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18 December, 2017 - 14:52 By Kate Sweeney

Form the Future CIC in bid for Kate Gross Award For Social Enterprise

Form the Future CIC in Cambridge has enjoyed some spectacular successes throughout 2017 and co-founder Anne Bailey has entered the organisation for the high profile Kate Gross Award for Social Enterprise.

The memorial award is for the individual or organisation that has done most to further the cause of social enterprise in the last year.

It was named in honour of Kate Gross who dedicated her young life to helping children in poverty, subject to abuse and deprivation, before her tragic death from cancer on Christmas Day 2014.

Form the Future CIC is a social enterprise linking schools and businesses to prepare young people for future careers; it is based at the Future Business Centre in Kings Hedges Road.

Bailey says: “Form the Future has had an amazing year. We’ve doubled our turnover and our staff, expanded into neighbouring counties and grown Cambridge LaunchPad from one company to more than 20.

“We’ve diversified our income streams, winning prestigious grants, securing support from the business community and even selling our services to education authorities in China.

“All of this is in pursuit of our mission: to connect young people to a world of possibilities, inspire them to dream big and empower them to fulfil their potential. In 2017 we connected 18,784 young people to employers, taking them a step closer towards their future career.”

Form the Future CIC’s aims on behalf of young people in the UK chime with Kate Gross’ selfless fight for justice and opportunity for young people, although the environment in which she was operating was one of hostility and privation rather than hope and potential.

The backdrop to Kate’s work was harrowing: Rescuing children at the mercy of the streets or in disease-ravaged villages of Africa united by one inescapable truth – that they would never know if they would see tomorrow.

Like straws in the wind, thousands of these young souls are tossed and blown by deprivation and exploitation – prey to diseases like Ebola; even sex traffickers. The same spectre haunts them in the gutter or the bush. The reality of their landscape is that it is grim and unrelenting.

Kate Gross dedicated her young life to bringing enlightenment to Africa. The wife of Cambridge entrepreneur Billy Boyle and mother of their twin boys died from cancer at Christmas aged 36. But her legacy to Africa burns brightly – and her family, along with Billy and the wonderful charity Street Child – have united to carry the torch she passed.

Street Child is committed to working with Kate’s family to build primary schools in some of the most deprived villages of Sierra Leone. Business Weekly’s Awards and the emotions they evoked on the charity’s behalf, brought donations enabling the first school to be built and set us well on the way to another.

Building schools is only part of the battle. Teachers will need to be found and teaching aids resourced. In some of these villages there are no basic utilities – certainly no electricity. They are like slums.

Part of the long-term vision is to get some of Cambridge’s technology pioneers to sacrifice a slice of their bottom line profit and donate goods and services to give Kate’s legacy wings. Form the Future CIC in its own focused way has picked up Kate’s beacon.

For more information about the Business Weekly Awards and how to enter visit http://bit.ly/2ymheRb

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Anne Bailey, Form the Future

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