UnLtd Pioneers: Leaders of Social Change

Tom Sheppard

Digital Manager

22nd March 2020



What does it mean to be a Pioneer?

The UK is in a time of profound upheaval, presenting an opportunity to shape a fairer, more inclusive society for all. This requires systemic change – dismantling barriers and offering better alternatives which share power and wealth.

It takes unusually brave, generous and resilient leaders to create meaningful solutions to these issues. It takes building movements, challenging business, civil society, government and communities to use their collective wisdom and resources to bring about truly different outcomes.

We know there are extraordinary social entrepreneurs across the country stepping up to do this. However, it’s a difficult - and often lonely - journey to shift our systems and norms while running a sustainable business.

We know that social entrepreneurs who aspire to take on these transformational roles need greater backing if they are to succeed. We are working with individuals on our Pioneers and Future Pioneers programmes to learn together about the resources, tools and support required so we can share this with our wider network.

UnLtd 2019 Pioneers group - social entrepreneurs

How are we supporting these social entrepreneurs?

In 2018, we started working with five exceptional UnLtd social entrepreneurs that we believe have the ambition and potential to deliver long-term sustainable solutions to some of the UK’s most challenging social problems.

Our mission is simple: support the pioneers and others like them, by creating an ecosystem and support network that allows them to flourish.

UnLtd has offered intense, flexible, long-term, tailored support. We backed them with our expertise, skills, networks, influence and funding. Most importantly, we worked with them in partnership to explore how we can collectively best move towards their vision of change.

Meet the UnLtd Pioneers

Alex Smith

Alex Smith CEO of The Cares Family

Alex Smith is the inspirational founder and CEO of The Cares Family, a group of community networks bringing together older people and young professionals for fun activities and friendship in our evolving big cities. He is also one of a small number of civic innovators across the world to be awarded an Obama Foundation Fellowship.

Immy Kaur

Immy Kaur Co-Founder of Civic Square

Immy Kaur is co-founder of Civic Square, a social enterprise community hub, lab and workshop space that is on a mission to build a fairer, equal and more just city.

Cemal Ezel

Cemal Ezel Founder of Social Enterprise Change Please

Cemal Ezel is the award-winning founder of Change Please, a social enterprise coffee brand that trains homeless people to become baristas. It provides full training, a living wage, support with housing and improves mental health and wellbeing.

Cherie White

Cherie White is founder of Think for The Future

Cherie White is the founder of Think for the Future, an award-winning organisation that works in secondary schools across the North and Midlands in England to build social and emotional resilience in young people.

John Bishop

John Bishop is founding director of Evolve

John Bishop is the founding director of Evolve, a social enterprise that aims to improve life outcomes for young children through a variety of education, health and wellbeing programmes delivered in primary schools.

Have an idea?

become an UnLtd pioneer

Are you working towards a game-changing social mission? Do you know that you can do more, and want to learn from others on what to try next? Do you want to gain tools & networks to help build a long-term strategy alongside your current business role? Email Anna Markland to find out more.


Discover their impact


Download booklet

“Improving your community comes tough and slow and by definition it can’t be done by one person. It takes people embedded in their place, working together, listening, organising, bootstrapping, taking a punt and learning along the way. UnLtd has helped so many people with big ideas to improve their communities. They’ve been a constant in the development of The Cares Family over seven years. That’s why I’m so thrilled to be one of UnLtd’s Pioneers and to work with them to progress our vision of better connected communities in a time of rapid change”.

Alex Smith, The Cares Family

UnLtd 2019 Pioneers group collaborating

UnLtd Future Pioneers

In April 2020 we are launching our pilot for the Future Pioneers programme – bringing together a cohort of people who want to enhance their ability to drive change.

The UnLtd Pioneers initiative will find, convene, and support social entrepreneurs with the appetite and potential to deliver more than single solutions to a distinct social problem. These individuals recognise that while their interventions can thrive, they can often struggle to truly scale their impact if they don’t tackle the large complex systems of power and influence which sustain and often compound these social issues.

The programme explores 7 pillars of support, identified through our co-design sessions with social entrepreneurs, which we think are critical for individuals driving system change.



  • £5k grant funding to allow a step back from core business.
  • Tailored investment readiness assessment and support, introductions to relevant investors.

Leadership & Wellbeing

  • Mentoring from a senior system change leadership coach/critical friend.
  • Monthly peer learning sessions, as well as joint events with our 5 Pioneers.
  • Training on personal style and resilience.

Systems Change

  • Facilitated participation in Acumen System Practice online course for the cohort, complemented by a workshops and 1-1 sessions.
  • Support & training to refine their “guiding star” (the change they want to achieve in the long run), a near star (what’s their focus for next 3 years) and a system you are trying to influence.

Storytelling & Influencing

  • Help to articulate your system change mission and craft a movement building invite from experts in marketing
  • Tailored Storytelling and Policy Change workshops to explore policy change & influence techniques.
  • Consultancy support if you need new brand assets/messaging to help them with that goal.

Movement Buidling/Working as Partners

  • Each member of the cohort offered support to convene or attend 1 event for their social mission bringing together local community.
  • Monthly reflective sessions with the cohort to determine what elements of the support have been effective, what is missing and what should be rolled out across the UnLtd network.

Impact Measurment & Learning

  • Act as a reference group for UnLtd to improve our support offer.
  • Cohort to act as “community journalists” to create case studies on the journey to becoming a system changer – what made them realise their ambition? What were the crucial turning points? Barriers & enablers?
  • Jointly explore ways to measure impact of system change efforts.

Meet our first Cohort

Vic Borrill

Vic Borrill is the director at Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, a social enterprise working at the forefront of a global movement to use food as a way of bringing communities together, addressing social inequalities and creating sustainable supply chains.

Kelvin Summoogum

Kelvin Summoogun is founder of miiCare, his venture applies AI and machine learning to improve the lives of older people. He developed miiCare as a way of disrupting the care model, allowing vulnerable adults to live independently.

Tracy Fishwick

Tracy Fishwick is managing director of Transform Lives Co, a social enterprise advocating for radical changes in how people are supported back into work. She is a founder of The People’s Powerhouse movement.

Kirsty Staunton

Kirsty Staunton is gaining recognition for over 1 million who are ageing without children. She is challenging policy makers, health and care professionals, and even individuals to respond to the specific needs of this group.

Richard Good

Richard Good is Director of the Turnaround Project, working to turn around the futures of people who are leaving the justice system; encouraging others to support people on that journey; and creating spaces that redefine the boundary between the justice system and society.

Gareth Jones

Gareth Jones is co-founder of Town Square, a social venture creating the entrepreneurial culture that will enable inclusive growth and vibrant local communities, that can respond to challenges of the future.

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