Liza Kellet is the Founder of Trust Leeds. She has been nominated by Trustee Cath Follin, who says “40,000 adults in Leeds are unemployed. And a further 20,000 deal with the daily grand that is in-work poverty.
Trust Leeds is a social enterprise which works in multiply-deprived communities, helping people who face poverty and financial exclusion to change their lives by building self-reliance, confidence and financial independence. We do this in two ways: Self-Reliant Groups. (SRGs) 2. Micro-finance – small, ethical business loans.
Having admired and supported this unique business model in South Wales, (www.Purpleshoots.org) our founding Chief Executive Liza Kellett gathered a constellation of allies to replicate this concept for Leeds. On behalf of the Trustees of Trust Leeds, we nominate her for pioneering a social business in Yorkshire which is based on the principles of diversity, inclusivity and sharing.
Who has she helped?
“Self-Reliant Groups help people in fragmented communities to build long-term bonds of friendship, support and mutual trust, to do something worthwhile together, and to be economically productive. They address loneliness and wellbeing; build enterprise and community cohesion; create friendships and networks.
Members meet weekly, save together, take part in activities, and share goals. E.g. SRGs run seniors luncheon clubs; arrange children’s holiday activities; set up community enterprises like laundries and shops; sell goods they’ve made; and support individual members in setting up their own business. The SRG movement started in Bangladesh and is a recognised driver for women’s empowerment.
Our loans benefit people who DO HAVE: a feasible business plan for a small enterprise; and passion, potential and resourcefulness. But who DON’T HAVE: family, friends or savings to support them; or a good credit record so they can borrow go grow their own business.
We’ve just made our first ethical pilot loan to a woman who is setting up a therapeutic massage business to complete her accreditation and buy her insurance. She was turned down by others because a) although she has a very clear and sensible plan of action and has gathered experience, allies and clients already, she can’t write it down, and b) she only recently faced up to her grief and to her debts.”
“Members of the Glitter Fairy’s SRG, Leeds’ first group, report:
“Now I’ve got friends and something to get up and out for. We have a laugh and we’re making some money.”
[On groups Facebook Page]: ‘Week 27 Money Update: Fairy money (savings) £143; Fairy Profit (earnings minus costs) £140.61; Overall £283.61.’
“Being a member of our Self-Reliant Group gave me the confidence to get my new job as a dinner lady.”
From our fledgling SRG of women who are Syrian refugees, “We want to do so much, and think we have something to offer, being a SRG will give us the structure to set up a community catering enterprise.”
What have you learned? Any challenges?
“Our first loan has shown that it may not be commercially viable to lend ethically to our target borrowers, but it is worth it – to them, their family and communities, which is why we set up Trust Leeds as a philanthropic business.”
“We’ve understood the need, proved the concept, got started and gathered a constellation of allies and supporters around Trust Leeds. Liza’s ultimate goal is to keep the business small and lean and local, and in this way Trust Leeds can free-share its model through social franchising. Sharing and replication will spread the social benefit (and the confidence, joy and self-reliance).”
What advice, contacts or resources would help?
“It doesn’t take much to help someone to turn their life around using their own talents. You could help by sharing: Giving; Lending; Mentoring; Facilitating; Purchasing (see www.trustleeds.org.uk/support-share/).”
Why we’re sharing these stories
An individual or organisation from each of our five categories will be recognised at our Igniting Inspiration recognition event in November, but we want to publish all relevant stories to spread awareness of all the positive work that goes on in the North!