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Across our Diocese, many people are struggling to make ends meet despite working long hours. By supporting the Cardinal’s Lenten Appeal, you’re helping people develop a business idea, start a local project, or set up a charity which will enable them to access decent and dignified work, helping to build stronger communities. 

Dignity in work is one of the themes of Catholic Social Teaching, and an important part of building a fairer society. The current reality for too many people is long working hours with little security, for wages that do not cover the basic costs of food, rent and heating. 

Thanks to your support of the Cardinal’s Lenten Appeal, there’s a positive, longer term solution. By joining Seeds Hub, people who are unemployed, or working but also in receipt of benefits, can explore self-employment, training and opportunities to earn a living wage. 

The first cohort of students started the Business Programme in September 2019, after an initial campaign to promote the scheme in the local community. These students were able to bring an idea for a business, a social enterprise, a charity or a local project. Many came from disadvantaged backgrounds and faced considerable barriers to setting up their own business. As a group, they were able to encourage each other, and step-bystep, the students worked on turning their ideas into real-life ventures. 

Seeds Hub, which operates out of a centre in Brent, can be used by the students for meetings. It also generates income from renting office space to more developed community projects. “Someone might start with an idea, which they develop by joining our business programme,” explains Kathy, Head of Programmes at Seeds Hub. “They gain access to the space which they can use, for example, to meet funders. Later on, once they’re established, there’s the option to rent space here and become a part of a growing community of enterprising people who are focused on social good.”

Sidonie is one such student who was able to access the programme. “The cohort was quite diverse,” says Sidonie. “We all had a varied range of business ideas, services, and products to develop.”

Sidonie had recently begun making lampshades and soft furnishing, and felt she’d benefit from support to get her business up and running. “The webinar sessions delivered by Seeds Hub were varied and covered all the areas that were necessary for setting up a business.” Having completed the programme, Sidonie felt she had the business skills to move forward and has now set up her own soft furnishings business, Sidonie’s Kamore. 

Brenda Jules-Carbon also wanted to develop her idea for a social enterprise. “I knew I had the ability and the ideas to help carers,” she says. “But I did not know how to structure it, or bring it to fruition.” 

Brenda, a carer for 20 years, knows from first-hand experience the huge – and often unrecognised – contribution carers make to our society. They’re thought to save our economy £132 billion each year. 

She came to Seeds Hub to develop her idea, and thanks to the support she received, has now launched Jul’cii, which provides workshops that enable carers to explore their creativity. “We want to install hope, faith and confidence in carers,” explains Brenda. “In the future, as Jul’cii expands, we want to do exhibitions and fashion shows, showcasing the great work of the carers.” 

A new chapter 

The next step for Seeds Hub is to introduce an accelerator scheme for people who are ready to proceed at a faster pace. For some people, their idea is successful and becomes their principal source of income. For others, it might be an additional activity. Either way, making money can be transformational. It can provide a huge boost in confidence and provide hope for the future.

With your support to the Cardinal's Lenten Appeal, you can be part of that hope too.