Lancaster University

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Social Enterprise Project Praised

07/03/2008 10:06:35

Gary Chapman gives a presentation at the Thrive programme run by LUMS
Gary Chapman gives a presentation at the Thrive programme run by LUMS

The founder of a homeless project in Blackpool has praised a new social enterprise project run by Lancaster University Management School (LUMS).

Gary Chapman from the Adullam Project in Blackpool was among dozens of people attending the Thrive programme run by LUMS which aims at developing voluntary and community organisations. The Adullam Project has so far helped 10 recovering drug addicts who are homeless and has turned their lives around, with men reunited with their families, back in work or going to college.

He said: “The Thrive programme really opened my eyes to the help available to us. Our house is full at this moment and we would like to take this into the marketplace to expand and see a farm property become available to help others too. We are looking at the city farm concept and community living working hand in hand with each other.”

The course consists of five half day workshops which are free for not -or-profit organisations. The organiser Jez Hall has spent fifteen years working in the not-for-profit sector and now works at the Institute for Enterpreneurship and Enterprise Development at LUMS.

He said: “Thrive aims to show how an enterprising culture and a more professional approach don’t mean abandoning your principles. Thrive looks into issues such as branding and marketing, business planning, loans and trading to create community-led businesses offering real value.”

Mr Chapman founded the Adullam Project after twenty five years as a drug addict himself. He eventually became a joiner and decided he wanted to help others who had been in the same situation. While living in a caravan, he was asked to help a homeless man called Tommy who is still staying with him.

“Tommy had been with me for a month when a guy came back from rehab and wanted to stay clean so we found another caravan and took him in.
His name is Terry and he was with us for seventeen months. He has now been in the same job for over a year of that time, when a great breakthrough came in his life and he was reunited with his daughter and family.
Later, at a soup kitchen we were introduced to a young man called Wayne, very broken and lost who just needed to belong somewhere. He came into the project and was with us for over a year. He was reunited with his parents and one of his boys, and today he is with his family and doing well.”

Jez Hall said: “Lancaster University Management School plans to help voluntary and community organisations flourish through social enterprise. Social enterprise is more about attitude than adopting hard headed business methods. It’s having a “can do” mentality, and thinking creatively, finding new ways to solve problems and inspiring people to make a difference.”