In the early 1980s a group of concerned individuals in north London wanted to make a contribution to addressing the problem of youth unemployment. Many initiatives at this time drew on public or charitable funding. What was unusual about this particular project was that the founders sought to create an entity which was not reliant on taxpayers or charity donors. The idea was to create a business, owned, not by individuals but by a charity which set the aims of offering substantial periods of paid work, experience and vocational training to people who were at a disadvantage in the labour market. Southern Task Educational Trust was formed to offer expertise and guidance rather than capital. A commercial bank loan provided the start-up money, underwritten with a loan guarantee from the Wellcome Foundation and in 1983 Camden Garden Centre Ltd was formed, wholly owned by Southern Task Educational Trust. . Long-term unemployed youngsters were employed at the outset and today opportunities are offered to older people, women returning to work, ex-offenders, people living with mental health problems, homeless people and those recovering from drug or alcohol addiction as well as unemployed young people. The Southern Task Educational Trust was renamed for simplicity to Camden Garden Centre Charitable Trust in 2012.
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