Organisation:The Open Doors InitiativeCharity Reg no. :N/A1. Tell us about the issue(s) this social enterprise is tackling and why it's important
2. How does the social enterprise go about tackling these issues?
- Why was the social enterprise set up? What is it trying to change or do? Why is it important to do this? The Open Doors Initiative was created to help marginalised people on pathways to education and employment. We are a collective of over 100 organisations who work with Government departments to create pathways to employment for marginalised people. Last year we helped nearly 14,500 people, a 600% increase despite Covid. The people we work with include refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, people with disabilities and disadvantaged youth (including those from a Traveller background, LGBTQI+, ex-offenders, intersectionality, etc). Many are cut out of work, even during the recent times of nearly full employment: • Only 36.5% of people with disabilities were in employment pre Covid • 1 in 8 of the population are from a migrant background – yet many have difficulties finding suitable work du
3. Tell us about a case where the social enterprise has made a positive difference.
- Explain your social enterprise 's approach to solving the issues you identified in your previous answer. If it has had to alter its activities in response to COVID-19, how did it do this?• We engage with companies to create positions, paid internships and scholarships which greatly support people in their search for employment. This also benefits the organisation through a more diverse workforce, lateral and creative thinking and by supporting existing employees who are proud to work in such an inclusive environment. • We have a jobs board which people can use to apply for positions with inclusive employers, through which many participants have been successful • We are currently creating a remote working hub in Cork, in collaboration with the Crann centre and the local business community, targeting people with disabilities and others in need of this type of working environment. We believe this novel approach will become a benchmark for other remote working hubs
4. What has the overall impact of this work been and how do you measure it?
- This is your chance to talk about impact in qualitative terms. Provide a case study to illustrate the impact of the social enterprise’s work. We will accept anonymous case studies if you need to protect the identity of a service user or individuals under 18 years of age. You can include a quote or endorsement if you wish.A constant source of inspiration for Open Doors has been a mentee we met through the initial work of Open Doors; Madeeha Kanwel. She is a refugee who has made Ireland her home and has contributed so much personally as well as inspiring those around her. The relationship originally came about through a mentor partnership. She came through Direct Provision, received leave to remain and took part in a hospitality and tourism training programme we ran, which led to her being employed as a barista. She loves her work and has been promoted twice to supervisor and is highly valued by her employers. She saved up and moved into a home with her husband in Dublin. She has been battling reoccurring cancer for the last few years with courage and laughter. It was particularly bad during Covid but she is in recovery. We can only aspire to have her courage, warmth and resilience.
5. What is your social enterprise’s approach to earning income?
- How would you describe the overall impact of your organisation’s work? What measures do you use to know if you have been successful at achieving your goals? How do you know what to improve or change in your work? Please include as much evidence as possible to demonstrate your impact.There has been significant progress reported since the first year of the programme. Companies report on five mandatory metrics: people skilled, people who have secured full time employment, people who have sustained employment, people who have secured a paid placement, and people who have established a business. The numbers of people assisted, despite Covid, have increased by over 600% since last year. 14,429 SKILLED People who successfully completed an intervention led by a participant company that enhanced their employment prospects through the development of new market-relevant, or enhancement of market-relevant skills. 1,157 SECURED FULL TIME EMPLOYMENT People who have secured paid (minimum wage or better) and relevant employment in the participant company bound by a non-zero hours contract of any duration. 834 HAVE SUSTAINED EMPLOYMENT People who have sustained paid (minimum wage or better) and relevant employment in the participant company bound by a non-zero hours contract for at least six months. 62 SECURED A PAID PLACEMENT People who have secured a paid (minimum wage or better) and relevant placement in the participant company for a duration of at least three months
6. How does your organisation grow its customer base?
- How does your social enterprise earn income? What have you done to maximise the contribution that earned income can make towards the cost of your service? How does this approach differentiate your work from other approaches?We have a model that relies on a number of different sources of funding. These include membership fees from the companies, government funding, philanthropic funding and donations and costs from companies for specific projects. All funding goes back into service provision and projects. We are in the process of setting up a Services Directory to benefit our participants so that they have a ‘shop window’ for the services they offer, directly to companies and the general public. We hope to expand this to provide goods at a later stage.
7. How can the public support your work?
- Describe the marketing and sales techniques and strategies you put in place to attract and retain customers to purchase goods or services from your organisation.We are constantly reaching out to inclusive companies and bringing them on as members, through personal contacts, LinkedIn, word of mouth and companies coming directly to us. Our social media presence is strong and we share all the work we do widely to amplify it and our participants prospects. We use a mixture of social, traditional media and contacts to do this.
8. Describe how your organisation is transparent and accountable
- Do you need volunteers? Do you fundraise? Can the public share your story? Give them a call to action.We use volunteers directly from the companies we work with, as mentors and for training. We do not rely on public volunteers just yet although many professionals have contacted us to offer their services pro bono and we integrate them into the work where there is a fit. We engage with employees of companies to ask them to bring their companies on and share our journey and work. Many of our recommendations come through this route. Our ask would be that more companies join us in this work and provide opportunities to our participants to engage in education and employment.
- For example, do you publish your annual accounts online? Are you compliant with the Charities Regulator's Charities Governance Code? Do you use the Charities Regulator’s Fundraising Principles?We published our first-year results and Annual report through an online seminar and the document is available on our website. We have strong governance with a Board of company directors, a Leadership Advisory Board and a Governance and Audit sub-committee, with legal, governance and financial advisors. Due to the nature of our partners, we take governance and reputation very seriously and perform to the highest standards to ensure these are protected. All our work is placed in the public domain and is available for scrutiny by all. We are also very cautious to observe GDPR as we have many contact details and have a robust data collection system in place to ensure this.