Employment and enterprise

Employment and enterprise

Employment and enterprise

Introduction

Our Covid-19 Action Fund provided grants for Churchill Fellows to run projects combating the effects of Covid-19 in all areas of society. Hundreds of pandemic projects nationwide are being run or assisted by Churchill Fellows, using the international expertise they gained during their Fellowships overseas. Here are the Action Fund recipients working on issues relating to employment and enterprise.

January 2022 awards

Geneva Ellis: helping care leavers into employment

Geneva Ellis (CF 2012) from London is a Director at St Christopher’s Fellowship, a charity that provides homes and support for children and young people in care. In June 2020, Geneva received a Covid-19 Action Fund grant to provide education support to children in care during the pandemic. Since then, many young people in their homes in England have expressed concerns about having the skills to secure and sustain work once they leave care.

Geneva is receiving a second Action Fund grant to launch a pilot programme in England to support care leavers into employment. The Get Into Work programme will provide work experience opportunities to develop young people’s confidence and skills, as well as mentoring and support to help care leavers overcome difficulties finding work. The funding will enable the charity to hire a Get Into Work coordinator to deliver an apprenticeship programme and develop work experience opportunities, initially internally, within the organisation. The Coordinator will develop an accredited qualification that enables young people to mark their progress and achievements, and will track the impact of the pilot so that it can be developed and improved for more young people in the future. Geneva hopes this will enable care leavers to gain confidence in applying for jobs and raise their career aspirations.

Geneva’s Fellowship to Germany, Norway and Sweden in 2012 explored international children’s homes. It was supported by The Rank Foundation.

Roger Warnock: co-creating change with young people in Northern Ireland

Roger Warnock (CF 2013), from County Down in Northern Ireland, is the Director of Social Nybble Labs, a social enterprise that supports changemakers to transform their communities. During the pandemic, Roger has spent time listening to the experiences of over 150 young people from marginalised communities in Northern Ireland, who are struggling with the combined effects of Covid-19 and Brexit on their society and their future.

Roger will use his grant to develop YouthUX, a pilot project for young people to co-design entrepreneurial solutions to current social and environmental challenges they are facing, and to build their own online platform for positive change. The project will be delivered to 30 young people, working in groups of five, through a series of workshops and one-to-one team support. Each team will receive a budget to develop their ideas and an opportunity to pitch them to key decision-makers. Their solutions will be showcased in an online platform, managed by young people, which they can use to influence key decision-makers and bring about change in their own lives. Roger will evaluate the pilot project and then hopes to scale it across the UK.

Roger’s Fellowship to Brazil and the USA in 2013 explored sustainable entrepreneurship models through social innovation.

December 2020 awards

John Blackmore: providing business start-up training for the unemployed

John Blackmore (CF 2002) from Ealing is the CEO of Action West London, a charity and social enterprise that helps change peoples' lives through employment, education and enterprise.

John will use his grant to launch an online and face-to-face street market business start-up training and support course for unemployed young people and adults, primarily from minoritised racial communities. The course will be led by a business advisor and skilled trainer, and will link participants with volunteer business mentors and experienced market traders to help develop their entrepreneurial skills. Participants will translate their training into practice by running stalls at the well-established Acton Street market, run by Action West London, testing out business ideas, before having the opportunity to progress to other markets or set up their own business. In this way, the project will also help with local high street and community regeneration. John hopes the project will support a minimum of 20 young people and adults, and that it might be replicated across other London boroughs and the rest of the UK.

John's Fellowship to Australia and the USA in 2002 explored international approaches to crime and community safety which he subsequently implemented in his work back in London.

David Morgan: supporting prison leavers into self-employment

David Morgan (CF 2018) from Bolton, Greater Manchester, is the founder and Director of Entrepreneurs Unlocked CIC, which enables people in custody to develop their entrepreneurial talent and gives them a crime-free future. During the pandemic, face-to-face education services for people in custody have been significantly reduced, negatively impacting access to learning opportunities and the chance to prepare for life after release.

David will use his grant to develop a digital support community for people released from prison and those serving community orders, who have completed a learning programme with Entrepreneurs Unlocked, to support them in setting up as self-employed and earning a sustainable income. This platform will provide videos, tutorials, templates and 'how to' guides, as well as connections with trusted organisations to advise on digital, business and finance skills. The platform will also provide an online buddy system, enabling people to share their experiences and encouraging them to access help with their wellbeing.

David's Fellowship to the USA in 2018 explored entrepreneurial opportunities for offenders and was supported by The Rank Foundation.

Emma Sullivan: upskilling students to prepare them for work

Emma Sullivan (CF 2018) from Twickenham, London, is the co-founder and CEO of Prospela, an award-winning EdTech start-up giving students on-demand access to employee e-mentors for career advice.

She will use her grant to develop a database of upskilling resources recommended by employers for students to use at home for free. In this way, the students will be able to upskill themselves and gain access to the latest career insights, with help from an e-mentor, to close an otherwise large gap on their CV. The service will be particularly aimed at state school and students from minoritised racial groups, who may not have access to the professional networks of their more affluent peers.

Emma's Fellowship to the USA and Canada in 2018 explored how tech can be used to encourage corporate volunteering and was supported by The Rank Foundation.

Eifion Williams: building resilience amongst community businesses

Eifion Williams (CF 2018) from Wrexham in Wales is the founder and director of Circular Economy Wales CIC – a social enterprise that campaigns to see the elimination of all waste in Wales and its conversion into wealth.

Eifion will use his grant to develop and pilot a mutual credit system to help build recovery and resilience amongst community businesses in the face of the current and future economic downturns. Mutual credit provides a mechanism for businesses to trade without money, instead trading in goods or services. It is based on a model in Sardinia, called the Sardex, which Eifion researched on his Churchill Fellowship in 2018, where it has been used to great effect since 2010, increasing liquidity, helping community-facing businesses to stay afloat whilst saving local jobs and vital services. Eifion will pilot the system in Wrexham, using his grant to promote membership to local businesses and subsequently sharing his findings with other regions across the UK.

Eifion's Fellowship to France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland in 2018 was supported by The Rank Foundation.

June 2020 awards

Matt Little: training disadvantaged young people in Cornwall

Matt Little (CF 2013) from Bristol is the co-founder of the Real Ideas Organisation, a social enterprise based in the south-west of England that supports people, communities and organisations to develop the skills they need in an ever-changing world.

Matt will use his grant to launch a new scheme for disadvantaged young people aged 16-24 in Cornwall, to help engage them in social action within their community. Inspired by the Churchill Fellowship model, he will offer ten young people ‘mini-Fellowships’, providing them with the opportunity to problem-solve and develop ideas and projects in response to the current crisis and needs of their community. Whilst benefiting Cornwall, one of the poorest regions in the UK, this scheme will also allow the young people to develop their own enterprising potential at a time of uncertainty and lack of opportunity.

Matt's Fellowship to Canada and the USA in 2013 explored best practice in helping young people to become engaged in social enterprise.

January 2022 awards

Geneva Ellis: helping care leavers into employment

Geneva Ellis (CF 2012) from London is a Director at St Christopher’s Fellowship, a charity that provides homes and support for children and young people in care. In June 2020, Geneva received a Covid-19 Action Fund grant to provide education support to children in care during the pandemic. Since then, many young people in their homes in England have expressed concerns about having the skills to secure and sustain work once they leave care.

Geneva is receiving a second Action Fund grant to launch a pilot programme in England to support care leavers into employment. The Get Into Work programme will provide work experience opportunities to develop young people’s confidence and skills, as well as mentoring and support to help care leavers overcome difficulties finding work. The funding will enable the charity to hire a Get Into Work coordinator to deliver an apprenticeship programme and develop work experience opportunities, initially internally, within the organisation. The Coordinator will develop an accredited qualification that enables young people to mark their progress and achievements, and will track the impact of the pilot so that it can be developed and improved for more young people in the future. Geneva hopes this will enable care leavers to gain confidence in applying for jobs and raise their career aspirations.

Geneva’s Fellowship to Germany, Norway and Sweden in 2012 explored international children’s homes. It was supported by The Rank Foundation.

Roger Warnock: co-creating change with young people in Northern Ireland

Roger Warnock (CF 2013), from County Down in Northern Ireland, is the Director of Social Nybble Labs, a social enterprise that supports changemakers to transform their communities. During the pandemic, Roger has spent time listening to the experiences of over 150 young people from marginalised communities in Northern Ireland, who are struggling with the combined effects of Covid-19 and Brexit on their society and their future.

Roger will use his grant to develop YouthUX, a pilot project for young people to co-design entrepreneurial solutions to current social and environmental challenges they are facing, and to build their own online platform for positive change. The project will be delivered to 30 young people, working in groups of five, through a series of workshops and one-to-one team support. Each team will receive a budget to develop their ideas and an opportunity to pitch them to key decision-makers. Their solutions will be showcased in an online platform, managed by young people, which they can use to influence key decision-makers and bring about change in their own lives. Roger will evaluate the pilot project and then hopes to scale it across the UK.

Roger’s Fellowship to Brazil and the USA in 2013 explored sustainable entrepreneurship models through social innovation.

December 2020 awards

John Blackmore: providing business start-up training for the unemployed

John Blackmore (CF 2002) from Ealing is the CEO of Action West London, a charity and social enterprise that helps change peoples' lives through employment, education and enterprise.

John will use his grant to launch an online and face-to-face street market business start-up training and support course for unemployed young people and adults, primarily from minoritised racial communities. The course will be led by a business advisor and skilled trainer, and will link participants with volunteer business mentors and experienced market traders to help develop their entrepreneurial skills. Participants will translate their training into practice by running stalls at the well-established Acton Street market, run by Action West London, testing out business ideas, before having the opportunity to progress to other markets or set up their own business. In this way, the project will also help with local high street and community regeneration. John hopes the project will support a minimum of 20 young people and adults, and that it might be replicated across other London boroughs and the rest of the UK.

John's Fellowship to Australia and the USA in 2002 explored international approaches to crime and community safety which he subsequently implemented in his work back in London.

David Morgan: supporting prison leavers into self-employment

David Morgan (CF 2018) from Bolton, Greater Manchester, is the founder and Director of Entrepreneurs Unlocked CIC, which enables people in custody to develop their entrepreneurial talent and gives them a crime-free future. During the pandemic, face-to-face education services for people in custody have been significantly reduced, negatively impacting access to learning opportunities and the chance to prepare for life after release.

David will use his grant to develop a digital support community for people released from prison and those serving community orders, who have completed a learning programme with Entrepreneurs Unlocked, to support them in setting up as self-employed and earning a sustainable income. This platform will provide videos, tutorials, templates and 'how to' guides, as well as connections with trusted organisations to advise on digital, business and finance skills. The platform will also provide an online buddy system, enabling people to share their experiences and encouraging them to access help with their wellbeing.

David's Fellowship to the USA in 2018 explored entrepreneurial opportunities for offenders and was supported by The Rank Foundation.

Emma Sullivan: upskilling students to prepare them for work

Emma Sullivan (CF 2018) from Twickenham, London, is the co-founder and CEO of Prospela, an award-winning EdTech start-up giving students on-demand access to employee e-mentors for career advice.

She will use her grant to develop a database of upskilling resources recommended by employers for students to use at home for free. In this way, the students will be able to upskill themselves and gain access to the latest career insights, with help from an e-mentor, to close an otherwise large gap on their CV. The service will be particularly aimed at state school and students from minoritised racial groups, who may not have access to the professional networks of their more affluent peers.

Emma's Fellowship to the USA and Canada in 2018 explored how tech can be used to encourage corporate volunteering and was supported by The Rank Foundation.

Eifion Williams: building resilience amongst community businesses

Eifion Williams (CF 2018) from Wrexham in Wales is the founder and director of Circular Economy Wales CIC – a social enterprise that campaigns to see the elimination of all waste in Wales and its conversion into wealth.

Eifion will use his grant to develop and pilot a mutual credit system to help build recovery and resilience amongst community businesses in the face of the current and future economic downturns. Mutual credit provides a mechanism for businesses to trade without money, instead trading in goods or services. It is based on a model in Sardinia, called the Sardex, which Eifion researched on his Churchill Fellowship in 2018, where it has been used to great effect since 2010, increasing liquidity, helping community-facing businesses to stay afloat whilst saving local jobs and vital services. Eifion will pilot the system in Wrexham, using his grant to promote membership to local businesses and subsequently sharing his findings with other regions across the UK.

Eifion's Fellowship to France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland in 2018 was supported by The Rank Foundation.

June 2020 awards

Matt Little: training disadvantaged young people in Cornwall

Matt Little (CF 2013) from Bristol is the co-founder of the Real Ideas Organisation, a social enterprise based in the south-west of England that supports people, communities and organisations to develop the skills they need in an ever-changing world.

Matt will use his grant to launch a new scheme for disadvantaged young people aged 16-24 in Cornwall, to help engage them in social action within their community. Inspired by the Churchill Fellowship model, he will offer ten young people ‘mini-Fellowships’, providing them with the opportunity to problem-solve and develop ideas and projects in response to the current crisis and needs of their community. Whilst benefiting Cornwall, one of the poorest regions in the UK, this scheme will also allow the young people to develop their own enterprising potential at a time of uncertainty and lack of opportunity.

Matt's Fellowship to Canada and the USA in 2013 explored best practice in helping young people to become engaged in social enterprise.