SEW Peer to Peer Learning Programme

The SEW Peer to Peer Learning Programme provides a funded opportunity for younger CICs to spend a day of learning with more experienced CICs to discuss for example, business planning/organisational development; developing the ‘offer’ or enterprise; financial modelling; market development and marketing; social impact measurement etc.

Guest Blogger Anna McKen, Appreciate U CIC visits Kit Showande, Aspire4U CIC

I was delighted to spend the day with young dynamic, businessman Kit Showande, Director of the non-profit Organisation Aspire4U CIC, based in the heart of Birmingham. What came across was his energy and passion for his work so it’s no surprise that Aspire4U has been running for over 10 years and has achieved a lot of success.

Aspire4U’s mission statement is to support communities to create better futures by using evidence of things that work and bringing this back to the community. This spoke loud and clear to me; they are on a direct mission, maybe not to save the world, but on a mission to change and transform the mind-sets of young people within the community.

So, I asked the question, ‘how are they doing this?’

Kit explained that they do this through delivering workshops on financial literacy, health and wellbeing, the arts etc. and through personal development courses and employability skills in schools. The courses are delivered by paid staff and volunteers.

In addition, Aspire4U CIC also host bid writing and project management workshops through which they hope to create lasting change.

Our organisation Appreciate U CIC is a community based non-profit organisation based in Wolverhampton. We tackle social isolation, within the local community through providing exercise sessions, health information, activity days and day trips. We also encourage people to engage with creative writing courses and arts & crafts workshops.

We believe that one of the greatest needs for a human being, is to feel like they belong. This is what makes Appreciate U CIC special. Members of the community feel like they belong; they radiate excitement and happiness.

As one of the directors of Appreciate U CIC, I found the Peer to Peer Learning Opportunity an excellent method for organisations to learn by sharing ideas, knowledge and experiences. My expectations of the day were all met. We discussed a range of issues including, for example, organisational development and how crucial it is for an organisation to know its purpose.

Kit stated: ‘The how and the why are very important; I believe that every business must know the answer to these questions for them to grow and develop’. I understood this principle; this made me re-evaluate and view the business with a different lens.

We also spoke about strategies and goal planning for business and how to develop growth in the business by creating value. Again this is very important to us as a small CIC to understand the process of creating value and structure within the business. We also looked at capacity building in business and whether we inspire, lead or manage: a key ingredient to creating a successful viable business. As Kit says: ‘Inspire, lead and manage; it’s what makes our organisation unique; we aim to create lasting change in the community by improving lives through the change of mind-sets’.

The time spent with Kit was very refreshing and thought provoking, I have learnt a lot and now my mission is to put into practice what I have learnt from this experience.

I have no hesitation to recommend the SEW Peer to Peer Learning Programme opportunity; I feel that this is a great experience. Thank you.

Anna McKen Appreciate U CIC



Kit Showande, Aspire4U CIC


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