As part of our Lunchtime Lecture series, we hosted Year Here, a postgrad course that nurtures budding social entrepreneurs to launch ventures that address city problems.
Our work with Year Here began in early 2017 when we saw an opportunity to help develop Year Here Fellows whilst also pushing forward our work on our Future of Planning project and supporting an SME.
This lecture sought to explain how social enterprise and innovation go hand in hand in improving service delivery in our cities and its role in benefiting the lives of citizens.
Jack Graham, Founder at Year Here, started proceedings and outlined why this innovative programme was developed. First launched at Number 10 Downing Street in March 2013, Year Here encourages high-achieving, socially-minded graduates to pursue more meaningful careers by equipping them with the skills to make a difference in this world. In 10 months, Fellows undertake a vigorous social innovation curriculum and receive leadership development support, including industry mentoring. To date, Year Here has run 7 programmes for 114 people and sparked 18 ventures. Jack and the team will also be launching the Year Here Foundation, aimed at ensuring that social leadership is a pathway open to the widest pool of talent possible.
Jake Slater, founder of Kitchenette Karts, brings together high-quality street food whilst giving underprivileged young people an opportunity to get into the working world and improve their skills. Food is an engine for social change and Kitchenette Karts seeks to take advantage of London’s booming culinary culture and make food work for everyone. Their 12-week training programme is for 18-24 year olds and community-focused. All the money raise are then reinvested back into training more youths in future.
Laura Macartney and Charlotte Whittaker, founders of InCommon, then presented their health and social-care oriented enterprise that supports independent living for as many senior citizens as possible. InCommon was created after both founders had first hand personal and professional experience working with elderly people in care. Cuts to social care funding has led to the reduction of leisure activities such as lunchtime clubs and exercise clubs and InCommon seeks to fill this gap. The lack of provision for these activities can create or exacerbate social isolation and loneliness amongst the older generation. This is a topic that we have addressed in our Social Isolation report. Their organisation is a community-building programme that provides a rapid turnaround service that aims to harness the talent and skills of people working in sheltered accommodation to provide better activities for residents. InCommon is currently in the pilot stage and pitching to prospective housing associations.
Finally, we heard from Hector Smethurst, founder of health-care app Appt, an SMS platform powered by behavioural economics, that helps GP surgeries hit incentivised NHS targets and provide quality care to their patients. Hector noted that the current system to ensure efficiency is unpopular amongst hospital staff and doctors, ineffective and inflexible. Appt is built around three core tenets; behavioural economics, data analysis and targeted management. It aims to help patients better manage long-term conditions and chronic diseases and improve clinic efficiency.