As kids head back to the classroom, take some time to reflect on your own learning. Get some inspiration from our member and life coach Ashmeet Kapoor, as he shares some of the lessons he’s learned over the years.

‘This is what I’d tell my younger self if I could go back in time:

1. Make having fun your top priority in life. Infuse play into your purpose. Remind yourself everyday that you will die one day. Live with that awareness.

2. Feelings are not bad, and you’re not bad to feel certain things. All feelings are equal. But when “unpleasant” feelings, like fear or anger, have arisen, it’s not the time to act or make decisions. It’s the time to be kind to yourself, and go inward.

3. Connect with what you want instead of playing the game and focusing on what seems like something one “must” do. Separate what the mission needs from what you need. And look after both, but know which one you are in service of when. Think about what you’re really looking for behind what you think you want.

For example, you might think you need to get funded – what is it you are really looking for – is it a way to feel confident (by getting some validation), or does your company actually need money to survive, or do you want the status of a funded company? Another example – you think you need to hire a Head of Marketing – what is it that you really need? Is it someone to bounce off ideas with, to not have to manage some people or processes in the team, do you need more creativity in the team, or do you just want to feel reassured knowing that another smart and experienced person is now in your team? There’s nothing wrong with having any wish. Be honest, drop all preferences, and clarity will automatically flow when you get to your core truth. Take action from clarity, not fear or comparison.

4. It’s ok to feel disconnected from your mission from time to time, or even all the time. It’s ok to wonder “is this really what I’m meant to be doing?”. The feeling or thought is not the problem, the fact that you avoid it is. Be aware of the “void” you feel inside, that all humans feel. Meet this void regularly. Accept it. Embrace it. And be curious about what you’re doing unconsciously or impulsively in an attempt to fill it.

5. Do these everyday, even if just for 30 seconds each:

    1. Remind yourself of your strengths
    2. Visualise the future you want
    3. Be grateful for what you have, and remind yourself of things in your life that are beautiful.

6. Challenging situations and people are your biggest teachers. Meet them with gratitude. Don’t wait to say thanks once you have learnt the lesson. Say thanks in advance because you know a lesson is coming.

7. Inquire into what your self-limiting beliefs might be when you don’t feel good about yourself, around certain groups or people, instead of carrying the load of “I’m not good enough”. Also, check if you really need to and want to continue being around them. If the answer is no, then stop.

8. Exercise caution when criticising, and none when appreciating. Find something to appreciate in everyone. Say it. If it’s too awkward to say it, write them a letter even if you never send it. But find a way to channel your appreciation.’

Ashmeet is an entrepreneur turned coach, with the mission of helping people infuse play into purpose. He built his company – I Say Organic – into a leading organic food business in India over a decade. What he learnt from that journey was that pursuing something he felt passionate about wasn’t enough when it came to feeling fulfilled or happy. A major insight for him was that his beliefs about how he and things “ought” to be were the cause of his discontent. Since then, he has been on a journey to “unlearn”, and to instead connect with and trust what he truly wants, his values, and his intuition. Through coaching conversations and workshops, he helps people and groups connect with their highest intentions, and discover how they can learn to live light-heartedly while maximising their potential and creating impact. His wish for all his clients is to live joyfully, and work purposefully. His website has more details.

Ashmeet holds a Masters in Entrepreneurship from Brown University, and a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from The University of British Columbia. He was born and grew up in New Delhi, India, and now lives in the UK with his wife. Among his favourite topics and things are mindfulness, plant-based food, nature and mountains, spirituality, planet-friendly technologies, entrepreneur well-being, and conscious relationships.

Are you ready to get Back to Good Work?  Step out the door to meet like-minded individuals, connect with impact-driven businesses, and find new motivation in our coworking space. With business support services, weekly events and a global network, your work will be ‘good’ in every sense of the word.

Enjoy 20% off your first month if you join by 30 September 2021. Find out more about our memberships.

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Times of change require new insights.

As we head into a new phase of building back better, we could not be happier to welcome a new group of Board Members to Impact Hub King’s Cross.

Coming from a wide range of professional and personal backgrounds, they will help govern one of our separate but linked organisations:

Meet the experienced and impact-led Board Members who will be joining Impact Hub King’s Cross:

 

Ltd Board

 

Dominique Carrié

Dominique is an Investment Officer at Ceniarth, a family office focused on impact-first investments globally. She works at the junction of finance and international development to deliver positive impact for underserved and vulnerable populations.

Prior to Ceniarth, she was a manager at Social Finance, a non-profit focused on delivering better social outcomes through innovative practices and she has a track record of designing and managing large and complex multi-stakeholder projects involving local and national governments.

Her expertise lies in strategic planning, financial and risk management, performance management and outcomes measurement. 

 

 

Gaby Jesson

Gaby Jesson is a Marketing and Communications Director with a track record of award-winning growth & creative campaigns across a variety of sectors including flexible workspace, technology, fintech, SaaS, property, retail, fitness, drinks, travel (B2B and B2C) and fashion.

Gaby co-founded and led her own marketing communications agency for 16 years with clients as diverse as Nike, Coca Cola, Nokia, Selfridges and M.I.T! She sold the agency in 2016 and began consulting to startup brands across a range of sectors before taking a role to launch Plexal, an innovation hub for tech startups at the Olympic Park in 2018. In 2019 she was appointed as CMO to Plus X innovation hubs and led the launch of their flagship innovation hub in Brighton as well as website design and building the marketing team and suppliers.

Her professional focus and passion is linking PR & audience engagement with customer acquisition through digital marketing, social media, PR, SEO, Google analytics & best practice digital content, influencer outreach & UK/EMEA campaigns.
In 2021 she launched her own marketing communications agency, The Prospect Society, focused on provided flexible and cost effective marketing growth support for startups and lean scaleups.

 

 

Louise Kingsley

Louise has over twenty years experience as an energy and infrastructure lawyer and has spent the last 10 years working solely in the renewable energy field.  She is Legal Director for the world’s largest independent renewable energy company, working on the development of onshore windfarm,  solar park and energy storage projects and promoting the urgent need for a transition to a net zero carbon emission future.

Louise has a keen interest in community energy projects and has volunteered as a Policy consultant for the charity Pure Leapfrog which promotes community ownership, sustainability and decarbonisation.

 

 

CIC Board

 

Grace Reid

Grace is a Critical Friend, Consultant, and Founder of URLIFEURBUSINESS. She is passionate about using her professional and lived experience to support organisations to move beyond the tick box approach to Diversity & Inclusion. She achieves this by designing creative, interactive interventions that support businesses to be the change, make the change and model the change.

She has over 15 years experience in the commercial, non-profit, and higher education sector, transforming lives and businesses one conversation at a time.  She is unapologetically curious, likes to challenge the status quo, and never stops asking ‘what if?’. 

Earlier this year Grace was delighted to be invited to join the board of Trustees of Impact Hub King’s Cross’ CIC, which helped her to start her entrepreneurial journey: Paddington Development Trust (an organisation that is committed to giving the power back to the communities that they serve). Her mission is to help organisations create equitable workplace cultures of belonging where all employees are empowered to thrive.

 

 

Hannah Watkins

Following a degree in Hispanic Studies, and postgraduate qualifications in Law, Hannah spent six years as a lawyer at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, specialising in Dispute Resolution and International Arbitration. She moved into the commercial world, motivated by a desire to work with entrepreneurially-minded, innovative businesses, founding her own magazine on education and child development.

As a former Business and Operations Director of a communications agency focused on the creative industries, place-making and cultural institutions and, more recently, Business Advisor advising or “trouble-shooting” for organisations, including a documentary film production company, and a children’s mental health charity, she helps structure and optimise business growth and potential.

She has recently completed the masters’ level Financial Times Non-Executive Director Diploma. Hannah’s professional motivation lies in providing non-judgmental and constructive challenge to young businesses that have an impact on society and in championing social entrepreneurs within a collaborative and ethical community.

 

 

Mercurius Saad

Video games shaped his childhood, studying mathematics developed his discipline and his passion for storytelling blossomed into a career in marketing…which lasted 3 years, before he became obsessed with wanting to impact people’s lives through technology.

Mercurius transformed this energy into a company called Tutorbloc, which he now runs full-time from his bedroom in Greenwich. Tutorbloc helps educators launch, manage and grow their business with the purpose of turning their knowledge into income. Outside of work, you can find him on the radio, reading WIRED magazine or running at 4am.

 

 

Oriana Pound

As chief of staff for PwC’s Global Clients & Industries network, Oriana is a strategic leader in a complex global environment. She works with PwC’s leaders and teams worldwide to build and strengthen their businesses, and challenges them to focus on how to best support their clients in both developed and developing markets. In this role, she’s worked with all types of organisations – including ambitious startups, major global corporations and leading family businesses – as well as many not-for-profits and social enterprises. She’s passionate about helping others to be successful: whether this is working with entrepreneurs or the next generation of family business owners, and her day-to-day work leading teams. She is a former Board Member of CodeFirstGirls, a multi-award-winning organisation working to increase the number of women in tech.

Her work in global organisations fits well with an international background. She was born in the US, but raised in Morocco and the UK. Her love of travel has resulted in many different adventures including a role as group leader for the Jagriti Yatra, an inspiring and ambitious train journey that takes hundreds of India’s highly motivated youth, especially those who are from small towns and villages of India, on a 15 day, 8000 km national trip to meet the role models – social and business entrepreneurs – of the country. The vision of Jagriti is ‘building India through enterprise’.

 

 

Stephanie Haywood

Stephanie is a senior business executive with 20 years of international sales, customer engagement and loyalty marketing experience spanning online and offline luxury retail. Her career has included a mix of roles at companies including Chanel, Net-A-Porter, and Selfridges, as well as entrepreneurial experiences in Europe and Asia.

She now plans to use the rest of her career to have a positive impact on the world and is a strong believer that entrepreneurship and innovation have a major role to play in solving the key challenges of our time.

 

Discover the full team carrying out the work for Impact Hub King’s Cross. 

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London’s food system is at a pivotal point. The pandemic confronted many with its flaws and inequalities, while Brexit continues to threaten our long supply chains.

However, the past year also saw a rise in incredible initiatives demonstrating the importance of a more resilient and inclusive food system in London.

Powered by Bank of America and Connect Fund, and run in partnership with Sustain, this year’s Feeding the City: Start Up programme is providing free support to a cohort of new food enterprises that address one or more of London’s food challenges.

Extending over 9 months, all participants start in the ‘sprouting‘ phase, after which 6 are selected to continue to the ‘growing‘ and ‘harvesting‘ phase.

Meet the 12 start-ups working to build back a food system that is responsible, sustainable and equitable:

 

Silas Yard

A startup in Shoreditch looking to establish a circular food economy through the four main branches of: soil lab, mushroom farm, gardens and a deli. Their pilot project will be taking food waste from 32 residential and one commercial property on Dorset Estate, transforming it into a soil amendment through our soil lab. The end result will be used to transform the gardens on the estate.

The mushroom farm will provide goods to sell through our deli as well as the mycelial component needed to balance the bacterial one in the soil amendment. The deli will act as a route to market for products made from the rest of the project as well as selling products made by local producers.

Team: Ana Vadeanu, Helenka Wargon, Anthony Ussher

 

Foridge

This application helps people reduce food waste by suggesting recipes based on leftover ingredients. It also teaches resourceful home-cooking by guiding them through substitutions, cooking methods and allergen adaptations.

Founder: Katie Lillywhite

 

Frooted

Helps people to be their best selves every day by providing nutritious diy smoothies in a revolutionary and convenient way. Their blenderless smoothies improve both your digestive health and emotional wellbeing.

Founder: Letisha Larmond

 

Good Food Collective

A group of local residents who produce fresh food and inspire the community to eat healthier.

They wish to celebrate the diverse food cultures and knowledge already existing in Barking and Dagenham and create opportunities for the production of more ‘Barking and Dagenham-made’ healthy food and drinks products.

Team Leader: Brigitta Budi

 

Root Cause Cafe

A community Cafe in Hackney, ran by diverse volunteers in the community. They provide low-cost healthy meals, some from donations from Idia’s with a focus on mental health and reducing food waste. They want to offer a creative space for all to join in and improve their outlook and prospects.

Team leader: Penny Burke

 

Seeds of Inclusion

Aims to connect different realities (Farmers’ Markets Community Gardens, Allotments, Food Banks and Community Kitchens) already active in NW10 through the creation of a plants’ nursery where will be grown variety representing the demographic variety of the area.

“Very passionate about nature, l developed during my life an interest for growing my own food. Lucky enough to have made a career out of this, I would like to see everyone having the chance to eat fresh, nutritious and various vegetables. Even in London”.

Founder: Laura Di Pietro

 

SMART Bread

Bakes great sourdough loaves for their community, delivering it by bike and on foot. They work with those who come to SMART for training and rehabilitation support as well as other people in our community who need a helping hand, or just a friendly face.

Team leader: Jodie Terry

 

Sustainable Breakfasts

Lucy and Evan, a wife-and-husband team based in Hackney, want to make it easier for people to live a more environmentally-friendly life by providing truly sustainable breakfast foods that help people eat better and feel better.

Their delicious and nutritious granolas and porridge will be created with ingredients produced in a way that nourishes the soil and packaged in materials that are sustainable and additive to the planet.

Team: Lucy and Evan Williams

 

Talk and Taste

Utilising surplus fruit & veg to create soups and desserts, rich in nutrients, which are particularly attractive to the elderly and to children. Some of the proceeds of the sale and products themselves will be donated to food banks to enrich a program of social interaction with isolated elderly during food bank deliveries.

Frances has worked for 30 years to try to reduce GHG emissions through changes in the food system, through behavioural programs and through regulation and is very optimistic that together now we are seriously beginning to tackle climate change and biodiversity challenges.

Team: Frances Pairaudeau, Katharine Hidalgo

 

The Ferm

A zero-waste kimchi (Korean dish of spicy pickles) brand that utilizes edible byproducts from farms and distributors and makes nutritious delicious kimchi. The three products they will launch with are cauliflower leaf kimchi, beet stem kimchi, and garlic stem jangajji.

Founder: Rebecca Ghim

 

The Food Chain Community Cafe

Building on the Food Chain’s mission, they are establishing a community café in King’s Cross. They plan to deliver a menu and catering services with nourishing and dietetically informed multi-cultural and affordable food. They aim to address social isolation, mental health and wellbeing by creating an inviting and inclusive environment that can reach people where they are.

Team and Board: Caroline Missen, Teresa Rider, Richard Mills, Peter Blowers, Siobhan Lanigan

 

Urban City Aquaponics Farming

Using aquaponic techniques & vertical farming within an urban environment to grow nutritious, pesticide and artificial fertiliser free salad leaf, micro greens & vegetables, and fish protein. The aim is to supply the local community, hospitality and eventually retail businesses.

The desire is to also make this a centre of excellence for STEM learning opportunities tailored to suit different levels local educational establishments. Other revenue streams include recreational avenues such as localised “fishing” within an urban environment.

Team leader: Elie Haddad

 

Want to find out more about business support at Impact Hub King’s Cross? Discover our current programmes.

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Our business support programmes are continuously growing and evolving. To support the strategy and direction of these activities, we have put together a new advisory board that can provide added value and insights. The team have strong connections to our work and represent our key focus areas. We are so honoured to have them ‘on board’!

Meet the experienced and impact-led programme advisors who will be joining Impact Hub King’s Cross:

 

Pranav Chopra

A Social Entrepreneur, ex-Management Consultant, ACA and MBA graduate, Pranav is a passionate social entrepreneur who has been involved in a number of ventures with a social development agenda at their core. Most recently he set up NEMI Teas, which empowers refugees by selling specialist tea in the UK. Pranav also worked as a Management Consultant for over 10 years, where he advised a diverse portfolio of market-leading clients in a range of industries across different regions.

He has been involved with Impact Hub Kings Cross for several years, especially playing an integral role in designing and being part of the inaugural Feeding The City Accelerate programme.

 

 

Nick Howe

“Fall in love with your customers’ problem – not your solution to it” – a lesson that a lot of business owners I am lucky enough to work with would share with their younger selves.

Named in the 2018 Enterprise Nation Top 50 UK business advisors, Nick has a passion for supporting people and businesses and in particular social enterprise and purposeful founders. He has built a strong network and track record for spotting and signposting opportunities for those he is aligned with. A great listener to business owners, he provides suggestions in response to their challenges and introduces like-minded solutions to their needs. Nick also helps business community organisations to build their offer and range of events, workshops, contacts and reach to help their local business economy thrive.

Having been involved at previous Impact Hub King’s Cross Funders Fairs and mentoring sessions, Nick is delighted to see what he can bring to the wider advisory board.

 

 

Rose Lewis

Rose recently joined the Soil Association working on an exciting project to develop a new food and farming hub. They are aiming to disrupt industrial-scale food systems one farm at a time.

Her journey there was defined by her recent Masters in Environmental Technology from Imperial College, where she discovered the role agriculture has played in contributing to the climate crisis, as well as helping to solve not just climate injustice but social injustice that has been caused by industrial-scale food systems. Her ambition is to bring her 25 years of commercial and startup experience to create new models for sustainable and local food systems. Rose’s entrepreneurial mindset comes from her experience starting a business accelerator, investing and supporting over 50 digital tech startups. She enjoys working with awesome people and is renowned for introducing disruptive ideas to organisations for positive transformation.

Rose is a non-executive director of Seenit Digital Ltd – a fast-growing video crowdsourcing platform used by multi-national companies to engage their employees.

A mentor to a number of tech companies, she has taken on this role in our Feeding The City Accelerate programme.

 

 

Safiya Robinson

Nominated one of Code Hospitality’s 100 Most Influential Women in Hospitality 2021, Safiya is a creative cook, writer, podcaster, and wellness advocate. She is the founder of sisterwoman vegan, a plant-based social enterprise exploring wellness through food.

A creative and vibrational cook (a la Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor), she creates plant-based dishes inspired by her Black American, Jamaican and British heritage and believes that food is a healing modality, centring community, education and mindfulness in her work. With a focus on holistic wellness and mental health she creates spaces for critical food conversation and seeks to empower us all to think more critically about the food that we eat.

Safiya was part of the Feeding the City Start Up programme in 2018/19.

 

 

Nancy Sawan

Multilingual and multidisciplinary senior Executive with over 20 years of international leadership experience in Financial Services, Technology, Social Enterprises and Academia.

Nancy is a London Business School Sloan Fellow and is currently a Board Trustee at The Haven + London, a charity dedicated to supporting the emotional, spiritual and mental wellbeing of the creative community in London. She is also a Strategic Advisor and Ambassador for WAVE, an organisation that aims to change attitudes towards disability in communities.

In the past few years, Nancy has mentored and advised four businesses as part of various programmes at the Impact Hub King’s Cross. The businesses include Six Legs Farm and Reviving Food as part of the Feeding the City Start Up Programme, Sutton
Community Farm as part of the Feeding the City Accelerate Programme and The Canvas as part of the Peer
Networks Programme.

 

 

Daljeet Singh 

Daljeet (or DJ as he is better known) is a freelance marketing practitioner providing marketing strategy & services for ethical businesses that are changing the world.

He started as an SEO copywriter, cut his marketing teeth as co-founder and Head of Marketing for a travel social network startup, matured working under one of the world’s leading business coaches, and is now using his 9 years of marketing experience to bring more ethical marketing practice into the world.

DJ also co-founded and runs a drag performance business, Dragged Around London, which has been running for 4 years and has seen consistent year on year growth and has bounced back from covid tremendously.

Dj has worked with Impact Hub King’s Cross by facilitating workshops and providing mentorship.

 

 

Parminder Singh Jutla

Throughout 30 years of experience in community and social innovation, Parminder has supported social entrepreneurs and community organisations to dream, design, develop and deliver successful strategies for maximising social impact and developing sustainable business models.

His experience includes 14 years at UnLtd where he designed, developed, and fundraised (£40m) to deliver national and international support and resource services for social entrepreneurs; he designed and developed programmes/services aimed at supporting social entrepreneurs, and have personally supported over 400 social entrepreneurs.

In this time, he has worked with Impact Hub Kings Cross to support us at events, explore partnership working, and recently mentoring grantees through their various programmes.

 

 

Shana Tufail

Shana is a global citizen who “lives, works, loves Camden”. She founded Model My City and #SDGsforCamden to bring the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to life locally as a pilot for London boroughs and beyond and as a framework to build back better post-COVID.

She is a member of Camden Council’s Climate Citizen panel (2020-22) and as a neurodivergent, BIPOC, Muslim professional, role models neurodiversity and intersectionality in the workplace, and advocates for climate, sustainability and inclusion leadership and upskilling at all levels.

As a UN SDGs ambassador, her call to action is ‘think global, act local’.

 

 

Want to learn more about the startup and accelerator programmes we provide for ethical and diverse entrepreneurs? Explore our current and past programmes.

 

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June’s multicoloured flags are just one of the many characteristics of Pride Month. Now celebrating the LGBTQ+ communities all around the world, it commemorates the Stonewall riots, where protesters changed gay rights for a lot of people in America and beyond.

Members of our community support and showcase the LGBTQ+ communities in a wide range of ways.

Discover below the colorful, innovative, and forward-thinking ways in which they achieve this.

 

LGBT+ Business Youth Mentoring

Career Accelerator is an education business that prepares diverse pupils for careers in the digital sector, while supporting businesses to provide training opportunities for staff.

They found that LGBT young people’s assumptions about how safe or inclusive a workplace significantly narrowed the employment and career paths they felt were open to them. At work, some LGBT young people felt forced to leave employment because of negative workplace experiences, including anti-LGBT bullying and harassment.

Founder and CEO Mayur Gupta shared his thoughts – ‘I’ve noticed a void when it comes to discussing LGBT+ youth business mentoring. Some schools, universities, and businesses are concerned that this is unnecessary, unfeasible or even unfair, but I disagree. Having received LGBT+ business mentoring myself and facilitated a number of LGBT+ youth business mentoring programmes, I feel there is merit for LGBT+ young people to receive business mentoring from LGBT+ business mentors.’

After a successful pilot, Career Accelerator are running LGBT+ business youth mentoring with 22 young LGBT+ people (18-25) and 22 LGBT+ business mentors and allies across Vodafone, Pearson and GoCardless. On the back of this, they are also running an LGBT+ young professionals network – the first of its kind in the UK.

You can read more career advice and initiatives by Mayur for LGBT+ and other inclusive youth groups on his LinkedIn articles.

 

 

Dragged Around London

Alongside his day-to-day job as a digital marketing freelancer, our member DJ is the co-founder of Dragged Around London. They create entertaining and unique experiences in London led by Drag Queens and Kings, such as walking and bus tours, digital shows and workshops, reading stories to children and hosting birthday parties and hen dos.

Dragged Around London helps people see a fun, fruity and fabulous view of the city, bringing drag literally into the light of day and creating more space for the ever-growing group of drag artists to express themselves.

80% of every booking goes directly to the performers, and with every walking tour ticket sold, 10% is also donated to the Outside Project, London’s first LGBTIQ+ community shelter, centre and domestic abuse refuge.

You can follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @draggedaroundl and visit their website to book!

 

 

Sustainable LGBTQI+ Brands

GoodFind is the directory with direction – they help connect shoppers with ethical brands doing good things.

They have a specific category dedicated to LGBTQI+ (and supporting) sustainable brands. They’ve also been creating lots of great content during Pride Month to grow awareness and share positive stories within their community.

‘At Goodfind we believe in equality and representation. Our platform strives to represent everyone who believes in a better world, but especially those who struggle to get their voices heard and their rights respected. Sustainability goes beyond environmental impact, without a fair society nothing is sustainable. Our aim is to help build a more sustainable economy, and that means elevating social justice too. As a diverse organisation ourselves, we know the importance of standing behind minorities and under-represented groups, we are those groups.’ – Nohelia, Founder and CEO.

Find sustainable LGBTQI+ brands on their website or explore their Instagram page for more inspiration.

 

 

Say it Loud Club

Say it Loud Club provides support and advocacy for LGBTQA+ refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. Their aim is to establish a grass root support group that can help reduce loneliness and eradicate isolation of this group by raising awareness. They explored with us their role at the intersection of Pride and Refugee Week in a guest blog post.

 

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In this guest blog, our member Holly from Say it Loud Club shares the importance of promoting inclusivity at the intersection of two communities.

This week is Refugee Week. A week when the country comes together to celebrate the incredible contributions that refugees have made to UK culture; to recognise the hardships they have faced to do so, the resilience they have had to find. It is also Pride month, a time for similar celebrations and reflections of the LGBTQ+ community. As a community supporting LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers in the UK, the falling of Refugee Week slap bang in the middle of Pride month is significant to us – LGBTQ+ refugees are where they belong, at the heart of the UK’s LGBTQ+ community.

Sadly, this is not the case most of the year round. It is increasingly difficult for people to be granted asylum in the UK on the grounds of sexuality, with decisions being made on the basis of appearance, religion, and circumstance rather than genuine need.123 Whilst there are some incredible LGBTQ+ individuals and organisations working tirelessly to support LGBTQ+ refugees, mainstream queer culture is inaccessible to many due to financial hardship and fear of discrimination. The same is true for refugee organisations; the support provided is excellent and much-needed, but often avoided by LGBTQ+ refugees who fear homo- or transphobia, or whose experiences are simply very different to other refugees.

Say It Loud Club aims to fill this gap, providing a space where people are understood and supported as both LGBTQ+ people and refugees, rather than just one or the other. Members of Say It Loud Club have access to individual mentoring, peer support, social events and workshops, but most importantly a community of people who understand them, who have gone through similar things, and who can share invaluable advice and encouragement. We also work with partner organisations to help our members find legal support, healthcare, counselling and therapy, housing, and employment in environments that respect and welcome every aspect of their identities and individualities.

“Connecting with other LGBTQ+ people, especially refugees, has transformed my life.”

“I can relate to who I am and not be ashamed of it anymore. I’ve become so confident and have been able to come out as a gay Muslim man.”

“I have learned that I am not alone, and I am safe, as I have my Say It Loud Club family behind me.”

Over lockdown, we have been focused primarily on reducing the isolation felt deeply by our community by running as many online events as possible – providing spaces for people to share skills and learn new creative practices as well as simply be together. This included a special ‘PRIDE: What’s it to me?’ discussion in partnership with Impact Hub King’s Cross. We also found that there was a huge need for emergency support to address lack of food and other essentials, unsafe housing and homelessness, and mental and physical health crises. While it has been an unimaginably tough year for us all, few have felt it more than communities like ours who are overlooked and under-served by the country’s structures of support. Now that we are able to look to the future again, we have been excited to plan and begin new projects: a Housing Project which is finding safe, permanent housing for LGBTQ+ refugees; an Ambassador Programme which provides a pathway to employment for members volunteering within Say It Loud Club.

 To find out more about our current work, you can visit our website, sayitloudclub.org, find us on Instagram @sayitloudclub, or email me on [email protected]. Of course, we are also incredibly grateful for donations, which can be made at sayitloudclub.org/donate. We are lucky as an organisation to be constantly growing, evolving, and able to offer increasingly more support to our members. We always welcome the opportunity to work with new people, so if you would like to volunteer, become a partner, or simply have a chat, please do get in touch!

 

Want to connect with inspiring organisations like Say it Loud Club? Find out more about our impact-driven community.

 

1 https://www.city.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2019/09/why-the-home-office-rejects-so-many-lgbtq-asylum-claims

2 https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/sep/02/home-office-refused-thousands-of-lgbt-asylum-claims-figures-reveal

3 https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2019/09/20/home-office-asylum-lgbt-religion-study-metropolitan-community-church-london/ 

Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity, and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary.

We’re celebrating this week by showcasing the inspiring ways in which our community supports and empowers refugees through enterprise.

Meet the members and programme alumni below:

 

Migrateful

Migrateful runs cookery classes led by refugees, asylum seekers and migrants struggling to integrate and access employment. They aim to facilitate English learning, confidence-building, and cultural exchange with the wider community. After joining our Resilience Programme in response to Covid-19, they’re opening a cookery school this summer.

 

Refugee Cafe

Refugee Cafe makes delicious food from around the world whilst creating a path to employment for people granted asylum in Lewisham. A Feeding the City Start-Up alumni, they recently raised an impressive £36,869 through crowdfunding to open a physical cafe.

 

Nemi Teas

Nemi Teas are a London-based tea company and Feeding the City Accelerate alumni. They provide employment to refugees to give them local work experience and job readiness skills to enter the UK workforce and help them integrate into broader society.

 

New Roots

New Roots is our programme powered by GoDaddy that empowers entrepreneurs from underserved communities. The programme pilot, launched in 2019, offered start-up and mentoring support to refugees and people from migrant communities to help them identify and pursue medium to long-term professional goals. Discover their stories.

 

Say it Loud Club

Say it Loud Club provides support and advocacy for LGBTQA+ refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. Their aim is to establish a grass root support group that can help reduce loneliness and eradicate isolation of this group by raising awareness. They explored with us their role at the intersection of Pride and Refugee Week in a guest blog post.

 

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For the second year running, we’re delighted to welcome a new Feeding the City Accelerate cohort!

Over the next 6 months, these ethical food & drink entrepreneurs will be supported to scale their business and impact.

Powered by Bank of America, Connect Fund, and the People’s Postcode Lottery, the programme will connect participants with thought leaders in food sustainability such as Sustain, large-scale buyers such as CH & CO, enterprise support providers, and investors. They will benefit from  business analysis, expert-led sessions, 1:1 and peer mentoring, and an Impact Hub King’s Cross membership.

 

Get to know the 8 businesses that are venturing on this journey of growth:

Equinox Kombucha

Equinox Kombucha is on a mission to disrupt the soft drinks market with the very best organic, sustainable kombucha. They mix old-school tradition with contemporary crafting to create a fermented, healthy, and naturally sparkling drink. Craft brewed, bottled, and delivered from the Calder Valley, in West Yorkshire, it’s packed with natural vitamins and good bacteria, perfect for a healthy gut and good digestion. Currently listed in Waitrose and the Coop, their kombucha is a lower sugar, healthier alternative to traditional soft drinks and mixers and for those looking to live a healthier lifestyle and focus on immunity. Managing Director Daniel Spayne and People and Sustainability lead Genevieve Boast will be engaging with the programme over the next 6 months.

Connect with them on social media:

 

Feast with Us

Founded by Hannah Style in 2015, Feast with Us has trained volunteers to cook nutritious meals with vulnerable people in various locations across London. Their unique community meal format by providing regular access to food alongside the opportunity to socialise and learn how to cook. This provides a sustainable long-term solution to food poverty prevention and a horizontal platform from which vulnerable people and volunteers can collaborate and learn from each other. FEAST sources surplus food from a range of local food suppliers and distributors, including City Harvest, Edible London and the Felix Project. During the pandemic, FEAST provided an essential food parcel delivery service and support hundreds of individuals with a 7-day service.

Connect with them on social media:

 

Local Greens

Jean Bergin is the co-founder of Local Greens, an ethical fruit and vegetable box scheme based in South-East London. They provide fresh produce that is grown by local farmers using ethical and environmental principles. Through the box scheme, small-scale producers are supported in earning a fair price, while their close proximity to the customer reduces travel emissions. Local Greens follows the Growing Communities model, which aims to improve the current food system.

Connect with them on social media:

 

One Planet Pizza

One Planet Pizza is the UK’s first plant-based frozen pizza company. Founded by father and son Mike and Joe Hill, One Planet is a purpose-driven pizza company, determined to make a difference one slice at a time. They believe that food should be delicious, healthy and sustainable, without compromise. Their pizzas are revolutionary: not only are they 100% plant-based and vegan-certified, they are also sustainable (and damn delicious!). They sell their pizzas in health stores and smaller retailers across the UK and mainland Europe and now want to enter the major retailers and new territories across the continent. They value purpose over profits throughout the business, working with charities and donating food, to planting trees for every 25 pizzas sold.

Connect with them on social media:

 

Pep and Lekker

Pep and Lekker sell moreish baked snacks bursting with goodness. Co-founded by Susan Gafsen and her sister in law, Juliette, they aim to combine nutrition and taste in equal measure by creating a range of snacks with 14 all-natural ingredients. The snacks are allergy-free and a source of protein, high in fibre, low in sugar, and palm oil-free. They are also approved by the vegan-friendly society and certified by Sugarwise. They want to make a positive difference to people’s health and also to the planet, aiming to be sustainable across the board: from ingredients to packaging selection.

Connect with them on social media:

 

Superfoodio

After a backpacking adventure around South America, husband and wife Jag and Nirali Mankodi were inspired to create delicious plant-based treats for pleasure, people and the planet. This led to them co-founding Superfoodio, which offers a range of plant-based chocolates made from 5 natural ingredients and wrapped in recyclable packaging. All their products are free from dairy, refined sugar, palm oil, and artificial flavours. To top it off, each bar gives back to their charity partner Oarsome Chance, who supports disadvantaged youth in the UK.

Connect with them on social media:

 

Sustenance Zero Waste Groceries

Sustenance Zero Waste Groceries provides locally, environmentally and socially friendly food, at affordable prices. Their highest-quality produce is ethically and sustainably sourced to make sure the earth, the suppliers, and their customers can live in an improved world. They achieve this by using cooperative wholesalers with responsible environmental policies in place and providing alternatives to harmful plastic products. Customers can fill (and refill) their own containers to buy zero waste products in small quantities or in bulk. Sustenance is founded by Katie Pitts, a mum and environmentalist (amongst many other things).

Connect with them on social media:

 

The Wonky Food Company

The Wonky Food Company makes great-tasting relishes from imperfect and surplus fruit and veg, helping to prevent perfectly edible produce from falling out of the human food chain. Co-founded by Ashley Cavers and her brother John, their mission is to tackle food waste while raising consumer awareness about the problem. They also aim to work directly with farmers where possible, ensuring they are paid a fair price for their outgrade produce and creating new routes to market. Their relishes are currently available on their website, in supermarkets (the midcounties Co-op and Ocado) and through independent retailers such as farm shops, delis and specialty food stores.

Connect with them on social media:

 

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Our Managing Director Devi Clark highlights why it might be time to embrace imperfect action, and what the next steps are at Impact Hub King’s Cross to tackle climate change.

 

Action on the Climate Emergency

Like many others, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the scale of the climate change challenge. Many of the solutions either feel too small (does not buying plastic really make much difference?) or too large (I am not an engineer building a new network of hydrogen power stations for transport). What can I do to make a real contribution? 

But overwhelm cannot be allowed to be a reason not to act.  

As the climate emergency becomes ever more real, we at Impact Hub King’s Cross are keen to raise our game and make a larger contribution to a sustainable future. We are ethically minded, activists, entrepreneurs and changemakers. Many of us are vegetarian or vegan, ride our bikes to work and buy eco-friendly products, but we still have a feeling that there is so much more we could do, if only we knew what. 

This is the warts and all story of how our team is finding their way – making a plan and putting it into action step by step, learning as we go. We hope to inspire others to take their own step out of overwhelm and into action, knowing that along the way we will learn and adapt. Imperfect action – but action, nonetheless. 

 

Catalysing entrepreneurial action…

As a community of social entrepreneurs, we want to involve our members in everything we do. We know that many of them have expertise in sustainability and we can support one another. No wonder, then, that our first substantial initiative has been to work with one of our members, Stav Friedman, to launch Environment Talks. This series of events operates on the same principle as Food Talks which has been running successfully for over six years. Current themes, expert speakers, an engaged audience and lots of learning, Environment Talks has already covered topics ranging from reversing over-consumption to storing your money ethically. 

Environment Talks is Impact Hub Kings Cross event series tackling climate change.

 

But how could we get innovation into the mix, helping people to take action and create new ideas to tackle key challenges? Impact Hub Global’s relationship with Climate KIC offered the perfect opportunity: in November, in partnership with Imperial College London, Terra Institute and Moonshot, we ran the London Climathon, a weekend-long hackathon that engaged 100+ participants and generated 12 innovative solutions.

Now, in the same way that running Food Talks in partnership with the Food Ethics CouncilSustain and Organico led to developing and delivering a range of sustainable food initiatives, such as our Feeding the City Start-Up and Accelerate programmes, we are actively designing and fundraising for a new programme that would support entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds to start up new climate-related businesses. 

 

Putting our own house in order

Supporting entrepreneurial solutions is what we do. But we are mindful that as we run our own building and operations, we need to practice what we preach. What is our own carbon footprint, and how do we reduce it? In particular, can we set an achievable target to become a net zero organisation (or even carbon negative)?

Before we can make a concrete plan to reduce our emissions, we need to know what the current levels are. There are a range of organisations that can help to measure an organisation’s carbon footprint. One of them is the Islington Sustainable Enterprise Partnership (ISEP), which we have joined, and which supports local organisations (businesses, schools, charities, etc) to become more sustainable. Another is the Carbon Trust, which offers this as a consultancy service. Impact Hubs in other countries are also looking at ways to benchmark their footprint and Impact Hub Leipzig shared with us a spreadsheet listing different types of emissions and allowing us to estimate our total use. Our next step is to choose which method to use and make it happen.

The other question is what year we should benchmark. Normally, we would pick the previous year – but 2020 was anything but normal. In fact, our premises have been closed for 8 of the past 12 months, with lower emissions as a result. Probably 2019 is a more realistic benchmark. We have committed to getting our benchmarking done by the end of March. 

 

Reducing our emissions

Once we know our starting point, we will need to devise a plan to reduce our emissions. Carbon offsets may be part of the plan, but only to the extent that we can’t prevent the emissions in the first place. 

We have learned that emissions are commonly divided into three categories:

We have started to list our suppliers with a view to understanding how to engage with the Scope 3 category. Daunted? Yes. We are finding, however, that some of the assessment questions for our BCorp re-certification due next month is helping us to work out what the important issues to measure really are.  

 

It’s a start

We’ve built these climate initiatives into our strategy and started to take action on business support, events and operations. However imperfect, it feels good to be in action. Next steps, to get our members more involved in telling us what is important to them, completing our benchmarking and engaging further with partners as we develop our programmes, all with a view to developing a clearer climate implementation plan.  We will keep you up to date in our next blog. 

If you would like to be involved, please contact our Community Manager Sally at [email protected], or drop me a message on our Community App

 

Devi Clark

Managing Director at Impact Hub King’s Cross

It’s December, a time for festivity, love and Christmas shopping!

This year, why not make your gift extra meaningful by supporting a social or environmental cause.

To make it easier for you, we’ve gathered a list of wonderful social enterprises from our community, including members, programme participants and partners. Find inspiring gifts for your friends and family. 

 

FOOD

Better Nature: gift cards for sustainable, protein-rich vegan tempeh

Luminary Bakery: baked goods supporting women from disadvantaged backgrounds

Organico: Organic Mediterranean food 

Refugee Cafe: International food supporting refugees in Lewisham

Taino: ‘Free from’ Caribbean condiments

Today Bread: Organic, artisan and sustainable products

Wild Thing Cardiff: Hampers and cakes supporting food security projects

 

DRINK

Fruits of the Forage: preserves & cordials made with heritage fruits from abandoned orchards & native wild plants

LemonAid and ChariTea: Organic and fair trade soft drinks

NEMI Teas: Ethical teas supporting refugees into employment

Second Shot Coffee: coffee supporting those affected by homelessness

The Well Bean Co: Plant-based eco-friendly chocolate

 

FASHION AND SELF-CARE

From Belo: Ethically sustainable designer handbags and accessories

Beauty186: Products for naturally textured hair, and bespoke personal hair product recommendations

CrazyCoolSexy: Upcycled bespoke fashion

Soil Products: handmade organic essential oils and fragrance blends, and 1:1 consultations

 

ACTIVITIES

BOM Pure Asian Food: Healthy and sustainable cooking classes

Migrateful: Cooking classes delivered by refugees and migrants

 

MIX

E5 Bakehouse: Organic bakery offering a range of local products, baking equipment and classes

The Do-Gooders: Eco-friendly and social impact products