THE sight of a rough sleeper curled up in a shop doorway is a sign that British society remains deeply fragmented.
Leeds United’s managing director, Angus Kinnear, addressed a seminar at Elland Road to discuss how businesses across Leeds can do more to tackle homelessness across the city.
Mr Kinnear told more than 50 senior business figures from 30 companies across the Leeds City Region that the football club was “committed to leveraging its ability to create a profile around the issue” at an event organised by homelessness charity, The Howarth Foundation.
The charity, launched by HR and employment law firm, Howarths, staged the half-day seminar to highlight the work it delivers to secure training and employment opportunities for homeless and recently homeless people from across Leeds and Kirklees.
Mr Kinnear told delegates: “In Leeds, we have extremely contrasting areas in the city such as Granary Wharf and Holbeck Moor, where wealth and poverty live practically side by side. But when it comes to homelessness, it’s not just about where you live growing up or the life choices you make; that is where the issue is misunderstood.
“Many think it’s about poor life choices, but that is seldom the case. With many individuals who become homeless because of a substance dependency, it’s just as likely to be someone in their family who is plagued by the dependency that forces them on to the streets as it is for the homeless individual to actually be the one who is substance dependent.”
The Howarth Foundation’s ‘Business Building Futures – Street2Feet’ programme works with more than 20 partner companies across Leeds and Kirklees to provide skills training, work experience and employment opportunities to individuals who have been identified as ready to re-enter full or part-time employment.
In 2017, the programme received official backing from Leeds City Council and support from Leeds City Housing.
Stephen Russell, group managing director of Leeds-based Ringways Motor Group, also spoke to delegates about his experience of providing employment to a previously homeless individual who came through The Howarth Foundation Street2Feet programme.
More information on The Howarth Foundation can be found online at www.howarthfoundation.org.uk.
Picking up speed
Eight entrepreneurs who were selected to take part in a 12-week development programme as part of the UK Steel Enterprise ‘Y-Accelerator’ initiative will pitch their business ideas to judges in a bid to win a £25,000 investment.
The business support scheme is a collaboration between private and public sector organisations, including UK Steel Enterprise, the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, Rotherham Investment and Development Office (RiDO), as well as the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub.
The diverse group of participants includes charitable event industry donation programme, Tickets For Good, Russian food-to-go caterer, The Russian Food Company Ltd, and the Sheffield-based augmented reality company, Slanted Theory.
The judging panel will include representatives from UK Steel Enterprise and the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub.
David Grimes, Growth Hub manager, said: “The Y Accelerator is a great opportunity to support entrepreneurs or early stage businesses with a great business idea.”
UK Steel Enterprise, a subsidiary of Tata Steel, supports the economic development of steel industry areas.
So far, it has helped more than 7,000 businesses with investments approaching a total of £100m, and those businesses have created around 78,000 jobs.
UKSE provides loan and equity finance of up to £1m to existing companies which are growing, particularly those creating jobs. To find out more, contact UK Steel Enterprise on 0800 915 1188.