UnLtd Good Ideas

On 26th January 2011 Kristina and I went to an UnLtd Award Winners day (I know that’s ages ago – we’ve been busy!!). During the day UnLtd advisors talked about what UnLtd can do for us, introducing us to UnLtd Connect and their legal clinics (which Makerhood has since benefited from), helping us to develop an elevator pitch and giving us all manner of other useful tips and advice. However, the best part of the day was meeting all of the other award winners and hearing about the projects they are setting up. I thought you might like to hear a little bit about about them and the wide, wide range of social enterprises that UnLtd support (thank you UnLtd!).

Serious About Youth
Paul Matthews was an UnLtd award winner back in 2009 for the project ‘Serious About Youth’ which he set up with his lifelong friend Rommell Wallace in 2008. Paul came back to the Awards Day to tell us about the highpoints and challenges of life-after-awards.  Serious About Youth are an organisation based in London offering workshops on topics such as effective communication, attitude and creative thinking. The workshops aim to inspire, guide and support young people to gain the life and social skills needed to live fulfilling lives and progress successfully in the ‘real world’. The workshops draw on Rommell’s work as a poet to create fun, interactive environments for learning. Serious About Youth are an UnLtd success story, gathering great reviews from teachers and students so it was a little sobering to hear Paul talk about the continuing difficulties of balancing full-time work alongside running a social enterprise which doesn’t earn enough to pay any wages (yet). It seems like having an understanding boss is key here! See say-youth.org

Stepping Up UK
Angela Nairne is a 2010 UnLtd Award winner for Stepping Up UK which supports young care-leavers age 15 – 25 with projects that focus on wellbeing and  life-skills such as budgeting, voting, environment, D.I.Y and nutrition. Based in Southwark, London, Stepping Up Uk also has an on site employment, education and training advice service in partnership with Peabody. See http://steppingupuk.org.uk/

Bob Lectures
The Best of Bristol Lectures website brings you talks by a range of the very best lecturers that Bristol University has to offer. Is it possible to resist talks with titles like “Quantum chemistry, or why we don’t fall through the floor” and “Secrets of Social Success: Ants and Us”? (Answer, not if you’re a geek like me!) The site was founded by Tom Corfield and his UnLtd award will help him extend Bob Lectures to other universities. See www.boblectures.org.uk

Food From The Sky
The brilliantly simple concept behind Food From The Sky is community gardens on the roof of supermarkets growing food to sell in the supermarket below while providing a learning and educational space for the different part of the communities. In one simple idea the project addresses  sustainability in food production, urban gardening and learning about food growing. Food From the Sky initiator Azul-Valerie Thome set up the first garden on the roof of Budgen’s supermarket in Crouch End, London, last year. And they are already selling vegetables, fruits, mushrooms and herbs grown to organic standard in the shop every Fridays. The mushrooms are grown inside the lift shaft apparently.. Check out http://foodfromthesky.org.uk

The Hackney Pirates
The Hackney Pirates (great name hey?) are a group of teachers and social entrepreneurs working to develop core literacy skills and creative ability in young people. Led by Catriona Maclay the Hackney Pirates (not surprisingly, based in Dalston, Hackney) aim to achieve this by giving young people one to one attention in an unconventional learning environment. Supported and hosted by Bootstrap Company, a social enterprise that has been running for 28 years, the Hackney Pirates use the diverse skills of local volunteers to provide alternative and inspiring role models and help young people develop the skills they need to achieve. Last summer Hackney Pirates ran 4 week-long creative workshops with a different creative product being produced each week. This model is now being trialled in a term-time context. See more at www.hackneypirates.org

Great projects hey? And the best thing is that the people behind them are lovely!

Not only that, but these were only the people who I spoke to, there were 25 more people there who I imagine had equally fantastic ideas for supporting their communities. In all, it was great to be in such good company, and we’re very happy that UnLtd chose us to be part of their community of award winners.


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