We’ve been working with people to tackle social problems since 2010, when serial social entrepreneurs Gill Coupland and Rob Greenland set up Social Business Brokers CIC.
We’ve worked on a wide range of issues over that time - from social care to affordable housing.
We’re best known for our work on empty homes. In 2013 we began exploring fresh approaches to bringing empty homes back into use in Leeds - and a year later we set up Empty Homes Doctor - to provide tailored support to owners of empty properties to bring them back into use. 8 years - and 900 homes later - our award-winning service continues to make a difference in our city.
In 2018 we began exploring a number of opportunities to take action in response to the climate emergency. We decided to focus on waste reduction and the circular economy - and set up Zero Waste Leeds, to build a grassroots movement to help Leeds to move towards being a zero waste city. Since then we’ve run a number of high profile behaviour change campaigns, and set up a people-powered project for sharing uniform - Leeds School Uniform Exchange.
Generous by design
We take inspiration from a wide range of design approaches that inspire us to work with people to create projects that have big social and environmental impacts.
We are inspired by the ideas behind Doughnut Economics - and the call for us to develop an economy that is regenerative by design. This is why we have such a strong focus on the circular economy in our work.
Yet regenerative can be quite a hard word to get your head around. Which is why we have taken inspiration from Janine M Benyus’ concept of generous design - “taking nature as our model, measure and mentor”.
Through our work, we seek to develop projects that are, in everyday terms, good for the planet. In other words, regenerative, or as generous as the natural world around us.
And we also seek to build upon the inherent generosity that we know exists in local communities, by developing collaborative, people-powered projects that encourage sharing of resources.
That's why our projects are generous by design.
WE BELIEVE IN PEOPLE POWER
The best ideas come from the bottom up. Through our generous design approach, we involve people from the start in coming up with their own solutions to the big problems we face. This movement building approach is central to how we work - and key to developing big ideas that can grow quickly.
WE ARE ENTREPRENEURIAL
To solve complex problems, we take an imaginative, can-do approach to understanding the issue, bringing people together to explore what’s possible - all with a view to coming up with a solution that works. Faced with a climate crisis, we know that there is no time to waste.
WE ARE GENEROUS
We use our design skills to develop creative, collaborative projects that are regenerative - in other words as generous as the natural world. Our projects tap into the generosity that you find in communities - helping us to create high impact “practical circularity” projects. And we know there’s no time to waste, so we’re always generous with what we know - and we share what we know, and what we learn, openly.
WE THINK BIG
Through our generous design approach, we focus on the bigger picture - acknowledging how change needs to happen at a number of levels. Yet we recognise how powerless we often feel, so by being rooted in local communities, we aim to build grassroots movements that can create systemic change.