There’s no better feeling than that of being in a room full of people who are trying to change the world. The energy, the understanding, the creativity, the passion…it’s food for the soul.
On 30th November, we were delighted to host our 3rd graduation of the year (we’ve also had our Nursery and Education Graduations), that of our School for Social Entrepreneurs in the North West (SSE NW).
Not only was it an opportunity to welcome 37 Social Entrepreneurs into the Global SSE Fellowship, it was also an opportunity to celebrate 10 Years of the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme* which has supported over 2600 social entrepreneurs from across the country, 375 of whom were supported here in the North West.
The afternoon was expertly hosted by Liz Cross, founder of The Connectives and Blackburne House Chair. She gave a warm welcome and didn’t hesitate to promote the importance of social value and business for good.
Lisa Mairah, Head of SSE in the North West, praised the impact of the Lloyds Programme and the role it has played in helping to strengthen the social enterprise sector and invited beneficiaries of the programme to share the results of their work. We heard from Employability Solutions, Projekts Mcr and iwoman academy whose work has saved lives, created jobs and upskilled communities. If given more hours we could have been further wowed by the work of other Fellows in the room such as Placed, Kitty’s Launderette, Gateway Collective, Foundation Martial Arts and Beyond Empower to name but a few.
Graduating Social Entrepreneurs spoke about their experiences on the Start Up and Trade Up programmes, from the merits of action learning to the peer support and the sheer joy of simply meeting up face to face! We’re honoured to have been able to support them over the past 12 months. See their full profiles here.
It wouldn’t be a SSE graduation without some sort of interactive performance and this year we were treated to a piece of spoken work by graduating start up social entrepreneur Natalie Denny of Skywriters:
“This is SSE…
It's taking, it's breaking, it's participating. It's a world reenergised. It's building, It's filling, It's fortifying. Daring to see with better eyes”
A Pecha Kucha style presentation from Josh Babarinde OBE, Head of Entrepreneurship Delivery at SSE and founder of Cracked It, brought proceedings to a close and reminded us that:
“It is forbidden to walk on the grass…
It is not forbidden to fly over the grass”
Thank you to the School for Social Entrepreneurs, Lloyds Banking Group and the National Lottery Community Fund for enabling us to support social entrepreneurs to ‘fly over the grass.’
Images: Photographs taken by SSE Fellow, Iroro Azanuwha
Venue & Catering: Blackburne House
*Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Support Programme
The Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme is run in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) and is jointly funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.
The programme supports social enterprises at different stages of their social enterprise journey to develop the skills, strengths and networks they need to make a difference and tackle society’s biggest problems. Each social entrepreneur engages in a 12-month learning programme that is inspiring, action based and accessible. There are three entry levels – Start Up, Trade Up and Scale Up – within the programme which include a Match Trading® grant and Mentor from the Lloyds Banking Group.