History of SEK

Cyril Appleton, founder, (1924-2003)

John Laming, founder, (1925 – 2014)

Long before the phrase “Social Enterprise” was coined, our founders, Cyril Appleton and John Laming were the social entrepreneurs of their time.

Social Enterprise Kent can claim a rich heritage of community engagement: finding work placements and jobs and training opportunities for young people, and developing a Social Care service to support the old and vulnerable in our local communities. The roots of these local enterprising programmes, geared towards addressing social deprivation, can be traced directly back to our founders, Cyril Appleton’s and John Laming’s work in the 1980’s with the Canterbury Community Guild, their founding of CADET ( Canterbury and District Enterprise Trust) and recognising, ahead of their time, that supporting enterprise was the way forward.

In these early days, local businesses, such as Pfizer, local businessman, George Wilson, as well as bankers, estate agents and newsagents participated in the Youth Training Scheme and many have continued to do so. In Whitstable, up to 40 young people at any one time were working in local businesses. The programme was hosted in a new building on the Joseph Wilson Industrial Estate and was excellent (70% success rate) for a project of its type.

One such project was “Cadetcare”. With over 850 carers, it was the only private homecare service of its kind in Kent at the time and has evolved into the current thriving All Seasons. Other projects included a cleaning company, a woodworking project and Heartstart (alongside the British Heart Foundation). All Seasons Care Services was spun off into a separate group called Enterprising Opportunities CIC in 2007, now called Social Enterprise Kent.

We continue to work with grass roots communities and are proud to deliver many fantastic projects including Ageless Thanet, ECCE, and a large range of training courses to the people and communities within Kent. In 2015/16 we delivered over 4000 courses to people to help them get back into work or to progress in their current job! We think Mr Appleton and Mr Laming would be proud.