Arriving in central Manchester it was impossible not to be struck and shocked by the very obvious homelessness challenge that the city faces. I found myself repeatedly commenting on the scale of the issue but not reflecting on what one might, as an individual, be able to contribute to its mitigation. In truth, I was content to point out the problem, make a donation to a homelessness charity and return to my comfortable home.
Enter George Bloor who I was fortunate enough to meet at a community dinner. At the age of 23, moving to Manchester to take up a graduate position, George was similarly impacted by the plight of Manchester’s homeless. Instead, however, of becoming inured to the situation or hoping someone else would do something, George decided to take action, establishing “Social Quo” a technology-based social enterprise that matches homeless people wishing to work, with Manchester businesses that have specific tasks available for completion. Completed tasks earn credits that can be exchanged for food and shelter and the process supports the creation of an organic CV and ultimately access to paid employment. The enterprise continues to evolve through a pilot phase and app, and has great potential. Moreover, as a scalable model, Social Quo could, over time, provide much needed support to the homeless far beyond Manchester.
Hearing what George has achieved with Social Quo; given the limited support over the last couple of years, is utterly inspiring and ultimately gives one hope that things can be improved through the leadership, drive and belief of one individual.
For me, George’s actions epitomise responsible leadership and should be an inspiration to us all.
- Written by Cohort 2018 Fellow Nick Sacre Hardy.