Epic Steps CIC
Founded by Alison Edmonds.
Previous staff member in Alliance Manchester Business School – Staff led Social Enterprise.
Funding received so far:
£1,000 Try it Award
£5,000 Do it Awards
£9,500 Awards for All
About Epic Steps
Epic Steps CIC takes young people on a journey from 8-18 years towards responsible decision-making.
By joining the dots between leadership, career management and social responsibility, we aim to develop confident and courageous change-agents who pioneer responsible decisions in all that they do for themselves, our communities and our planet.
They are driven by value, innovation, collaboration and community. In all that they do, they aim to collaborate with organisations and individuals within the community to increase the value for all stakeholders. They do this through a journey of inspirational events and activities that bring communities together:
Epic Steps Holiday Clubs
Epic Steps Conferences for Children
Epic Steps Co-Creators
Epic Steps Careers+
Too many young people leave school with no clear idea about how to tackle their future careers and, at the same time, have an untapped natural passion to do good in the world. Inspiration for this project comes from children who are our greatest asset and yet our least empowered.
Alison Edmonds, Founder and Lead Director, began to develop a new way forward: the combination of leadership, careers and social responsibility to help generate a workforce of confident, courageous change-agents who demand an inclusive and sustainable economy.
Alison is a career management expert with wide international experience and leadership development experience. Also inspired by the urgent need for climate action, high numbers of sustainability champions and the transformative power of education, Alison firmly believed there was a way to join the dots between leadership, careers and social responsibility to create a story around responsible decision-making. It seemed clear that these stories could start with younger minds – at primary level. Yet, responsibility for funding any activity couldn’t and shouldn’t lie with the school and so the concept of “giving back” expertise and models where “schools don’t pay” were core principles.
Alison wanted evidence to back up these beliefs. She consulted widely with head teachers across the North West and also with the Manchester Institute of Education. All agreed that leadership, careers and social responsibility themes are key components of the PSHE curriculum which remains ill-defined. Heads agreed that the key selling point for Epic Steps was how we bring these themes together and create a learning journey for children that has real value and relevance. Heads particularly like the opportunity for children from different schools to work together in inspiring venues. Schools have few resources to develop PSHE and so collaboration with a social enterprise provides the solution.
Every school invited to take part agreed to participate. Alison consulted with creativity experts from Alliance Manchester Business School and in the private sector who continue to drive the importance of creative capacity in our workforce. She consulted widely with many representatives from business who highlighted the need for children to understand organisations from an earlier age and understand employability so that skills gaps and aspiration gaps could be addressed. Alison gained further support and encouragement from the RSA Network of Fellows because Epic Steps themes align with RSA aims.
The project was kick-started by the UMiP and UnLtd “Try it Award” in January 2015. This allowed Alison to research and pilot an Epic Steps Conference for Children. Following a successful pilot, Alison went on to found Epic Steps CIC, which was further supported by the UMiP and UnLtd “Do it Award”, which enabled six full Y5 Epic Steps Conferences for Children in 2016.
Epic Steps CIC was formally established in June 2015 with the mission to develop awareness and values around leadership, careers and social responsibility. Their network of volunteers and partners are far-reaching with a shared purpose to drive positive aspirations, creative capacity, employability, wellbeing, good citizenship and confidence in young people.
Alison’s Journey to Social Entrepreneurship
Alison had been pondering over leadership, careers and social responsibility for years and couldn’t quite work out how she could channel these into school life. It wasn’t until speaking at an Institute of Directors Conference that she suddenly realised how incredible it would be if children could benefit from the same kind of inspiration. Although her idea and business concept were not linked to the university or business school, her role certainly provided the perfect setting to develop her own knowledge.
Alison decided to set up a social enterprise as she believes that all enterprises should be social; it’s all about the children and the value;
“Whilst I would love to run this enterprise without having to think about finances, money is still an essential part of anyone’s life and we need to make enough. We don’t need to make huge amounts; we simply need what is required to do great work”
Alison was involved in one of the first Innovation Optimiser Roadmap Courses delivered by UMIP at the University of Manchester, through this programme she accessed the Just Social course to develop her social enterprise stating that understanding funding applications, deciphering social value, figuring out accounts and creating a winning pitch was of most value to her.
Following the Just Social course, Alison worked with Profit for Purpose a social enterprise consultancy that supported her success in receiving an Awards for All grant to develop her business planning further. Profit for Purpose supported Alison to develop her business further, developing new products for the secondary school markets and producing a business plan, an income generation strategy and a social value measurement system.
Achieving Social Value
Epic Steps’ aim is to work with children at an early age (from Y5) to support them to make positive and ethical decisions about their future and the world around them, developing responsible leaders and therefore establishing sustainable and resilient communities for future generations. They do this through interactive Conferences, where children work together with children from other schools and solve challenges for themselves, for communities and identify what they value in the world around them. They have measured the success of their Conferences and found that they have a role in influencing the way in which children think about their future and their role in society, this is then passed on to the wider family and the school environment. They aim to build career-aware, responsible decision-makers who go on to pioneer change for our communities and environment.
In 2016, they achieved six Y5 Epic Steps Conferences for Children, attracting a total of 450 primary children, 40 secondary school student mentors and one partner corporate host.
In 2017, they achieved five Y5 Epic Steps Conferences for Children, attracting a total of 420 primary children, 20 secondary school students, 30 college students and two partner corporate hosts. They also delivered our first Y6 Epic Steps Conferences for Children, attracting 300 primary children, 15 secondary school students and a third corporate host.
In 2017, They also designed a new Epic Steps Co-Creator experience designed to build the momentum of responsible decision-making through a child’s secondary school journey.
EPIC Steps, measures its social value against the following outcomes:
Children make responsible decisions
Understanding organisations, job types and industries
Understanding and identifying skills, values and interests
Having awareness of local, national and international opportunities
Exploring and designing solutions to environmental challenges
Understanding and applying how choices have impact
Understanding basic ethics
Awareness of new sustainability concepts
Opportunity to be responsible
Develop creative thinking
Higher self-esteem, courage and confidence
Develop team working skills
Basic understanding of empathy
Enhanced problem-solving skills