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Cultural Shift South East

Partnership information


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The South East has the lowest International Labour Organisation (ILO) unemployment rate in the UK, yet the region also has the second highest number of people registered as unemployed, second only to London. As the ILO rate considers only those who are 'economically active' (looking for work and available for work) this indicates that a significant number of people in the region are unemployed and do not consider themselves able to work. Breakdown of the statistics shows a high proportion of exclusionary factors among the region's unemployed: disability claimants, long-term unemployed both in the 16-24 age group and those over 50, carers, those in areas of multiple deprivation, and certain ethnic groups. Purely private or public sectors solutions have been insufficient in dealing with the combined issues affecting employment for these groups.

Cultural Shift South East was instigated by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) to address these barriers, employing a new enterprise and employment framework for excluded groups. A core element of the partnership is the multi-stakeholder participation in service design and delivery, supporting action-based learning and mentoring towards developing entrepreneurial solutions for inclusive employment.


  • Develop and employ inclusive employment models delivered through independent social enterprises
  • Create new protocols for entrepreneurial partnerships between mainstream public sector providers and social enterprises in the South East.


  • Testing innovative models of inclusive employment support through the design and delivery stages of five demonstration projects operating in the region
  • Creating a model for participative, multi-stakeholder social enterprise based, service design and delivery
  • Working closely with local and regional service providers and policy makers in five opportunity sectors to raise their awareness of the possibilities for service improvement through partnership, developing policy relating to social enterprise and seeking demonstration projects
  • Developing five sustainable social enterprises in partnership with mainstream service providers through which at least 24 inclusive employment opportunities will be offered
  • Delivering new regulatory and cultural protocols to support the development of social enterprise models.

Target groups

  • Ex-offenders
  • Disability claimants
  • Long-term unemployed both in the 16-24 age group and those over 50
  • Carers
  • Those living in areas of multiple deprivation
  • Certain ethnic groups



Transnational partnerships


Action 2: 31 March 2008
Action 3: 31 December 2007

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Social economy


The approach has been undertaken by Cultural Shift South East as a response to research into the nature and potential of social enterprise in the region. This research has become the basis for the regional approach to social enterprise policy development and has identified partnership with public agencies as a key factor in the long-term sustainability of the social enterprise sector as a whole.


Ex-offenders, Other, People from disadvantaged areas (top 10% most deprived wards)

Intended impact/ sustainability

The purpose of the partnership is to deliver local impact through the independent operation of five demonstration projects, and strategic impact through developing an entrepreneurial culture within excluded groups, social enterprises and public sector agencies.

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Project activities


Sector development Groups


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Activities and products