike and Cathy. That way, we can create more social enterprises like Bread Kitchen up and down the UK.”
To see the BBC article in full, please see here.