We work with established business communities who are under stress or facing huge change. We work with all the members of that community, both individually and as a group, to help them meet and overcome the challenges that today’s rapidly changing environment present.
As social entrepreneurs we look to co-design and support innovative approaches that create solutions for the whole community and which also create new potential for the future. This will involve a lot of patient support and behind the scenes development work by us and a lot of courage and commitment from the ladies involved, but hopefully the end result will justify that effort.
At Peckham Palms we are working with Southwark Council and an innovative design company called Something & Son to support a number of Afro-Caribbean hair and beauty professionals who are being relocated from their established shops as part of Southwark's development project around Peckham Rye Station.
Working from an original concept by Something & Son, the council has commissioned a newly built contemporary covered market for Afro-Caribbean hair and beauty. We have worked together on this project for two years as we share a vision of locally owned businesses serving their community and creating employment and opportunity for others in the community.
We have consulted neighbouring residents and businesses and helped develop an initial feasibility study in October 2015. All the natural concerns of the neighbours were taken into consideration in the design phase of the Palms and we have gradually gained the confidence of the hairdressers themselves, who feel vulnerable and uncertain.
As the centre starts to emerge from a currently unused garage area within the heart of Peckham our role has now moved from consultation and encouragement to more specific assistance to help those moving with maintaining continuity in their business and in making the changes necessary to take on this unique opportunity. We are developing a comprehensive, tailor-made programme to help them professionalise and set new standards for the industry. The scheme will include its very own hair academy designed to train a new generation of Afro-Caribbean hair stylists to the highest standards of hair and beauty treatments.
But we aim to do this in a way that enables the existing businesses to bring their own character to the centre.
To get a feeling of the challenges that these long-established businesses face click here.