I’ve just got home from a birthday party. It wasn’t a party for a person – it was for an organisation, UnLtd, a much loved friend of, investor in, and advocate for, social entrepreneurs. It’s an organisation that provides practical and financial support for individuals who come up with good ideas for positive social change. Everything at the event was provided by organisations they’ve funded, and we all got a bulging goody bag to go away with.
Why was I at the party? Simple – they funded the creation of this website, provided us with extensive advice, legal support, and a business mentor. They did all this when Touretteshero was no more than the seed of an idea. I’m in no doubt that Touretteshero wouldn’t exist if UnLtd hadn’t seen its potential and believed that Leftwing Idiot and I could pull it off.
Today UnLtd celebrated turning ten, and we were delighted to join them to celebrate the first decade of their work. And there’s no doubting how much of it they’ve done in that time. Since they were founded in 2003 they’ve supported 20,000 social entrepreneurs and invested £35m in them. These entrepreneurs have gone on to create organisations, businesses and services that benefit more than a million people each year – impressive statistics for a ten-year-old!
There was a great buzz at the party, and the big turnout was a further testimony to how valued UnLtd is, both by the people who support it, and those who’ve been supported by its awards. I was delighted to be invited to talk about the crucial role they played in the birth of Touretteshero.
The quality and diversity of the ideas UnLtd supports always impresses me. Here are some of the other organisations showcased at tonight’s event:
Star Wards works to improve in-patient stays in mental health care units. They’ve come up with practical, low-cost and easy-to-implement ideas, as well as acting as a catalyst for change through inspiring, collecting and sharing best practice in in-patient care.
The Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company (THSC) – Based in London, THSC offers young people a fresh view of the arts and ultimately of themselves. Through education programmes, live music events and music theatre productions they engage with young people, particularly those who’re considered “hard to reach,” and push them towards artistic excellence.
Breathe Arts Health Research is a social enterprise that combines artistic excellence with innovative ideas and scientific research. They design new therapeutic programmes that make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. I was particularly impressed by this video showcasing their ‘magic camps’ for children with hemiplegia.
Read International Tanzania follows a secondary school syllabus almost identical to ours in the UK, but the average pupil-to-textbook ratio there is 5 to 1. Read International organises student volunteers to collect and sort used books from UK schools which are then sent to Tanzania rather than to landfill.
So You Wanna Be In TV is a consultancy, training and recruitment service, widening the range of young people the television industry takes on at entry level. They work with young people from diverse communities who want to work in television but don’t know where to start.
These organisations, like Touretteshero, are only the tip of the iceberg of UnLtd’s achievements, both in the UK and abroad, in its first decade.
To everyone at UnLtd, thank you and many happy returns!