Welcome to new Trustee Kerrey Baker

We are so delighted to welcome Kerrey Baker who has recently joined our Board as a new member and Trustee of The Millin Charity. Kerrey is Head of Member Engagement at Shared Interest Society, a social lender based in Newcastle. The Society has over 11000 investors who together have an investment pool of £38 million, used to support Fairtrade farmers and artisans in 59 countries, as they work their way out of poverty. She makes a perfect fit for our board as she hopes to help The Millin Charity to address issues of poverty and social exclusion by empowering individuals, through peer support and co-operative working. Kerrey has extensive marketing and stakeholder engagement experience having held senior positions in the logistics, manufacturing and not-for-profit sectors.

Find out more about our Board of Trustees here

Welcome to Trustee Kerrey Baker who has recently joined the Board of The Millin Charity

Love your Lanes makes a difference to the West End

The Millin Charity has joined forces with a group of community organisations in the West End of Newcastle to deliver the ‘Love your Lanes’ project.  Supported through grants from the Leaf Environment Fund and the Greggs Foundation, the project has involved the charity consulting with local people getting their ideas about how to improve the terraces area, then encouraging residents to get involved in making their ideas happen.

People have really rolled their sleeves up and got in touch with their creative sides to make this a fantastic local project. Activities have included:

  • Learning woodworking skills to transform old pallets into outside seats and benches;
  • Making planters and learning about gardening, using recycled containers;
  • Litter picking to clear rubbish from around the terraces;
  • Painting gates and garage doors in back lanes to brighten up the area.

This has been a great local initiative with lots of community involvement, providing plenty of opportunities for local residents and their families to work on a collective project while they make improvements to the place they live.

Women get confidence to start their journey to self employment

On a sunny Saturday in August, Local Women Local Enterprise held a Summer Craft Market at the Nunsmoor Centre in Newcastle’s West End. The market was attended by around 300 people, and what made it stand apart from other events was that the majority of women involved had never sold their products publicly before. In fact for most of the women involved, they hadn’t even considered that it would even be possible to be taking part at all, only a few months before.

Most of the stall-holders at the market had just completed a Going to Market course run by the Millin Centre, which provided them the opportunity to explore the potential of setting up and running their own business, so they could have a taste of whether it could become a route to ultimately achieving financial independence. The market was a celebration of what the women had learnt, and the personal progress they had made, during the 3 month period that they attended the course for a couple of hours a week, as well as marking an important opportunity for them to use their new skills.

17 women had stalls on the day selling a range of products and services, and had been given help through the Local Women Local Enterprise programme to think through what they would sell, how they would market it, and how they would approach managing their stall on the day to maximise their opportunity for sales. Everything from signage and trading standards through to branding, pricing and customer service were covered through a combination of weekly training sessions and one-to-one mentoring. Women who had never even considered working for themselves before the event had built the confidence and the knowledge they needed to take advantage of, and to make a success of, this unique opportunity.

Overwhelmingly feedback confirmed that the support provided by the Local Women Local Enterprise programme gave the women involved the confidence to sell their products and services on the day, and 90% confirmed that they had become more confident that they would be able to make money for themselves through having been involved. Almost 80% also said that they are now more confident about actually working for themselves, and confirmed that they had made money on the day. One woman explained that “it was mint having that money in my hand, well worth it”, and another said she was “over the moon” and that the course and the market event had given her back her confidence, describing the whole experience as “priceless”.

Benefits experienced by the women involved in the Going to Market programme included understanding more about business and meeting new people, and overall everyone enjoyed the whole experience. One woman expressed that “it was a really great community day and good connections were made”. Importantly 67% of the women involved have decided to set up their own business as a result of being involved in the Going to Market course, three quarters have committed to finding opportunities to sell their products and services at other markets in the future, and many have asked for further help from Local Women Local Enterprise to support them on their continued journey towards financial independence.

The impact of the market also extended far beyond the stallholders. It had a tangible impact on the local women who attended as shoppers and supporters on the day. 65% of those surveyed on the day said that attending this type of market event had made them interested in having a go at working for themselves, and this increased to 83% of women who were currently unemployed, demonstrating the impact of a local community event which showcases female role models as a successful way of stimulating an entrepreneurial culture.

Councillor Ann Schofield of Newcastle City Council was extremely pleased with the impact of the event, emailing “a quick note of congratulations for the brilliant Craft market on Saturday.  I really enjoyed it, and clearly a huge amount of organisation had gone in to making it happen and work so well.”

A further group of women have now started the Going to Market course at the Millin Centre, and interest in Local Women Local Enterprise as a route to helping unemployed, socially excluded women to move confidently towards financial independence has already been expressed by other community groups and organisations around the Newcastle and Gateshead area.

Social enterprise can help you *and* the community

We’re often asked about social enterprise by local women who’d love to do something positive for the local community, but also need to earn a living. Often the realities of needing to earn a wage stops people from getting involved in social enterprise, but it really doesn’t need to. Social enterprise is the same as any business, in that it can employ people (including the business owner) – the key difference is that as well as being a business it also adds value to society in some way too, so it really is win win!

We ran a short workshop at Local Women Local Enterprise last week with the help of Acumen, to help local women to get to grips with social enterprise. Our aim was to improve awareness and understanding of social enterprise, and reveal the opportunity that it might hold, as a way to start women on their journey to financial independence.

It was a really positive event, with fantastic, enterprising ideas discussed amongst the women who participated, and loads of enthusiasm for giving back to the local area at the same time as finding a way to move away from benefits.

What’s the difference between a Charity and a social enterprise?

One of the first questions we had the chance to answer during our workshop was the difference between a Charity and a social enterprise.

A social enterprise is a business that is motivated by social objectives. Money is generated from selling a service or a product but unlike a typical business, all profits generated will go back into the business to impact the community or cause.  Social Enterprise UK use this description for a social enterprise: “Social enterprises are businesses that trade to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment. They make their money from selling goods and services in the open market, but they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community. And so when they profit, society profits. ”

A Charity differs as their main source of income tends to come from grants and donations. Social enterprises may also be eligible for some grants and funding support.

How can you earn an income through social enterprise?

Both social enterprises and Charities have paid and voluntary workers. By working as part of or for a social enterprise, your income will depend on your role and the hours that you work, just the same as with other companies and businesses. If you set up a social enterprise you would pay yourself a wage according to the work you’re doing, the time you’re spending and the profits you’re making.

How can a business help society?

There are 3 main models of social enterprise we talked about in our Getting to Grips with Social Enterprise workshop last week, providing us with loads of ideas about how you might set up and run a social enterprise.

  1. Selling a product or service that doesn’t have a direct social impact in itself, but the proceeds from the enterprise activity do. For example, the One Foundation sells bottles of water in shops and 100% of its profits are donated to fund water projects in Africa. (It’s probably worth pointing out again that the profits are what’s left after the salaries and other costs are covered – the people who work for the One Foundation do get paid).
  2. Undertaking a business activity that has a direct social impact, but doesn’t necessarily return all of the profit from the activity to society. For example, Divine Chocolate. Chocolate is sourced and produced fairly – the FairTrade activity is its social purpose – and profits go back into the business, and a proportion are then used to deliver community projects in Africa to empower women and children and provide education. The rest goes to the shareholders.
  3. Selling a product or service that has a positive impact on society, and where profits are also spent to benefit others. For example, Toms one for one campaign. Every time a pair of Toms shoes are sold, a pair is donated to a child who doesn’t have any shoes in Africa and South America. Toms have now expanded their activities into eyewear and coffee.

If you’d like to know more about setting up a business, to help you to make money for yourself as well as make a difference in some way to society, hopefully this may have given you a few ideas. If you’re a women in Newcastle who’d like some support to get your ideas into action, get in touch.