Supported Self Employment Academy Course – Croydon

Our second Supported Self Employment Academy started in Croydon during November in association with Status Employment.

Following the tremendous success of our first academy Croydon Council are supporting us to deliver a series of Academy’s over the coming months.

The academy focuses on supporting people with disabilities to start, run and grow a business. The courses bring people together in a safe space where they can learn about business and share ideas and challenges. The first academy was a great success with several students setting up successful businesses.

Yvonne Williams attended our first academy and set up Happy Feet while on the course, she said “with the support of these lovely people I’ve managed to overcome all my fears and get my Happy Feet calendars printed. I’m really enjoy selling them and meeting new people”

The academy runs one day a week for 5 weeks and covers all areas of running and growing a business. If you have a disability and live in the borough of Croydon and would like to get that business idea you’ve been dreaming about off the ground then please get in touch about our courses in 2020 on info@treeshepherd.org.uk

Status Employment are a wonderful organisation who assist people with disabilities and mental health problems in finding and retaining paid employment.

Tree Shepherd Interview on Resonance 104.4 FM

 

 

 

 

Tuesday 19th November – 11:00am – 11:30am

The Workplace

NND and guests discuss all aspects of work and workplaces. This week: NND talks to Colin Crooks, Chief Executive of Tree Shepherd – a social enterprise that helps turn job-seekers into entrepreneurs – about shoe-string start-up for ‘non-typical’ business people. Also featuring Alex Schwartz of House of Funky Junk, a recycler/upcycler entrepreneur supported by the organisation. Continue the #workplacennd discussion on Twitter with @workplacennd. [Repeated Friday 4.30am.]

MBE is testament to everyone I’ve worked with who shares a vision of a fairer society

Winners medal March & Shoot competition 1978

When I was trudging through the mud as a fresh-faced private in the weekend Territorial Army I never thought I would one day be honoured as a Member of the Order of the British Empire. But that hot sweaty day ignited in me something which would chart the course of the rest of my life: a determination to see people treated fairly and a belief that every individual should have the same chance to reach their potential, regardless of their background or training.

That year, 1978, my 8-man infantry section entered a ‘march and shoot’ competition against full-time regular army units, including the Royal Marines and Paratroop Regiment. We marched 13 miles in under 3 hours, tackled 3 challenging obstacles en route, whilst each carrying a 60lb pack, a rifle with 20 rounds of live ammunition. On top of that we carried a radio and machine gun. Terry, one of our lads, was a painter and decorator who worked at weekends so couldn’t train. The day of the competition was baking hot and within a few miles Terry was flagging. Everyone in the team took turns to carry his pack and rifle – even his jacket – and we literally dragged him to the end of the course.

By this time Terry was hobbling in agony but he struggled through to the final challenge. This was the vital, scoring part of the competition; a 600 yards sprint across open ground firing at pop-up targets. As soon as we finished, Terry sank to the ground and we watched in horror as he pulled off his boots, revealing his raw, bloodied feet.

At least we had finished. Our happiness was short-lived however. Soon came the announcement that, after all our effort, we had come last; we’d scored the least hits. Bewildered, I did a quick calculation and realised our score was impossibly low – two of us alone had scored the 15 they claimed was our total team score. I challenged the scoring. Result? The invigilators, assuming a rag-tag team of civilians couldn’t possibly have beaten elite servicemen, had automatically allocated us the lowest score. In fact we had won the competition! I still have the medal. The sense of triumph it gives me has little to do with being a good shot myself but rather the exhilaration of being with a group of men whose dogged teamwork, individual tenacity, and refusal to be cowed by ‘the system’ had pulled off a remarkable win against incredible odds.

Institutional discrimination.

All of my work as a social entrepreneur has been informed by a passion to overcome what I call institutional discrimination: To create opportunities for and give a voice to people who are left behind or underestimated by society.

But having a lonely passion is not enough – to do anything at scale you need allies. In May 2002, I met a remarkable man called Peter Watherston who was heading up a homelessness charity, First Fruit. At that very first meeting we agreed to take advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity. Together we would take on a contract with HSBC to remove and recycle ALL 59,000 items of furniture being discarded by HSBC in their enormous move to Canary Wharf (the largest office relocation in European history).

My very young social enterprise, Green-Works, had an annual turnover at the time of £23,000, and I had enough cash to employ a young man, Chris Triggs, for 3 months. Peter, a trained accountant and CoE vicar was employing a small number of homeless people doing deliveries. Neither of us had any experience in running a warehouse or managing a project on this scale. Nevertheless, we shook hands there and then and committed to work with each other. On the strength of that hand shake he took on a huge warehouse in the East End of London, and I negotiated a comprehensive contract with HSBC. Over the next 12 years we worked together creating literally hundreds of jobs and recycling 47,000 tonnes of furniture.

Partnerships.

A shared vision centred on a genuine desire to support others is such a solid foundation for partnership. The world of social enterprise brings together extraordinarily committed people who think creatively to work through whatever obstacles are thrown in the way.

Based on my experience of running Green-Works for 12 years, I wrote a book called ‘How to make a million jobs.’ During my research I confirmed the worst fears about our society that my experience had shown me. I revealed some frightening statistics about how many people in the UK are functionally illiterate, how many communities are left behind, and how the headline unemployment numbers mask the real, underlying enormity of structural worklessness.

I set up Tree Shepherd to prove my theory. Even the most statistically deprived community is bristling with untapped talent. With the right blend of business guidance and a supportive network many people can generate income for themselves and create employment for others. More than 75% of the start-ups we have supported are run by women or people from ethnic minorities – people who are too often patronised or discriminated against by landlords, banks and local authorities.

Tree Shepherd combines my belief in people and my passion for creating partnerships to tackle discrimination and adds a dose of advocacy. This has proved to be a potent recipe for developing communities of businesses who individually and together play to their strengths, speak up, and take their place as meaningful contributors to their local economy.

This MBE is testament to everyone I’ve worked with who share this vision for a fairer society

Our CEO , Colin Crooks, in New Years Honours List!

We are delighted to announce that Colin Crooks, our CEO has been awarded an MBE by Her Majesty the Queen in her New Year’s Honours List. The award is for his services to disadvantaged communities in London.
Colin has created several social enterprises, in accord with his two passions; protecting the environment and helping less fortunate people.
Colin’s career as a social entrepreneur goes back to 1989 when he started Papercycle, which operated from a long-gone warehouse in Brixton. There he employed dozens of unemployed local people to collect and recycle office paper. Later, he ran Cybercycle on the Angell Town estate which trained unemployed young people to refurbish computers.
In 2000, he started Green-Works where in partnership with homelessness charity, First Fruit. He secured a huge contract with HSBC to recycle their old office furniture when they moved to Canary Wharf. Over the next 12 years Green-Works employed more than 800 people from difficult backgrounds and recycled 47,000 tonnes of furniture.
Colin set up Tree Shepherd in 2012. Since then, we have helped 700 people to start and grow their own business. In addition to helping new start-ups we are now supporting and advising long-established businesses struggling with change. In the Elephant and Castle, Peckham, Greenwich, Westminster and Canada Water many businesses are facing significant redevelopment all around them.
When asked about the award, Colin replied “all the projects I’ve worked on have required an unbelievable amount of support from other people and this MBE is recognition not only for me but for all the people, partners, supporters, champions, employees and contractors who have worked with me over the years to support local communities and people to succeed”

Brixton Xmas Market Celebrations 1st & 2nd Dec 2017

Ho ho ho!

Once again Tree Shepherd has had the pleasure of organising a two-day showcase for Lambeth Forest Network traders. Friday 1st Dec is a day of trading 10am-7pm ending in Brixton’s Christmas Lights going on. Choirs and a brass band will be outside Morleys at 7pm and before that there will be Xmas activities and traders all along Station Road. Saturday 2nd Dec is Small Business Saturday and there will be a road packed with independent traders to celebrate. Trading is 10am-6pm so make sure you visit and buy gifts and food.

See flyer for details and make sure you go and support Lambeth’s own traders. #LoveLambeth

Trader info:

  • When you arrive (by 9.30am please) please ask for John Gordon in high-vis jacket. His mobile is 07944 787336
  • Kareen Gordon, Director of Lambeth Forest Network will be there in support. Her mobile is 07397 115211
  • You are provided with a covered stall (3m x 2m) & table (3m x 1m)

Please take with you:

  • Chair
  • Table cloth
  • Decorations
  • 11 watt bayonet lightbulbs (3 to 5)
  • Price tags and labels
  • Display stands
  • Popups, business cards, banners
  • Storage case / box for underneath
  • Warm clothing and thick socks!

 

Social media top tip:

When you mention @TreeShepherdUK in your tweets, we will always share with our followers. The hashtag is #BrixtonXmas

Performance itinerary:

Friday 1st December

Brixton Station Road

  • 10:00 – 18:00 – Christmas Market w/ Tree Shepherd
  • 14:00 – 15:00 – City of London Sinfonia
  • 17:00 – 19:00 – Majestic Brass

Saturday 2nd December

Brixton Station Road

  • 10:00 – 18:00 – Christmas Market w/ Tree Shepherd
  • 15:00 – 16:00 – Shamanie & Pop Band

 

BE BOSS 2017 Young Entrepreneur Winner: Richie Babalola

Tree Shepherd met with a host of young people at the October 2017 Angelltown Future Festival.  This was a fantastic careers event where young people were encouraged to explore their prospects in the world of work. Many showed a keen interest in being their own boss – the question was with what kind of company?

We introduced #BEBOSS – a film-making opportunity for young people to pitch themselves, talk about their key skills, share their motivations and present on what their dream company would be. The prize was £50 cash for the best film.

We are proud to announce the winner – Richie Babalolo – and hope you enjoy watching his brilliant pitch below:

 

 

START OUT START UP 18-30 Case Study of Amanda Abrahams filmed by Florence Jones

Florence Jones was a student on our first START OUT START UP programme 2017, supporting 18-30 year-olds in Lambeth to start and develop businesses.

She has developed her own videography business: FABRICATION FILMS and produced this mini-film to showcase just one case study from the programme: Amanda Abrahams.

We thank the Walcot Foundation for making it possible to support young people from our Lambeth community who have very little income, but are driven and have a desire to be self-employed.