Disadvantaged people not in education, employment or training are set for a brighter future thanks to local charity The Lorna Young Foundation and support from the ScottishPower Foundation.
Thanks to funding from the Foundation, the charity will pilot its ‘Freeing Up Ethical Enterprise’ project, providing access to its Ethical Entrepreneurs ‘Not Just Us’ training resources for hundreds of disadvantaged people in Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire who are not in education, employment or training.
The resources will give participants the chance to create their own social enterprises, learn business skills and earn money for a good cause. In groups of around five to 10 people, they will also receive training on ethical and sustainable business practices – tackling subjects such as poverty and climate change.
They will benefit from eight training modules including trade injustice, growing an ethnical business and events management. They will then develop their own social enterprises to explore these issues at a local level.
After the pilot scheme is completed, the Lorna Young Foundation plans to give away its training resources for free to anyone interested in becoming an ethical entrepreneur, which the charity defines as someone who works to put the wellbeing of their own community and the global poor at the heart of their profit generation and business.
Previous participant, Matt, from Tameside, Greater Manchester, joined The Lorna Young Foundation after struggling with tough issues in his personal life. He went on to become an active member of the group and set up his own business after the course.
Matt said: “I was in a difficult place at the time, both mentally and physically. After encouragement from my coach at my local housing association, I decided to join the Lorna Young Foundation’s ‘Not Just Us’ group. The sessions were great and I came away with more confidence and enthusiasm than I’d had in a long time.
“The topics we covered were brilliant and the discussions really excited me. After the course, I used my vocation as a welder and worked through agencies for a short time. I then decided that I could bring jobs in myself and I was capable of being entrusted to produce and manufacture for clients.
“I’ve now been self-employed since 2019, having set up my own company. From where I was then to where I am now is really remarkable and I’m forever thankful for all the help and support I received from my housing association and from the Lorna Young Foundation. They were absolutely key to helping me through difficult times and giving me a sense of hope and purpose for the future.”
The Lorna Young Foundation noted that ‘Not Just Us’ project participants experienced an increase in enterprise skills, confidence and wellbeing. The charity also recorded that 95% of group members moved directly away from unemployment and into employment, self-employment or further education within two months of completing the programme.
Christina Longden, Director of the Lorna Young Foundation, said: "Most business-learning for marginalised groups comes at a great financial cost to the individual and leads to the exclusion of the very people who have the ability to be the brightest entrepreneurs.
“Thanks to the ScottishPower Foundation, we are able to use our 'Not Just Us’ toolkit and work with people from different ethnicities, living with unemployment and different forms of social exclusion in Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire, so we can prepare to give all our learning resources away for free to any group of people that wants to become an ethical entrepreneur.
“We are absolutely thrilled that the ScottishPower Foundation has already been impressed by our achievements and this funding will open doors for those often excluded from society. We’re proud that the Foundation believes in the massive ambitions that our 'small but mighty’ charity has."
Melanie Hill, Executive Officer and Trustee at the ScottishPower Foundation, said: “The last few years have been really challenging for people not in education, employment or training.
“This exciting project will support disadvantaged people into new career opportunities with a brighter and better future and it’s fantastic to see the difference this can make for people like Matt. We look forward to working with The Lorna Young Foundation to help more people reach their full potential and create and control the next chapter in their lives.”
The ScottishPower Foundation's 2022 funding investment sees the charity hit the milestone of £10 million in funding grants it's given out since it was established in 2013.
Throughout the years, the Foundation has supported and championed projects across Britain which help advance education, environmental protection, the arts, culture, science and provide relief for those in need through poverty, disability or disadvantage.
It's planning a series of activities to celebrate the landmark funding figure throughout 2022.