Accomplish and GenieShares call for help in Tower Hamlets
At Accomplish, we believe we can all emerge from our current challenge more ready and able to build our futures together if we forge a link between the hopes and dreams of companies and the communities they serve.
This is why, in April, we pledged to give away 1% of Accomplish through the GenieShares scheme. But is the possibility of wealth tomorrow enough to solve society’s problems today? It depends. We did some research, made some new friends, and we’ve decided to go larger on GenieShares.
Here’s what we found and a call for the help we need to create the greatest possible benefit.
Let’s take stock of the situation
Less privileged communities will be disproportionately impacted by Covid-19 because they have less to fall back on. Less cash. Less digital connectivity. And fewer influential connections.
At the same time, politics of division and fear has the potential to worsen the situation by setting the example of disunity when a sense of togetherness could enable a ‘many hands make light work’ attitude.
Some people are already ‘in crisis’, in terms of their access to food, shelter, and hygiene, and many more are scared about joining them. They fear losing their jobs or never getting one. In particular, parents are scared about what will happen when furlough schemes end and children return to school.
Key lessons we have learned
We looked into how Accomplish, in partnership with GenieShares, could help and here’s what we found.
It’s clear that lots of people need help, and that no single entity will be able to help them all. So how can companies contribute?
- The first thing we learned is to focus. Be clear on who you’d like to help and why. Without knowing this you can’t be sure that the help you want to give will meet their needs. The two can differ.
- Secondly, seek local knowledge. Consult agencies on the ground to ensure you intervene in the right way and at the right time. If you get this wrong, you risk receiving a ‘shrug’ in response to your well-intended efforts.
- Thirdly, stay flexible. The more people in our target community we have spoken to about our idea the stronger and more relevant it has become as they have suggested improvements and knocked-off its ‘rough edges’. It now is beginning to feel like a collective project, rather than just an Accomplish one.
What does this mean for Accomplish?
We are focusing our efforts in the London borough of Tower Hamlets between the City of London and Canary Wharf because it is less fortunate than but right next door to many of our clients.
Our initial plan was simply to pledge ownership of 1% of Accomplish to someone deserving in that community. At the outset, that felt like a big enough step in itself as part of our broader focus on community.
Several friends introduced us to people who run and or are involved in social initiatives in Tower Hamlets and they opened our eyes to what more was needed there. In particular, we are now working with Denise Bentley from the First Love Foundation and Nahim Ahmed from Poplar HARCA – Spotlight. These amazing people have stretched our ambitions and we are now working together to develop a multi-year holistic GenieShares programme of mentoring, entrepreneurial advice, introductions, emotional support, as well as participation in Accomplish as a shareholder.
Our goal is to create a ripple effect across the community so that as we help people climb their ladder they will turn around and help others climb theirs.
The main reason we developed an entire programme is that we learned that social justice (connections, responsibility, experiences, etc) is key to solving poverty … not wealth.
How can larger companies lend a hand?
Changing their ownership structure probably won’t be an option, but they can support in equally valuable ways that will ensure our programme creates the greatest possible benefit.
Specifically, we would like to hear from companies who can offer any the following:
- A one-year apprenticeship at a cost of £170 per week, and for which you can get government funding to cover some of the costs. For our idea to work, we need three apprenticeships that can all come from different companies. Individuals will be 19 or over.
- A professional videographer who can give 5-7 online coaching sessions to an aspiring filmmaker from Tower Hamlets whose career we will boost by asking them to tell the story of our GenieShares journey. We are still to choose the individual so you can be involved in the selection too if that would help.
- Any help you can give to bridge the digital divide, e.g. old smartphones, iPads, a broadband account, etc.