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Monday, October 30, 2023

Ashford Borough Council and Social Enterprise Kent are excited to announce an initiative aimed at providing critical support to the thriving community of charities and social enterprises within the Ashford Borough.

With more than 160 charities and social enterprises already operating in the region, these organisations play a pivotal role in fostering social and economic growth. They rely on public donations and support from local authorities.  Most will also have a ‘business enterprise’ where they sell their products or services to fund their ‘social purpose.’

These enterprises serve as both a source of income and a means of engaging the very individuals they assist. For instance, charity shops staffed by people with learning difficulties not only contribute to the community but also offer valuable life skills, such as teamwork, financial management, and interpersonal communication.

However, many leaders in the charity and social enterprise sector seek professional business expertise and guidance to enhance their operations effectively. They are eager for private consultations with experienced advisors, as well as opportunities for peer learning and networking. Often, they lack formal business training and struggle to find the time to invest in such education while balancing their social missions.

In response to these challenges, Ashford Borough Council has secured £50,000 of its Government funded UKSPF allocation and partnered with Social Enterprise Kent to secure the services of a seasoned Senior Business Advisor. With over thirty years of business experience as a social entrepreneur and a corporate executive, as well as a master’s degree in business administration and a postgraduate in sustainability, this advisor is well-equipped to guide these organisations toward success. Additionally, he serves on the board of one of the county’s major charities.

Over the next eighteen months, Ashford Borough Council and Social Enterprise Kent will collaborate to support 40 existing and startup charities and social enterprises. The Senior Business Advisor will provide personalised, one-on-one mentoring for these organisations and their teams. The initiative will also include training and workshop courses, networking sessions, and a dedicated conference.

To learn more about this transformative initiative and how it will empower Ashford’s charities and social enterprises, please visit the Social Enterprise Kent website:

Social Enterprise Kent has a rich history of delivering successful business projects in the county. This program will be connected to past and present initiatives to ensure that charities and social enterprises can be introduced to specific partners if necessary.

As Cllr Heather Hayward, Portfolio Holder for Performance and Direction, puts it, “Specific support for this sector needs to be delivered by professionals who have the network and experience to provide the tools, advice, and confidence our charities and social enterprises require to thrive.”

For media inquiries, please contact: Michael Roberts Social Enterprise Kent.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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