Contains no Black Friday discounts: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

black-friday-1042311_640Happy Black Friday! Isn’t it wonderful? I don’t know about you, but I woke up this morning, checked my Black Friday stocking, stuck the lights up on my Black Friday tree and then went and queued in the rain outside a Tesco at 5 am to buy a television that I didn’t need. Magical. I can’t wait for our office Black Friday party later.

Before all that though, here’s this week’s news. It’s a little briefer than usual because I’ve been out of the office for the last few days and I’m chasing my tail a little bit. Roll on the weekend…


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PARTY TIME! Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You


This week the SSE Network Away Day is taking place in Bradford, which means that we have been without any senior managers here in London since Wednesday. Without any authority figures to tell us underlings what to do, we turned to the internet and made a poll on Twitter. 74% of respondents thought we should have a massive party. So we’re having one, and you’re invited…

Let’s start with a round of everyone’s favourite game, musical chairs. You know the rules, sit down when the music stops…bum de dum de dum de dum… What’s this? Unltd’s CEO Cliff Prior has sat in the chair marked ‘Big Society Capital’, leaving his seat at Unltd vacant. Are you going to take it? The seat marked ‘Project Director, Bromley-by-Bow Centre‘ is also currently looking for someone to sit on it. Hurry, or you’ll get left out!

Do you know anyone else here? Let me to introduce you to some of the other guests. Look, here’s SSE Fellow Yvonne Farquharson, managing director of Breathe Arts Health Research. Yvonne can tell you all about the development of Breathe as a social enterprise since they spun out of Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Charity in 2012.

Come and meet another SSE Fellow, Greygory Vass. Greygory is co-director of Open Barbers and has just been voted one of the 101 most influential lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Britain.

Have you started doing your Christmas shopping yet, by the way?  No, me neither, it’s only November and I’m more of a “Oh god it’s Christmas Eve and I need to get everything” kind of person. But this year I’m going to be taking a look at ethical online marketplace This Because and see if I can change that. For London based readers, they’ll be popping up in Brixton between 30th November and 6th December.

Now, I know this is a party and it’s bad form to talk shop but we’ve still got some places on our Writing Successful Bids workshop on December 4th. Are you able to make it? Let me know if you can by visiting this page on our website and filling in the form. (You can also read some tips on bid writing in the resources section of our website).

Help yourself to a vol-au-vent. No, I didn’t know how to spell that either. Apparently it means ‘windblown’ in French (they are very light, you see). But enough of that. How’s work going? I read an interesting article the other day about company culture, and how you should ‘build the company you want to work for‘.

Uh-oh. The SSE staff are getting a bit rowdy and have turned the sound-system up. I might have to pull the plug out. Speaking of plugs (and electricity?), have I told you about Community Energy Merseyside? No? It’s a scheme set up by SSE Fellow Jerry Spencer which hopes to install 100kWp of solar panels on community buildings in Liverpool, helping them to beat rising energy prices. They have launched a community share offer (details here) or you can back them through their crowdfunding campaign.

Ooh, quick, it’s time for the raffle. The theme is ‘Impact Readiness‘ and the prizes are being put up by Social Investment Business. You could win a grant of between £25,000 and £100,000 to ‘build infrastructure and skills required to manage [your organisation’s] performance, increase social impact, and attract social investment / win contracts’. Sure beats a box of Quality Street or some bath bombs.

Right, I’m tired. Time to go home I think. What’s that? You want to keep on partying? I can’t keep up with you. I’ve got two options though: head down to Croydon this Sunday for A Celebration of Life: A Night of Spoken Word & Music, a fundraiser for SSE student Tracey Ford’s organisation JAGS Foundation.  Then on Wednesday 2nd December get yourself to RSA Engage: Collaboration in Action, featuring our comms manager Leonie Jarrett. If you give her enough wine she may even do a rap.

Coming up at SSE

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Meet Peter Stewart

A key part of our programmes are ‘Witness sessions’ when students hear from inspirational speakers (witnesses) who have first-hand experience of the issues our students are facing. Like witnesses in a law court they give testimony about what it’s really like to start and grow social organisations. Our Witnesses are some of the most inspirational entrepreneurs around who take time out of their very busy lives to help our social entrepreneurs.  We’d like you to meet them and be inspired!

Meet: Peter Stewart, Executive Director, Eden Project


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A little bit grumpy: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You



After last week’s record breaking mega-edition I’m keeping this brief, for three main reasons: 1. I was in Liverpool for a large part of the week at the Locality conference and wasn’t really paying attention to the news. 2. I don’t feel well. 3. I’m writing this at home on a laptop that I never use and the keys all seem to be in the wrong place. I KEEP HITTING CAPS LOCK for example.

But you don’t want to listen to me whining. It’s Friday, and you want to wind down for the week. So grab a cup of tea and take five minutes to read the news and relax. I’ll be in a better mood next week. Promise.

Have a good weekend!


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The longest one ever: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

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Hello! I’m back! I’ve discovered that two weeks in the sun is just about long enough to forget a) all your work passwords and b) how to type. It took me pretty much all week just to login so that I could put Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You together and get it sent out today.

We’ve got loads of new subscribers, so welcome to you all. If you’re not sure what you’ve signed up to, I can only apologise in advance for cluttering up your inbox each Friday with poorly constructed syntax and attempts to be funny. You’ll find the unsubscribe button at the bottom, but bear in mind that I get my wages docked each time someone uses it and it’s coming up to Christmas.

On with the news…


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