These are undeniably bleak and challenging times. Markets and supply chains have dried up and social enterprises are having to cut back or furlough staff. Premises have had to be shut to comply with the lockdown, and customers are staying home. Social enterprises have never needed your support more than now. Those that can, are continuing to trade and buying from them at this time is the best way you can support them. You can find social enterprises you can support through looking at our Buy Social Directory. We are also currently putting together a list of consumer facing social enterprises which are still trading and who you can buy from which will be made available in the coming weeks.
Many social enterprises are currently running crowdfunding appeals to get them through this difficult time, ensure the people they work with are supported and also to help them pivot their businesses and come up with new services to benefit their communities. This page will list some of the ways in which social enterprises are asking for your help.
Aspire are a social enterprises supporting over 2,000 people a year across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. They support people who are facing homelessness and poverty to find employment and secure housing and have set up an Emergency Appeal to react to the unprecedented level of demand the COVID-19 crisis is creating. Support will provide employment and homelessness prevention advice; the launch of temporary, emergency accommodation for people who are homeless and work to prevent evictions. Donate here – https://www.aspireoxfordshire.org/appeal/no-one-left-behind-aspire-emergency-appeal
With a slogan of ‘dress in protest’ fashion brand Birdsong are set up to revolutionise the fashion industry, working with women who face barriers to employment to manufacture their products. Production has halted during the crisis so Birdsong have set up a patreon where you can donate to an emergency fund to support these women’s groups – https://www.patreon.com/birdsonglondon
Social enterprise restaurant Brigade have launched a Crowdfunder to support their graduates and vulnerable people in their community. Brigade offer training and employment opportunities for people who were, or are at risk of homelessness. In the immediate aftermath of the pandemic hitting the UK they transformed the restaurant into a food production and distribution centre. Support their Crowdfunder here – https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/beyondbrigade
London Early Year’s Foundation (LEYF)
LEYF run nurseries using a cross-subsidy model to ensure that childcare is accessible and affordable. They are keeping 18 nurseries open across London to provide childcare for key workers and vulnerable children. They have created activities for parents made to stay at home to help them with childcare, creating video content with new activities being shared three times a week. LEYF are providing an essential service and they need to be able to keep their nurseries open and keep children learning throughout the pandemic. To help with this they’ve launchd a crowdfunder which you can support here – https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/keep-children-learning-covid-19-response
Made In Hackney
Made In Hackney are a social enterprises running a free to attend programme of community cookery classes in Hackney, working with vulnerable groups such as young carers, low income families, refugees, people with long-term health conditions and many more. The crisis has meant that these programmes can no longer continue so Made in Hackney are switching their services to deliver a free home delivery service to the most vulnerable members in their community. Support their crowdfunder here – https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/made-in-hackney-4
The Marylebone Project is the UK’s largest women’s hostel for women affected by homelessness. Social Enterprise Made in Marylebone run catering projects and offer meeting spaces in Central London with all profits supporting the work of the hostel. The Marylebone Project are looking for donations of toiletries for the women they support. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to donate.
Migrateful is a social enterprise set to empower and celebrate refugees, asylums seekers and vulnerable migrants through providing English language teaching, chef training, a support network and work experience. They run successful cookery classes, hosted by the people they support, which not only funds their broader work but also fosters inter-cultural exchange and helps migrants feel part of the wider community. COVID-19 has led to a cancellation of all classes, putting the organisation at risk and potentially cutting off this vital support link for some of the most vulnerable groups in society. They’ve created a JustGiving page to raise funds to help them get through the coming months – https://justgiving.com/campaign/help-Migrateful-to-survive
Radiant Cleaners are a Nottingham based social enterprise cleaning company, working with people living in poverty or long term-unemployment and offering sustainable employment. Coronavirus has resulted in many cleaning staff having to be furloughed. They are taking on donations to top up wages to 100% until the crisis is over. More details here – https://www.radiantcleaners.co.uk/support-us
Social Ark is a social enterprise based in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets that supports young people from under-resourced communities to use their lived experiences to develop social businesses and community projects. Many of them have experienced poverty, a lack of education, disability, immigration, homelessness and the criminal justice system. Its vision is for an equal and inclusive society where young people are judged for where they want to go, and not where they’ve been. COVID19 has hit that vision hard as government support isn’t reaching businesses Social Ark has helped. To support the young people in the Social Ark Community, whose opportunities have been taken away over night, they have set up a family mutual aid fund
Social Starters are a social enterprise set up to support other social enterprises. They are currently working with 100 UK based businesses and 150 others across the world, offering mentorship and consultancy services as well as training and incubator programmes. They’ve set up a fundraising page to support the social enterprises they work with get through the crisis and to help them further their important work. Donations will help match mentors and consultants to social enterprises and will also provide bridging grants to help them stay afloat. More information here.
TERN (The Entrepreneurial Refugee Network)
TERN supports refugee entrepreneurs to create and develop their own businesses supporting them at all stages of their business journey. They have supported almost 330 refugees start their own businesses and currently have an active community of 131 entrepreneurs ranging from street food and coffee to lingerie and catering companies. 70% of the TERN community have had their incomes affected by coronavirus. To support these businesses TERN have set up an emergency fund that will allow their community to access one-off grants to support them through this period. Support the fund here – https://www.ternfund.com/
The Big Issue
Social enterprise magazine the Big Issue has had to stop vendors selling the magazine for their own safety. In an effort to replace the significant loss in trading income and the very real threat to vendors’ livelihoods they have created an appeal fund, launched an app, and are encouraging people and businesses to commit to a 3 month subscription to the magazine. 50% of all net proceeds will go directly to its 2000 vulnerable vendors. Support the Big Issue here – https://www.bigissue.com/support-the-big-issue/
Crowdfunder, a Social Enterprise UK supporting member, has a page dedicated to social enterprises and other community focused businesses. They’ve also partnered with SEUK member the Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) who are offering free online support for social enterprises including booking in one-to-one sessions for advice from their team.
Crowdfunder are also running a Pay It Forward scheme where you can pay for future products right now. The Crowdfunder platform us also free for businesses to sign up to during for the duration of this crisis.