Claudia Sykes has been listed in the annual WISE 100 Awards

We are incredibly proud that our CEO, Claudia Sykes has been listed in the annual WISE 100 Awards (Women in Social Enterprise). The award recognises women of inspiration: brilliant women leading the UK’s social enterprises in their battle to survive and thrive during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As a social enterprise, we deliver a range of different programmes to support our community – and it is important that we are able to maintain our income through our training provision. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we continued to deliver training to local care services to ensure that local care workers were able to get vital training and get out to support vulnerable people.

Our training is delivered either face-to-face in Covid-safe environments, or online through elearning.  We have also been able to offer new courses online, such as Infection Control and Staying COVID Secure, to help businesses safely return to the workplace.

At Social Enterprise Kent we lead several community projects that work with some of the most vulnerable people in society. It has been an incredibly challenging year, which needed strong leadership to enable us to adapt. With Claudia’s passion, determination and innovative leadership, we have been able to continue supporting the people we work with.

Since the first lockdown in March, Connect Well East Kent has received 18,494 phone calls, organised 8921 food, meal and prescription deliveries.

 Mrs M is one person who has benefited from this service:

I got myself in such a state over my medicine and food as you take it all for granted. I would normally collect my medicine and food but due to my COPD and heart condition I cannot leave the house. I am so grateful that you managed to help me as you have probably saved my life. I thought I was forgotten about as I have no family or friends. Thank you so much.”

Ageless Thanet, a National Lottery Funded project, overcame the restriction on face-to-face activities by moving them online and starting a telephone befriending service. The programme which aims to reduce social isolation and loneliness, has made almost 1000 befriending calls to some of our most isolated older people.  We are also currently recruiting digital volunteers to support 50+ Thanet residents.

Our employability teams have been working hard with their clients over the phone, to give them the support they need to find work. The team works with people across East Kent and have had 435 referrals since the beginning of the first lockdown in March. Recognising for a lot of people there was anxiety around entering the workplace during the pandemic, we created a “re-entry support package”. The package consists of practical steps to encourage those with anxiety to become more confident and progress towards achieving employment or enrol onto a training/education course.

Working in some of the most deprived areas of Kent, we are proud of how resilient we are as an organisation and that we have been able to continue delivering these key services during this time.