Swindon social enterprise appoints new director to its Board

By Anita Jaynes on 15 March, 2022

Local businessman Chris Blackwell has been appointed to the Board of The Platform Project, the community interest company (CIC) that helps young people in Swindon who are at risk of unemployment. 

Chris, who is a director of independent mortgage adviser TED Mortgages, joins the project as a non-executive board member. The position became available due to the organisation’s rapid expansion and following the resignation of former director Andrew Wells of Swindon Borough Council due to a job change.

Chris said, “I will be responsible for working with the SME community in Swindon and Wiltshire to increase support and engagement for the project. This will involve bringing on board sponsorship and work shadowing opportunities for the interns.”

Based in the Dorcan area of Swindon, the social enterprise bridges the gap between education and employment by preparing young people for work. The CIC works with a range of funders, schools and employers to support target groups of young people.

“I want to help the project integrate as much as possible with the local business community and, in turn, help to grow its reputation in Wiltshire so that more young people can benefit from its fantastic work.”

The organisation also has a strong commercial element, working with employers to help them find work-ready, entry-level talent, and at the same time helping schools to diversify their curriculums.

Chris added, “Having work and prospects for your future are such an important part of someone’s wellbeing and therefore helping young people build skills to gain employment is vital. Local business people can get involved by contacting me to discuss the different ways they can support the project. This could be through making a donation, offering time for career talks or work shadowing and more.”

The Platform Project was founded by former management consultant Sadie Sharp. Its current directors include James Phipps, a philanthropic local entrepreneur and former chairman and CEO of Excalibur; Jon Joyce, director of Metro Bank, Swindon and executive tech specialist Andy Langley. Each director serves a three-year tenure.

Sadie, said, “I’m always amazed at the enthusiasm and engagement we see from successful professionals when they understand what we are trying to achieve. Chris is so generous with his time and having him on the Board will really help us steer our commercial offering for employers.  It’s great to see someone who has built such a successful business himself now giving back to help other young people improve their career options.”

The long-term goal of the project is to build a social franchise so that its successful approach can be repeated in other geographical areas.

Pictured above: Chris Blackwell, director of TED Mortgages and the new non-executive director of The Platform Project, Swindon, with founder of The Platform Project Sadie Sharp.