Secret Santa surprises social entrepreneur on TV

OK, so it's completely freezing, travel is chaotic, and the economic picture is gloomy for many. But there are beacons of light amidst the gloom; some of our SSE students are just that, and that's why we're proud and delighted that Andre Hackett, who's on our London programme currently, and his co-founders have been surprised by a TV programme with free billboards to promote his business (London Mobile Studios)…and sustain his brilliant youth work. A well-deserved Christmas present, and a welcome bit of warmth and light. Enjoy:

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Mindapples, Sound Delivery, Didi Trading: social entrepreneurs in action

 While things here at SSE in the past few months have felt at times like a mix between swimming through treacle and sprinting on a treadmill, it's very nice to hear about the impressive progress of others, and especially SSE Felllows. Here's a few recent examples arriving in the inbox…

1) Andy GibsonMindapples, who came to SSE in 2007-8, is a co-founder of School of Everything but has been spending most of his energy and focus this year on Mindapples, an initiative which promotes mentally healthy living through simple daily activites; neatly summarised by asking "What's the 5-a-day for your mind?" (something you can answer here). This year, Mindapples has done a huge amount of engagement and outreach at various events (for example, see this video at Brixton Market), given talks + advocated for the cause in policy circles, run workshops for commercial and other clients, developed their website, and become, as Andy puts it a PROPER ORGANISATION, with a legal structure, accounts, VAT reg and brand protection.

Perhaps most excitingly, the organisation has recently been awarded some funding to pilot their work with GPs surgeries across Lambeth, which is a hugely significant development and demonstrates how far it has come from that initial (very good) idea to real work helping real people on the ground. Big festive congrats to Andy and his team, and all those who've been part of the journey so far. As we all know, social entrepreneurs never do it alone.


Sounddelivery 2) Jude Habib, who came to SSE in 2006-7, and set up SoundDelivery, a digital media, training and production company. Jude has demonstrated real persistence and entrepreneurial flair in winning work, building a track record of delivery, and networking herself and her organisation into the sector. Too many highlights for me to list (and you can read the SoundDelivery Highlights 2010 page for the full version), but they have worked with the Big Lottery Fund, the Guardian, Third Sector magazine, North London Adoption Consortium, BookTrust, London Youth, and many, many more. And on a whole range of activities: podcasts, social media, videos, PR and events.

Also congratulations to Jude for running the London Marathon and raising £5000+ for charity: inspired our own paltry half-marathon efforts later in the year! And due credit to the great team Jude is building there as well, with Mark + Eric and a host of other affiliates and supporters.


Inspiration3) Nadia Williams
, who came to SSE in 2008-9, and has established Didi Trading, a fair trade business that sells fleeces made from sustainably-sourced materials, all giving economic and social impact to the Nepalese people who inspired Nadia to begin with. As the website puts it:

"To this end, we found a production centre in Nepal who have adopted the socially responsible working practices outlined by the SA 8000 certification and sourced a polyester that was not only of the highest quality but also recycled. Around ten 1-litre used plastic bottles make one of our fleeces, bottles that would otherwise end up in landfill."

Nadia's website boutique is only recently online, and we would encourage you all to check the clothes out and consider buying them for Xmas, birthdays and at any other gift-giving times! Congratulations to her too on her persistence and commitment on getting to this point.

Keep on keeping on all: inspiring stuff.

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New podcasts: leadership, social entrepreneurs and numbers

The benefits of having lost the argument over who should have the long commute with my wife is that I have plenty of time to catch up on podcasts and a bit of work-related listening on the way in (and back). Though the journey itself is routine, it also provides a chance to listen to things that are outside the normal sphere of work stuff, and stretch the brain a bit.

At the moment, there's a few programmes I'd heartily recommend:

1) Guardian Charity Effectiveness Podcast: this time on What makes a good leader? and withan excellent line-up including Debra Allcock-Tyler from DSC and James Partridge from Changing Faces (who is one of the most admired leaders here at SSE). And a bit of SSE representation from SSE Fellow Debbie Ariyo from AFRUCA, phoning in on the lack of diversity in leadership in the sector. All produced by another SSE Fellow Jude Habib's organisation SoundDelivery.  Plenty of nuggets here on leadership, challenges ahead in 2011, and keeping focus whilst retaining a long-term view.

2) Peter Day on Not for Profits: Peter Day is a genius, as far as I'm concerned, and have often mentioned his great podcasts about the world of business here before. This episode includes his recent appearance at the Good Deals conference a few weeks back, and looks at the recurring issue of scale. Does the non-profit sector need to become more like the market? Challenging and valuable listening.

3) More Or Less: There are, of course, geeks in the sector, many of whom are operating in the evaluation field (I was delighted to learn on a recent visit to New Philanthropy Capital that they had a feedback form after their Xmas party: that's devotion to the evaluative cause right there…). My own inner geek loves More Or Less, which is all about looking at the numbers behind the stories: this week it looked at the issue of student debt, and how much people would actually pay. The sanest, most reasoned take on that issue heard all month.

4) An interview with Matthew Taylor: Podcasting in the sector is rare, so also been enjoying this recent initiative from Social Investment Business; Matthew Taylor, Chief Exec of the RSA is a really interesting thinker on a lot of big current issues: Big Society, civil society, engagement + membership, citizen-centred social action, the power of networks and more. Very much worth 10 minutes of your time

Happy listening….

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Catch 22 Mag: developing young talent and creating success

C22 Party-78It seems to have been one of the busiest periods of activity I can remember here at SSE. Barely time to get the head up from the various Big Society initiatives, new forthcoming evaluation or social franchising programme that I've been immersed in.

One of the worst bits about that is that you miss out on some events and SSE Fellow-related things you would normally go to. I was particularly gutted to miss Catch 22 Magazine's reception the other night over at ITN to celebrate the second anniversary of their Academy programme.

Tokunbo (that's him on the left in the photo) and his team do a stellar job, have genuine credibility, and really deliver on their promises; something which is at times too rare in the social enterprise space. Read the annual report for more info on their achievements (and their honesty about the challenges), and to admire their design work too. Or, watch this short video: 6 minutes very well spent. Congrats from all here.

CATCH 22 LONG from Catch22Mag on Vimeo.

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