Chukumeka Maxwell, Action to Prevent Suicide

Action to Prevent Suicide founder, Chukumeka Maxwell. Copyright: Tom Hargreaves

In a nutshell:

  • Founder: Chukumeka Maxwell
  • Organisation: Action to Prevent Suicide provides training , advice and promote collaboration to help support individuals and communities at risk of suicide. The organisation is based in the South West but works nationally.
  • SSE programme: Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Start Up Programme 2017/18, jointly funded by Lloyds Banking Group and the National Lottery Community Fund
  • SSE school: Dartington
  • Business model: 1/3 social investment loans, donations and trading of training sessions.

The beginning

Chukumeka has lived a varied life with many interesting and successful careers but when he reached a personal crisis point with his emotional health he knew he wanted to do something with a greater purpose.

He founded social enterprise Action to Prevent Suicide to help create more resilient communities. Whether these communities are brought together by employment, geography, or culture, suicide affects them all. The organisation provides training for individuals, employees and members of local organisations to become “Suicide First Aiders” within their communities, so that, collectively, we can prevent this tragic loss of life.

The programme

For Chukumeka, the most rewarding part of his time on the Start Up programme was the opportunity it gave him to slow down and reflect on his aims. “I was so busy rushing to the next step that I didn’t make time to stop and figure out if what I was doing was actually the right step for the organisation. The course made me slow down and really look at my choices so I knew I was making them for the right reasons,” he explains.

About the programme, he also adds: “It challenged me to look at new ways of doing things and helped me to access a network of experts to support us with everything from legal advice to accountancy. I’d encourage other social entrepreneurs to apply”.

Part of our learning style and structure includes Action Learning Sets which involve small groups of students working cooperatively to tackle issues and problems. This approach and methodology challenged the way Chukumeka worked. Spending time with other students gave him alternative inputs, challenges and the opportunity to refine his vision and values.

“The journey opened my mind and helped me see things in a different way”

Top tip for other social entrepreneurs:

“Prepare to let go of any expectations. Make sure you surround yourself with people who help you stay psychologically safe.”

Get in touch with Action to Prevent Suicide on Facebook and Twitter.