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Denbighshire local completes social entrepreneur programme

Marguerite Pearce

Sixteen social entrepreneurs who embarked on the School for Social Entrepreneurs’ (SSE) Start Up Plus programme in June 2020, in partnership with wealth manager Brewin Dolphin, have successfully graduated.

The cohort completed all the requirements of the six-month programme (June-December 2020) amidst the confines of Covid-19 restrictions and national lockdowns. Among them is Denbigh-based (North Wales) social entrepreneur Marguerite Pearce, who founded Y Tŷ Gwyrdd (The Green House – www.ytygwyrdd.cymru) a grassroots bilingual community hub intended to help revive the town through economic, social and environmental initiatives. Facilities include a shop offering locally sourced, re-fill and zero-waste products, room hire, repair workshop, a book, clothing and toy exchange, and TerraCycle recycling, offering opportunities to facilitate a circular economy and collectively reduce the carbon footprint.

Y Tŷ Gwyrdd recently secured funding from the Welsh Government Integrated Care Fund – Learning Disabilities & Children with Complex Needs to deliver a community project that invites people to create a piece of 2D A4 artwork in any medium reflecting their feelings and activities during lockdown. The works will be displayed in a community art exhibition, most likely virtually due to Covid-19 restrictions.

In addition, a series of clay workshops for children and young people with learning disabilities and complex needs will be held with local ceramic artist Wendy Lawrence (https://www.wlawrenceceramics.com/). The artwork created during the workshops will be incorporated into a community mural, a legacy of the challenging times we’ve had and a positive reflection of community spirit and support.

A community share offer launch is also planned with the support of the Wales Co-operative Centre. This will invite people to become a member of Y Tŷ Gwyrdd, with the opportunity to shape sustainability practices in the community.

Speaking about the challenges she experienced in establishing her business, Marguerite Pearce says: “The Covid-19 pandemic has presented many challenges, in particular juggling home-schooling and paid work with establishing Y TŷGwyrdd. On the flip side, however, the effects of the pandemic have emphasised the need for social enterprise, and a strong community network to support a sustainable future.

“I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of the SSE Start Up Plus programme. It’s been a thought provoking, motivating journey with a really inspiring group of entrepreneurs, and a fantastic facilitator.”

Richard Buxton, group people and sustainability director, Brewin Dolphin, said: “In what has been a very challenging and unprecedented time for many, it is heartening to see how these 16 social entrepreneurs have applied passion and purpose to achieve their goals. They all have bright futures ahead of them as the changemakers of tomorrow. We always knew supporting the SSE’s Start Up Plus programme would be a worthwhile initiative, and we are equally inspired and humbled by what the cohort has achieved.”

Alistair Wilson, CEO, School for Social Entrepreneurs, said: “It’s been a turbulent year for our students, who have made incredible progress developing their social enterprises despite the chaotic environment. I’m always inspired to see them rise to the challenge, respond to the needs of their communities, and in doing so, build the networks and skills to help our country build back better. I can’t wait to see the social and environmental impact they go on to make and