On the 19th June The Rank Foundation launched applications for the Accelerator Event 2019. Every year we invite the Network to apply to pitch an Enterprising idea at our Annual Conference. This year, the Conference (and the Accelerator Event) will have a particular focus on ‘Valuing Place’. For more information on eligibility and how to apply, please see our latest post on the Accelerator Event 2019.

We wanted to update the Network on the success of the 2018 winners: Nudge Community Builders and Compass Advocacy Network.

Nudge Community Builders

Local people need extra support, encouragement and financial backing to take a space at Nudge’s monthly markets. By providing this support, Nudge can enable local people and young entrepreneurs to be at the heart of the markets. This funding would enable Nudge to offer spaces for free or on a commission basis if they have a good day.  Alongside this, Nudge will provide bespoke mentoring support before, during and afterwards. 

Update Spring 2019

“The Manor Street Market started this year on 31st March and is becoming a much loved date in the diary in our local area. Each market has had live music, at least 12 stalls and we have really improved the food options for people by working with local businesses.

We’ve had two markets so far this year with 5 more planned up to September and hope to invest further in the infrastructure to make it suitable through the winter. The market is improving in quality and feel. We used materials from the Scrapstore and volunteer help to make yellow decorations that have had a really good impact and have also had some promotional photos done by FotoNow.

We have had 5 young people participate to run stalls and sell from suitcases, and have 7 more booked in for upcoming markets. This has included selling sweets, popcorn making, hand drawn cards, pottery and running challenges or competitions. We have seen some of our regular community who come to our free Soup sessions now feeling brave enough to take a stall. This has been really challenging for some of them as they have complex needs and mental health issues. They have needed support to feel confident and mentoring to keep trying and to develop their offer. We have spent time promoting the opportunity to local young people at careers fairs and through the local foyer and groups. It is taking time for people to feel confident. So we are noticing that they need to come along to a market first to see how it works and tend to pop in at least twice to talk things through.

From this learning we are developing some more support and resources for young people to use around budgeting, selling techniques and pricing.”

Community Advocacy Network

CAN’s Social Enterprises enable them to generate their own funds and are all environment/service-based. CAN want to take waste plastic and do something meaningful with it, via a ‘Precious Plastics model’.  They wish to purchase the equipment to create a new processing facility with the aim of re-purposing the 17 tonnes of waste plastics they have at their disposal. The Precious Plastic model will create beautiful products, made by adults with learning disabilities for local shops and online. 

Update Spring 2019

“Since becoming an Accelerator prize winner we have been extremely busy with the Research and Development stage of our “Precious Plastics proof of concept” initiative, in partnership with Dr Dorian Dixon Msc, Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering at the Ulster University. We have now completed sample stress testing of various different types of plastics and now have a significant body of research as to the particular properties and potential product applications of our recycled plastics. We have also carried extensive research into types of equipment and machinery required to enable us to produce products with production methods that enable our members here at CAN to be fully involved, so that they can learn new skills and be fully integrated into the production process from start to finish. This very important phase of our initiative is now complete and we are now forging ahead with phase 2.

As part of phase 2 we have now taken delivery of a more industrial plastic shredder following experimentation with a small bench top machine and have also ordered our 1st Plastic injection moulding machine which should mean we will start full scale production of our 1st product made from recycled plastic before the end of May.

We already have customers lined up for our 1st product, which is a tourist related item that lends itself to other applications which is part of phase 3 and we hope to showcase this later this year at one of the Rank Foundation’s events.”