Social entrepreneurs ready to make a real difference following graduation

The Lloyds Bank School for Social Entrepreneurs graduates.

The Lloyds Bank School for Social Entrepreneurs graduates. - Credit: Archant

Seventeen entrepreneurs from School for Social Entrepreneurs East, at Ipswich Waterfront have graduated from Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme

They now head out to take their dreams and ideas and make them work in the wider community in Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk - and beyond.

The entrepreneurs have participated in the year-long programme, benefiting from financial support and comprehensive learning support including a business mentoring scheme. The entrepreneurs all received Start-Up grants of £4,000 from the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme, and this – together with the action learning programme delivered in partnership with School for Social Entrepreneurs, and support from their Lloyds Banking Group mentor – has enabled them to take their social enterprises to the next level and plan for the future.

Launched in 2012, the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme, in partnership with School for Social Entrepreneurs, is designed to support social entrepreneurs in communities and, through them, help stimulate economic growth and regeneration across the UK.

Recent research by CAN Invest and Investing for Good demonstrates the positive impact of the programme on people, businesses and communities: by 2017 the programme will have created over 7,000 jobs and supported 1.1 million beneficiaries. The programme is also supported by The Big Lottery Fund.

Paula Rogers, head of the Social Entrepreneurs Programme at Lloyds Banking Group said: “This year’s cohort of students has made significant progress since joining the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme, in partnership with School for Social Entrepreneurs, and it is fantastic to see them developing their ideas and businesses first-hand with the support from the programme. As part of our commitment to helping Britain prosper, we are proud to witness the considerable impact these social entrepreneurs are having in their communities and wish them all success for the future”.

Digby Chacksfield, CEO of SSE East said, “We have an outstanding group of social entrepreneurs graduating from the 2015/2016 cohort and the

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Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme has played a considerable role in supporting their development this year. We look forward to watching their continued success and positive impact they are making in their local communities”.

He praised them for their commitment in following their dreams.

The 17 students who graduated in Ipswich last week are:

Joy Bishop, Stacy Bradley, Wendy Burt, Ilse Fullarton, Tom Gaskin, Jennifer Irons, Debra Nicholson, Sarah Louse Nkuga, Kerry Overton, Clare Palmier, Emma Roche, Sonia Shaljean, Katherine Stevens, Benjamin Stone, Anna Tuke, Josh Turner, Alex Hirtzel

They come from a wide geograhical area and have an exciting range of new business start-ups, and social enterprises, some of which are already up-and-running.

Many are focussed on giving better opportunities for young people, and in dealing with issues from under achievement and homelessness, to health and wellbeing when school age.

There is a project to develop an East Suffolk railway station building into an arts and community hub for the area, while another course member is helping develop the Wind Energy Museum in Norfolk.

Artist Clare Palmier is leading the project for the Saxmundham Arts Station planning to turn the railway building into a community hub for local people, commuters and visitors to the area.

“We have already got a lot of support but it is early days. It has been closed for five years and is slowly detiorating. It would bring together art, food and transport.”

Former Ipswich schoolboy Josh Turner, from Stowmarket, has already launched Stand4Socks, with each pair of socks sold helping different community projects, from tree planting to aid for Africa, South America and the Far East.

Plans include a homeless sock - with ever pair purchased meaning an matching pair would be given to a homeless person.

Twenty five new designs were going to be launched, including bamboo socks and grsports socks, he said.

In Essex, Lads Needs Dads has been launched by Sonia Shaljean, to help teenage boys cope through those difficult years by providing male mentoring. This help them focus their lives, and keep out of trouble.

“Reseach shows that boys growing up without fathers fare less well than girls do, who don’t fathers. There is very little to help them,”

Boys were more likely to become offenders than girls, and more likely to be victims of crime.

The first group of boys is on the male-led mentoring programme at an Essex high school.

It involved six months of work within the school - Equip - followed by six months out of school - Engage, learning practical skills.

“Practical skills of the type they might be taught by their dad or grandad. And then using them in the community.”

Sonia has modest ambitions to beging with, but sees this could be a national scheming helping adolescent boys keep out of problems while moving into their adult years.

“My ambition is to have this in every school in Britain.”

In Thetford Tom Gaskin’s Pop Up Enterprises is working within the community and looking to set up an enterprised hub to allow young people, aged from nine years to 18, to get involved in a number of projects.

While Ben Stone’s East Anglia Anchorage Trust, is helping tackle the homlessness problem for young people, by working with them and landlords in Norfolk and Suffolk, to give them firm bases to improve their lives and employability.

It had grown from having eight people in accommodation to more than 30, he said.

There are many business models.

Chef Kerry Overton, from Ipswich, has launched her Beansprout Enterprises to work with local projects and communities to offer Pop-up kitchens to help local people learn how to cook healthy food on a budget.