Alright treacle? Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

“Hello gorgeous, how you doing?” Not my words, reader, but the words of my two year old son when I returned from work the other evening. I was more than a little surprised, as a) he’s only two b) neither his mother or I greet people like that and c) I don’t think that he drives a van with a copy of The Sun perched on the dashboard (refer to point a). I’m looking forward to seeing how his language evolves – maybe in eighteen months or so he’ll have gone full Danny Dyer. I’m half tempted to encourage it further just to mix things up around the Christmas table with the rest of my family.

Anyhow, there’s nothing more boring than people banging on about what their children have been doing so with that in mind, let’s crack on with the wooden pews (news)…


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Please, respect your elders: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

This newsletter has occasionally been used to poke fun at our Chief Executive, Alastair Wilson. But there will be none of that today, because yesterday was his birthday. His 50th birthday. And that’s a momentous occasion. For those of you for whom 50 is just an impossibly large number and you need some greater context, here’s just how long ago this was:

  • When Ali was born, man hadn’t yet walked on the moon
  • England were the reigning World Cup champions
  • BBC One was still broadcast only in black and white

It truly was a different era, and so we should applaud Alastair for the way he has adapted to the modern world with only minor complications. His rapid evolution would stagger anthropologists: after only half a century Wilson has developed the capacity to send a tweet with only minimal supervision. Remarkable.

Of course it’s worth noting that Ali was not the only man born in 1968, products of the dying embers of the first summer of love. Others include Daniel Craig, Will Smith and Owen Wilson, and Ali shares a lot in common with them: they were all born in 1968, for example. I’m sure there are other similarities, I just can’t think of any at this moment in time.

So, happy birthday Ali. Or HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALI, to save you having to reach for your reading spectacles.

I’m going to and hide in a cupboard now. If he can’t see me, he can’t fire me.


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Bashing the Balearics: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

One of my big regrets in life is that I’ve never been to Ibiza. I don’t know why, a week of nights out clubbing and days spent recovering on the beach would have been perfect in my twenties.

Good news, however, as this week I have made up for it all by booking a trip to…Centerparcs. In January. Ok, it might not be 30 degrees and sunny but apparently the ‘Fun Pots with Tots’ activity is better than a night at Pacha and ‘Toddler Party Hour’ is the new Sundays at Space. The comparisons don’t end there – people always complain that Ibiza is horrendously expensive. Guess what, Centerparcs is too! I’ve looked online and it’s £5.40 for a pint of Peroni. So, why head all the way to San Antonio or Ibiza Town when you could go to Longleat or Woburn Forest. See you in the Aquazone…


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Multitasking: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

A brief introduction to this week’s Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You – my wife is ill so I’m juggling working from home and looking after an 8 week old baby. Both have been asleep most of the morning but I’m not taking any chances. I know exactly how these things work; I’ll get halfway through constructing one of the most hilarious newsletter introductions ever written when the baby will wake up and I’ll have to change a nappy and lose my train of thought.

So, let’s crack on with the news. I had loads to include this week – if you sent something over and it’s not here it will be in the next edition.


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It’s a seven year sitch: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

As of last week I have been at SSE for seven years. That’s quite a long time really, isn’t it? You can see from the picture above that it’s aged me substantially. During those seven years I have become adept at messing around on the internet under the pretense of ‘writing the newsletter’, so I did some research to see what I could have done in that seven years instead:

  • Serve the maximum prison sentence for trespassing with a firearm or imitation firearm in a building (seven years)
  • Construct the Channel Tunnel (took six years)
  • Travel to Saturn and back (three years two months each way)
  • Carry out a full term as President of Gabon (seven years)

I have, of course, done none of those and I am choosing not to make the obvious joke about having served a prison sentence.

What have I spent the time doing? Well, I have sent 2,955,156 emails via SSE’s Mailchimp account (I contacted their customer services to ask). The Channel Tunnel builders can’t claim that. Looking at the list of subscribers 35 of you have been here since the very first email, way back on the 25th October 2011. All 35 of you deserve a medal.

Enjoy this week’s news…


Boosting the productivity stats

In my first full year at SSE (2012) I was responsible for selling places on two courses at SSE London. Just two! In an entire year! I don’t know what I did all day, I wasn’t even writing this newsletter back then. This month alone we’ve got five workshops in London – I sent details out earlier this week but if you missed them you can find them here.

You try writing a pithy headline about this

We’ve opened applications to Scale+Accelerate, a learning programme for the leaders of established charities and social enterprises operating in the fields of employability and training, health and wellbeing, and environment and conservation. Typically your turnover will be £75,000 a year or more, though we may accept applications outside this boundary. If successful, you’ll receive ten days of learning between February and September 2019. It’s open to applications from across the UK and we can reimburse travel and accommodation costs. Apply by 1pm on my Dad’s birthday. (23rd Nov, if it has slipped your memory).

Apply here

On the banks of the Tamar

Social purpose organisations directly benefiting communities and people in Plymouth can now apply for RISE Trade Up: The Trading Development Programme. SSE Dartington and the Rank Foundation have teamed up to offer a 14 day learning programme and a Match Trading grant of up to £15,000 for ten social enterprises in Plymouth. Applications for this programme will be open until Thursday 29th November.

Find out more here


Congratulations to all of those named on the Women in Social Enterprise 100 list earlier this week, including our managing director Nicola Steuer and trustee Naomi Mwasambili. There are too many SSE Fellows on this list to mention individually here but my colleague Sophie has handily done the hard work for me and you can see them here.

SSE Fellows Emily Mathieson of Aerende and Cemal Ezel of Change Please both picked up prizes at the WeWork London Creator Awards. Before the awards both Cemal and Emily were included in this piece on WeWork’s blog.

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) recently hosted their 2018 Awards, celebrating organisations that champion health and wellbeing. SSE Fellow Frankie Graham and his organisation Betknowmore won the award for Health on the High Street and SSE Fellow Miriam Donaghy won the Public Mental Health and Wellbeing award with her organisation MumsAid. It’s been a good few weeks for Miriam – MumsAid also won the Big Lottery Diversity and Inclusivity Award at The Perinatal Mental Health Awards a few weeks ago.

Funny money

Zzzzzz Budget zzzzzz Philip Hammond zzzzzz taxes. That’s about as much acknowledgement of the Budget that you’ll get from me but fortunately there are people employed in the voluntary sector that can give a far more sensible reaction than I can.

You can read their thoughts here

Breakfast Club

The Social Founder Network are hosting a breakfast forum at EY More London (near London Bridge) next Thursday (8th Nov) from 8:00am – 10:30am. It’s an opportunity to network with other social founders and from Michelle Morgan, co-founder of Livity, and now founder of Pjoys.

You can find further details here

Think of the children

SSE Fellow Teresa Reynolds is hosting a half day safe guarding and child protection course in London on Monday 12th November. It’s aimed at practitioners and volunteers who have received training previously (either online or in person) and are in need of an in depth refresher or would like to fill in gaps in their knowledge.

Book a place here

Food, glorious food

Congratulations to SSE Fellow Caroline Stevenson whose organisation Foodinate has just hit the incredible milestone of bringing 50,000 hot, nourishing meals to people in need in deprived communities in Manchester and across the UK. It’s remarkable growth; between 2016 and the start of this year they had delivered 10,000 meals.

Foodinate are have partnered with a number of restaurants and each time a customer buys a meal marked with a Foodinate logo, a hot meal is provided to a person seeking help locally. They’ve made a video to celebrate the 50,000 meal which you can watch here.

Strike a pose

Thursday 15 November is Social Enterprise Day – part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, and a day to raise the profile of social enterprise around the world. To mark the event, we’re partnering with Social Enterprise UK who are running the #WhoKnew campaign – a digital campaign that’s easy to take part in and set up to allow social enterprises to shout out loud and proud about the impact they’re having in their communities. It’s also an excellent opportunity to post a silly picture of yourself on social media.

You can find out more here

Kaos Theory

SSE’s very own Captain Chaos, learning manager Nils Bucknell, recently journeyed to Denmark to take part on a course hosted by KaosPilot, an alternative leadership & business school and very impressed he was too. They are now heading over to London to deliver ‘The Art and Craft of Facilitating Learning Spaces Masterclass’, a course aimed at 3rd level educators, program directors, trainers and edu-preneurs. The course will introduce, explore and train participants in experiential learning and teaching and the art of facilitation & curating learning processes, strategies and safe spaces.

Find out more

Ace space

A cracking opportunity if you are looking for a home for a social enterprise in London – Tripod is a creative and digital industry workspace hub located in the heart of Brixton seeking a social enterprise to help build a social value programme into the heart of what they do. They are offering the use of both free of charge and subsidised space for a 12 month residency, to support a social enterprise to deliver their work locally.

You can apply here

What’s on at SSE?

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