An organisation working to help young people from less advantaged backgrounds realise their ambitions has won the highest official award for a UK business.
Babbasa’s work to transform lives and bridge some of Bristol’s divides has seen it recognised with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
Founded in 2013, the St Paul’s-based non-profit social enterprise supports young people, predominantly from ethnic minority backgrounds and low-income households, encouraging and supporting them to discover their strengths and talents, and then seek meaningful employment.
It offers free one-to-one support, professional mentoring, skills training, career guidance and work opportunities, while also challenging the status quo in the city and encouraging businesses to step up.
Founder and CEO Poku Osei said, “We launched Babbasa in 2013 with a simple vision to help young people who are being disadvantaged to realise their career ambitions.
“It’s an immense honour to be recognised on a national level. It’s a real testament to the commitment of our young people, mentors and employers, as well as the dedication of my team, who have supported over 2,200 young people since our inception.”
Babbasa won the Queen’s Promoting Opportunity award for its “outstanding achievement” in improving equal opportunity in inner-city Bristol.
Read more: Empowering Bristol’s future leaders
The organisation has launched an appeal to help its team provide support to young people affected by the challenges arising from the pandemic.
Poku added: “Before the pandemic, young people from ethnic minority backgrounds were known to be 47 per cent more likely to be on zero-hour contracts. Since the lockdown, we did some research in our local community to find out the impact that coronavirus was having, and we discovered that many young people in our community have sadly lost their jobs.
“We also discovered that over 74 per cent of those enrolled with us are experiencing high levels of stress, anxiety and a loss of purpose. The COVID-19 pandemic has also hit the voluntary sector hard, especially not-for-profit enterprises like Babbasa who do not receive any core funding.
“We have therefore launched the #BeyondCovid appeal to help retain our frontline caseworkers who are needed more than ever to continue their work in the community.
“Our team staff members have been working on the phone and over video chat to make sure that local young people are not left behind and to prevent the inequality gaps from getting any worse.
“It is vital for us to ensure that we have an open line of communication to assist these young people and their families, who rely on us for hope in these troubled times.”
Find out more and support Babbasa’s appeal via www.localgiving.org/appeal/beyondcovid.
Main photo: Bhagesh Sachania Photography