The Clothes Club hits Dalston rooftop – to raise money for Bootstrap Campus

We’ve been pretty busy the last few months, planning the 2nd Clothes Club event on Wednesday 4th September. It’s a chance to enjoy the last of the summer, hopefully, on the Dalston rooftop. We’ve been in touch with their team since last summer when we decided to first launch TCC, so it’s a pretty weird feeling that the event is suddenly upon us.

We’re supporting Bootstrap Campus who run programmes and workshops for disadvantaged kids in Hackney. Our first Clothes Club supported Hackney Pirates who also help kids in Hackney, with pioneering educational programmes (after school hours). The youth sector is definitely something we’re passionate about, so it’s great to be partnering with yet another great social enterprise in this space.

Bootstrap Campus are part a social enterprise, Bootstrap Company, who have been around since 1977. They help incubate 100s of early stage companies and believe ‘in the power of creativity and micro-enterprises’. By leveraging the creative enterprises that are part of the Bootstrap building community, they develop programs that focus on creative learning and career building, all done within the perfect space – the iconic Print House building, the WW2 bunker and sought after Dalston rooftop.

Their CEO Sara Turnbull is a ‘Chartered Environmentalist with experience in holistic sustainability, energy efficient retrofit and behaviour change’, she’s no doubt had a major impact on the company (and I’d love to interview her).

If you’re free on Wednesday evening pop by with 3 items of quality clothing to swap. You’ll get tokens in return which you can exchange for clothes and do your bit for the environment. There will be cocktails, live sketching of the event in action, and a famous DJ. But best of all for just £10 you’re not only getting new items, it also helps kids in Hackney (win:win).

Thanks for your support TheclothesClub_Poster_Sept4_final

Our young are ‘Abandoning Ambitions’ – could corporate partners help earlier on?

Ariel shot canary wharfThe Prince’s Trust have just released some alarming new research ‘Abandoned Ambitions’, supported by HSBC, which shows that 1 in 3 young people leaving school with poor grades believe they will “end up on benefits” and 1 in 5 young people claim they have “abandoned their ambitions” due to their poor qualifications.

They’re twice as likely as their peers to say that they “struggled to concentrate on schoolwork due to family problems” and that their “homelife was so stressful that they struggled to focus” . They are also significantly less likely to have had access to a computer, the internet or a quiet place to do their schoolwork at home.

Martina Milburn CBE, chief executive of The Prince’s Trust, believes it’s more important than ever to invest in ‘vocational support and training for young people who are not academically successful’ and that government, employers and charities ‘must work together to get them into jobs’. Without this, thousands will struggle to compete, leaving them hopeless and jobless which causes a huge impact on the economy.

I’m doing a mentoring programme with Timebank at the moment and during our training session we met the Major of Tower Hamlets (who was about 16 as he was a young ambassador). Having a quiet place to do schoolwork or study was something that cropped up then too. Also the glaring disparity of the wealth in Canary Wharf versus some of the poorest areas in Tower Hamlets.

It made me think, why don’t corporate companies open up parts of their offices to school children struggling, in the evenings or weekends to do their school work or study. Surely this is paramount in PREVENTING the issue in the first place, rather than trying to help people to find jobs and build confidence AFTER they’ve got low grades.

A lot of effort has to go into un-doing damage to self confidence so why not help make things more accessible before it gets to that stage. Corporate partners surely have a role to play in society and giving something back. Are there programmes focusing on opening up their offices to these kids to study?

Generation generous – sharing through mentoring

generosityGeneration Generous is a about being a bit kinder, a bit more caring and captures the growing importance of ‘generosity’ as a leading societal and business mindset. It’s why I decided to do the On Purpose leadership programme this year, to explore social enterprise.

‘Everyone has transferable commodity-knowledge. Sharing your unique expertise and making introductions for someone creates a lasting legacy.’ Marsha Blackburn

One of the major benefits with On Purpose is the training we get every Friday and mentor and a coach. This is the most amount of personal development I’ve had my whole working career. Very generous. I’ve never had a mentor or coach, surely it’s mutually beneficial for employers (although it may cost them some money)?

The mentor I have is a good sounding board and check in. If you’re used to working in a larger team, it’s good to have this as a sanity check and to focus on the key areas and keep focussed.

I’ve also wanted to mentor for a while, to help someone starting out with my ‘transferable commodity knowledge’ and hopefully contacts that I’ve built up.

I applied to a Timebank project, called Engage, providing training to young people in Tower Hamlets, one of the most deprived boroughs in London, yet across the water is Canary Wharf, one of the most affluent.  The programme aims to help them develop new skills which will hopefully lead to employment something we all take for granted. The girl I’m mentoring is 19 and the primary carer for her mum, she’s setting up a community upcycling project, right up my street and wants to go to university to study communications.

Isn’t that what our experience and networks are for, to share generously?

If anyone has any tips for mentoring please do leave a comment and let me know!


GOOD – pilot campus Ambassadors programme

Good on campus

If you haven’t heard of Good, check them out. They’re a brilliant global community of ‘people who give a damn’.

They’re looking for college students to form Good ‘super members’ – who all are united by their desire to change the world.

These GOOD super-members will lead the charge in expanding the GOOD global community. They’ll organise student innovators to collaborate and collectively drive change.

I asked Good if they’re offering any incentives to people ‘Our incentives are mostly based around professional development. We feel this is a great opportunity for students to gain leadership skills and to have a hand in shaping a program.’ Hannah Wasserman

Hannah’s informed me they were originally looking for US students only, but they’ve received lots of interest outside the US, so they’re currently considering expanding the scheme. What a great way to build the GOOD community and mobilise the masses. Great outreach strategy, for content creation too (and very cost effective).

Social enterprise in sport: Olympics Legacy

We’ve all probably been surprised by just how much we’ve got into the Olympics? I know I can’t stop watching it and have shed a few tears.

Sport has always been a big part of my life, other than at university, where I had a slight dip. I love the quote from this documentary ‘football doesn’t make character, it reveals character’. The documentary is about a coach who helps a football team everyone else had given up on and makes them believe in themselves. Sport is so important for mental health, confidence and ‘anyone can be a champ’.

‘We have worst youth drink, drugs, obesity, crime rates in Europe. Get our kids fit, competitive and occupied. #OlympicLegacyPiers Morgan

I’ll be looking out for social enterprises in sport (and the effect of the Olympic Legacy). If you know of any doing amazing stuff with youth, please do leave a comment with the details, thank you.


Riot From Wrong: youth led documentary about the london riots

One thing I learned from ‘Riot From Wrong’ is that 14 young people can get closer to the truth than 90% of working journalists”
Dan Hancox, Author of Kettled Youth, Journalist at The Guardian

Watch the documentary tailor below produced by Fully Focused, wow. Been waiting for something like this to emerge. We witnessed the biggest civil unrest in modern British history last year and most of us have been left wondering what state we’re really in and can things really be turned around?

Also check out the ‘99% Campaign’ blog written and run by young people. It’s a brilliant youth initiative that gives people a voice and involves them in decision-making processes. They work with reputable media partners like METRO, Guardian Online and Kiss FM to let people ‘have their say’.


Social enterprise in hospitality: STREAT

Could you have a sustainable social enterprise helping homeless people and selling coffee?  Surely the skills and scaling would make it unfeasible and that’s why in Australia, there are no precedents for hospitality enterprises?

Rebecca Scott is the co-founder of STREAT with her partner. It’s a social enterprise that operates cafés, coffee carts and a coffee roastery in Melbourne. They selected the location carefully after conceptualising it in Canberra initially but Canberra proved too small. They moved it to Melbourne, where the city not only loves hospitality and trying new things but also has a longer history of philanthropy. Once the idea was researched and a concrete business plan was in place, they pitched the idea to some Danish philanthropists, who ended up funding them – $700,000!

Rebecca I salut you.

Read the full interview with Rebecca for Smart Company, it’s well worth it:

we looked specifically for investors who wanted both a social and financial return on investment. So you would call them high impact investors. Every year we report to them on financial terms and very tangible social outcomes on each individual site.’