We love a good story, and here’s ours…
The idea for Social Streets was created to help revitalise a high street in one of the most deprived boroughs in the UK, Roman Road in Bow, Tower Hamlets.
Too small to attract investment from local authorities or BIDs, Roman Road was left to languish. This resulted in high vacancy rates, high levels of business churn, low footfall and a lack of engagement from the local community. The local economy – and by extension the community it served – became stagnant and invisible. Yet like all neighbourhoods, Roman Road was rich with history, heritage, local heroes, historic shops, culture, art, community groups, architecture and, most importantly, community spirit.
Local resident Tabitha Stapely decided to create brand and a set of digital publishing platforms to help people fall in love with the high street, the beating heart of the community. Applying best practice editorial skills, Stapely created high-quality content to create a sense of identity and place, to celebrate the unique heritage, to promote local shops and businesses, to showcase local heroes and community groups – ultimately creating a sense of civic price that would lead to increased participation and resilience in the high street.
In 2014 Roman Road was digitally invisible. Now Roman Road LDN ranks first page on Google for a multitude of key search terms, has thousands of social media follower and attracts media attention from around the UK. In 2016, just two years after Roman Road LDN was set up, 12,000 people visited Roman Road Festival.
From digitally invisible to 12,000 visitors in just two years.
Social Streets is a non-profit community interest company. This means our Articles of Association include a clear social mission and we have an asset lock that ensures profits are retained for the benefit of the community and not used for private gain.
Our vision is of an economy that works for people and the planet, and to help achieve this our mission is to provide high quality digital content, social media services and digital training; to encourage real world participation in the high street and local community; to increase employability skills, and to promote a sense of civic pride and citizenship.
Founder Tabitha Stapely comes from the world of digital publishing where she worked as a content strategist and digital director for Hearst Magazines on titles including Elle, Red, Esquire, Handbag and Harpers, and previously The Telegraph Saturday Magazine.
Stapely left her career in glossy magazines to help make a difference in the world of social enterprises. She takes skills developed from global media brands and uses them to promote people and projects that benefit the community.
Stapely is an Alumna of Cambridge Social Ventures, where her venture Social Streets was incubated with the support of business mentors, legal and financial advisors from Cambridge Judge Business School.
Nicolas has held corporate customer and business relationship management positions within large multinationals in different sectors. A telecommunications engineer by education, he is originally from Madrid, Spain.
Born in East London, Will is a local resident in Tower Hamlets. He is currently completing an MBA at the University of Cambridge and his background is in Management Consulting.
Belinda is a social entrepreneur with extensive experience in establishing, supporting and growing organisations that bridge the public, private and third sectors. She continues to contribute to academic research and writing at the University of Cambridge, including the new Master of Studies in Social Innovation.