Churchill Trust to Fund Acton Street Market Initiative

John Blackmore given support to train young entrepreneurs

John Blackmore
John Blackmore


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The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT) has awarded a charity director from Acton funds to launch an entrepreneurial training programme for unemployed young people to help them set up their own street market businesses. They will use the training they receive to operate stalls at the Acton Street Market.

It is part of a programme of over £300,000 in grants for pandemic recovery projects awarded to Churchill Fellows in local areas across the UK

John Blackmore is one of 32 individuals being given support for projects aiding the UK’s long-term recovery from the pandemic. These Covid-related projects range across school closures, domestic abuse, mental health, employment for young people, racial equality and many other fields. Churchill Fellows are UK citizens from all walks of life who are funded each year to find and apply the world’s best solutions for the UK’s most pressing problems. There are 3,800 Churchill Fellows across the UK. The average grant is £9,430 per Fellow.

Mr Blackmore is the CEO of Action West London , a charity and social enterprise that helps change peoples' lives through employment, education and enterprise. He will use his grant to launch an online and face-to-face street market business start-up training and support course for unemployed young people and adults, primarily from BAME communities. The course will be led by a business advisor and trainer, and will link participants with volunteer business mentors and market traders to help develop their entrepreneurial skills. Participants will translate their training into practice by running stalls at the well-established Acton Street market , run by Action West London, testing out business ideas, before having the opportunity to progress to other markets or set up their own business.

Official statistics show that young people have been disproportionately affected by the rise in unemployment as a result of the pandemic. Additionally. a recent Resolution Foundation report on the state of the labour market found that 19% of those who had lost their jobs following a period of furlough were aged 18-24, the highest rate of any age group; and more than one in four who were either not working, furloughed or on reduced pay were from London.

In this way, the project will also help with local high street and community regeneration. Mr Blackmore hopes the project will support a minimum of 20 young people and adults, and that it might be replicated across other London boroughs and the rest of the UK. His previous Churchill Fellowship to Australia and the USA in 2002 explored international approaches to crime and community safety which he subsequently implemented in his work back in London.

Julia Weston, WCMT Chief Executive, said: “We are proud to invest £302,000 in projects led by Churchill Fellows that are reducing the impact of Covid-19 across UK society. From helping community businesses, to protecting survivors of domestic abuse, to increasing support for mental health during the lockdown, Fellows’ contribution to the national effort against the pandemic is truly inspiring.”

This is the second round of grants from WCMT’s Covid-19 Action Fund, which was launched in April 2020. Round One in June awarded almost £155,000 to 21 urgent projects responding to the crisis phase of the pandemic, Round Two is supporting longer-term projects. Together the two rounds have provided a total of £456,704 in funding to 53 Churchill Fellows. A third round of grants is planned for next year. These grants are only available to Churchill Fellows, but Churchill Fellowships are available to all UK citizens.

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December 3, 2020


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