Shakespeare Schools Festival (SSF) inspires 35,000 young people every year, aged 8 to 18 and from all backgrounds, to use Shakespeare as a vehicle to improve articulacy and confidence. This is achieved by bringing together primary, inclusion*, special, secondary and independent schools under one roof to each perform a 30 minute abridged play.
SSF has, in the last two years and with SBT’s help, successfully doubled the number of schools participating, increased the number of inclusion* schools by 74 per cent, and the number of special schools by 82 per cent.
Following an initial investment used to develop school registration and support re-organisation of SSF, this second major support package will allow SSF to develop a long term funding strategy, measure their social impact more thoroughly, and have professional support for business planning.
As the UK education sector undergoes modernisation, it is performing the work of a 450 year old that’s having huge influence on children from all walks of life. One pupil at a primary school in Tower Hamlets said:
“Now that I’ve been in SSF I can be a doctor.”
Her teacher, Ruth, whose entire class has English as a second language, said she was “delighted at the determination my curious, motivated, gutsy children showed,” and reported amazing developments. For example, two of the lowest attaining writers progressed a full year in just 20 weeks, and another leapt a year in his reading skills.
Patrons and celebrities are amazed, as illustrated by Jeremy Paxman’s comment: “Watching these young performers challenge and overcome their difficulties was awe-inspiring. I’d never seen a Macbeth like it”.
Recently, Bain and Company, one of SBT’s seven partners, sponsored an SSF gala evening at the Lyric in London’s Theatreland to launch 2014’s Festival. Paul Rogers, Managing Partner at Bain and Company, describes SSF’s work as “just incredible. Every business should think about how they can make a difference to future generations’
Chief Executive Penelope Middelboe describes what the support of SBT means to her and SSF: “SBT’s support has been pivotal for SSF. We wouldn’t have known how to take the next steps in our mission without the expertise SBT offers – I cannot express enough what it has meant to me and the team to be selected by SBT for investment.”
SBT’s CEO, Adele Blakebrough MBE, explains why SBT has backed the business again: “We review hundreds of social enterprises to find those that are ambitious, and can assimilate the level of support we offer. SSF shows passion and rigour in equal measure, and has to be seen to be believed. We’ve seen the results, and know that this is an inspired way to support children up and down the UK.”
SBT provides support to its investees in partnership with seven major businesses –Bain and Company, British Gas, Clifford Chance, Credit Suisse, EY, Permira, and Thomson Reuters.
For further information contact:
Rebecca Pain, Social Business Trust
T: 0203 011 0770
M: 07974 212544
Twitter: @rebeccapain or @SBT_UK
Notes to Editors:
*An ‘inclusion school’ as defined by SSF is a school with more than 30 per cent of its children eligible for free school meals.
Social Business Trust was formed in December 2010. Since then it has invested in eleven social enterprises. The aims of the Trust include positively affecting the lives of one million people in the UK.
Adele Blakebrough, chief executive, outlined the Trust’s mission on inception as: “We at the Trust will look at a social enterprise and assess the obstacles to growth it faces and establish the best possible support from our partners. We will then manage the investment and relationship between the social enterprise we are supporting and our corporate partner organisations.
We believe that there has never been a more important time for social enterprises to exist and to thrive. But they will only do so if they have a robust business model and a desire to grow. By working with us, we can help them achieve their ambitions and, thereby, help many more of the UK’s most disadvantaged people.”
The Social Business Trust investment portfolio is comprised of eleven of the UK’s most exciting social enterprises:
Challenge Partners (http://www.challengepartners.org/
Fashion Enter (http://www.fashion-
Inspiring Futures (http://www.inspiringfutures.org.uk/)
London Early Years Foundation (http://www.leyf.org.uk/)
The Challenge (http://www.the-
The Reader Organisation (http://www.thereader.org.uk/)
Shakespeare Schools Festival (http://www.ssf.uk.com/)
Young Advisors (http://www.youngadvisors.org.uk/)
What is a social enterprise?
In the UK the accepted Government-backed definition of social enterprise used by the UK social enterprise sector bodies comes from the 2002 Department of Trade and Industry report 'Social Enterprise: a strategy for success' as:
‘A business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose.’
A suitable and more thorough exploration of social enterprise is listed on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/