A successful social enterprise that inspires children and young people to learn has hosted the launch of Plymouth’s new Social Enterprise City brochure.
Bees – the Bespoke Engaging Education Services – has been showcasing its work as well as highlighting some of the achievements that have been going on in Plymouth over the last 18 months.
Councillor Dave Downie, Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities said: “Plymouth’s reputation as a Social Enterprise City keeps going from strength to strength.
“It’s great to see some of this extraordinary work, making life changing differences to so many people. The work going on here, for instance, is nothing short of awe-inspiring.”
BEES UK were awarded £77,050 through Plymouth’s Social Enterprise Investment Fund last year, one 15 successful companies to be awarded this grant / loan from the fund.
BEES UK is a social enterprise that provides innovative educational environments and experiences for people of all ages to help them rebuild confidence and self-esteem and engage with lifelong learning.
Their classroom is the outdoors on green spaces such as school play grounds allotments and at their own farm head-quarters in Plympton.
Students there take on responsibilities for animal care, horticulture and business enterprise preparation for employment and time management. At the farm, they look after geese, ducks, rabbits, turkeys, tortoises, pigs and even emus and wallabies, all of which present unique challenges and development opportunities to the student.
Nathan who runs the service said: “The team understands that not every young person fits the academic model and regardless of ability, there are those for whom a classroom feels like a crucible and who become marginalised by mainstream education.
“BEES UK works to re-engage these people by creating environments that better match their learning styles. The BEES approach is holistic as there are many facets to every individual. We have to celebrate individualism if we want provide our students the best opportunity to succeed.”
The Council has helped drive Plymouth’s social enterprise sector forward and through its Social Enterprise Investment Fund, has invested in 30 businesses and organisations, leading to 160 jobs as well as buildings and land brought back into use.
In March 2015 it became the first council to embrace crowdfunding and use money from the Community Infrastructure Levy to pledge on crowd-funded projects.With Crowdfunder UK, the Council worked to help projects that improve the city and make it a better place to live, work and play.
In its first financial year of Crowdfund Plymouth £54,650 was pledged on 22 projects. More money has been allocated for projects this financial year and next.
Plymouth has around 150 social enterprises employing around 7,000 people. They range from huge organisations such as Plymouth Community Homes and Plymouth University (the worlds’ first university to get the Social Enterprise Mark) to smaller ones including Prime Skate Park.