My name is Bertie Herrtage, I’m a coach here at Crowdfunder UK and I’m on an adventure. Since August I have been travelling across the UK, from Cornwall to Scotland, meeting with and interviewing 10 of my favourite projects. These 10 wonderful stories will form the basis of a publication which I myself am putting together, with the aim of shining a light on all of the good things that are happening and the incredible people behind them.
Video by Frederick J P Shelbourne
Tap social is a craft brewery based in West Oxford with a very interesting social mission. The brewery was founded by three directors; Paul, Amy and Tess, who each have at some stage been involved in the criminal justice system. The brewery’s social enterprise status allows them to employ people both still serving prison sentences and with previous convictions.
This is a hugely interesting project, imagine the number of people who go through our prison system and don’t have the opportunity to engage or develop their business/social skills. It may seem obvious but a term inside will restrict your interactions to those that work in the prison and those who are in there with you. Therefore, if you’re spending even one year in prison, then naturally you neglect a lot of very basic and normal skills that we use everyday in the outside world. Rejoining society after serving your term is intimidating and the stigma of having been a prisoner is hard to shake, especially from your own mind.
Speaking to the team at Tap Social, I learnt that having been a prisoner or being a prisoner affects your ability and confidence in how you interact with the world around you. Interestingly, one employee I spoke to who was serving the last 6 months of his sentence, said how refreshing it had been to speak to members of the public and to see for yourself that without knowing your history, they just see the person rather than the prisoner. This is why those who get the opportunity to work with Tap Social benefit because it allows them to gently integrate with the public, not as a prisoner but as an employee. If you spend 5 years inside, the prejudices that you imagine and that you yourself begin to harbour about those outside can get in your way. If you can ease this transition period from prison to public life, then you have a much better and positive start to your new life once you’re out. To those at Tap Social, they recognise the huge value in preparing the prison population in our country for a positive contribution to society upon their release.
Tap Social did an excellent crowdfunding campaign and they are certainly in what we call ‘the crowdfunding sweet spot’. This is because they have an inspirational social ethos and a fantastic product (the beer) to offer as a reward. The crowdfunding campaign was an effective way to raise the capital they needed to renovate the space but the natural consequence of crowdfunding was that they were able to do a quick and very effective marketing campaign as well. The 4 weeks that they were crowdfunding enabled them to engage with all of their established patrons while reaching out to new territory. They used the offer of discounted beer and the urgency of the campaign as a worthwhile opportunity for all of those yet to visit to get involved. By selling experiences and beer through rewards they were able to reach lots of new people and get them through the doors as customers. Particularly in the case of a project with a local focus, the crowd of 305 people who pledged their support will be sure to form a new passionate range of customers who are advocates for the brewery, their ethos and their beer.
Feeling inspired? Start crowdfunding to make your idea a reality.