Updated: Jan 6
James talks about Shadow Winds latest course of study, the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Start Up Programme, in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs, and jointly funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.
"I'm really sorry James, but if you don't go for the interview now, you will miss this opportunity."
And I hate missing an opportunity. Reckoning that we would still be able to get a signal sailing only a couple of miles south of Eastbourne and Beachy Head, and hoping I could communicate what Shadow Wind was all about whilst balancing on a foredeck, I figured we had nothing to lose. So I had my final interview with the board of SSE (School for Social Entrepreneurs) balancing myself and the phone on the bow of Sky Catcher, a yacht we were in the middle of purchasing. I'm proud to say that it went well, I think they liked our approach, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Shadow Wind CIC are now a student of the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme, in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs and jointly funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.
"The partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs sits right at the heart of Lloyds Banking Group’s ambition to Help Britain Prosper. It is one of its flagship programmes designed to support social entrepreneurs in communities and, through them, help stimulate economic growth and regeneration across the UK.
Launched in April 2012, the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme is run in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs, and jointly funded by The National Lottery Community Fund. The programme provides both financial support (grants of up to £10,000) and access to a comprehensive learning support programme including a business mentoring scheme. By 2020 the programme will have supported around 2,350 social entrepreneurs to start and grow innovative social organisations. There is a link below if you would like to get in touch with them for your own community project."
The program does provide a small grant, but is mainly centred on providing support through knowledge, networking, and developing your social idea through experienced teachers and peer reflection. The one or two days spent every month for a year are a rich melting pot of expert training, witness experiences, peer group projects, and tailored support that have so far helped us really fine tune our direction, our goals, and their manifestation.
Getting onto the scheme itself is an achievement, as there are a lot of applications and obviously only so many can be taken on, but if like us you have an idea that means something, have a reasonable chance of making it happen, and you are willing to work hard, then you have a good chance. Personally for me it has made me ask questions of what we do, offer alternative perspectives, and most of all offer that guiding hand that has made the difference between us being driven to us having drive . It has answered the questions that were nagging at me, and it has helped me get involved with others taking this journey.
So I would just like to thank all the team at SSE and Lloyds, and the National Lottery for believing in us, supporting us, and most of all just asking us how we were doing and if they can help at all. Running a growing business can feel mighty lonely at the helm even with a great board to help you out, so checking in with a whole bunch of people who want you to succeed is a great way to start the day. Keep it real gang, and see you again soon...
“You can. You should. And if you are brave enough to start, you will.”