Andrew Mawson

This article is from 2008.

Andrew Mawson

Social entrepreneur takes matters in hand

When Andrew Mawson walked into Bromley-by-Bow Centre in 1984, the voluntary organisation was neglected, under-used and falling apart, much like the East London community surrounding it. Yet both were filled with enormous potential and today, the centre is a template for regeneration groups across the country. In the wrong hands, Mawson’s success story could play like a cheesy Hollywood movie. Instead, he turned it into an inspirational book about the merits of taking matters into your own hands, rather than relying on public services.

The Social Entrepreneur: Making Communities Work shows how thinking like a business but acting with a social conscience can produce remarkable results. And, just like Mawson himself, the book is wonderfully free of political jargon and rhetoric. ‘I’ve spent 25 years working on a housing estate in East London so I wanted the book to be very accessible to ordinary people,’ he says. ‘It’s not an academic document, it’s full of stories that people can relate to.’

Making his Book Festival debut, Mawson will discuss how social entrepreneurship could help parts of Scotland escape the poverty cycle, as well as imparting some of the finer moments from Bromley-by-Bow’s recent past. ‘I’ll just tell a few of our stories and try and bring it to life for people,’ he says. ‘And explain how we went from a small church with £400 in the bank to the point where we’re now putting a billion pound project together.’

13 Aug, 12.30pm, £9 (£7).

Andrew Mawson

The social entrepreneur takes matters in hand with his new book 'The Social Entrepreneur: Making Communities Work' and urges others to do the same. 'Part of the Edinburgh International Book Festival'.

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