Robert Ashton is a social entrepreneur, author and campaigner. Redundancy in 1990 introduced him to self-employment. Since then he’s worked independently, sometimes with a team but more usually on his own. He campaigned for the formation of Norfolk Community Foundation and in 2013 launched Swarm Apprenticeships CIC; a values led apprenticeship and recruitment company.
In 2018 he co-founded Norwich Mustard, a community benefit society, formed in response to the closure of Colman’s Mustard factory in Norwich.
Robert is a sensitive and thoughtful speaker, enthusiastic to share his experience in ways that can inspire and encourage others to lead sustainable change. He has spoken at conferences in the UK, Europe and Africa, and led workshops to build the confidence and skills of early stage entrepreneurs.He has also appeared on live TV and radio, in both the UK and Canada.
As well as writing books that help people develop their enterprise skills, Robert is particularly interested in prejudice and stigma, and how writing the stories of those society considers to be 'different' can build unterstanding and reduce tension.
A Quaker, Robert is driven by a strong sense of social justice. Autumn 2019 saw him going to university for the first time, to study for an MA in Biography and Creative Non-Fiction. He is currently researching and writing a book that explores how life in rural England has evolved, and will continue to evolve, as interest grows in making communities more self sufficient.
While I will always be a social entrepreneur, writing books that help others change the world, I am currently taking an MA in Creative Writing to help me switch my focus to life writing. I am fascinated by the way communities are evolving and am currently researching a book about how life is evolving in rural East Suffolk, building on the work of oral historian George Ewart Evans