Junction Point, a Newcastle-based purpose-led consultancy company, is planning an exciting year of expansion and development, which will revolutionise the North East charity and community sector. 

Leading its diversification, is the launch of a game-changing new conference, which focuses on North East residents who have a passion for making a difference in the world.

The conference aims to link people to opportunities to work or volunteer with local charities and inspire budding entrepreneurs to set up a social enterprise of their own.

The inaugural ‘Changemakers Conference’ is free to attend and will take place on Wednesday 16 February at Crowne Plaza in Newcastle, featuring talks from purpose-led businesses from across Newcastle including Spice FM and Recyke y’Bike. 

Junction Point Director, Kate Duffy, said: 

“The Changemakers Conference is for people who want to make a difference. Perhaps you have life experience or skills that you could use to help others or the environment. If you have the drive to do good, this is the perfect place to meet like-minded people and access support to identify how best to utilise your skills, experience and passion.

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“My hope for the event is for people to feel inspired but also equipped to go on and do something with their passion. We can of course support them on this journey.”

The event’s keynote speaker is Emma Quinn, the COO of Inspirational Leadership Trust, a social enterprise that empowers women and girls through personal and career development. Through her work with the charity, Quinn provides support for women around the world to help them achieve their ambitions and financial independence. 

Her keynote speech will address mental wellbeing and her aim to improve quality of care, drawing on her own experience of a physical and mental health breakdown which caused her to leave her career as an intensive care nurse. Quinn will also talk about her journey as a business founder and the work of Inspiring Leadership Trust. 

The conference will close with an insightful panel discussion from prominent figures in the North East community sector. Curious Arts, Afrikawad, Wild Northumberland and serial volunteer Ashleigh King will come together to share their personal journeys to making a difference with their work. 

The Changemakers Conference comes at an exciting time for Junction Point. In January the CIC completed its successful ‘Keep Going Keep Growing campaign which provided over 500 hours of support for 30 not for profit organisations in an effort to help them find new footing after the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

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According to Duffy, the pandemic has seen a “huge increase” in the number of people looking to make a positive contribution to society through their work. 

This is such an amazing time to be involved in the not for profit sector as we’re seeing such a diverse range of people and skills joining us to make the world a better place,” Duffy said. 

We believe that with the right support, individuals and businesses truly can change the world. This is why now, more than ever Junction Point needs to expand its accessibility to ensure all those people with the passion to make a change can access all the tools they need to succeed.”

As one project came to a close another began. Junction Point entered into a new partnership with Children & Families Newcastle to deliver a new project funded by North of Tyne Combined Authority.

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The ‘Community Social Enterprise’ project will support 24 organisations and 80 individuals across Newcastle to build sustainable impact and income strategies throughout 2022. The initiative aims to build capacity within the community sector that serves children and families across Newcastle.

2022 will also see Junction Point expand its work outside of Newcastle with the aim to provide free support to people and organisations in the wider region. The company’s expansion will begin with a new project, ‘Taking Action’ which will launch in Gateshead in March.

“We believe social enterprises are leading the way for business in many areas. The start-up wave continues to surge, with 42% of social enterprises being under 5 years old. 

“This movement is being driven by women and BAME-led start-ups, demonstrating the vibrancy and diversity of the sector,” Junction Point’s Enterprise Development Director Lizzy Hodcroft said: “Social enterprises create vital opportunities in uncertain times, employing those who are disadvantaged and reinvesting over 75% of their profits into delivering their mission. 

“Ultimately, 2022 is all about reinvesting in the region so that we can continue to share our benefits and support with local communities and beyond. We will continue to address social challenges and tackle the issues around us.”