At the start of the year the impact of the pandemic on the education of children in Skegness was featured by Sky News*. Enterprise Development Manager, Sarah Moseley, chatted with Ruth Campbell, who graduated from Bishop Grosseteste University in 2020, as she embarks on a new venture to support young people in the area.

The project, Café YOU (You Opportunity Union), aims to support young people who might have missed other opportunities to grow their skills as Ruth explains:

“I have a background of working with young people and have always been passionate about youth work and concerned about those who fall through the gaps and miss opportunities to grow and develop. Whilst I was at BGU I started working on an idea for a youth project which I called Youth Opportunity Union (YOU). The vision is to support NEET young people aged 16-19 to get back on track, through short courses and work experience.”

After highlighting a suitable premises, the BA (Hons) Professional Studies in Childhood and Youth graduate completed a business proposal and, following a successful pitch to the board of the Charity at The Storehouse, North Parade in Skegness, Ruth took over management of a coffee shop at the end of 2020.

Lockdowns and restrictions have inevitably slowed progress, but the base will enable the delivery of vocational education and work experience along with the provision of courses, qualifications and a small group environment for learning. Ruth has registered with the awarding body ASDAN, so young people who access the project are able to work towards qualifications whilst gaining work experience.

Ruth’s vision, COVID-19 and restrictions permitting, is for the project to grow, for Café YOU to be fully run by young people, and to be able to welcome customers back in:

“I want the community to use this space to their advantage. We can arrange a safe space for 1:1 work for professionals; tables can be booked, and we have allocated space for groups to meet. There is even a soft play area for little ones to enjoy. Currently we could be operating as a Takeaway but the Storehouse has recently become a Covid-19 vaccination Centre.”

When asked what advice she has for students and graduates wanting to start their own enterprise, Ruth had this to say:

“Start small! I am so passionate about what I want to do that I can get carried away and take on too much. I have learned to work realistically within my own capabilities even if it’s frustrating at times! To accept help and advice. There is usually more than one way to achieve what you need to, and it is always worth listening to people who might know more than you do. Stay true to your vision. The clearer you are about your ultimate vision, the end goal, the easier it is to stick with, and for it to make sense to other people. Believe in it yourself and your confidence will attract others to your idea. It can be hard not to get swept along with other people’s ideas for your business/project, but when your vision is clear it makes it easier not to get side-tracked “.


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*View the full Sky Feature here

If you are a BGU student or alumni running their own enterprise, or have an idea that needs shape, our Enterprise Team within BG Futures would love to hear from you. Contact Tel 01522 563817