It's late on my last working day here, but I wanted to capture a few reflections on the year gone by. It has been an amazing year for SSE. We've opened four new franchises in the UK (Cornwall, Yorkshire, Hampshire, Devon), a third London programme (Lewisham) and our first international franchise (Australia). Which means there are currently over 200 social entrepreneurs being supported on SSE programmes. 150 of them gathered in Dartington (see left) for by far our biggest ever residential. This is exponential growth when you consider we currently have 420 Fellows from the past decade. So great success to date, and more to come from those social entrepreneurs going through. But also big challenges ahead, for us and them, with the financial climate ahead looking challenging on all sides, and our aim to maintain and improve on the positive outcomes and impact we've had in the past.
Thanks to all those who've challenged, responded, read and debated on this blog or another: especially fellow bloggers and tweeters Rob Greenland, Liam Black, Mike Chitty, David Floyd, Martin Cooper et al. I think this year has demonstrated that the best and most real debates happen away from the mainstream sector press, and via social media. We'll endeavour to continue to keep it real, and will expect the challenges when we don't.
Thanks to the other agencies we've worked with in partnerships across the UK, and beyond. And thanks to all those organisations and organisations who've funded and supported us through an enormously busy year.
Thanks to the SSE staff across the country for all their great and dedicated work this year: Sylvia, Lisa, Kate, Matt, Sally, Conroy, Caroline, Amalia, Jennifer, David, Tracey, Callum, Dodie, Sheila, Danny, Eilis, Fergus, Ann, Benny, Kirsten, Courtney, Amy, Sally, Bjorn and many more! And especially to my colleagues here in London who are such a great team: you know who you are.
And, before this goes in to full Paltrow-esque weepy mode, a final thanks to all the SSE students and Fellows who are doing the really hard work and making the hard gains up and down the country, demonstrating their commitment, inspiration and drive. You keep us inspired and motivated too.
See you next decade, everyone.