Enterprise support

  • Success stories

  • Ben Wilkins - Sustainabus

    Social Entrepreneur Ben Wilkins shares the story of his idea, Sustainabus, and how the Oxford Brookes Social Entrepreneur Awards helped him turn his idea in to reality.

    Winning Partnerships and Local Social Enterprise

    A series of case studies looking at successful social enterprises in Oxford, including some which were set up as part of the Oxford Brookes Social Entrepreneur Awards (OBSEA) 2013-14.

    Oxford Art Circus

    Three minute case study telling the story of Oxford Art Circus, winner of the Oxford Brookes Social Entrepreneur Awards (OBSEA) 2013-14.

  • 2017

  • Do It Award - Wisdom Super Juice
    Natasha Robinson and Mbakeh Camara pitching for their Do It award.

    Mbakeh Camara and Natasha Robinson £2,500 – Do It Award
    This project aims to introduce a nutritious Baobab juice and Baobab and Hibiscus cocktail to the UK market. Any profit made from this investment will be used to fund a youth service centre in the Gambia. Here we will provide access to a dedicated, safe and inclusive place providing development services for youths from disadvantaged backgrounds between ages 17 to 25.

    Do It Award - Phoenix
    Above: Daniel Mirfani (left) with Brookes’ Dragon Bob Champion, Principal Lecturer in Computing

    Daniel Mirfani, Nigel Bassett-Jones, Java Seddighi £4650 Do It Award

    Phoenix aims to improve the efficiency of central heating radiators. The objectives are threefold: to address issues associated with fuel poverty by improving heating efficiency; to reduce running costs and also the environmental impact arising from CO2 emissions. Specific target groups that this project will serve include the elderly and low income families who often live in older less well insulated properties that require more heat input to sustain comfortable living conditions. By increasing heating efficiency, wider society will also benefit as there will be a reduction in the impact CO2 emissions will have on climate change. 

    Try It Award -Miss Frida

    Cristina De Sus £500 Try It award and Rising Star £500


    Miss Frida is committed to offering ethical clothes for babies and toddlers with great quality designs and sustainable craftsmanship based on traditional Mexican embroidery techniques using organic materials and contemporary designs. Working in collaboration with Women´s Cooperative in Mexico the aims are: exchanging knowledge to create women employment through unique babywear; promoting indigenous culture and heritage; and bridging talented but isolated artisans in Latin America with consumers across the world.

    Try It Award - Gastronhome
    Omar Jouda(left) and Adrien Pegny receive theirOBSEA award from Dragon Matt Todd, Lecturer in Entrepreneurshipand Creativity in Hospitality & Tourism


    Omar Jouda and Adrien Pegny £500- Try It Award

    GastronHome is a web-based application that connects skillful refugee cooks with local foodies. The application aims to empower refugees and bridge the cultural gap with their hosting countries, by providing them with a platform to offer their cooking skills, traditional meals and generate a profit in the process. As part of the idea validation the team will be aiming to partner with an Oxfordshire based refugee group to hold an event at Brookes to connect 10-15 refugees with 50-70 local attendees. All ingredients will be provided and refugees will be asked to cook traditional dishes from their countries of origin.  The event will allow the team to research the target audience, study needs and preferences and try out the concept, as well as build links and partnerships.

    Try It Award - Stumped

    Raluca Vagna and Pedro Faria Simas £500 Try It award / Brookes Global Challenge, Stumped

    Stumped looks at non-trauma limb amputees from the UK and what their needs are, versus the support available to meet the needs. The project is researching what is missing on the market and the solutions that amputees themselves would put forward, as well as what can be done to meet those needs. The students involved in this project are first year adult nursing students with experience of working in the care industry. Raluca initially became involved in OBSEA following a work placement where she had witnessed post operative amputees receiving little or no emotional support to help reintegrate them into the community and live a full life.

  • 2015-16

  • Do It Award £5,000

    Nutribake – Bread for Life! is the name of a bread baking co-operative that will operate within the shanty district on the outskirts of Huanchaco, a small seaside town in northern Peru. This cooperative will employ women bakers and supply nutritious fortified flour loaves and rolls (made with speciality grains) to help feed poor local families. Bread sold in Huanchaco’s shanty district currently consists of poor quality bleached white flour and is quite expensive, transported in from the nearby city of Trujillo. Local people have come forward, identifying a need for a local bakery that produces quality bread at affordable prices. 


    Case Studies 2015-16 - Nutribrake


    This £5000 Do It Award will mean that by August 2016, Nutribake will be underway, producing loaves and rolls, to be sold at reasonable prices by vendors riding pannier bicycles around local community streets. By the end of a year, Nutribake will have scaled up production, supplying hotels and restaurants in central Huanchaco to create a sustainable operational base.

    The enterprise will help address lack of training and employment opportunities for women. It will also tackle local malnutrition, which is reflected in higher than average infant mortality and incidences of developmental conditions, such as rickets, in children. 
    Learn more about the nutribake story and watch the film here.

    The Santander Social Innovation Award £5,000

    The brief for the Innovation Strand of the OBSEA programme was to develop a design for a socially good robot. In 2016 there was one prize of £5,000, sponsored by Santander, to be used to develop the winning idea further. The winner of The Santander Social Innovation Award £5,000 is The Good Egg. 

    Case Studies 2015-16 - The Good Egg

    The Good Egg is a robotic bin that will help teach children in schools about recycling, through positive reinforcement. The EU has a target of recycling 50% of waste by 2020. The UK currently obtains the EU’s average of 39% and The Good Egg aims to help improve this figure. This interactive recycling bin aims to educate young children about the importance of recycling and encourage them to recycle as much waste as possible, with a view to helping this next generation reach the 2020 European targets. 
    The Good Egg has a number of interactive features designed to encourage children. These include a traffic light system to show the bin fill capacity and also a device to identify individuals and talk back to them. The Good Egg can compress its contents to reduce the need for a bin bag, as well as sense the rubbish placed in the bin to ensure that it’s of the correct material for recycling. 
    The extended range of ‘Eggs’ will have a broader use for the home, office and classroom, in addition to outside spaces to cater for events such as festivals. 

    Do It Award £3,000

    The aim of the Local Food Project is to build an online network to connect local small-scale food producers with a city-based market in Bern, Switzerland using a direct, low cost model that encourages better margins. Consumers benefit from access to ‘home grown’ products direct from producers, sold at a fair market price and with a convenient online ordering system, which brings a competitive alternative to the supermarket. 

    Case Studies 2015-16 - Local Food Project

    The situation for small-scale farmers in Switzerland can be difficult, since many lack alternatives to supermarket distribution channels and knowledge in direct marketing, which can lead to difficult financial situations. Equally, many people are increasingly less knowledgeable about their food, its source and their culinary heritage which is being linked in part with poor dietary habits and growing health care issues. 

    The Local Food Project has been awarded £3,000 to pursue market research and trial a mini pilot programme. 

    Do It Award winner Toya Bezzola commented, “Winning the Social Entrepreneurship Do It Award was a great sign of support for me and my project. I feel honoured to be given this trust and I am dedicated to take my responsibility to bring a sustainable social impact. The program has helped me throughout the year to develop my idea through the lectures, networking and mentoring and made me realise the importance of social entrepreneurship.”

    Try It Award

    Responsible Holidays is a social value project to empower riverside communities and people displaced by dam initiatives in the Southern Amazon region and help create alternative sustainable livelihoods. The aim is to develop eco-tourism in the Rio Madeira region of Brazil, initially based around bird-watching holidays. 

    Case Studies 2015-16 - Responsible Holidays

    Target beneficiaries are traditional riverside communities, which are a mix of indigenous peoples and descendants of rubber tapper migrants. Without sustainable ways to earn a living from the forest they contribute to forest degradation or face urban migration and poverty. Success would mean the creation of a completely new strand of income for beneficiaries which would harmonise with the existing community’s commercial activities.  

    Responsible Holidays has been awarded a Try It Award to pursue in–depth and detailed market research to prove the viability and sustainability of this project.

    Try It Award

    This project is created by social impact consultancy, Urban Poetics. It aims to address social issues related to migration and social cohesion using co-creative, transformative approaches. It specifically focuses on bringing people and communities together in educational institutions by engaging the PREVENT strategy, which is part of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy. The overall aim is to create a consultancy and training package that can be offered as a bespoke service across the UK, responding to the specific needs of the local population. 

    Case Studies 2015-16 - Creativity Diversity and Social Cohesion

    The key outcomes include 

    • Embedding a culture of tolerance, diversity and global citizenship in educational institutions
    • Enabling creative exploration of controversial issues related to diversity and social cohesion
    • Enabling understanding around issues of identity, belonging and civic agency
    • Developing critical thinking skills in educational institutions 

    The main beneficiaries of this project are: 

    • Learners & teachers in primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions 
    • Local communities where the learners and teachers live

    The Try It Award funding will enable market research and the development of a mini-pilot project.

    Try It Award 

    Oxford Chinese Corner is a support group for Chinese parents and children in Oxford which offers 
    rich and interactive traditional Chinese style activities in a Mandarin speaking environment to local families, and particularly British Born Chinese children. The aim is to nurture and preserve culture and tradition. Many children don’t inherit their Chinese culture or even understand their mother tongue - Mandarin - when they are born and raised in the UK. The activities are funded from the profits gained by offering different levels of Chinese language and culture related courses to local children and adult learners. 

    Oxford Chinese Corner has been given a Try It Award to pursue market research and explore demand.

    Case Studies 2015-16 - Oxford Chinese Corner

    Try It Award 

    Hanger is a charity-focused clothes selling website that is tailored to an individual’s fashion style and also connects buyers and sellers through a secure platform. The purpose is to encourage a better culture of donation to charities amongst young people and to use technology to create a more open route to donation culture in younger generations. 

    The Try It Award will help enable further market research to consider the business and operational models further and target potential users, as well as considering the cost implications of development. In time, the aim would be to create an in-depth presentation that could be used to hook potential investors.

    Case Studies 2015-16 - Hanger

    Try It Award

    The Daily Spin is founded on the belief that, with the right equipment, two wheels can make any local journey possible from the weekly grocery shop to moving house – and all of it emission free. 

    The aim of the Daily Spin is to enable people to incorporate the use of bicycles in their day. This would be by offering services such as group rides in the morning and evening to help people cope with the office commute, but will also offer the opportunity to rent or hire-purchase child or cargo trailers.

    The Try It Award will go towards further market research and testing, and research into legal requirements and insurances.

    Case Studies 2015-16 - The Daily Spin

    Try It Award

    Wisdom Yoghurts is looking to market an organic yoghurt-based meal incorporating two common grains often enjoyed in West Africa; cous cous and millet. 

    Case Studies 2015-16 - Wisdom Yoghurts

    The profits will go towards Be Inspired Internationally, an organisation that promotes social inclusion and global citizenship in the Gambia and the United Kingdom through education, civic engagement and mentoring schemes in order to inspire and empower disadvantaged young people.

    My key objective in establishing this start-up is to navigate the challenges and key lessons involved in the design and set up of a social enterprise. The funds I have won from the Try It Award (Oxford Brookes University) will be utilized towards product development, market research and testing with a view to refining the trading model for my intended activities and facilitating the development of a strong business plan.

  • 2013-14

  • About

    The Oxford Human Rights Arts Festival began in 2003 as a five day film festival started by post graduate students on the MA course in Development and Emergency Practice at Oxford Brookes University. Open to all, it was sponsored by Oxfam, with the aim of attracting students and the wider Oxford community to a diverse range of screenings designed to raise awareness of an array of human rights concerns.

    Initially the festival engaged academics, film directors, actors and celebrities to present films and take part in lively audience-led discussions following the shows. Over the past 12 years, the festival has attracted high-profile speakers including former Beirut hostage John McCarthy and legendary musician Annie Lennox, who presented the Oscar-nominated South African film Yesterday, at the 2006 festival. Other presenters have included representatives from a multitude of human rights groups such as Christian Aid, Anti-Slavery International and Peace Brigades International.

    The Vision

    In 2013 the Festival’s then co-ordinator, Bethanie Cunnick, a staff member at Oxford Brookes University, applied for a £5,000 Do It award from the Oxford Brookes Social Entrepreneur Awards (OBSEA) programme. She wanted to develop the business model that would allow the festival to become a sustainable social enterprise.

    The results were evident in the 2014 Human Rights Arts Festival which had broadened out to include a wider arts programme. In February 2014, the event took place across six Oxford-centric venues and included six films, five poets, four bands or musicians, three workshops, two photography exhibitions and 16 speakers.

    With Bethanie moving on to a new role, the co-ordinators’ work in 2014 was drawn together by another Brookes’ staff member, Angela Hatherell, and the festival took a step towards its vision of becoming sustainable; events were funded by ticket sales, as well as some continuing support from Brookes.

    Case studies - George the Poet

    Highlights of this year's festival included Like Enemies of the State , by BeFrank Theatre Company, whose afternoon performance for schools sparked a particularly memorable, animated debate about human rights in the theatre. The involvement of Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre added another dimension to the festival, with the involvement of the inspiring George the Poet (pictured) and Jamie McKendrick among others. The film screenings, especially Steve McQueen's Hunger , prompted fascinating debates and the festival was rounded off in style by award-winning folk singer Lucy Ward whose powerful Friday-night performance included songs themed on honour killings, war and poverty.

    Talking about the 2014 Festival Angela Hatherell commented, “Feedback from this year’s event was really positive – particularly in relation to the live events. With the additional funding we were able to make even more impact this year and with the help of social media our following is definitely growing.”

    Social Impact

    Audiences for the festival events totalled around 300 attendees. Feedback suggested participants welcomed the diversity of subjects offered and felt the programme was interesting; the live events were considered good value-for-money. Participants commented that events were inspiring and positive, as well as awareness raising and approachable– you felt like you could come to an event having no prior knowledge of the subject and still get a lot out of it. Suggestions for next year included Twelve Years a Slave, The Dallas Buyers Club and The Long Walk to Freedom, as well as films with UK-related themes perhaps surrounding riots or homelessness.

    Lessons and Challenges

    Some lessons to take away for next time surround the programming of events, including avoiding clashes with similar occasions such as Apartheid Week and equally regarding the location of events which seemed most successful and best value-for-money when held on Brookes’ campus. More free events are to be included to draw in the audience. Some of the biggest challenges for next year will be in harnessing students’ interests early in the semester and ensuring that all marketing opportunities are fully researched at an early stage to allow the festival to reap the full benefits.

    To find out more about the Oxford Human Rights Arts Festival visit


    Build It award - £9,000

     Coming back for a second year, having won a Do It award last year, The Knowledge Project will step up its mission to provide affordable and accessible evening classes to the general public in Oxford. The classes will be run by trained postgraduate student volunteers from the two universities in Oxford. The class fees will go to the charity Jacari, which provides home tuition to local children who don’t speak English as their first language.

    Commented Mona Sakr, “We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to take The Knowledge Project to the next level. With this award, we'll be able to significantly expand during the project's second year, offering a much larger range of enthralling evening and weekend courses to the Oxford community.”

    Do It award - £5,000

    Bramble Verbiage Bramble Verbiage is about inclusion through music. It aims to develop and improve the model of the existing Wittstock Music Festival, which is free to attend, and One Gig Closer satellite events which support the main festival. The aim is to make the festival sustainable in the long term and create a ‘stamp of approval’ for venues and companies to comply with a new set of criteria to make live music events safer and accessible, and inclusive to all.   People who will benefit from support include adults with learning disabilities, mental health problems and physical disabilities.

    Wittstock Music Festival is an annual summer festival for the public held over one weekend for approximately 500 people and promoting around 40 mostly local acts of varying musical genres. 

    Commented OBSEA winner, Glenda Huish “I’m very grateful. It’s enabling Wittstock and the projects around Wittstock to maybe fulfil their potential one day – it’s given them a start. It means more people will be able to share music.”

    Bramble Verbiage - In depth 

    About Glenda 

    Glenda is a talented musician and singer-songwriter who plays the flute, bass and acoustic guitars, and who has been performing live since 1996, both as a soloist and a band member. She graduated from the BA (Hons) Music (Director) course at Oxford Brookes University in 2014. 
    University: Oxford Brookes
    Area of Interest: Inclusion for all in music

    Glenda’s vision

    “Everybody has the right to have music in their lives,” says Glenda and since 2011 she has been the organiser of the Wittstock Festival in Oxford, a free annual music festival which raises money for local charities with a series of performances, merchandising and other fundraising activities. The event also promotes original live music and local bands by introducing them to a wider audience to enrich the local music scene. 

    Entry to the festival is free and the aim is to make the Wittstock Festival a sustainable social enterprise, whilst retaining its mission as a free and fully inclusive event showcasing local talent. With this in mind, Glenda pitched for and won a Do It award of £5,000 in the Oxford Brookes Social Entrepreneur Awards (OBSEA) 2014.

    In the months leading up to Wittstock, Glenda and the team organise monthly satellite gigs, aptly-named One Gig Closer, in local bars and music venues to raise money to finance the festival. In particular they have built a strong professional relationship with The Art Bar (formerly The Bullingdon Arms), which will become their home for future fundraising events – not least owing to its wheelchair friendly accessibility and a licence which allows under 18s to attend, if accompanied by an adult.

    “It’s not just me,” continues Glenda, “it’s all the volunteers who do all the work and who are so talented and generous with their time. The loyalty, hard working nature, ability to take instruction whilst using initiative and work as a team, amongst of our group of volunteers is unmistakable. Everyone has different levels of ability, stamina, and needs which are respected and built upon. We all take away with us some great memories and a varied overall experience.”

    All bands and crew have given their talents and time freely to make these events happen and in return have gained exposure. As another incentive to artists, there is now also the opportunity to record performances free-of-charge, which will hopefully make the event more attractive to the larger, more successful acts who normally charge venues and promoters for bookings.

    To help secure the future of Wittstock, Glenda is working with two fellow directors to set up a Community Interest Company called, Bramble Verbiage. Once the company is in place, the aim is to create a three year business plan, apply for funding and run the projects under this umbrella.

    What are the issues? 

     “The experience gained this year has taught me that a longer lead in period is necessary to achieve all of the organisational aims,” says Glenda. “We have learned valuable lessons through the year which we will apply in the coming months. I have learned about keeping accounts and am developing my skills in this area. I have learned a great deal about managing people and have a much better knowledge of what each person in the team is capable of and willing to do. This means I can play to people’s strengths and with a longer lead time I will be able to delegate jobs with more confidence. This will allow me to focus on management.”

    Glenda has a growing team of volunteers, 14 at present, who attend to the practical jobs of fundraising and taking entrance fees on the night of each satellite gig and show great commitment to all aspects regarding the main festival. The task areas include set up and breakdown of the event, stage and sound, fundraising, security, health and safety and communication. “Our team is made up of people who have a varied range of attributes and abilities and are from many different backgrounds. I was very pleased with the way all the volunteers worked together this year. Everyone worked together late into the night to make sure everything that needed doing was done.”

    The group trialed the use of radio communication for the first time this year and this helped the volunteers stay in contact with Glenda, who had overall responsibility. “I think this helped volunteers to feel that they could easily contact me if they needed to and also gave me the confidence that I could be quickly on hand if there was a problem, but also I could leave them to do things without them feeling constantly checked up on. It also made it easier to swap around volunteer responsibilities and give people breaks when they needed them.”

    The biggest challenge

    The process for handling the event licence caused problems this year, taking longer than anticipated and leaving short notice to confirm bookings with artists, bands, equipment hire and to publicly advertise the festival. The delays also had a knock on effect for recruitment of new volunteers. With hard work and persistence, Glenda and the team managed to ensure everything came good. 

    “The effort we had put in to organising everything paid off and the whole weekend ran very smoothly. We raised a substantial amount of money for our chosen organisations whilst staying within our budget. The funds remaining from the award will help secure venues and support staff for next year as volunteer time cannot be taken for granted."

    Having the financial security of the Do It award grant, made arranging the festival less stressful and it allows us to build on our current position and success. We now own enough equipment to be able to independently stage small outdoor events in the build up to next year’s festival. This will raise awareness of our aims, more funds and in the long term, will allow Wittstock festival to be self sustaining. It also means I can now register Bramble Verbiage with Companies House and hope to provide employment to some of those volunteers who have supported us so far. In future we will also need to look at renting work space and creating a base for the operation.”

    Social impact

    “A key feature of the Wittstock Festival is Inclusion of All and those who attended included not only families and all ages, but also members who use our chosen charities, My Life My Choice and Young Women’s Music Project,” commented Glenda. This year approximately 350 people enjoyed this public benefit event held over a weekend in July, which promoted more than 20 acts from diverse musical genres.  In total £1,650 was raised for local charities, with a further £2,000 raised to support the Wittstock Festival itself. “We have gained enormous potential as we move forward, slowly raising the profile, securing healthy relationships with the wider musical community in Oxfordshire, local companies, charitable organisations, local councils and the public. The future looks good!”   

    Do It award - £5,000

    2014 Try it 06 Maynard-Daley The Arts Excite is a platform for talented, disadvantaged young people to express themselves and bring about positive change in their communities. The young people respond to real world briefs set by community groups and local charities. The Arts Excite supports them with free, accredited workshops giving those young people not in employment, education or training the chance to earn a nationally recognised Arts Award qualification. The aim is to research the creation of a social enterprise model for The Arts Excite, looking at how workshops for private schools or company team building exercises could cover the costs of the free workshops for disadvantaged young people. 

    Commented Jordan, "It feels exhilarating to have won this award, it will dramatically help my social enterprise get off the ground. With this grant I feel that there is wind beneath the project’s wings and from now on it’s only going to fly and reach new heights. Thank you to everyone who made it possible for The Arts Excite to win this award it is in a stronger position to make positive change happen for so many people."

    The Arts Excite - In Depth

    About Jordon 

    Jordon is an education and outreach officer in the School of Arts at Oxford Brookes University. His experience is as a youth worker turned freelance in the creative and cultural sector based in Slough, Berkshire. As Jordon describes it, he builds art projects. 

    Education: The Hampshire School of Social Entrepreneurs
    University: Oxford Brookes University 
    Area of Interest: The Arts as a platform for talented disadvantaged young people

    What are the issues? 

    As an ex youth worker, Jordon feels concerned that disadvantaged young people in his home community don’t have enough to do, particularly with youth clubs across the country being shut down by councils needing to cut back on spending. Boredom mixed with poverty is a key issue for young people who are left simply ‘hanging around’, which Jordon describes as a ’recipe for disaster’.  

    Jordon’s vision

    Jordon set up The Arts Excite (theartsexcite.org) to positively engage disadvantaged young people, to inspire and educate them, as well as celebrate their achievements, as they work towards a nationally-recognised Arts qualification. 

    The Arts Excite is about commissioning young people, who primarily live in supported housing services in Slough, and many of whom are Not In Employment Education or Training (NEET), to work on creative projects that benefit their community. Young people involved in these projects will be encouraged and supported to use their talents and creativity to help local charities, tackle issues and raise awareness of problems that exist in the community to bring about positive change. Jordon ran a pilot project last summer and has since received funding from Arts Council England. In order to fund these projects in the long term, The Arts Excite will deliver unique workshops to private and mainstream schools and colleges. 

    In a recent Dragons’ Den style pitch at Oxford Brookes University, Jordon won £5,000 to help support this project. As Jordon puts it, “It feels exhilarating to have won this award; it will dramatically help my social enterprise get off the ground.

    “With this grant I feel that there is wind beneath the project’s wings and from now on it’s only going to fly and reach new heights.”

    The biggest challenge

    The biggest challenge for Jordon is to ensure that this enterprise becomes profitable; he sees the opportunity to access the UnLtd and Brookes’ network of mentors and support as invaluable. Jordon feels he could benefit from learning from someone who has let their passion, belief and commitment to create a better world endure, despite the business challenges.

    Social impact

    The Arts Excite’s first project was a short film about domestic abuse, called See It Clearly. Working in a team the nine young people aged 14-25 were in involved in all the aspects of creating a film based on a real-world scenario. This included developing useful work-life skills such as project management, as well as the creative skills of script-writing and acting. Next, the Arts Excite will be working on a photography project with Age Concern Slough, and the aims to go on to develop further projects potentially involving dance, music, poetry, animation, sculpture – in fact any element of art. Everyone who completes the project will receive an Arts Award Qualification. Both the young people and the charities involved have praised the project:  

    “I though the concept was brilliant, its not something we have been approached to do before, previously we’ve relied on word of mouth to get the message out there but this was something very different. It was something that young people could get involved in and have a lot of fun in doing and we were on board with that.” – Sharon Ballantyne, Children's Services Manager, Berkshire East & South Bucks Women's Aid.

    “The project got me involved in activities I haven’t been able to get involved with since school.” – Young person on the pilot project.

    “It was cool to learn how to make films and everything involved in that, but if it wasn’t for this project I probably would not have learnt about domestic abuse and how it affects people.” – Young person on the pilot project. 

    Do It award - £4,000

    2014 Try it 13 Danny and Will boing aims to challenge the current landscape of physical education in primary schools in Oxford, by using a constructivist approach. This approach allows pupils to construct their own knowledge of physical literacy and change the relationship pupils have with physical activity, with a view to increasing lifelong participation. The advantages include not only physical and mental health, but also a huge financial benefit to society.

    Boing - In Depth

    About Will and Danny

    Both Will and Danny are lecturers in sports coaching and physical education at Oxford Brookes University. Will has worked as a consultant with Sport England developing an education and mentoring programme for sports coaches and has a passionate drive to change the coaching ethos in the UK. He is currently engaged in research that deals with social justice in coaching.

    Danny’s research interests look at the practice of coaching, the coaching process and in particular power in the coach-athlete relationship. Danny is currently on the Welsh National team for Cymru Hockey where he is assistant coach to the Men’s 1st team.

    Employment & interests

    Will Roberts FHEA, MA, PGCTHE, PGDip, BSc (Hons)
    Senior Lecturer in Sport, Coaching and Physical Education at Oxford Brookes University

    Danny Newcombe
    Lecturer in Sport Science at Oxford Brookes University

    Joint interests

    Sports coaching and physical education in primary schools, learning theory, physical culture, social justice, technology and education.

    What are the issues?

    The Boing team recognise that children simply aren’t doing enough exercise and a report in the British Medical Journal online in September 2013 supports that.  The new research found that half of all seven-year-olds do not get enough exercise and girls are far less active than boys. Only fifty-one per cent of all seven-year-olds in the UK achieve the recommended hour of exercise every day, with the figure being just 38% in girls compared with 63% in boys. Moreover, a recent, all-party report on physical activity, as well as the Youth Sport Trust, has articulated the need for physical literacy to be moved into sharper focus, as a key part of physical education and school sport.

    Boing is determined to address these concerns by changing the relationship that children have with physical activity. Its aim is to increase physical literacy in pupils, and as a result reduce the drop off rates in lifelong participation. With obesity rates in the UK the highest in Europe and 850,000 UK children diagnosed as having mental health problems, there has never been a better time to help young people establish a better relationship with physical activity.

    The vision

    The Boing team want to look at a coaching style of learning within primary schools to ensure PE is child-centred, fun-oriented and as democratic as possible. They want children to be able to develop by constructing their own physical literacy at their own pace in a way that is meaningful to them, rather than trying to learn to copy ‘perfect models’ without understanding how that relates to them. Afterall, just one poor experience can put children off physical activity for life.

    In the world of Boing, children will play games and activities with balls, hoops, cones, bouncers, bats, racquets, Frisbees and music! Boing works in an environment that is geared towards fun, with children being free to explore their environment, how their body works and how it interacts with the world around them. All the sessions will begin with a Let’s Boing warm up to get children moving and laughing together.

    Based on movement with fun, the delivery of these sessions in primary schools across Oxford will be carried out by students on the sports, coaching and physical education undergraduate degree at Oxford Brookes – and this also acts as a training programme for students who want to become professional coaches.

    Danny and Will recently won £4,000 of funding at a Dragon’s Den style pitch held at Oxford Brookes University. Recognising the depth of knowledge of social enterprise and the range of expertise that exists within the university and at UnLtd, the Boing team opted to receive mentoring support to help guide the business side of the social enterprise.

    The biggest challenge

    Boing’s biggest challenge is to change the attitudes of schools, parents and government policy makers. The mindset needs to be geared towards creating, facilitating and applying a physical education that moves away from sports-based competencies and towards a whole range of physical activities that allow children to, “know through movement, know about movement and know because of movement” (Kentel and Dobson, 2007, p. 150), all within the parameters of having fun.

    Social impact

    Working with its partner Ignitesport, Boing will initially be going into eight primary schools in Oxford, in September 2014 to deliver two sessions a week for six weeks. Using well-established Boing coaches together with student apprentice coaches from the sports, coaching and physical education course at Oxford Brookes University, Boing will provide a more holistic, fun and inclusive physical education to children in Key Stages One and Two. Once established in Oxfordshire, the intention is to roll out Boing to neighbouring counties, and then nationally, so that Boing can impact policy makers.

    A further benefit of Boing will be the training academy approach, which will give work experience opportunities for Brookes’ students in parallel with completing their level three diploma in physical education. The vision is for every student on Oxford Brookes University’s sport, coaching and physical education degree to finish the course with an additional level three diploma in physical activity provision, which will increase their employability when they leave university.

    For more information about Boing talk to Will or Danny on:

    wroberts@brookes.ac.uk or dnewcombe@brookes.ac.uk

    Jean Wykes, BA Contemporary Fine Art

    2014 Try it 12 Jean Wykes ANCA offers creative workshops in art and design that deliver elements of the national curriculum from an artistic viewpoint to help capture children’s imagination. Many school children are failing in core subjects, leading to low self-esteem, poor body image, low expectation and unemployment. Children who achieve creatively feel good about themselves and turn themselves around. Lesson plans and activity kit lists will be sold to parents and schools in affluent areas to allow these to be provided cheaply or freely to schools in deprived areas.

    Andy Przybysz, Undergraduate - Hospitality Management 

    The Bacchus Wine Cellar is looking to promote a healthy lifestyle with regards to alcohol consumption. The project aims to provide funds and education towards responsible alcohol use by offering courses presenting the best of wine culture connected with awareness of alcoholism and alcohol abuse. A surplus will be generated through retail sales of wine in 0xford. In addition, clients will be provided with education about wine, wine culture and provenance. There will also be daily tasting sessions combined with education and wine snacks.

    Dympna Irwin, Postgraduate, Creative arts

     2014 Try it 04 Dympna Irwin The concept is based on developing opportunities at a local hostel for homeless teenagers in Oxford by encouraging a small craft business producing and selling greetings cards, with a view to supporting individuality and creativity whilst introducing a positive activity. The aim is to keep the teenagers busy and engaged whilst encouraging social integration and self esteem as an alternative to behavioural degeneration.

    Narjis Riffi , MSc International Hotel and Tourism Management

     2014 Try it 11 Narjiss Riffi Dose is about providing smoothies made of fruits, vegetables, grains, roots and spices that cater to special health needs such as diabetes, high blood pressure, tiredness, skin damage, lack of vitamins and an unhealthy daily diet. Regular customers will gain from this health booster that provides a better added value than the basic fruit smoothies currently on the market, but Dose also aims to transfer the ‘suspended coffee model’ to smoothies. Homeless people without access to fresh and healthy food will benefit from a smoothie, which may do more good than a suspended coffee in the long term.

    Keith Finlay, MSc in Environmental Assessment and Management

    Fix-Me-Up aims to reduce waste in charity shops by fixing up or restoring stock items and then reselling them. Hidden costs and environmental issues caused by disposing of waste are reduced and instead are converted into additional revenue. An initial campaign, Refresh-A-Frame will look specifically at wooden picture frames. In time a community of restorers is envisaged. A successful pilot could result in enough interest to run a free workshop to develop restoration skills for young people. 

    Deepa Rama, MSc Business Management 

    This is a social enterprise aimed at empowering immigrants in the UK to be work ready. The aim is to assist immigrants in starting and running their own social enterprises through giving pro-active support, skills training and the tools to enable them to recognise their full potential. 

    Louise Taylor, IT Support (staff) 

     2014 Try it 10 Louise Taylor Illuminate is about working with disadvantaged people within Oxford to create a photo book portrait of the city. The aim would be to give the reader a different mental map of Oxford, illuminating the streets in a unique and engaging way. The social objectives are to provide training, work experience, a creative outlet and payment for the client group and demonstrate the potential for creative ventures to generate an income. The product would be aimed at tourists who would like to gain a local’s perspective on Oxford, as well as locals themselves.

    Glenda Huish, Music BA MD 

    Inspiring a group to create a short piece of sonic art music, this workshop is designed to breakdown the communications barriers within and across communities. This session will be designed to be adaptable and work in many situations such as schools, hospitals, care homes, day centres or at festivals. Available to those with or without prior musical experience, the music will be recorded and performed, with ticket prices based on the ability to pay.  

    Thomas Nicolaou, Recent graduate PGCE Post Compulsory

    Oxford Streetphoto workshops help participants to learn English as an additional language in an informal way through the use of participatory photography. By talking about their photographs, the participants engage and become more empowered and confident in their new surroundings. Paid workshops for language schools will mean free photography workshops can be offered to Oxfordshire refugees.

    Dina Douglas, Undergraduate - Law and Psychology

     2014 Try it 03 1200 Dina Douglas This social enterprise proposes to provide an online recruitment facility for young individuals looking to enter the job market. The proposition is that they would use interactive media, which is more demonstrably comprehensive than a CV, to showcase their skills. This project aims to inspire, educate and motivate unemployed young people to find work and reduce the UK’s overall unemployment. The revenue streams would be from advertising after high traffic has been established, from membership grades on the site and from commission paid by employers due to successfully recruiting candidates for their company.

    Laura Boone – Oxford Brookes staff

     2014 Try it 02 Laura Boone This project aims to provide hands-on work experience for young people aged 16-25 years, who are unemployed, have little or no work experience or for those with special needs. The placements will revolve around an arts production with an underlying social message for its audiences to identify with. Participants will develop a host of transferable skills, including business skills such as project planning, budgeting, fundraising and team building, which will also be the subject of a series of masterclasses to enhance learning. The business model includes selling tickets for the production, as well as extending the masterclasses to external participants. 

    Charles Anslow-Wilson – Architecture, undergraduate

     2014 Try it 01 Charles Anslow-Wilson High Street-Back Street is looking to provide an app or web-based platform to promote independent business enterprises, such as catering companies, hotels and travel.  These are at a disadvantage compared to larger rivals, who have strong countrywide or multinational brands behind them and which have already established identity and trust with potential clients. This project will create a platform which independent companies can join; target customers, aged 16-40, can then easily find these offerings using a database. Customers begin to trust the ‘independent platform’ whose review system and map location information can instantly show what’s good and where it is. The overall aim is to see a commercial shift towards community based produce and services of benefit to the community.

    Sophie Palmstierna – Business and Management Studies, undergraduate

     2014 Try it Sophie Mount Karma creates shirts and accessories in Nepal which currently provides jobs for Nepali women and in turn leads to better education for their children and an overall higher standard of living. By developing Mount Karma for the UK and US markets, the aim is to create a sustainable improvement for more women and children and create an awareness of how others can benefit through fashion and giving. The Try It award funding will go towards researching the UK angle for this social enterprise and how UK residents can also benefit from giving.

    School of Arts (staff)

    A commercial photography business including wedding, product, and event photography, will raise funds for a film production company providing communication services to social disadvantaged groups in the UK. Film It! looks to give these groups a chance to raise their profile and their core focus through film. Film is the most powerful medium to express complex ideas and messages in a limited time period and to distribute those worldwide and locally with ease. These services will be offered free-of-charge but each group will be actively involved in production. In our increasingly multi-cultural society, the aim is to help give a voice to marginalised groups.