2017 – Not a year anyone wants to remember. With news stories from around the world trumping the last, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and in despair. But we are also seeing a revolution brewing. People are taking the power into their own hands and making the positive impact they want to see in the world.

Social Entrepreneurs: Rather than leaving societal needs to the government or business sectors, social entrepreneurs find what is not working and solve the problem by changing the system, spreading the solution, and persuading entire societies to take new leaps. (Ashoka)

16th November marks Social Enterprise Day – a day to raise awareness of the sector and all the positive impact businesses are having on our societies. We wanted to share some stories of the people in Greater Brighton who have dedicated their lives to making our city a better, more caring and more inclusive place.

The Bevy Pub

Warren Carter, The Bevy

After a history of violence and drugs at The Bevendean in Moulsecoomb, the local pub was closed in 2010 with no immediate plans for the future. This sparked a local revolution as community members came together to campaign the need to re-open the space as a community hub.

Seven years later, The Bevy is a community business, owned and run by local residents who are shareholders in the social enterprise. Now the pub hosts events daily to bring the whole community together. Warren Sharp, a founding member of the team and Chair, shares how their weekly event, Friday Friends, brings together older community members for a meal and has had a ripple effect on their social lives.


Ruth Anslow, Jack Simmonds and Amy Anslow at HISBE

Ruth and Amy Anslow, HISBE

Amy and Ruth Anslow are sisters, entrepreneurs and supermarket rebels! In 2010, fed up with the way big supermarkets do business, they decided to create a different kind of supermarket, powered by local people, community spirit and a social enterprise business model. Together they built a following of hundreds of supermarket rebels and in 2013 launched the first HISBE Food store with their friend Jack Simmonds.

HISBE stands for “how it should be” and champions small, local producers and brands that trade responsibly. The HISBE team is committed to transforming supermarkets for good, in order to create a fairer, responsible and sustainable food industry for the future.

Nina Emett, FotoDocument

Nina Emett, FotoDocument

Nina Emett is a photographer who set up arts education social enterprise FotoDocument in 2012. Driven by a belief in the power of the visual narrative as an effective communication tool to raise awareness of current global issues, FotoDocument creates solution-focused photo essays which inspire action. The work is used within education settings to facilitate learning and discussion and is installed in high-profile public spaces to engage a large and diverse public in order to motivate behaviour change.

Projects have included Empowering Women Worldwide, in partnership with CARE International, comprising 5 photo essays on women entrepreneurs in developing world countries who have used microcredit to lift themselves and their families out of poverty; One Planet City, in partnership with BioRegional, comprising 10 photo essays commissioned in line with the 10 principles of sustainability framework One Planet Living and for which FotoDocument won a PEA (People Environment Achievement) Award in 2015.

FotoDocument offers bespoke services through its three trading arms FotoSchool, FotoStory and FotoAgency.

Simon Cobb, Stoneham Bakehouse (Photo: Sarah London)

Simon Cobb, Stoneham Bakehouse

Simon Cobb was a primary school teacher but after feeling overworked he was signed off on stress. Battling depression, he made the decision not to go back to work and started a journey that would lead to the setup of Stoneham Bakehouse.

Simon got involved in a local bread-making course that supported him in combating his depression through the bread-making process and encouraging him to engage with people. “The act of making bread is very grounding. It forces you to slow down and appreciate what’s around you; and for your efforts you’re paid back with something which you can be proud of.”

Seeing the positive impact bread-making had to his wellbeing and wanting to support others in the community faced with the same challenges, Simon set up a bakery that provides bread by the community for the good of the community.

Now nearing three years since it was launched the Bakehouse successful raised £23,000 to equip their own bakery in Hove selling hand-made bread daily to the general public and running bread-making workshops to the community. Simon has plans to offer paid-placement for people trying to get into work having experienced the struggle of finding work when he was unemployed.

Want to know more?

Social Enterprise – Is It The Right Approach For Your Organisation? / November 30

Are you interested to know more about social enterprise and whether it’s an approach that might suit you or your organisation?? Join us on 30th November to explore what tackling societies biggest issues can look like and if your idea is a starter.


#Socent Social & Showcase / December 6

We are celebrating the collective accomplishments of local social enterprises in 2017 and welcoming in a new wave of social entrepreneurs. Join us in celebrating, listening to the stories from and being inspired by your community members setting up social enterprises at our festive social on 6th December.