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- Social Impact Declaration
- Social Impact Statements
Social Ark CIC is a a social enterprise that supports young people aged 16-30 to develop social businesses and projects.
We’re on a mission to empower young people from tough backgrounds to realise their potential and become grassroots community leaders and social entrepreneurs. We aim to create a movement of people that champion each other to explore social entrepreneurship and community cohesion as alternatives to unemployment, deprivation and social exclusion.
Many of the young people we work with have experienced poverty, lack of education, disability, immigration, homelessness and the criminal justice system. We understand the value of supporting young people who may have otherwise been ‘written off’. Many lack self-belief and often tell us they’ve had doors shut on them due to their backgrounds. Social Ark recognises the struggles of hard to reach youth and the wrap around care and support that we provide sets us apart from other organisations. We value lived experience over formal qualifications and welcome all entrepreneurial ideas that are in line with our values.
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Social Impact Statements
The Social Enterprise Mark criteria includes a requirement that the applicant can demonstrate that social and/or environmental objectives are being achieved.
In support of this, new applicants and renewing Mark holders are asked to respond to a set of social impact questions, which are designed to help them think about the social impact they create, and to articulate this clearly and succinctly.
Updated May 2019
1) What social differences and changes have you aimed to create (or supported)?
We support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to set up social enterprises and projects that benefit their local community at the same time as helping them to secure employment. This encourages and improves community cohesion, making the streets safer for local young people in Tower Hamlets and encouraging them to use their lived experiences to change their lives and encourage others from similar backgrounds to do the same.
2) What actions have you taken to address the above social aims?
Over the past 3 years, measured up until January 2019, we directly nurtured the development of 26 social enterprises. We also supported an additional 130 young people. We provided over 4,500 hours of business learning and delivered over 3,500 hours of 1:1 support. While the young entrepreneurs were establishing proof of concept for their business ideas, we assisted and funded over 500 free inclusive community activities which directly benefited over 400 Tower Hamlets residents. We have also introduced what it means to be socially conscious and the concept of social entrepreneurship to over 500 local people.
3) What has changed and what benefits have been realised as a result of your actions?
4) How do you and other people know your aims are being achieved? Or how will you know?
We regularly survey our beneficiaries, and measure impact yearly. Through our continuous co-design, we ensure that people with the lived experiences of the inequalities that they seek to change are supported and at the core of the process.
The below questions are not mandatory, but Mark holders are encouraged to answer them where possible, to provide a fuller account of their social outcomes and the social value they create.
5) What examples can you provide of a typical service user experience, that helps illustrate the benefits they have experienced as a result of your actions?
Case study #1
Syderita came to the UK from Albania when she was 5 years old. It was tough at first, as she struggled with the English language and this made it difficult to integrate and make friends. Syderita found her love for fitness at the age of 15, and she soon realised that she wasn’t the only one facing these issues.
Experiencing the impact of exercise first-hand inspired her to set up KidsUGym, which is specifically for 10 – 15 year olds and is designed to reach children that are inactive, unengaged and need extra support to make friends in their local areas.
Syderita has worked hard learning business skills, and has been supported with training and obtaining the right qualifications. She has been matched with peer-mentor Moses Adeyemi, one of the Social Ark founding members who also set up a fitness programme. Moses supported Syderita, helped her to become more confident, and to test and pilot her idea.
Case Study #2
Reuben told Social Ark that his inspiration had been drawn from personal experience of growing up in London, where crime was seen as a natural progression. He was impacted by his surroundings, where you were either in a gang, respected by gang members, or an outsider and a victim. Cultural pressures caused Reuben to coast through the education system as an introvert with low self-esteem and identity issues.
Through urban music, Reuben followed his passion and discovered a natural talent for creative writing, storytelling and performance. He used these talents to create the WATCH (We Are The Culture Happening) programme, a series of creative writing and poetry workshops which draw on Reuben’s own life experiences. Reuben now delivers his tried and tested WATCH workshops to young people across London.
Case Study #3
Moses Adeyemi is the founder and CEO of the SilverLine Programme, which uses mental and physical training
to improve wellbeing. Moses is an ex-offender who came to Social Ark as a ‘last stop’ after constantly experiencing doors being shut on him, due to his background.
Before coming to Social Ark, he was tempted to go back to his old lifestyle because other organisations that he reached out to hadn’t taken him seriously. Social Ark believed in Moses and supported him to create a sustainable wellbeing and fitness programme. He is now successfully delivering the tried and tested SilverLine fitness programmes to public services, as well as youth and community organisations across the UK.
Moses - “It’s great to be part of the Social Ark family. As an ex-offender, it was difficult because I found that people didn’t take me seriously. Social Ark was the bridge between where I was coming from and where I was trying to go. The continued support that I’ve received has been vital to the sustainability of the SilverLine Programme. I’ve had help with business proposals, evaluations and much more. Being able to access that critical friend and sounding board that has your back 100% has also been invaluable. I’d like to say a massive thank you to the Social Ark team, and especially to my mentor, Sarah Castro, who have stood by me every step of the way.”
6) What additional social benefits have you been able to deliver within your core services that distinguish you from other “for shareholder profit” providers?
We provide a free Continued Personal Development programme for young people that have been through our programme that may need extra support. This is completely volunteer led.
7) What other social benefits have you contributed that go beyond your core delivery activities (ones that are completely unrelated to your main services)?
We have supported vulnerable young people with out-of-hours voluntary support around child abuse, debt, homelessness and judicial cases.