"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants."
- Sir Isaac Newton.
“Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it.”
– Bob Dylan.
Two quotes from two Masters of their Craft because we want to recognise both the foresight and inspiration from two organisations without whom Growth Rings would not exist.
Firstly, Rural Kent: a refreshingly understated charity punching above its weight spotted an opportunity for this social enterprise on Romney Marsh. Established in 1923, Action with Communities in Rural Kent, (Rural Kent – registered charity 212796) works with more than 200 rural (and urban) enterprises a year to help unlock millions of pounds of untapped potential within Kent’s economy – through community-led solutions to social and economic problems. Rural Kent aims to ensure innovative delivery of projects with the potential to inspire and stimulate attitudes that build confidence in communities and individuals alike. With access to a support network offering expert advice, together with funding opportunities and excellent partnership working; they believe more communities, social enterprises and individuals can be inspired and enabled to succeed.
Rural Kent’s commitment to partnership working and inspiration goes pretty deep, and far. In fact, it led us to Sweden via the EU’s Lifelong Learning Programme. And the rest, as they say, is history…
The establishment of Growth Rings CIC as a social enterprise was entirely inspired by several visits to Basta – Sweden, by co-directors: Mike Managh and Carl Adams, alongside Rural Kent. The principles of Basta! are therefore engrained through Growth Rings; namely, becoming a client led social enterprise, offering a road away from criminality and drugs through work and meaningful spare time. The Growth Rings ethos is founded on the same bedrock as Basta: “Through selling high quality products and services on the open market, and by running a successful company, people not only learn important communication skills and gain work experience, they also regain their self-esteem.” – Basta, Sweden (http://english.basta.se/).
We learnt that living by this standard means that neither the service nor the product of a genuine social enterprise can ever be compromised. In fact, we saw that the quality of product is one of the main drivers behind increasing the confidence of participants and the incredible social impact made at Basta. So with the mantra that “no production should ever take place to fill time,” ringing in our ears from the social impact Giants at Basta; we returned to Kent aboard their shoulders, and got to work on establishing Growth Rings CIC.
With inspiration of such strength hard to come by, we had to take it.