UnLtd backs 122 new social entrepreneurs across the UK

A programme getting 109-year olds to play dodgeball, a therapy matchmaking service for BAME communities, and anoraks made from abandoned tents are just some of the most recent entrepreneurs to win funding and support from UnLtd, the foundation for social entrepreneurs. 

122 social entrepreneurs have won funding and support from UnLtd this quarter to make their innovative solutions to social challenges an impactful reality. Social entrepreneurship is growing in the UK, and rather than being a trend it’s an upward social trajectory. 

The time for social change is now, and the plethora of social issues facing the UK calls for timely, innovative and people-focused solutions. This cohort of award winners have the entrepreneurial spirit, ambition and potential to respond to urgent issues like homelessness, unemployment gaps for marginalised communities, mental health, at-risk youth, domestic violence, the climate crisis, and social and healthcare pressures.  

This quarter’s cohort features a wide range of ventures tackling these issues, and the social entrepreneurs we’re delighted to award include: 

  • Ellie Banwell - One person’s underused urban land is another person’s self-sustaining market garden, highlighted by Scrumptious Garden in Perthshire, Scotland. In an area where multiple issues of social deprivation crossover, the transformed plots will create opportunities for schools, improve mental health, support local wildlife, create jobs/training and highlight that good food can be grown locally at scale. 
  • Nick Burke - Inside Workout is helping people currently and previously in the prison system through marrying rehabilitation with fitness – two journeys that both require commitment, repetition, discipline, and external support systems. Starting out as a lifestyle magazine distributed within prisons, the brand is expanding into supplements and fitness classes, helping create pathways to employment to personal trainers who are ex-offenders. 
  • Beth Davies – Billygoats & Raincoats are tackling festival waste by turning abandoned tents into anoraks. Over 250,000 tents are abandoned at festivals annually, with plenty of textiles ripe for recycling into durable, unisex raincoats for adults and children. While they breathe new life into tents, they’re also resuscitating the once-thriving Welsh textiles industry by keeping all manufacturing in Wales 
  • Rob Oysten - Utilising the power of physical play, Mobi-Game runs sessions of adapted games for people with disabilities or dementia to create social connections, intergenerational experiences, and have fun. Through familiar sports such as rugby, football, netball or hockey, there’s opportunity for players to reminisce on key sporting events and players, while also sharing quality time with family members, as seen through a 109-year-old playing dodgeball with her great-grandchildren. Based in Cardiff, they also operate in London, Basingstoke, Reading and Bristol through their training, support and licensing model. 
  • Tim Sanderson - School Circle offers South Wales and South West schools a chance to mitigate the effects of funding cuts by hiring out their facilities after hours, taking advantage of when the assets sit unused - in Bristol alone this is 60,000 hours annually. School Circle’s letting agency service is free to schools and colleges, creating opportunities for community leisure and interest groups to access affordable spaces while employing local residents in flexible, rewarding work.  
  • Esther Sherato - Frontline Therapist offers Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic individuals from all over the UK the opportunity to find therapists who share their cultural contexts and understanding. Recognising that these groups also face socio-economic barriers, the platform will also feature a low-cost counselling service, on an income-based sliding scale.  

Award winners at varying stages in their social entrepreneurship journeys received awards from £500 up to £15,000, for an overall £641,376 awarded this quarter. While the money makes a tangible difference to their business ventures, the tailored support UnLtd’s funding package includes is also crucial to ensuring social entrepreneurs can start or grow a sustainable, successful, socially impactful businesses.  

Nas Morley, UnLtd Director of Partnerships and Influence, underlined the timely importance of the expertise and support on offer:  

“I’m constantly amazed by the ideas social entrepreneurs have, especially as we welcome our latest cohort of award winners. Social entrepreneurs are true alchemists, taking society’s urgent problems and their lived experience and making innovative gold to share with their communities and beyond. This cohort represents that perfectly, and their unique alchemy is increasingly necessary in these trying and unpredictable times.
To help our award winners create long-term success and impact, we give them the tailored expertise, funding, and support networks they need. While I can’t predict the future, I can confidently say it will be a brighter one with the contribution these award winners will make to the lives of many and the society we live in.” 

For each social entrepreneur we support, 727 people positively benefit, and we know that this latest cohort of award winners will go on to create incredible change in their communities and beyond. We’re excited to be supporting them as they lead the UK to a more equitable, enjoyable and empowering place.

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Meet the November 2019 Cohort

Discover the 122 newest award winners within each region in this document.

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