About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Started: May 2010
Based: Bristol
Website: www.thesevernproject.org
Twitter: @severnproject
Categories: Employment and Jobs, Health, Business

The Severn Project is a social enterprise and community interest company which uses food production as a vehicle to provide employment and support for ex-offenders, people recovering from drug and alcohol misuse and people with mental health issues.

It was set up in May 2010 by Steve Glover, a recovered addict who had worked for a degree in addictions counselling. The idea was to produce and deliver the freshest salads to restaurants, shops and distributors in Bristol while providing employment, training and housing to those in need.

Since its launch The Severn Project has supported more than 300 individuals, providing therapeutic support, housing and education. It has also helped three individuals with severe and long-term substance misuse issues to complete NVQ level 2 in horticulture.

In the last four years the enterprise has regenerated 12 acres of disused or brownfield land on three separate sites. It has created urban farms to promote ecological diversity and remove carbon emissions from the food economy.

The enterprise recently launched The Severn Project Growers Co-operative which people can join once they have completed their training and become employed by the enterprise. The aim is to ensure they become stakeholders and receive a dividend with The Severn Project.

In the future, the business hopes to expand and offer a wide range of engagement opportunities, such as the creation and management of a tree nursery, farmshop, café and landscaping garden maintenance service.