A helping hand for ‘mavericks’ at Bethnal Green social entrepreneurial school

A HELPING hand is being offered to people who want to improve their communities or set up a business with a social conscience – but don’t know where to start.

The School for Social Entrepreneurs, which is based in Bethnal Green, is offering free training for “mavericks” who have the persistence to make things better to benefit their communities.

There are 30 places up for grabs on the year-long course which helps participants learn from trail-blazers who have gone before them.

No qualifications are necessary, instead the interviewers are looking for motivation and the willingness to develop their ideas. The course starts in April.

Policy and communications director Nick Temple said: “Their actions can have a ripple effect. They stand up and don’t whinge and they try to challenge things. They can spot others with similar potential and will inspire other people.”

Previous participants include Crissy Townsend who set up the Teviot Action Group in Poplar and was involved in a campaign to bring a DLR station to the area at Langdon Park which has attracted �7.5 million to the area.

John Linney who manages Bodywise Yoga in Roman Road also joined the course to help develop the charity which helps people improve their health.

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Participants spend about 35 to 40 days a year on the programme, with work outside the formal sessions. The programme includes a chance to meet “expert witnesses” and learn about their successes and failures as well as tutoring and support from other participants.

This year there are some places for social entrepreneurs who will help tenants of East Thames Housing Association or are their residents.

SSE chief executive Alastair Wilson, who himself attended the first London programme as a student, said: “I know from personal experience that this is a life-changing programme. If you have an idea, a dream that you want to turn into reality, then SSE is the place to help you make that happen.” For more details, call 020 8981 0300.