Profile: Kay Horne, Business Connector

Kay Horne, seconded from Sainsbury’s, was placed in Tottenham in the weeks after the riots of August 2011.

Tottenham is one of the most diverse communities in Europe.  200 languages are spoken on Tottenham High Road.  It also has one of the highest unemployment rates in London.  Benefit claimants are significantly above the National average (some wards have more than 70% social housing).  Tottenham sits in Haringey, the 4th most deprived borough in London and the 13th most deprived in the country. It has historically suffered from a poor reputation in the wake of the Broadwater Farm Riot 1985 and the child protection scandals of the Victoria Climbié Inquiry and the Baby P investigation.

Kay immediately identified a need to support local businesses affected by the civil unrest to access the High Street Fund and spent much of her first weeks on the ground engaging with business owners – resulting in 60 businesses accessing the fund that would otherwise not have known about it. More recently, Kay has been providing support and connections to help traders with difficulties surrounding their insurance and Riot Damages Act claims. This activity gave Kay access to an invaluable network of businesses who she has since worked with to develop projects in Tottenham that address one of the root cause of social unrest - low attainment and aspiration amongst young people. To date she has secured over £21,000 sponsorship from business to support a Tottenham Boxing Academy which supports young people at risk of exclusion from mainstream education, and formed a coalition of local community groups creating long term benefit to the community by supporting both young people and business in Tottenham.

Key Achievements

  • Helped 60 businesses to sign up to the High Street Fund
  • Secured £21k sponsorship for the boxing academy including:
    £10,000 of IT equipment from Fujitsu
    £2,000 office equipment from Marsh
  • Secured mentoring support from Sainsbury’s to help the boxing academy produce a business plan and probono legal support from Pincent Masons.
  • Staples supporting the Dandelion project with free flyer distribution
  • Hosted careers events
  • Supported Enterprise Summer Schools,
  • Hosted community meetings
  • Procured equipment and skills support for key local Tottenham charities.

“Events last year showed how people pull together in times of crisis. Our Business Connectors aim to keep that sense of community alive.  The results so far are impressive, linking what businesses can offer with what communities need.  Kay Horne, previously one of our store managers, epitomises this.  She’s personally helped distribute over £600k from the High Street Fund to small businesses in Tottenham affected by the riots.” Gwyn Burr, Sainsbury’s Customer Service and Colleague Director

"The biggest success so far in my role as a Business Connector has been being able to connect people in the community, to break down barriers and be the go-to person that people call on who can help, or knows someone who can help. Now that I have gained the communities trust, I want to ensure I don't let them down. The remaining time in my role will be spent helping ensure Tottenham’s communities is involved in the planned regeneration and equipped to be sustainable and successful for the future.

“I have been totally inspired by the Tottenham Community and their resilience after adversity. It is a place that has a number of problems, but a sense of community spirit that is amazing. The riots of last summer in some way enabled the community to come together and support each other and I have been able to continue this work by connecting people. I often say I was born to do this job, it has given me wings and allowed me to fly and I love it. I also often quote "I Love Tottenham" a slogan that has adorned every lamppost on the High Road since last summer. I have been made to feel so welcome in a place that has been so mistrustful and unloved for so long. The future of Tottenham is by no means fixed but I believe it is bright.” Kay Horne

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