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East London Social Enterprise Schemes

By Charlotte Tottenham

A new movement of do-good brands are making a real impact in East London, many nurtured by Year Here, a social innovation fellowship programme training and supporting the next generation of social entrepreneurs. Year Here give its Fellows a year to test and build solutions to society’s toughest problems (you can read more about it here), and the result is impactful, homegrown, mission-driven businesses making a real difference, like the six below…

Fat Macy’s

This is a supper club and catering company with a difference. Set up by Meg Doherty whilst she was on placement at Year Here, Fat Macy’s helps young Londoners living in temporary accommodation by training them as chefs. They offer tailored work experience programmes for their trainees, as well as all profits from events going towards housing deposit scheme. You can find out more about upcoming events and how you can support over on fatmacys.org

Bread and Roses

This flower shop and online delivery company is on a mission to help refugee women in the UK flourish. Inspired by pioneering American socialist and feminist Rose Schneiderman, their philosophy is to provide more than just the basics to survive (bread), but also the means for their trainees and employees to grow too (roses). They do this by offering them a space to learn English, build confidence, develop skills and, ultimately, empower them in a floristry career going forwards. wearebreadandroses.com

Migrateful

A unique cooking and language initiative focused on helping refugees and asylum seekers in their journey to employment and independence. Not only do they train them up as chefs to run (paid for) cookery classes for keen foodies, but they allow an opportunity for those struggling to integrate due to legal and linguistic barriers. The classes promote a valuable cultural exchange amongst the community and help build confidence, as well as setting the path for fulfilling, long-term employment. migrateful.org

Chatterbox

This is an online language learning and cultural training platform delivered by refugee professionals. Tapping into the wealth of talent and skills of highly qualified refugees, Chatterbox helps those regain access to meaningful employment, whilst helping plug the global language skills shortage in the UK alone. Visit their website to find out more about the courses and options they offer for individuals, businesses and educators. chatterbox.io

Cracked It

A phone repair service staffed by ex-offenders and vulnerable youths, it provides pop-ups in workplaces including Barclays and Investec. Their mission is to help create a society where no one feels crime is their only option, through meaningful, credible employment opportunities. To get Cracked It to your place of work, get in touch with Josh via the Cracked It website. crackedit.org

Birdsong

A sustainable women’s fashion brand championing women from worker to wearer. Set up by Sophie Slater and Sarah Neville, both graduates of Year Here, all their clothing is made by women facing barriers to employment. Be it from artists, printmakers, seamstresses and painters, all their makers are paid a London living wage. Their policy is firmly ‘no sweatshops, no photoshop’, and they are helping change the face of fast fashion, one item of clothing at a time. birdsong.london

Head to yearhere.org to find out more about their next intake.

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