This year the WEA has come together with Northumbria University and Building Futures East (a training organisation based in Walker) to research and create learning resources that show people how to start a social enterprise. Walker is home to many people who have challenges in their lives, which means that accessing education and employment isn’t easy. Despite these challenges, the community spirit and desire to make life better for each other is tangible. The Walker Social Enterprise project hopes to call on this spirit and support individuals to make their ideas a reality. Northumbria University students took a central role in the project’s research, interviewing successful entrepreneurs across the North East.
This research was then used to create a learning programme about developing social enterprise and community initiatives. WEA volunteers drew upon the personal experiences of numerous people and organisations in Walker and further afield to create accompanying resources for the course. Special thanks go out to Danny Gregson whose tremendous skills and effort have resulted in a series of videos which bring the topic to life. Our social enterprise course is currently being piloted by residents and organisers in a community project within Walker. Looking forward, we hope to expand the work we are doing in Walker in collaboration with the area’s residents and the organisations working there.
Walker Social Enterprise Report: http://bit.ly/2fEUX8h
Walker Social Enterprise Curriculum: http://bit.ly/2g0Mgp9
University students' research aims to reveal the best ways to inspire entrepreneurial spirit within a community
WEA North East Region Volunteer Co-ordinator, Alice McCreadie, has been working with Dr Sebastian Weise from Newcastle University http://bit.ly/2hUitip and students on the Digital Civics module in relation to encouraging social enterprise in Walker, one of Newcastle’s most disadvantaged wards. They recognised that to nurture entrepreneurial spirit and ideas to make social impact in the community, they needed to enable residents and organisations to come together, share thoughts, and share practice in an easier way. As a starting point, students from the Digital Civics module interviewed five local organisations in order to design the basis of an online platform which will unite people and groups. Ultimately they hope the website or app will present educational opportunities, community events, volunteering and recruitment opportunities, a map of organisations, and further information in a visual and accessible way. The student group decided to focus on the themes of mapping organisations and volunteering. The Digital Civics module students are currently testing out their prototypes on the individuals they interviewed, and will be presenting their results for the completion of their module in January.