LONDON based entrepreneurs, Chantal Kerr-Sheppard, and Carina Jandt are working to turn ‘one man’s trash into another man’s treasure’ by repurposing and donating useful items, no longer needed by UK events, to charities, community groups and social enterprises. After successfully becoming part of the Aster Groups social incubator, inc, they hope to expand the reach of their initiative to every corner of the country.
Event Cycle was set up mid-pandemic when both founders were made redundant from jobs in the events industry. With their knowledge of the variety of items leftover at the end of events, Event Cycle collects materials that would otherwise go into waste or recycling streams and places them with charitable and social causes and on occasion back into the event industry as well. Items such as white goods, stationery, wood, carpet, and furniture are being redirected to organisations in need across the UK. The initiative benefits these causes by providing products for free that would have been bought, saving money that can be used for their communities and charitable programmes instead.
“Event Cycle tackles the problem of sustainability in one industry and creates a positive, social impact in another by keeping materials in use and out of landfill. Marrying sustainability with social impact is the perfect partnership and we’re really excited to be working with Aster.”
Applicants from all over the UK applied to be part of the Aster Group inc. programme delivered by the Aster Foundation, a part of the housing association that invests in projects that aims to improve lives by providing opportunities in local communities. Its objective is to develop businesses with a social purpose such as those tackling homelessness, mental health, financial exclusion, unemployment, and the economic recovery from COVID-19.
“We want to make the event industry more sustainable and create a positive impact whilst doing so. The inc. programme will give us access to resources and mentors that will help support and grow the business so that we can achieve this.”
The pair have now started the inc. 10-month business development programme designed to bring his ideas to market and connect with potential partners and investors. The programme draws on the resources and expertise of Aster Group, and its people, with mentoring and additional guidance being provided by established social entrepreneurs. It is the first scheme of its kind to be created by a housing association in the UK and is now in its second year.
Cam Kinsella, Aster Foundation director, said:
“Social innovation, community and collaboration are at the heart of everything we do. That’s why we created our social incubator, and we are so excited that Event Cycle is part of it. By working with our team of experts, we hope that Carina and Chantal will be able to take their dreams to the next level and make a lasting impact in our communities. They’ll also be supporting our work around sustainability and volunteering, providing opportunities for us to support local organisations.”
Through the Aster Foundation volunteer programme, Aster employees volunteer for around 450 days every year. Working with charities, community partners and social businesses such as Event Cycle, the Foundation will be investing at least 4,000 days into local communities by 2030.
For further information about the Aster Foundation, please visit: www.aster.co.uk/foundation.
For more information about Event Cycle, please visit: www.eventcycle.org/.