From education to employment

Grassroots Social Impact in training providers

Social impact for businesses comes in many shapes and sizes; it is the effect on people and communities that happens as a result of an action (or inaction), an activity, a project, a programme or a policy.

Businesses have a responsibility to their local and national communities to invest in their social impact and make changes for good. It’s not enough to “break even” and ensure that the cost of doing business doesn’t damage the local and larger community. In the 2020s, social impact is about helping those in need and providing resources and advocacy.

Businesses or organisations provide impacts to their consumers and the public all the time, though in different capacities. Social impact, however, concentrates on the direct positive consequences these parties offer to society.

Social impact has evolved from pure PR tactics to an honest philanthropic impact for businesses. It is a trend driven largely by millennial consumers and enabled by social media tools that have taken accountability and transparency to new heights.

For an organisation, social impact can be measured in terms of sustainability (is our work actually leaving people and communities better off than they were before?), who benefits (are we supporting those who need it the most?), how many people benefit (what are we doing to ensure we reach the highest number of people?), and how do they benefit (in what ways are we supporting individuals and communities?).

Social enterprises often create social impacts in any way they can through the 17 Social Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations. These SDGs are set as a way for individuals, businesses, and organisations to work together towards making a significant impact in the world:

No Poverty; Zero Hunger; Good Health and Well-being; Quality Education; Gender Equality; Clean Water and Sanitation; Affordable and Clean Energy; Decent Work and Economic Growth; Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; Reduced Inequality; Sustainable Cities and Communities; Responsible Consumption and Production; Climate Action; Life Below Water; Life on Land; Peace and Justice; strong Institutions; Partnerships to achieve the Goal.

The importance of positive social impact cannot be understated. When one component of society thrives, many other aspects of their lives will flourish. This can lead to bigger and better changes.

At The B2W Group, we witness these impacts first-hand as we work to ensure that our stamp on the local and wider communities is a force for good.

Changing lives at The B2W Group

As an education and training provider, we are pushing our social impact work forward every day, and we’re deeply committed to measuring our efforts and improving upon them, day by day and year by year.

We do so in the belief that the work we do not only supports our learners and partners in the short-term, but also empowers and enriches people and leaves a positive impact on the lives and the lives of those around them. We aim to be a leading and inspiring figure in social impact and responsibility to leverage our position to inspire others in the sector.

The B2W Group delivers the Restart Scheme on behalf o a prime provider in the Greater Manchester area​​. The Restart Scheme is a Government initiative with £3 billion of investment and provides enhanced support to help people enter sustained employment. It supports individuals with 12 months of tailored support and interventions to help them find a job in their local area. It is designed to break down any employment barriers that could be holding people back from finding work.

The above definition of Restart is an over-simplification. Yes, the Government’s end-goal with this initiative is to see unemployed people move into long-term, sustainable careers. But our colleagues in Restart do so much more.

Restarting life

We recognise that everyone’s journey and needs are unique to them, and we tailor the Restart Scheme to individuals, avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach. Restart works alongside the Job Centre, but operates differently by taking steps and making positive changes in their lives to reach goals that include, but are not exclusive to, securing employment; we support people to take steps to make positive changes in their lives and reach their goals outside just employment. Our team of Advisors and Employment Specialists are there to help build confidence, wellbeing, skills and motivation so that people are equipped to move forward and succeed.

The individuals who come through our Restart doors come from all walks of life. Their long-term unemployment could be due to a variety (and likely combination) of reasons. Restart is a programme tailored around the individual; as well as holistic care, participants are offered specific, lifestyle-improving support to better their lives in the most crucial and valuable ways.

Our Restart advisors’ first job is to listen to the needs and concerns of participants and truly understand the barriers facing their return into employment. A key component of this is to identify and acknowledge any support that is needed in order to make employment an option (either tomorrow or a year from now).

Some Restart participants may not have a fixed abode, or may be suffering with dependency issues. In these circumstances, the primary immediate goal is to assist in those areas – there is no benefit to the participant in gaining employment if it will not be sustainable. Restart is about removing as many barriers as possible to move a participant closer to work. It’s about equipping them with the tools and skills that will enable them to improve their lives.

Diversity is a fact, inclusion is a choice

The UK is a multicultural and metropolitan community and as such houses a diverse range of people from different walks of life and a wealth of different experiences. Diversity is a fact. How we view and engage with these diverse backgrounds and experiences is a choice.

In Restart, inclusion and representation is a key component. Within our team, we see a 50/50 gender split, 72% BAME, and representation from the LGBTQ+ and disabled communities. The local community isn’t blind to representation, which is why our colleagues represent different languages, cultures, religions, sexual orientations and more.

Due to the varying demands of our participants, the scope of our engagement is equally diverse. Participants are afforded a variety of ways to utilise and engage with Restart, including in-person, over the phone, through video calls, messaging, or a mixture of all. Travel, care, and expenses support is also provided for those who need it.

This consideration to diversity and inclusion means that our team can improve existing offers and develop new ones that take into account participants’ needs and preferences.

Geraldine Howell

We caught up with Geraldine Howell who participated in Restart in 2021. Since her time on the scheme, Geraldine has joined the Restart team itself within The B2W Group, in the capacity of Compliance Administrator.

Geraldine was made redundant from her job of 20 years at the start of the Covid-19 lockdown. Due to the lack of employment opportunities, Geraldine struggled to re-join the workforce.

“It was a shock to be told my services were no longer required after a 20-year tenure at an organisation,” Geraldine explained. “There were a lack of opportunities during the first Covid-19 lockdown, with so many companies having a recruitment freeze. I must have applied for 100+ jobs, but struggled to get my foot through the door.

“I struggled with unemployment as I was used to getting up early and going to work. It sounds small, but that routine was a huge part of my life as it is for most people. Without my work, I didn’t have the same purpose and didn’t feel like I was contributing to the same extent as I was before.

“There were also financial challenges; I benefited from Universal Credit, but had to look to my savings to support my living. By the time I regained work, I’d been unemployed for 19 months.

“When I walked through the doors of The B2W group’s Restart office, I was expecting a job centre. It couldn’t have been further from that. The office was warm and welcoming and a completely different atmosphere from what I was used to. Without sounding too cheesy – there was hope in that building.

“I was met with warm smiles and everyone there seemed genuinely happy to see me walk through the door. I felt like an individual and an equal and I felt like I was going to be heard. It was the first time I’d had hope for success during that 19 months of unemployment.

“It wasn’t long before a job opportunity arose within The B2W Group’s Restart team itself. I interviewed, received some very positive feedback and was offered the job. I was thrilled to join the team that had helped me put my career back on track.

“Now, I get to work in that same welcoming office with some fantastic people. I get to see other participants walk through the doors and experience the same feeling I had – they come out of their sessions buzzing and clearly hopeful for the future.

“I feel part of the Restart team and the wider B2W family. I’m really proud of the work we do and I’m thrilled to wear the B2W” uniform.”

Geraldine was the winner of our Employee of the Month in June 2022, having only been with the business for six months. Her colleagues nominated her for our company value of “Continuous Improvement” and they described her as someone who has always been so helpful and has made a massive difference to the office and targets.

A look ahead

In 2022, The B2W Group’s Restart programme celebrates its one-year anniversary.

“We’re privileged to work with people from a range of backgrounds and experiences,” said Rachel Willoughby, Associate Director Employment Support within Restart. “We’ve seen 27% of people who have started the programme move into employment, which is a fantastic statistic as we come up to our first-year anniversary. Yes, the end-goal is to support people into long-term employment, but it has to the right type of work, and it has to be sustainable. It’s rarely a “quick fix”. We spend time with individuals to discuss their goals and the barriers in the way. If we can give them the skills or confidence to take them closer to their employment goal, then we’ve done a worthwhile job”.

The one-year anniversary also marked the launch of The Bank – our one stop shop for clothing, food and toiletries in order to support our participants in as many ways as possible. The choice between heating and eating isn’t a selection anyone should have to make. However, whilst this is the case, The B2W Group’s Restart programme will be trying to support those for whom this is reality.

To learn more about how our Restart programme is supporting local communities, visit or email [email protected] to get involved.

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