During my investigation into the social enterprises within Redbridge and whether they are fulfilling the needs of their target markets, I found that there are many major social needs that aren’t being fulfilled to the highest of standards. For example, many of the residents within Redbridge who suffer from mental health problems feel as though their mental health issues are not being tackled effectively with 100% of those questioned saying that their mental health needs were not being met. There are also vital needs that need to be met for the youth of the borough. From youth crime and deviance, to the scarceness in after school activities, there are many youth needs not being met in the area.
We therefore identified gaps in the market for social enterprises that tackled youth and mental health needs.
For example, a youth led social enterprise or youth club was one of the possible enterprises that could be set up to tackle with many of the issues. By establishing an enterprise like this, the youth of Redbridge could be given and taught many skills and opportunities which could later assist them in their lives and increase the
chances of getting a job with their skills and work experience. It is also possible that formerly misbehaved youth could help run the enterprise as a way to put their troubled pasts behind them and redeem themselves by getting a job and work experience. The formerly misbehaved youth could also speak to the current deviants allowing them to see the negative impact their previous actions had on their lives. This will allow the current deviants to see the impact their bad behaviour could have on their future and gives them an opportunity to enforce positive changes into their lifestyle. Also by spending less time on the streets the youth crime rates will decrease reducing the number of complaints made by the community. We saw that many people felt that the youth intimidated them and that they felt uncomfortable amongst their presence therefore such an enterprise will be able to build a strong relationship between the community and the youth as they’ll be able to remove the stigmas attached to them.
This possible youth club could also lower the rates of youth obesity in Redbridge by providing them with many health and fitness activities. We saw that 37.2% of Year 6 children were obese or overweight which is 3.8% over the national average showing that child obesity is a major problem in Redbridge. Also, there are approximately 68 fast food shops in Redbridge excluding popular food chains such as McDonald’s showing that the youth have easy access to fast food. Therefore, we think that it would be effective for children’s nutrition classes to be held for parents in order to implement a healthy eating diet into their children’s lives and so that they can have an awareness about their children’s health and diets. These classes could help lower the rates of child obesity in Redbridge as well as educate parents on the nutrition and diet of their children. The parents could also enforce these habits into their lives reducing adult obesity levels and increasing life expectancy of those in the area. It is also possible that a reasonably priced healthy eating restaurant can be opened as an alternative to cheap fast food as we see many parents opt for fast food due to the affordable pricing. Therefore, if a cheap healthy eating restaurant is opened in Redbridge parents will be able to provide their children will healthier food for similar prices to that of fast food restaurants. The establishment of such a restaurant will also benefit the rest of the community who will also have easy access to a cheap healthy eating restaurant and have a healthier diet.
Mental health could also be tackled with by introducing a social enterprise that tackles
with mental health sufferers and allows them to overcome their problems. 7113 people access NHS specialist mental health services across Redbridge showing us that it is a major problem in our society. In fact, many people conceal their mental health problems in fear of being treated differently by their peers and those in their lives. Many of those who suffer from mental health problems state that a major thing that improve their problems is being able to talk to someone about it. Therefore, I believe a focus group where people can discuss their feelings can be introduced to provoke a sense of comfort and empathy within this community to remind our mental health sufferers that they are not alone. This social enterprise does not only have to be for mental health sufferers and it is possible that classes could be held for members of the community to learn about mental health effectively. Mental health affects us all and by being taught about the effects it can have on us and those whom suffer from it we can learn how to assist those around us who have mental health issues effectively. The enterprise can be established to help sufferers as well as to educate those who do not suffer from mental health issues about the consequences as well as how to tackle the issue amongst their families or friends. It is also possible that places of employment could hold mental health workshops to help and educate their employees on mental health. The community will benefit from such an enterprise as they’ll have more knowledge on the issue and will be able to assist and advise their fellow citizens regarding mental health. Those whom currently suffer from mental health can also be assisted in overcoming their issues and the enterprise could also prevent mental health issues from worsening amongst people.
Redbridge needs a social enterprise that is able to effectively promote and create a wide awareness of the issues it tackles with. The community needs to be able to have easy access and the opportunity to be involved in the enterprise with ease. Redbridge as a community must learn how to work together in order to overcome any issues and needs within our area. By volunteering or assisting with future projects that fulfil the needs of the area we will be able to make our community a whole.
Somaiya Firdows, Wanstead High School
This blog is to celebrate 15th October, Social Saturday 2016 in Redbridge and the contribution of youth and schools in solving community problems. Thanks Somaiya and Wanstead High! To see the first edition of the social enterprise directory that Sophia Hubs has produced (in response to the call for help with the business GCSE social enterprise module) click here🙂