A Sheffield company is leading the way for social enterprises across the UK with their work supporting disadvantaged people to gain employment.
Yes2Ventures is a social firm development agency that has been operating for nearly 20 years and has created work for people with disabilities in their coffee shops, manufacturing workshops and catering workshops, as well as many other projects.
Mark Powell, the Chief Executive at Yes2Ventures, said: “We’re about job creation and we create jobs for people who wouldn’t get jobs.”
The agency assists people with physical disabilities, mental disabilities and mental illnesses. Their social workshops give people work experience and teaches job skills.
Mr Powell said: “People can become really really good at something most of us may say is boring.”
People in the workshops recently made some wooden planters. They are on sale to the general public and all the money made by the products is recycled into wages for the people making them and reinvested into the social firms.
Craftsocial is one of Yes2Ventures many social firms that train people and help them gain employment in industry. Foodsocial trains people to work in the catering industry, creates jobs and prepares food for sale and distribution. The “Everything except the meat” roast dinner product is made here.
Seeing people with disadvantages in life thrive in new workplaces is something that brings Mr Powell pleasure. He believes his work isn’t driven by selflessness but rather for his own fulfilment.
He said: “For me, it’s what gets me up in the morning. I’m 72 and I have worked in Sheffield for 30-plus years. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t sit back and put my feet up, but I enjoy what I do.”
Mr Powell’s continued work is inspired by his late-father, who died in the 1980s at his own retirement party. It was in memory of his father Mr Powell decided “I’d do what I do until I drop.”
Yes2Ventures has big plans to continue supporting people in Sheffield. They are working on opening a social brewery, as well as a social care home, in memory of Mr Powell’s mother, who died in a care home last October.