“It’s an honour to be able to play a part in encouraging and instilling a love for reading, writing and performing.”
Our Social Enterprise coordinator Kimberly Bond interviews Glenn and Angela James, owners of new Social Enterprise UNLEASH about their business.
1.Describe what your business does and your USP.
Unleash brings creativity out into the world and helps children & adults alike unleash their imaginations and potential – through the power of reading, writing and performing. We deliver themed interactive literacy based performances/workshops in schools, nurseries, colleges, communities and at events – with the aim of improving literacy standards and encouraging the study of STEAM/STEM subjects. Our workshops are about encouraging equality, tolerance, empowerment & education for all and increasing pride in yourself, others, where you live, where you are from and where you are going.
2. Where did you get the idea for your business from?
As individual writers who already delivered workshops in schools, we saw first-hand how the children and teachers responded to our workshops and ideas. But we also saw how certain areas could benefit from a boost in literacy based workshops, both subject areas and geographical areas. We decided that we wanted to do so much more than we could do as individuals. We wanted to deliver more in-depth and continued work in schools, to encourage environmental and STEM subjects on a grander scale and have the resources to expand into working in the arts and health arena, with adults as well as children and the local community, to name but a few. We really want to help make a difference and in the future take on staff and volunteers to help us deliver our work on a wider scale and to truly inspire the next generation. We felt the best way to do this, was to come together as an arts organisation so that we could work more closely together, pool our resources and expertise, apply for funding and to take our work to the next level. We really want ‘Unleash’ to unlock creativity, imagination and potential in the wider community, as well as our own.
3. Why is literacy so important?
Literacy is one of the core foundations of any society and is one of the main means of improving one’s life. It opens up a whole new world of learning and enjoyment.
4. Why should schools focus more on this subject?
We would love to see schools focus more not just on the mechanics of literacy, but also the enjoyment of reading and writing. Allow the children more scope to use their imaginations and to feel confident in performing and sharing their ideas.
5.What’s the favourite part of your business?
Delivering workshops in schools – it’s always a delight to see the children so engaged and their imaginations so fired up. They are always so enthusiastic and bursting with ideas, it’s an honour to be able to play a part in encouraging and instilling a love for reading, writing and performing. We also love being able to ‘bring other subjects to life’ through themed, interactive literacy based workshops, such as history, geography, STEM and PSHE subjects, etc.
6. What’s been the hardest part of your journey?
Juggling the sheer workload involved in setting up on your own, as you find yourself having to do practically everything whilst you get going. This includes not only writing, creating and delivering workshops, but also arranging bookings, marketing, sales, social media, IT, website design, fundraising, accounting, admin, research, business planning, strategy, building the business, etc. It’s a lot to handle and is a steep learning curve, but it’s all worth it. The only issue then is that you get so used to taking care of it all, that you find it hard to outsource when you are in a position to do so, but again this is something worth doing when you can.
7. Why did you decide to become a ‘Social Enterprise’?
We decided to become a social enterprise as we wanted our work to really help make a difference, whilst building on our business goals as well. This seemed an ideal model to achieve all of this.
8. What does ‘social enterprise’ mean to you?
To us ‘Social Enterprise’ is essentially a business with a social conscience. Whose main mission is to benefit and improve society, whilst running and growing independently. It’s a great way of bringing business and social aims together.
9. What are your aims for 2016?
In 2016 we would like to expand on the work already undertaken, start to deliver funded programmes of work, make our business more sustainable through sales, grants and fundraising, etc and start planning for taking our business to the next level (taking on premises, staff/volunteers, etc).
Where can people find you?
You can contact/find us via:
Tel: 0844 500 6169
“Unleash are just one of the new social enterprise organisations supported through our monthly peer mentoring hub at Staffordshire University. Angela and Glenn will be performing at our Social Enterprise Matters Showcase event on 22nd June.
Our Showcase event is free to attend for everyone, so book your place now.
You can also see us perform at the ‘Lymelight Festival’ in Newcastle on the May Bank Holiday.