Kindred co-founder awarded MBE

Kindred co-founder Erika Rushton has been awarded an MBE for services to civil society and social enterprise in the King’s Birthday Honours list. With a career in social enterprise stretching back more than 40 years, Erika, who is the programme director at Kindred, is keen to bring the lived experience and voices of social businesses to the sector.

Erika says: “My pride in the things I have achieved over the last ten years is that none of them were achieved alone. The most important word to me in my nomination for an honour is ‘co’. I co-founded Kindred with first one, then three, then 30, then 150 and now 700 other people – who don’t just believe a kinder and fairer economy is possible. They are all out there, every day, making it happen. 

“The same is true in all the places I have contributed: people realising the economy isn’t something done to us. It is us. And together, we have the creativity and ingenuity to design and redesign, our shared futures. A future in which we get to choose whether we share what we have with those who can afford it, or most deserve it; or we share what we have, this planet we have, between us all.

“Thank you to all those I have worked in and volunteered alongside this last ten years – you are my inspiration and demonstrate that it’s possible.

Jen Van Der Merwe, Kindred’s director, says: “I am extremely proud that Erika is receiving this honour for services to civil society and social enterprise. Erika co-founded Kindred, born from an insatiable spirit and an unwavering commitment to change the world, improving people’s lives and our small part of the social economy for the better. 

“For many years, Erika has worked collectively with STOs and change makers to take ideas and passions and turn them into social businesses, which create social impact in the communities where they live and work. Erika has delivered social innovation by listening to people with lived experience of the challenges that require solution and equipping them with the right tools – whether the right type of money or support – to grow their impact. Erika is a creative economist, but most of all Erika is a believer in people. As she often says, ‘collectively we are the economy’. I am extremely proud that Erika is receiving this honour as a symbol of what can be achieved when we work together.”

New to Kindred?

Kindred is a member-led community interest company of socially-trading organisations (STOs) in Liverpool City Region. Firmly rooted in our communities, we are driven by purpose and passion, with two key functions: membership and money. Kindred has a £6.5m social investment fund, supported by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Power to Change, with an ambition to become a sustainable £20m+ fund. 

Kindred uses that money, time and expertise to invest in each other and grow a more inclusive, more social economy.

So far, Kindred has committed just under £2m to 44 socially-trading organisations across Liverpool City Region. Its work has prompted the development of a thriving cluster of social businesses in Birkenhead, has kick-started collaborative community business activity in St Helens and incubates a network of Black social traders, called BlaST.   

Kindred was designed by a group of more than 150 social traders, with an ambition to do things differently: to listen to the lived experience of social business owners; to redesign money to make it more accessible and to value the impact created and investment made by traders that are firmly rooted in their local communities.