• Alastair Cooper
  • 3 minutes
  • 05/05/2022

Breadwinners: Winners of the Social Innovation Award 2022

2021 was a year of growth for Breadwinners. The pandemic really tested their resilience but they adapted and have lots to celebrate.

Estimated unemployment for refugees is around 70%. Breadwinners provide paid employment, work experience, mentoring and training, which were kept running throughout the pandemic. They even launched a new programme focused on online sales and customer experience!

83 young people completed programmes and most reported increased motivation, work experience and happiness. In a year when many felt isolated, our community activities helped those on thr programmes make friends and new connections.

One of the most exciting moments was launching a pilot in Brighton, and they hope to embark on a period of national expansion.

Breadwinners’ mission is to support refugees into work. They do this by delivering three employability programmes for refugees and young people seeking asylum, aged 16-24, living in London and Brighton.

All their programmes combined work, training and mentoring. So far 169 young refugees gained work experience, 306 training sessions were delivered and 1,400 hours of 1:1 mentoring have been delivered.

They monitor the outcome of their courses closely. So far, of all the refugees, 100% reported that their communication skills had improved, 98% felt more prepared for work, 96% reported an improved well-being, 93% felt more motivated and 92% said they felt like they were making a difference in their community.

In 2021, Breadwinners saw:

  • 83 young refugees gain jobs
  • 6 months of support provided for participants
  • £60k paid to refugees for their work/subsistence
  • 37k baked goods sold
  • 9k home deliveries
  • 22 wholesale partnerships

In December 2021, Breadwinners conducted their annual peer-led evaluation. This saw them train participants to carryout phone interviews with 48 programme graduates and ask them questions about the long-term impact of their programmes. This process enabled participants to develop key IT and communication employability skills and gave them a central role in our evaluation and strategy development.

It also generated unbiased critical feedback as graduates were discussing with current programme participants rather than the core team. Of the respondents, 97% said they would recommend Breadwinners, 91% said they were happy with the support they had received and 83% felt their experiences had taken them nearer to their dream job.

In October 2021, they expanded their operations, launching a pilot in Brighton. The new programme has provided paid employment for seven refugees across four market stalls. Already, four participants have progressed onto long term employment or study.

Since September 2021, when they started supplying Change Please cafes with baked goods, their wholesale service has taken off. Their income from wholesale now stands at £53.8k, diversifying their income and in a fluctuating economic environment.

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