Boomsatsuma welcomes Thangam Debbonaire MP

The Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Thangam Debbonaire, Labour MP for Bristol West, met boomsatsuma staff and students to find out more about the challenges and opportunities facing the independent training and funding for the regions Creative Industry sector, joined by representatives from Better Society Capital, Bristol & Bath Regional Capital and Access – the Foundation for Social Investment.

The visit to Leadworks, one of boomsatsuma’s six training centres across Bristol, Friday 10th May, gave the MP first hand insight as to how boomsatsuma delivers education differently, bringing opportunities to the often-marginalised communities across the city. The award-winning Bristol-based disruptive educator has seen demand for its courses from students feeding into careers within the regions’ thriving creative industry sector rise year on year.

Thangam Debbonaire MP, engaged in discussions delving into the potential for ethical funding routes for the betterment of communities, culture and education. She states: “It was great to visit boomsatsuma and see how their brilliant facilities and staff are enabling students to take their talent to the next level. I’m proud of Bristol’s vibrant cultural life. As Culture Secretary in a Labour government, I’ll work with institutions like boomsatsuma to secure the creative talent pipeline our city needs so that it can continue to generate joy, jobs and wealth that we all benefit from.”

Boomsatsuma has been supported with around £800k investment from City Funds, the place-based impact investment fund managed by BBRC, which underpinned significant expansion and enabled higher capacity. City Funds is a £10m fund created for investment from Better Society Capital, Bristol City Council and Access: The Foundation for Social Investment.

Founder of boomsatsuma Mark Curtis explained: “It’s great to have this opportunity to have a dialogue with our local MP, who clearly shares our passion for culture, sports and (can see) their importance to the local society and economy. It’s encouraging that there is top level recognition that these sectors are important and require training pathways, beyond Maths and Engineering, to meet the needs of the employers and also fulfil the passions to give the next generations a voice.”

“A significant challenge for providers like boomsatsuma is that although we could meet the demands of expanding student numbers and align new courses with the regions’ skills agenda, we have had no direct access to central Government or the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to support our growth and demand. We have increased our engagement with Business West and West England Combined Authority over the past year and today’s visit will hopefully help consolidate our position in the local creative training landscape.

“While we enjoy very positive relationships with our education partners (at Cabot Learning Federation and Olympus Academy), it’s unfortunate that we are capped by the current system that restricts our ability to grow and scale into new markets and territories. Without systemic change we can only reach a limited number of young people.

“Sometimes to make a difference you have to actually do things differently. We are hoping the next administration will support us in this.”

Stephen Muers, ceo of Better Society Capital said: “Boomsatsuma is a brilliant organisation helping to channel Bristolian talent into creative jobs. Organisations like this which help people access the UK’s thriving creative industries are invaluable and we are so glad to support Mark and the team. We appreciate boomsatsuma’s hospitality, and it was great to be able to show Thangam Debbonaire a wonderful example of the role social investment can play in a really important local business.

“Social investment can help transform lives and we are eager to work with the next government to unlock billions more pounds of private investment into tackling the UK’s social issues and grow the economy.”

Ed Rowberry, Chief Executive, BBRC, said: “BBRC is delighted to have invested in boomsatsuma by deploying blended finance at the local level via City Funds. The blend of finance, sourced from Better Society Capital, Access and Bristol City Council has enabled boomsatsuma to continue to deliver on its important mission to provide pathways for young people particularly those from Bristol’s marginalised communities, into the region’s creative and digital workforce.”

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