Poached Creative Timeline

  • Jessica Smith (director) is awarded an UnLtd Level 1 grant to run a pilot programme for her idea to help long-term unemployed people gain work in the communications industry.
  • Poached Creative is incorporated as a Community Interest Company.
  • Angela Williams is recruited as Poached Creative's first trainee and the first training session with two trainees is held in Wood Green library.
  • Poached Creative is offered a free space to train one day/week with Careers Development Group (CDG). Eight trainees complete the pilot training programme.
  • Poached Creative forms a partnership with Lucy Ferguson of What’s Up Information (later YH! World and Mediorite) and take on former Poached trainee, Chris, as editor. Poached moves into their office in London Fields.

  • Poached Creative and YH World take on their first member of staff, Kayla Whiting, through the Future Jobs Fund.
  • Kayla receives funding for the Hackney Hounds project. With four young girls who were not in employment, education or training (NEET) she successfully delivers a short film, gaining local and national media coverage.
  • YH World introduces Poached Creative to Hackney Council’s Discover Young Hackney festival. We produce the programme and deliver video training as part of the festival.
  • Grant Kingsnorth (now writing and communications mentor) joins Poached as a trainee. Grant Kingsnorth begins writing for local independent newspaper, The Hackney Citizen and takes on paid part-time work with Poached Creative. We take on a junior writer for six months through the Future Jobs Fund.
  • New clients include: Hackney Council, NHS Confederation and Plan UK.
  • In total, 30 trainees gain skills and experience in writing, media and communications.

  • Poached Creative delivers training for Hackney Council's Hackney Hosts ahead of the upcoming Olympics. Poached and YH World begin work with housing association Peabody, creating campaigns with young Londoners as part of its Staying Safe project.
  • We also work with Heart n Soul's media team to co-create a website for people with learning disabilities about the upcoming Paralympics. Lem Leon, a YH World volunteer takes on a freelance role assisting with Poached training projects.
  • We employ YH World's deputy editor, Michelle Stannard, as our writer and content producer.
  • New clients include: Westway, African health charity AMREF, Dorset-based social enterprise SeamlessThe Foundation Group and FARM Africa.
  • Poached and Mediorite move into the office at Celia Fiennes House on Well Street, Hackney, where we still work today.
  • Our in-house writing programme and volunteer cohort continues to grow. We reach a total of 65 long-term unemployed or disadvantaged people through in-house and external training.

  • Former trainee Appiah Sackey takes up full-time work with the NHS Confederation.
  • In partnership with Mediorite, Poached Creative delivers journalism training as part of the BBC Radio 1 Hackney Academy ahead of the Olympics.
  • Poached Creative begins working for Social Enterprise UK, creating the Buy Social campaign.
  • Poached Creative takes on Lara Swansbury as project manager and writer to deliver key ongoing projects including Staying Safe and Discover Young Hackney. We now have a total of four paid staff.
  • We join arc, BITCs support programme for social enterprises, where we meet new clients including Transitions, LKMco and Intercontinental Hotels Group.
  • In total, we train 77 people through our in-house programme and partnerships with Hackney Council, BBC Learning and Peabody.



  • Poached marks its fifth birthday on 15th April with a party for friends, clients, staff, volunteers and trainees at Dalston Eastern Curve Garden.
  • Former trainee Catriona is hired as a copywriter while volunteer Chris Hutchins joins Poached as Website Manager & Policy Officer.
  • Our client list continues to grow. So far, we’ve worked on projects with new clients such as School of Hip Hop, Short Breaks, Hackney Health Hubs, Poole Passion, Iridescent Ideas and Richmond Park Fellowship.
  • We form a partnership with Agile Collective, a web development cooperative, to work on SEUK’s Buy Social web procurement portal.
  • We work closely with CAN to produce our first social impact report, due for publication in May 2014.
  • And it’s not over yet…!

Poached Creative - celebrating five years

It’s Monday. Deputy director Angela is putting the finishing touches on a quote for a client and our designer Khaleeda is advising a young illustrator about a job application. Our writer, Catriona, is interviewing someone from an NHS trust while our writing mentor, Grant, is penning a letter on behalf of someone at his hostel. Press office volunteer Billy is tweeting about our upcoming party. All this sounds like a normal, productive office.

Looking back five years, I’m amazed that we have an office at all. Then, we were squatting in someone else’s building with a couple of computers and a dictionary. I was the only person you could call ‘staff’ and I was unpaid. We had two trainees, one of whom was Angela.

Poached Creative was born out of my desire to put communications jobs within reach for long-term unemployed and disadvantaged people. As Editor at Shelter and the NHS Confederation I had hired many people into our editorial team but none of them had experienced homelessness or serious health conditions. This was what I wanted to change.

In five years we’ve built a solid client base of about 30 clients, more than 75 per cent of whom have come back to work with us again. We’ve settled into a permanent office in Hackney and opened a satellite office in the South West. We employ eight staff.

We’ve created an international campaign for Social Enteprise UK and partnered with The Big Issue and BBC Learning to deliver journalism training. Charity clients include Peabody and Plan UK and we continue to work with a range of smaller charities and social enterprises at discounted rates.

The RBS SE100 ranks us as No 1 marketing and communications social enterprise and among the top 10 in London. This year we’ve also become an accredited London Living Wage employer.

Many of our past trainees and volunteers still work with us and it’s this two-way street, of both learning with and contributing to Poached Creative, that I’m most proud of.

The people we’ve worked with over the last five years have not only benefitted from our work but shaped our future. Take a look at their case studies.

Surviving the first five years

If there's one thing we've learnt about surviving the first five years of social enterprise it's that we wouldn't be here without our friends.

Our partnership with Lucy Ferguson from Mediorite (formerly YH World) has been the difference between success and failure for Poached. Without our shared office space, staff, clients, ideas and plans, Poached Creative would not be here today.
Thanks to:
  • All our dedicated staff, freelancers, trainees and volunteers who've contributed so much to our development.
  • Our brilliant clients, who've supported us and with their business, enthusiasm and feedback.
  • Funders/in-kind supporters: Careers Development Group (CDG), UnLtd, arc/BITC, Future Jobs Fund, Social Enterprise UK, Cranfield Trust, Mediabox, Hackney Council, Hackney Libraries, Lighthouse (Poole).
  • Partners: Mediorite, MCR Print, Agile Collective, Pixel Parlour, Hackney Citizen, The Big Issue, St Giles Trust, Art Against Knives, Off Centre.
We’ve come a long way in five years and we couldn’t have done it without your support.
Special thanks to Dominic Rose and Michael Quinn for their unfailing support and superb catering skills.