Graham Gardiner

Nottingham, Uk

I'm currently the of Director of Aspiren & Implementation Director of OurCamden. I also facilitate First Tuesday a networking group for Business with a heart & developed LimTool, a local impact measurement tool.

I'm interested in making a difference to peoples lives & comunicating the message that businesses can work with a heart.

After leaving my work with the Church Ministeries in the early 90s, I became passionate about working with volunerable groups. I worked in a number of different settings, including hostels & floating support with a variety of people. I became a manager for a Housing Charity in 1994 and broke the mold by creating several hostels that were known for their user involvement initiatives.

After hearing John McKnight at a conference on Assest Based Community Development I realised this was the direction I wanted to take. Fired on by the discovery I started projects such as FlatPack (getting a group of homeless people to work together on an empty flat and then nominating which one could live there), the Green Room (supporting homeless people to discover where their passions lay and how they could use them to earn a living) and started the world’s first time bank in a hostel.

I left the charity in 2002 to establish my own social enterprise working with people experiencing mental ill health (2002-2009). This grew to have over 10 services and employ 50 people. Over 30% of the staff had used secondary mental health services and the enterprise won national awards within mainstream business, which was a great vindication of our approach. Following this I was elected a Fellow by Trustees of the RSA for my contribution to social enterprise and social justice.

Since 2009 I've been running Aspiren which has a strong track record of helping people set up businesses with good values. I have supported the emergence of over 40 new social enterprises in Nottingham. As a trainer for PRIME I have in supported 18 new Start-ups in 2013, led by individuals over 50 and across a wide range of sectors. I offer business support to social enterprises through First Tuesday & work with Loughborough University’s E