Charities & Social Enterprises

Nigel’s experience in the charity and social enterprise sector encompasses being an active Trustee of a charity (Vauxhall City Farm) and working on training or consultancy projects for social enterprises offering business support to new designers and designer/makers in the creative industries and to manufacturing companies. Nigel has also held senior positions at EEF, a large, long established, not-for-profit organisation representing the manufacturing sector. 

This experience includes working on government-funded projects –for example: the London Manufacturing Advisory Service; Business Link’s Engineering Link; and Commercialising Creative Content (for Cockpit Arts).

The ongoing work (on a voluntary basis) as a Trustee of Vauxhall City Farm has included spells as Company Secretary and Treasurer.

If you think your charity or social enterprise would benefit from this experience please call or email me (via the contact page)to have a chat about it.


Vauxhall City Farm (Registered Charity no. 281512, Company no. 1524041)

Winner of the Lambeth Business of the Year 2011 Award.

Vauxhall City Farm is a little piece of the countryside right in the heart of London. The Farm provides recreational, educational and therapeutic services to the local community.

It’s all about the children and young people that take part in our projects, as well as the animals that create a fabulous focal point and visitor attraction.

Youngsters can join in the Youth Project as young volunteers and learn how to look after the cows, pigs, sheep, goats, alpacas, ducks, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, guinea pigs and horses – many of them award winners at various agricultural shows. Schools are frequent visitors as part of the Education Project and our Riding Project runs subsidised riding lessons and ‘Riding for the Disabled’ programmes.

Nigel Rust has been a trustee of the Farm since 2004 and has held the posts of Company Secretary and Vice Chairman as well as currently being Treasurer. He also sits on the Fundraising sub-committee.

In 2011 we won the Lambeth Business of the Year Award – against very strong competition from both large and small businesses in the London Borough of Lambeth – illustrating how well thought of we are in the community.

Nigel says: “The Farm does great work in the community and has a very strong Board of Trustees working hard to support the charity’s staff and guide the organisation’s strategic direction. We are pretty ‘hands-on’ and are always learning from each others’ particular expertise.”

The Chair of the Trustees, Faith Boardman, says: “Vauxhall City Farm and Trustees have benefited greatly from Nigel’s highly professional skills and approach. His input has contributed significantly to the Farm’s continuing financial growth and to our delivery of a wide range of services and facilities that are highly valued by the communities and individuals that we support.”

The charity is funded by generous grants and donations from Trusts and Corporate bodies as well as donations from the general public. To find out more about the Farm and how you might be able to help please visit

Cockpit Arts

Cockpit Arts LogoERDF Logo
Business Support Project with Cockpit Arts – ‘Commercialising Creative Content’

Cockpit Arts, the award winning Social Enterprise and creative-business incubator for designer-makers, launched a project in 2011 aimed at helping small creative businesses to take the next steps in their business development, expansion and manufacturing strategies.

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the project matched specialist advisers with designer-makers to provide support over a number of face-to-face sessions and group workshops.

Thornback & Peel studio, Cockpit Arts, Holborn. Photo: Vanessa Swann, image courtesy of Cockpit Art

Thornback & Peel studio, Cockpit Arts, Holborn. Photo: Vanessa Swann, image courtesy of Cockpit Art

Nigel Rust, one of three specialist advisers working on the project, ran two group workshops on ‘finding, selecting and getting the most from manufacturers’ as well as taking on a number of clients on a one-to-one basis. Ten designer-makers, all with studios at Cockpit Arts in either Holborn or Deptford, were selected to work with him, including: interior product designers, ceramicists, jewellers, a fashion designer, high-end wallpaper designers and giftware makers.

The clients each had their own specific needs that were identified at the start – some wanted to reduce the cost of outsourced manufacturing, some wanted to increase productivity in their studio, some were looking to rationalise or expand their product range, some simply wanted to improve their management skills and systems, some needed help with research into alternative manufacturers and some wanted a combination of these areas.

Over the course of about five months Nigel worked closely with each client helping them to make immediate practical improvements and developing on-going action plans. All the designers involved were able to make big strides forward in their business development.

Nigel observed: “All the clients were enormously enthusiastic and able to move forward at a surprising pace.”

After one session one of the clients emailed: “Thanks for an inspiring meeting this morning, we are all very excited at the prospect of becoming more efficient.”

Another estimated that the project had already: “Improved productivity by a third.”

And from the group sessions: “Nigel’s session gave me the confidence to go into manufacture.”

“Nigel’s talk provided a lot of useful tips on how to go about manufacturing. I was very impressed with the relevant background research that went into this session. It was very useful.”
Designs from Lizzie Allen's range of wallpapers and soft furnishings. Photographer Jamie Trounce, image courtesy of Cockpit Arts

Designs from Lizzie Allen's range of wallpapers and soft furnishings. Photographer Jamie Trounce, image courtesy of Cockpit Arts

Ellen O’Hara, Head of Business Development at Cockpit Arts, added: “We were delighted that Nigel was able to provide his expertise as part of the ‘Commercialising Creative Content’ project. His professionalism and in-depth knowledge of the manufacturing sector made him a pleasure to work with. The businesses that he mentored have all commented on the significant impact that he has had on their productivity. We look forward to working with him again in the future and would highly recommend him to other creative businesses.”

For further information on Cockpit Arts please visit:

Fashion Enter / Fashion Capital

Fashion Enter is a not-for-profit organisation that provides support to the fashion industry in a number of ways including membership of Fashion Capital for new and up-and-coming designers.

The Fashion Capital portal provides information and inspiration to fashion designers throughout the UK.

Nigel has been a long time supporter of Fashion Enter and has worked with the organisation on a number of projects over the years – for example, the Manufacturers Online Showroom, a web-based directory of UK fashion manufacturers which can be found on, under ‘Industry’.

Nigel was appointed as a specialist advisor to Fashion Capital in 2010 and has since been supporting fashion designers through workshops, seminars, one-to-one mentoring and publishing articles.

He has run several series of business workshops tailored specifically to fashion designers under the banners of ‘Be Business Ready’, ‘Business for Creative People’ and ‘The Business of Fashion’. These workshops have been very popular, covering topics such as: Production – how to find and select a manufacturer and how to get the most out of them; Making it Happen – how to create a successful business strategy and put it into practice; Finance; Sales and Marketing; Selling and Negotiating.

Further details of forthcoming workshops can be found on the ‘Events’ page. Copies of Nigel’s articles published by Fashion Capital can be found on the ‘Articles & Tips’ page.

Many Fashion Capital members have also taken up Nigel’s services as a mentor to help them get their business up and running.

In 2010 Fashion Enter launched their Fashion Apprenticeship scheme, taking apprentices from a number of well known fashion retailers as well as from fashion manufacturers.

Here are some of the quotes from designers that have attended Nigel’s workshops at Fashion Enter:

“At long last I feel I’m getting the knowledge I’ve craved + I’m in the right place – Thank You.” Suzy Reed, Suzy Reed Ltd (

“Nigel is a great teacher. He has a great way with his students. He doesn’t teach us ‘parrot fashion’. We are made to think about planning every aspect of our business.” Belinda Chorley, Beyond Burlesque (

“Nigel is great! V. helpful, supportive & encouraging. I found our 1:1 meeting extremely useful & insightful – thank you Nigel.” Tahseen Mehar, Mood Swing Couture

“The Workshops proved to be extremely helpful. The knowledge that Nigel possessed was invaluable. He communicated & supported at each step, and went above and beyond my expectations.” Ingrid Elad, Asoni Consulting

“Nigel is approachable, friendly and very informative.” Laverne Gould, Quantum Textiles

(from Production Workshop) “Really great course, extremely informative, useful, interesting. Highly recommended.” Anja, BettyLicious.

“I found the course to be very worthwhile, and very in-depth. The unique way in which you handled the course was of great benefit to me. Your support and encouragement was appreciated and it was a pleasure to work with you.” Jon Turner

For more information on Fashion Enter please visit