Social Ark is social enterprise learning and support programme in East London that works with 18-30 year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds, they all struggle with poverty, some are ex-offenders, caught up in the judicial system, single parents, people overcoming addiction, struggling with immigration, lack of education and disability. Social Ark supports them to use their lived experiences and hone the skills needed to develop social enterprises and community projects. We’ve found that no matter how determined they might be, the young people come to us with personal issues and ‘baggage’ which weighs them down, holds them back and prevents them from moving forward. We understand that in order for them to flourish that they need support with these personal issues, our approach is hands-on, wrap-around and individually tailored. We partner with organisations doing similar work, including, community groups, housing associations, social services, youth organisations, and other non-profits.
Volunteers from all backgrounds support us, including senior corporate professionals that mentor our young people and deliver expert learning sessions.
We run sponsored cohort programmes and sell our workshops externally. By hosting corporate team building and ‘Away Days’, it enables our young entrepreneurs to be respectfully rewarded for their unique professional services, while any revenue raised through hosting, organising and facilitating is reinvested into supporting our young people.
Our mission is to equip young people from tough backgrounds with the skills, know-how and support to transform their lives, and the communities around them.
Our vision is for an equal and inclusive society, where young people are judged for where they want to go, and not where they’ve been.
Our values are at the heart of everything we do. Inclusiveness, equality, respect and empowerment for the whole community regardless of race, religion, class or other social barriers.
We understand the value of empowering young people who may have otherwise been overlooked or ‘written off’. Many lack self-belief and often tell us they’ve had doors shut on them due to their backgrounds. Social Ark recognises the struggles of ‘hard to reach’ youth, and the wrap-around care that we provide sets us apart from other organisations. We value lived experience over formal qualifications, and welcome all entrepreneurial ideas that are in line with our values.
We have made our mark in the local community by insisting on our inclusive values. People from different cultural and social backgrounds are getting to know each other and having fun. We are determined to create a resilient community where individuals are defined by how they empower and champion each other, rather than personal wealth or social backgrounds. Residents have grown to trust us - they get involved in our various projects and are keen to support our work.