Social Streets C.I.C is a not-for-profit news and media organisation with a social mission. Our charitable. objective is to work to increase participation in the local community and local democracy because we believe a strong and thriving local community, bound by thick networks, is essential for the wellbeing of its people.
We do this in a variety of ways.
- Journalism: We publish news and culture magazines in London, UK. We have developed a model of constructive community journalism and we currently publish four online publications in Tower Hamlets as well as an overarching print magazine for the borough.
- Technology: We have designed a platform for local news outlets, based on our learnings, that will help support the growth of other local publications. Our software allows our members to publish content directly to their ‘local newspaper’.
- Media Services: We offer affordable media services, from print, digital, design, social media to events, allowing us to be an effective media partner for local communities.
- Training: We provide journalism training to emerging writers, free for people who live in the borough.
- Consultation: We provide consultation services for those seeking to launch their own local publication.
We love a good story, and here’s ours…
The idea for Social Streets C.I.C was created to give a voice to a neighbourhood 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 arts, heritage, cultural and charitable organisations were generating inspiring and valuable work, yet they were struggling to reach their audiences due to poor communications infrastructure.
Founder Tabitha Stapely worked with local partners to create a community-led publication that drew on both professional and citizen journalism to report on local news and events, and to document the area’s heritage and culture. The publication created content from a community perspective looking at themes, issues and initiatives that mattered to local people, ultimately creating a sense of civic pride that would lead to increased participation and inward investment.
Vision and mission
Social Streets’ Vision is for a resilient and cohesion community, and a thriving local economy that generates opportunity for all. Our charitable objective, baked into our Articles of Association, is to increase participation in the local community.
Our Mission is to create a stronger community by supporting better citizenship and community development:
- To provide ‘constructive’ journalism that is for the benefit of the community, not at its expense
- To increase connections within the local community
- To inspire people to participate in the community and its economy
- To provide training and opportunities in the creative and media industries to young people
- To give empower the local community to have their say
We achieve this by providing the digital infrastructure and content necessary to promote the local economy; facilitate local communication; provide connections between those in power and those in need; increase real-world participation in the local community; generate collaboration and opportunity within the community, and to provide training, apprenticeships and opportunity for young local people within the digital, creative and media industries.
Social Streets is a registered non-profit community interest company 08533645. 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.
As a social enterprise, our aim is to become financially sustainable. However, we are not there yet. Until that time, we rely on donations, grants, sponsorship from corporate social responsibility departments, and cross-subsidisation from our education programme in order to operate. Read more about our ownership and funding here. To support our work please contact founder and director Tabitha Stapely.
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. She is an RSA Fellow.
Social Streets C.I.C is a community interest company, registered with Companies House as company number 08533645. Social Streets’ constitution is based around the charitable objective of increasing participation in the community and high street.
- Social Streets Annual Report year ending 2018
- Social Streets Annual Report year ending 2019
- Social Streets Annual Report year ending 2020