How Do You Solve A Problem Like..?

A podcast for anyone concerned with the big problems facing society, we’re telling the stories of the brilliant entrepreneurs using social purpose business to create solutions.

Are we facing a loneliness epidemic? How can the UK be struggling with both childhood obesity and hunger in our schools? What needs to change to stop knife crime?

We hear from those working on the front line of these issues in How Do You Solve A Problem Like..?, a new fortnightly documentary podcast from UnLtd.

British society is divided, with too many people being left behind and unable to access the services, jobs or opportunities they need. In each episode we feature dedicated and enterprising people who are determined to use their big ideas to meet these challenges in innovative and unusual ways.

Social Entrepreneur in Residence, Milly Chowles travels across the UK, meeting with these leaders of social change who have created ‘business for good’ ventures, working on a local or national scale. Our pod is a dose of optimism for people who believe the answers are out there.

Season 1 tackles five big issues: Loneliness, Youth Violence, Hygiene Poverty, Homelessness and Childhood Health.


Episode 1 - Loneliness

March 25, 2019

How do you talk about tackling loneliness, when the word itself is taboo? Meet two entrepreneurs responding to this issue. Alex Smith, who won the Obama Fellowship Award for civic innovators in 2018 talks about his fight against loneliness and polarisation in the UK. Alex Hoskyn is the creator of Chatty Café, a brand new scheme that has already spread as far as Australia and Gibraltar and has the backing of mega high street chain Costa coffee.

Alex Smith - Cares Family

Alex Smith launched the Cares Family business in 2012 to fight against loneliness and polarisation in the UK, by connecting seniors and young professionals to build new and lasting relationships. In 2018 he won the Obama Fellowship Award for civic innovators, recognising him for working with communities to create transformational change. He is one of only 20 people selected from across the globe to be part of a two-year programme, designed to amplify the impact of their work and inspire a wave of civic innovation.

How You Can Help

  • Donate to The Cares Family – in north London, south London, Manchester or Liverpool
  • Join The Cares Family's gala
  • Complete a challenge for The Cares Family – in north London, south London, Manchester or Liverpool
  • Connect The Cares Family to your employer – in north London, south London, Manchester or Liverpool

Alex Hoskyn - Chatty Cafe

Alex Hoskyn is a part time Social Worker from Oldham. In 2017 she set up The Chatty Café Scheme which encourages cafes and other social settings to designate a Chatter & Natter table. This is where customers can sit if they are happy to talk to other customers. The aims of the scheme are to reduce loneliness and get people chatting.

Episode 2 - Youth Violence

April 8, 2019

In the UK, there were 39,818 knife crime offences in the 12 months ending September 2018, according to BBC research. Yet the solutions proposed by politicians and in the media often stigmatise the neighbourhoods and victims. So how do you take on a problem that is taking lives? In this episode we meet with two people who have had real results in changing communities: Cherie White who created Think for the Future, and Eliza Rebeiro from Lives not Knives. We believe that those with first-hand experience of social issues have solutions to make change, and both Cherie and Eliza really use this principle in their incredible work with young people.

Eliza Rebeiro - Lives without Knives

Eliza founded the campaign in July 2007 at the age of 14. The toll of teenagers being stabbed due to youth crime and gang culture made an impact on her and others around her. The campaign started with just a t-shirt in bold print to make a statement – which read ‘LIVES NOT KNIVES’. This in turn led to organising an event with the money raised from the sale of the t-shirts in February 2008. Since then she has run many events about knife crime, been to No. 10 and moved towards supporting young people into education, employment and training.

Cherie White - Think for the Future

After her time on the Enactus programme, in 2012 she founded Think For The Future. They provide schools, teachers and disadvantaged communities with innovative solutions to remove barriers to their success, taking on pastoral and behavioural problems that are preventing participants from reaching their full educational potential. Cherie has worked with Save the Children on their new measurement and evaluation strategy as well as a Health Care Innovation Lead at GSK.


Episode 3 - Unhealthy Kids

April 23, 2019

When you hear “unhealthy kids”, what often jumps to mind are national headlines about childhood obesity. Yet with 30% of children in UK living in poverty, many kids are actually arriving at school hungry every day. These issues are very much connected. In this episode we meet two social entrepreneurs working in schools to tackle these issues, along with some of the students and teachers who are benefiting from their work.

Read more

Nathan Atkinson, a former headteacher, found that talking about saving the environment and recycling in schools had a surprising “stealth” impact on students’ health, tackling the 1.9 million tonnes of food waste in the UK along the way.

We also meet with co-founder of Evolve, John Bishop, whose venture is improving kids’ physical, emotional and mental well-being with a truly innovative programme. The holistic approach they are using isn’t just making young people healthier, it’s improving self-esteem, reducing school exclusions, improving behaviour, and more. Plus we’re joined by UnLtd’s Josh Meek in the studio to chat about how and if it’s possible for people like Nathan and John to measure making impact on a whole society.

Find out more:

John Bishop, Evolve
John Bishop and Graham Morgan set up Evolve to provide health mentors to help children to succeed and achieve their potential. Their work is bigger than education, or public health: it’s about changing the way we support children by bringing together different organisations and people who are responsible for childhood health: parents, schools, local authorities, community groups and policy makers.

How you can help:

  • If you are a school leader and interested in support from Evolve, anywhere in the UK, contact us via
  • If you are connected to any education, health or social care commissioners who would like to invest more effectively, please email
  • If you’d like to be in involved with their work on an employed, voluntary, or pro-bono basis contact us via with how you can help.

Nathan Atkinson, Sustainable Education
Nathan is a former head teacher, based in Leeds, working with a former primary school teacher, to change the way we talk about food. He has worked on many projects to end hunger – setting up Fuel for School which delivers extra food to schools so that pupils eat well and do better. With the Rethink Food they run campaigns in school to reduce plastic waste, and teach about the UN sustainability goals – which actually changes the way kids and their parents shop and eat.

Episode 4 - Hygiene Poverty

July 16, 2019

One in ten girls or women aged 14 to 21 in Britain cannot afford sanitary towels or tampons, according to Plan International. Despite the serious consequences - from the impact on their dignity, to missing school and education, this issue was barely talked about only a few years ago. The good news is that now there are incredible entrepreneurs who say, “Period Poverty is a solvable issue.” We speak with Gabby Edlin and Celia Hobson from Bloody Good Period and Hey Girls, who are both making a difference to end period poverty, and the stigma associated with it.

Read more

Find out more:

Gabby Edlin – Bloody Good Period
Bloody Good Period was started by Gabby Edlin who decided something needed to be done about the fact that very few food banks and asylum seeker drop-in centres were providing feminine hygiene products on a regular basis - despite a desperate need. What started as a whip-round on Facebook is now a growing enterprise with a vision to end period poverty.

Celia Hodson - Hey Girls
Hey Girls was founded by Celia Hodson and her daughters Becky and Kate, with the philosophy that girls and young women should never have to compromise their wellbeing or their health. Having been a single parent she understand firsthand the financial strain of buying sanitary protection when struggling to survive on benefits. The situation for women hasn’t changed in twenty years, which is why they set-up Hey Girls.

Other social entrepreneurs featured in this episode are InKind Direct, Hackney Arts, Routes, Madlug bags, Edit hats, Tang Hall Smart, and Nemi teas.

Episode 5 - Homelessness

July 30, 2019

Since 2010, homelessness has doubled in the UK. Now, over 4,000 people sleep rough every night. The problem is growing and many of us are motivated to help, but we just don’t know what to do. We speak to Meg and Cemal from Fat Macy’s and Change Please who are using delicious food and drink to provide a way out of homelessness – going well beyond providing people with jobs.

Read more

Find out more:

Cemal Ezel – Change Please
Cemal is the co-founder of Change Please, a social enterprise which trains homeless people to become baristas and helps them into onward employment. They have mobile coffee vans, located in London at Borough Market, The Shard, Canary Wharf and Here East, and in many corporate premises in icluding Virgin Unite and UBS. In 2017, they launched three varieties of Change Please coffee in 350 Sainsbury's stores across the UK. Cemal was voted Lloyd's Bank Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2017, Natwest's SEUK Trailblazer Award 2017. They were awarded 'Best Coffee' at the World Beverage Innovation Awards, and Change Please was listed as one of Marketing Week's Top 100 Most Disruptive Brands 2017. Cemal is also co-founder of The Coal Rooms and Aside, restaurants in Peckham.

Meg Doherty - Hey Girls
Meg is the co-founder and CEO of Fat Macy’s, a roving restaurant that trains homeless Londoners to run supper clubs, with profits going into a savings scheme helping them raise a deposit for their first flat. Meg worked at the North London YMCA where she first developed Fat Macy’s, and has worked with youth justice charity Only Connect.

Listen on

Milly Chowles podcast host

Milly Chowles

Milly has eight years of professional experience as a radio and podcast producer. She is helping charities communicate more effectively with their supporters, and reach new ones, through bespoke high-quality podcasts. She uses the power of stories and the medium of audio as particularly impactful way to amplify the voices of marginalised people and to challenge stigma – and has started work on an UnLtd podcast.

Anna Markland Podcast co-host

Anna Markland

Anna is a Venture Manager at UnLtd, leading on the Pioneers Initiative, which explores how social entrepreneurs can go mainstream and make change at a system level. She supports profit-for-purpose businesses to scale their revenue and impact as part of Thrive, our accelerator for those who want to break down barriers to employment or improve wellbeing for people in later life.

Anna’s background is in healthcare consulting at EY, managing innovation funding at the Health Foundation and working directly in social enterprises like the Bromley by Bow Centre.

Hide this Message

To provide you with the best browsing experience, this site uses cookies. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.