Tree Shepherd believes in working in partnership to deliver for local communities. Big Local is a Lottery funded programme which chimes exactly with our philosophy. Working with 150 areas around England the fund has provided each of them with £1m over 10 years to create a lasting, positive difference to their communities. Big Local “brings together all the local talent, ambitions, skills and energy from individuals, groups and organisations who want to make their area an even better place to live.”
Big Local is designed to:
- help communities to identify local needs and take action in response to them
- increase local skills and confidence
- enable the community to make a difference to the needs it prioritises and make their area an even better place to live.
In South Bermondsey the Big Local Partnership there identified one of their priorities as supporting employment and enterprise. They have brought together a tremendous group of organisations to work together on this priority. We have teamed up with them, the Bermondsey Blue Business Improvement District (BBBID), Grosvenor Britain and Ireland and United St Saviours charity to provide a comprehensive start-up and enterprise support programme for local people.
The whole programme is based in a new business centre in a converted shop unit right in the heart of the Bermondsey Blue market. In addition to our enterprise support programme the centre will accommodate a job club advice clinic and a multitude of other complementary services.
We are training local residents in business skills and providing on-going support for them from the centre. The intention is to actively create opportunities for our clients to develop their business idea by:
• creating a shared work space area where local start-ups can come together to collaborate and exchange information. They will be able to use the hot-desk facilities within the centre
• encouraging the new entrepreneurs to “test-trade” their product on a market stall before making any significant investment
• being introduced to wider "networks"
As new businesses start up the hope is that they will start to reinvigorate the Blue market and attract the areas new residents to do their shopping in the area. We also feel that local demand and footfall is increased by local connections. Local people are more likely to come to the market where they know the traders and feel engaged in their community. It is important therefore that local people genuinely feel that the market presents an opportunity for them to start a business.
The support of Grosvenor has been critical to the programme. Kate Nottidge, Community Engagement Manager for Bermondsey at Grosvenor, said:
“We believe that local entrepreneurship is a key ingredient of successful neighbourhoods, and see supporting skills development and training opportunities for local communities as integral to this. We are excited to be working with Tree Shepherd and Big Local South Bermondsey, and are looking forward to seeing what business ideas are proposed!”