Meet six of our first STOs

Grow Wellbeing

Building confidence and resilience in nature

Over the past half century, access to nature has reduced, yet research evidencing the human benefits of accessing green space is increasing rapidly. For children, cognitive, physical, social and emotional development is enhanced, improving their confidence and resilience. Grow’s programmes enhance environmental literacy, addressing the global climate emergency and helping to nurture a new generation of future guardians of the planet.

Grow Wellbeing is a team of forest school leaders, horticulturalists, early years and primary educators, artists, yoga teachers and nature therapists, who offer nature connected programmes in woodlands, green spaces, schools and community gardens across Wirral and the wider Liverpool City Region. Using forest school, creative arts, community gardening, social prescribing and nature therapy approaches, it supports individuals from diverse backgrounds to address social isolation and enhance holistic health and wellbeing.

Founder Duane Chong says:

“It has been great working with Kindred over this past year, which led to the receipt of funding to grow our business. Kindred recognises the value of our social impact in the repayment agreement, reducing the risk to our business. It is great to know that Kindred ‘has our back’, so we can develop our capacity to support local communities to connect with green spaces, enhancing their health and wellbeing in the years ahead.”

Grow is committed to increasing opportunities for the most disadvantaged, including Black, Asian and other diverse ethnic communities, to engage in nature-centred activities to enhance their health and wellbeing. Its mission is to support healthy communities, strongly connected to the natural environment.

SHOP (Supporters Helping Older People)

A new approach to adult social care

SHOP is a service from KPAIS, designed specifically to help older people strengthen their independence at home, with an element which helps people to settle back into their home following a hospital stay or illness. It helps residents with chores like shopping and cleaning, whilst allowing care services to discharge patients safely and giving family members peace of mind about their loved ones.

The vital adult social care service helps support the physical and mental wellbeing of older people, and protects them from potential threats like financial abuse. It reduces the risk of readmission and decreases the need for GP services by wrapping a protective care blanket around service users, whilst creating jobs in the local economy.

Pat McCarthy runs SHOP, from her base in Knowsley at KPAIS.

“Working with Kindred has been refreshingly energising,” she says. “Being involved with a team which has a completely different approach to support has been absolutely strengthening for us. They listened to our offer, understood our value, believed in our vision and have enabled us to take the next steps in our development. Working with Kindred has helped us articulate the true social impact we have always had and the investment will allow us to further define our services in partnership with the people who use them.”

Cycle of Life

Removing the barriers to active transport

Over the next ten years our cities will change drastically and cycling and walking will be the new norm. Cycle of Life’s Ibe Hayter realises a radical new approach is required to tackle the social inequalities in mobility, health, emissions and socio economic status in the city region – as well as the other barriers that prevent people from confidently choosing to cycle. As the world we live in changes, it’s vital that people aren’t left behind.

A year after he started Cycle of Life, it has delivered 90 community cycle rides, 45 hours of cycle repair workshops a week, repaired over 180 bikes and provided another 50 to NHS and key workers.

“I have been made up with the difference Kindred has made to my business,” he says. “Their effective help in calculating our social value, developing our pitch, rigorous analysis and advice on our accounts and projection was refreshing and impactful. It’s the critical friend I really needed. The innovative, social impact-focused terms of the loan will enable us to reach new markets and provide long term sustainability.”

Cycle of Life’s focus is on communities that have been traditionally overlooked or less represented in cycling and it has 150 members. It’s trained 12 cycle leaders – eight of whom are female, and six from BAME backgrounds – and established new cycling groups at Unity, Asylum Link, Liverpool mosque and a women’s group in a Liverpool Park. Cycle of Life’s social value added has been calculated at over £4m in its first year, and is anticipated to rise to £8m over the next three years.

Future Yard

Creating a cultural ecosystem, and a carbon-neutral national first

“Music is a transformative opportunity,” says Future Yard founder Craig Pennington. “Birkenhead is scarred from decades of economic decay. The latest Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) ranked it in the bottom 0.3% of electoral wards in England. We need to think about music differently. Birkenhead needs it.”

Following a pilot festival in 2019, the Future Yard team has followed up with a community music venue and skills hub, that will create a permanent home to realise its vision, focusing not just on live music, but industry skills and artistic development.

“It’s a real pleasure to be part of the Kindred family and its innovative, community-led approach to growth,” Craig says. “The process is encouraging us to really look to understand and measure the social value of our work and we’re looking forward to going on that journey as part of a supportive community of socially-trading organisations.”

The venue has already become hugely important to Wirral’s eco-system and the renaissance in and around Birkenhead and Hamilton Square. Its emergence has created an opportunity to showcase internationally-significant artists, diversify the night-time economy, create sustainable, high quality careers for local people and incubate and accelerate new music industry start-ups. It will also be the first carbon-neutral grassroots music venue in the UK.

Beautiful New Beginnings

Transforming to a digital model

This North Liverpool early years organisation has grown hugely during the pandemic, supporting thousands of parents to become the primary educators in their child’s life from birth and bridging the gap between parent and professional. As face-to-face support for both antenatal and post-natal services disappeared, Beautiful New Beginnings moved its business online, and has now pioneered a blended model, supporting parents across the globe.

It has created a genuinely accessible place to support isolated parents, adding online membership packages, sensory bags and boxes, a baby massage oils range alongside the Seasons programme, which dovetails with the new mental health curriculum launching in schools.

Founder Carolyn Whitehead says:

“Working with the Kindred team has been a breath of fresh air. To be surrounded by a community of people determined to grow and scale the impact of the good works they are doing is invaluable. We are so excited to be part of the first round of investments made by Kindred and cannot wait to impact more families in our area.”

Café Laziz

Pioneering work to build skills and confidence for refugees

Café Laziz is a pioneering pop-up café in St Helens working with refugees and asylum seekers. The café is a safe environment to help them develop customer service and employability skills, and use their hospitality and cooking skills to build their confidence. Café Laziz opened in September 2019 and in 22 weeks pre-lockdown, served 620 paying customers, providing 51 children and 82 asylum seekers with free meals.

“Until recently, St Helens’ population was 97% white British. With refugees arriving in the town, I was concerned that they were being spread around different places, with no focal point to support them,” says founder Debra Hill. Hearing their stories resonated with local residents: “I knew we were on to something when people stopped buying the jacket potatoes, because they were eating Arabic food instead,” she smiles.

One of the café’s first volunteers has already found full-time paid work in the food industry, and nine volunteers are engaged currently. One volunteer delivered an impromptu speech at a council grant launch event, whilst another has delivered Arabic drinks and snacks at a regional ESOL conference.

“The support we have received from Kindred has been amazing,” she says. “We feel as though the Kindred team genuinely wants to help us to grow and support our community even more. The way they engaged with socially-trading organisations from the outset, to discuss what we wanted and needed in such a difficult time was very welcome – it helped us to better understand what kind of support is available and enabled us to build a strong network and learn from each other. It has been really nice to have the social value of our work recognised. It’s been a completely new way of working for us, giving us access to a different type of financial support, which enables us to support more STOs in the future and help give something back.”