For our latest spotlight on social value, we recently caught up with social entrepreneur Matt Parfitt, from Half the Story, who has got us thinking about how we can create social value and give back to local communities, from something as simple as having a biscuit on your daily tea break…
Founded in Nottingham in July 2023, social enterprise Half the Story has been baking biscuits with a focus on providing local employment in their bakery for people who have experienced homelessness.
The biscuit is Half the Story…
Matt shared with us that finding somewhere to live is not the end of the story for someone who has been homeless. Anyone who has spent time sleeping on the streets will face complex barriers when seeking long term employment. By providing people with a job with sufficient hours and wages, Half the Story empowers those in their trust to leave supported accommodation and start a new chapter in their lives.
Working with trusted referrers such as the NHS and charities specialising in providing support with addiction and homelessness, Half the Story make a real and lasting difference to someone’s life.
The proof is in the pudding (or in this case the biscuit).
As a new joint venture between Grace Enterprises which helps people facing barriers to employment, and Green Pastures, a Christian social enterprise helping provide homes to those in need, Half the Story is well placed. Over 90% of employees agree that working for a Grace Enterprises business affects their life positively. Employees feel an average increase of 21% in their sense of purpose and 19% in their self-esteem since starting work for a Grace Enterprises business.
One Half the Story employee came to the UK from the Ukraine after the war started.
“I heard about Grace Enterprises as a company that cares about people. And now I see that it is so. People are treated as people and not as a resource.”
“Finding a job in a competitive environment during a turbulent time in my life is a very mentally challenging task. This created a closed circle: the anxiety did not allow me to declare my capabilities in the labour market fully, and the inability to work created greater pressure on my mental state. Half of the Story broke that circle for me.”
She has now become a bakery supervisor and is taking on more management responsibilities as part of the growing team.
How does it work?
As a social enterprise, Half the Story puts the interests of the people ahead of shareholder gain and reinvests its profits into creating positive social change. Firstly, as a living wage employer, Half the Story invests in those searching for a fresh start. Secondly, any profit made by the sale of the biscuits goes back into expanding the business to support more people.
Matt explained that they currently have 10 employees, but are hoping to increase this to 40 employees, and help even more people in need.
Discover the whole story!
The story doesn’t end there.
Half the Story wants to partner with more companies to see more lives changed. That can be through corporate team experiences in the bakery, or companies using their annual volunteering commitments to donate time mentoring or coaching to those rebuilding their lives through Half the Story. It’s a great way to support the community locally, and create meaningful social impact on construction projects.
Not forgetting the power of social procurement to support communities; buying Half the Story biscuits for company events is a fantastic way to support this social enterprise.