White Campervan Man: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

I think I last picked up a copy of The Sun about fifteen years ago. In it, there was a feature called ‘White Van Man’ in which they’d interview a man in a white van about some of the week’s pressing issues: questions like ‘who should win Pop Idol, Gareth Gates or Will Young?’, or ‘what do you think of the news that David Beckham has a new tattoo?’. From memory, the column was accompanied by a picture of bloke leaning cheerfully with one arm out the window.

Why am I telling you this? Because our chief executive Ali is taking four months off work to drive around Europe in a Campervan. So I thought it was the perfect time to “interview” “him” for his views on some of the key issues.

No newsletter next week, I’ll be in Majorca. Call me old fashioned by I’ll be staying a house. I’ve always preferred sleeping in an object whose primary purpose is living in, rather than transportation.


Hi Ali, thanks for giving up your time to speak to Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You. Last August, there were a number of nights in Spain when the night time temperature did not fall below 31.0°C. You will be in what is essentially a tin box. What will you do in the absence of sleep? 

Well, Dave, you’ll know that all Scots are uniquely adapted to cope with warm weather. I plan on sitting in an ice bath with a hanky on my head and working my way through this excellent list of useful resources for social entrepreneurs put together by BQ. It’s hot stuff.

What’s the motivation behind the trip? There are rumours in the SSE office that you’re actually a fugitive from the law and that this is all an elaborate cover-up.

I’ve heard those rumours and I will continue to deny them. My alternative reason? Well, we’ve just published the biggest-ever evaluation of our work: CLES’s evaluation of the first five years of the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme, in partnership with SSE and jointly funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. So the time seemed right your honour.

What will you miss most while you are away? 

Beyond proper walls, access to plumbing and a reliable source of electricity I’d probably say my colleagues, who are a daily source of inspiration to me. What will they be working on while I’m gone? Well, we’ve just launched a Health and Wellbeing Trade Up Programme for projects that benefit communities in Southwark and Lambeth so that will probably keep them busy.

Are you looking forward to meeting new people?

I’m am, yes. It’s just a shame I won’t be around to attend SSE London’s How to Network Successfully workshop next Friday. It would have been great to have fine tuned my elevator pitch before heading to St Tropez.

You’re going to be on the road a lot. Any tips for staying alert while driving?

Red Bull. Love the stuff. It’s the drink for every occasion. Did you know that Red Bull are fans of social enterprise too? They are currently looking for trail-blazers and innovators who are passionate about driving positive change in their community to take part in the Red Bull Amaphiko Academy 2019. It takes place in Bradford from 28 September to 6 October 2019. Borrow my Campervan if you need somewhere to stay.

Are you concerned about fluctuating exchange rates making it difficult to forecast the cost of the trip?

No. I went to the money exchange at the Oxford Street brank of Halifax so I’m well prepared. Conincidentally, I picked up a flyer while there and it seems SSE Fellow Cemal Ezel will be speaking at the very same branch of Halifax on June 12th about what it takes to set up a social enterprise. He’ll be talking about how his company Change Please has expanded to the success it is today and where he got help along the way. According to the flyer, you can book your space here.

That is a remarkable coincidence. Next you’ll be telling me that you considered crowdfunding the trip but could have seen it in action before taking the plunge.

That’s exactly what I was going to say next. How spooky. I think if I had been to The Funding Network’s live crowdfunding event in London on June 12th and watched four inspiring non-profits pitch for funds I’d feel a lot more confident about the whole thing.

If you had to spend the time in the UK instead of Europe, where would you go?

Another great question Dave. This has been such a good interview so far, you more than deserve a payrise. I’d go to three places:

Mile End. I’ve always wanted to visit Queen Mary University and find out more about their QConsult Summer programme. From what I understand, QConsult Summer works in partnership with City University of London & University of East London to place students into mini consultancy projects with London-based organisations and they are looking for businesses, social enterprises, charities and start ups who are interested in hiring interns.

Next stop would be Manchester, took take a look at the work being done by SSE fellow Adele Jordan. She’s is part of a collective mission to eradicate food poverty in Greater Manchester. Over 100 organisations & individuals are intent on addressing the causes as much as the symptoms. To achieve their goals they need unwanted cooking & growing equipment, and they’ve also created a food poverty action plan that local organisations can sign up to.

My final stopping point would be Cornwall, where I’d congratulate the team at SSE Cornwall on being nominated as a finalist in the Cornwall Business Awards in the Ambassador or the Year category.

Finally Ali; technology moves pretty swiftly these days. Are you worried that while you are away your job will be replaced

By a marshmallow?

No, by a robot. 

It’s a constant worry. So it’s good to know that BFB labs, a tech-for-good company developing products to improve mental health in young people, are currently in the process of recruiting for 2 roles – product manager and UX designer and researcher.


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Back of the net: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

More sophisticated newsletters than this would possibly begin this introduction by reflecting that football is often a microcosm of wider human endeavor, perhaps pausing to consider the lessons that social entrepreneurs can draw from the performance of Tottenham (and to a lesser and more insignificant extent, Liverpool) in the Champions League this week: perseverance, team work, inspirational leadership.

This isn’t a sophisticated newsletter, however, so we’ll just quote Alex Ferguson: “Football, bloody hell”. What a week it’s been as a Spurs fan. (Younger readers – Alex Ferguson used to be the manager of Manchester United, a team that had occasional success way back in the 1990s. Ask your Mum or Dad about them).

I didn’t think that anything could come close to replicating the emotional roller coaster of Tuesday night, but I’ve just come out of a meeting discussing resourcing plans for future sales at SSE and I have to say that came pretty close. It’s going to take me all weekend to recover…

Enjoy this week’s news.


Standard mate

Standard Life Foundation are offering grants of between £10,000 and £200,000 to organisations that address ‘structural issues and individual practice relating to financial wellbeing’. Applications are open until 1pm on 3rd June and it’s worth having a good read through the funding guidelines – your application must be written in Arial, font size 12, for example. So not like this. OR THIS.

Find out more here

Choose your own adventure

Greetings adventurer, now is the time to decide your destiny by responding to the following question: are you a social entrepreneur, a funder or social investor from the South West of England?

If you are not a social entrepreneur, a funder or social investor from the South West of England, go to next article.

If you are a social entrepreneur, a funder or social investor from the South West of England, click here for details of a Social Enterprise Connect event on 29th May.

I’m sure I’ve made this pro-bono joke before and it wasn’t funny the first time either

If you work for a formally constituted non-profit organisation whose primary purpose is to address issues of poverty, disability or social exclusion then the Cranfield Trust would like to hear from you. They can offer pro-bono (the free type, not the type favouring the lead singer of U2) management consultancy providing tailored business advice and solutions exclusively for charities.

Check it out here

Points of view

There are only a few days left to share your views with the 2019 Charity Digital Skills Report and help map digital skills across the sector, creating a resource for you to benchmark your organisation against. It takes just 5-10 minutes and to thank you for getting involved we have £200 of Amazon vouchers to be won. All responses must be received by 14 May.

Complete the survey here

Supplies supplies

What is missing from your life? Could it be a contract with the public sector? What if I was to tell you that start up Supply Change is the only digital market place that specialises in making procuring from social enterprises easier, safer and quicker and that they are designing solutions to help social enterprises win and deliver public sector contracts. If you are a social enterprise based in the Midlands, London, the South East or the South West they would love to hear from you.

Find out more here (click sign up in the top right to fill in an expression of interest).

Run Amy run

Colleague. Friend. Mentor. Muse. Inspiration. All words I’d use to describe SSE’s Amy Barbor, who is running the Liverpool marathon on 26th May in support of On Road Media. Set up by SSE Fellow Nathalie McDermott, On Road aims to improve media coverage of communities that are misrepresented  by facilitating conversations between the media and people with lived experience of issues from across the UK.

A very important cause – if you fancy sponsoring Amy, you can do so here.

A great deal

Tickets are still available for Good Deals and Beyond Good Business on May 21st. The event brings together social investors with charities and purpose-driven ventures under one roof; I’ve been to previous events and they’ve always been worthwhile.

There a currently some bursary tickets available, making the day either free or heavily discounted. 90% of these tickets have been held for organisations outside of London.

Apply for a bursary ticket here 

A helping hand

Our friends at _SocialStarters are currently recruiting social enterprises for their 2019 / 20 Consulting Programme. If you are a social enterprise or ethical brand who would benefit from an extra pair of hands to help you tackle business challenges across finances, marketing, or operational management they can help. If you’d like someone to help tackle your business challenges, apply to join their next cohort of social impact businesses by 1st June. 

Find out more here


Lunch, of course, is the best part of the working day. Lunch deserves to be celebrated. It’s a good thing then that Eden Project and the National Lottery are organising The Big Lunch on 1st and 2nd June. It’s an opportunity for millions of people to get together and share food, have fun and get to know each other better – if you take part tweet us at @schsocent so we map all the lunches in our network.

Find out more

All the awards

SSE Fellows have been a busy bunch over the last couple of weeks, to say the least. Here are some highlights:

  • At The Running Awards, Alex Eagtle picked up the award for best small charity for his organisation The Running Charity, which uses running to improve the lives of 16-25 year-olds who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
  • Josh Babarinde’s Cracked It has been nominated in the social enterprise company of the year category of the Evening Standard Business Awards. Cracked It is a smartphone repair service staffed by young ex-offenders and youth at risk.
  • Johnny Chatterton, founded of Campaign Bootcamp, has been given an Obama (yep, as in the former President) Foundation Fellowship. Johnny will receive hands-on training, resources, and leadership development to help scale the impact of his work.
  • Success for SSE Fellows in the Lottery’s People’s Project awards too: Jane Kippax and her organisation Step and Stone won £49,750 in the West Country East area, and in the West Country West region Mirella Ferraz won £48,599 with Share Shed.

Congratulations all!

Situations vacant

Our school in Dartington are looking for a Learning Facilitator with experience of facilitating active, participatory and inclusive learning to support the delivery of the Accelerating Women’s Enterprise programme. It’s a part-time (18.75 hours) role, apply by 27th May. Details here.

ImpactEd, a social enterprise to improve pupil outcomes and life chances by addressing the evaluation deficit, are looking for an Impact and Evaluations Manager in London. The job pays £28k – £32k, apply by 20th May. Link here – it’s right at the top of the page.

There’s a saying in the social enterprise sector: “The best people to work for have been on SSE’s social replication and scaling course”. You may not have heard it before, but it has been said (by me). A recent participant was Domino Patemen of Women of the World, a global movement celebrating women and girls. Domino now has three vacancies in London: a Development Coordinator, an Office Administrator and an Executive Assistant. Details here – they all close next week.

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Losing the plot: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

Don’t worry, this edition contains no spoilers for Game of Thrones, Line of Duty or the new Avengers film. You have to tell people that these days, watching things has become a serious business and people seem to get very upset about it. I’ve only ever seen three episodes of Game of Thrones, none of the Marvel films and none of the current series of Line of Duty so you’re safe here. Just don’t talk to me if you want to avoid finding out what happens in Peppa Pig or Ben and Holly.

I did recently have some time off with flu, however, and ended up re-watching The Thick of it in bed. For those who haven’t seen it, the main protagonist is a chap called Malcolm Tucker, a tallish, slightly greying Scotsman in his 50s who swears a lot. For some reason watching it gave me a strange sense of being back in the office, although I can’t quite put my finger on why. It certainly didn’t hasten my recovery.

Enjoy the long weekend, here’s a whole load of excellent social enterprise news to ease you into it…


By the power of greyskull…the community business fund

Power to Change have opened applications to The Community Business Fund, ‘designed to support existing community businesses with grants to help them progress towards self-sufficiency’. They aren’t messing about either; grants of £50,000 – £300,000 are available, as long as you can demonstrate how the funding will
help you to increase your trading income, secure an asset or significantly reduce your costs.

Apply by midday on 22nd May

This is the one

In the week of the 30th anniversary of the Stone Roses’ debut album it would make sense to have some news from Manchester. Fortunately, Flourish CIC have a whole load of events coming up over the next few weeks for me to shout about including a Social Enterprise Discovery Day and Getting Ready to Grow, a day focusing on social investment.

More details here

Summer school

Aged 18-24? Looking for a free six-day business course in Falmouth this summer? Then SSE Cornwall have just the thing: ‘Got an idea?’ is a free programme for anyone aged 18 to 24 who has an idea or a cause they are passionate about and who wants to explore how to bring that idea to life. The course kicks off on 5th June.

You can apply here

Making an impact

Inspiring Impact have recently launched a very snazzy looking new website promising free online resources, peer learning networks, and grant funding, so you can plan, understand, and improve your impact. I’ve had quick look through and there is loads of good stuff on the site.

Check it out

Child’s play

A nice piece of coverage for SSE Fellow (and previous social entrepreneur of the year finalist) Tracey Murdoch and her organisation Kidzeco, recent recipients of a £45,604 grant from the People’s Project which will allow them to fund a new early-years. community space. Based in West Lothian, Kidzeco support families who want to buy high quality preloved children’s clothes, toys and equipment at an affordable price.

Read more here

On the list

Also making the news (and also a former social entrepreneur of the year finalist) is SSE Fellow Katie Buckingham, who has been named a finalist in Birmingham Live’s 30 Under 30 campaign. Katie is the founder and director of Altruist Enterprises which provides resilience, stress management and mental health awareness training to organisations and schools nationally.

It’s been a busy few month’s for Katie – In partnership with Daden, the Institute of Employment Studies and the University of Worcester, Alturist have been awarded funding by the MOD to develop a life coaching application for military personnel via a chatbot.

Keep the peace

SSE Fellow Whitney Iles is running a number of workshops in London to help participants understand violence and the impact on those affected by it, with the aim being to create more peaceful communities. They are particularly relevant for those working within organisations that have a youth focus. The first workshop is on 14th May and covers the causes of inner-city adolescent violence.

Find out more 

Cash converter

As reported on the excellent Civil Society News website, our friends at Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales has opened applications to it’s ‘Enable’ grants programme. Registered charities with income between £25,000 and £1 million who work to support people aged 17+ who are facing one or more of our specified complex social problems are invited to apply for grants of up to £15,000.

Apply here

Weekend reading

‘Let’s make this a better society’ is the rather sensible suggestion from Charlotte Young, a founding member, current trustee and former chair of SSE. Writing in a personal capacity Charlotte has written an excellent paper outlining how the ‘Trust Society’ can unite to create a movement to improve conditions for those facing the most challenges. It’s a particularly well-timed paper given news earlier this week that ‘inequality in Britain is now entrenched from birth to work‘.

Read Charlotte’s paper here 

Help, we need somebody (you).

Over the past ten weeks we’ve been supporting fourteen budding social entrepreneurs in Haringey, north London. Next Thursday we’d like you to invite you to share your own expertise with them as we host the Future Communities Programme: Haringey – Vision Pitch Night. It’s a one-off event giving you the chance to come and help us give these individuals the opportunity to create a lasting impact. The event runs from 5.45pm – 8.45pm at Linklaters, just round the corner from The Barbican.

Find out more

Celebrate good times

Our school in India recently partnered with the Usha Silai School for the inaugural Michael Young Memorial Lecture, celebrating the 20th anniversary of SSE, the  3rd Anniversary of SSE India & the Graduation Ceremony of the Social Start-Up Fellowship Programme 2018. Keynote speaker was Baroness Glenys Thornton, a Labour and Co-operative member of the House of Lords and a long time advocate for the social enterprise sector. It sounds as if it was a really successful event.

You can read more and see some pictures here

Nudge nudge wink wink

I can’t give away too much here but a food-poverty and food waste enterprise based in west Devon / Cornwall and founded by an SSE Fellow are looking for a a self-starter to step in due to the current Director’s change in personal circumstances. The enterprise has been running a few years and offers a chance for the right person / team to run their own catering business with a social twist. The ideal person would have a background in catering / food and be based in the south west. If you’d like any further info contact Leila Sharland (Leila.Sharland@resonance.ltd.uk) and she can give you the details…

On the company dime

A long time ago I used to work in recruitment and it was a well observed trend that applications for jobs fell off a cliff over weekends and bank holidays. It makes sense really, why waste your own time applying for a new job when you can do it during the working week?

I know that readers of Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You are (mostly) more conscientious than that, however, so here are some jobs to apply for over the weekend:

  • SSE Fellow Amma Mensah has two vacancies at her London based social enterprise Beyond The Classroom, which delivers innovative life-skills programmes to young people. Amma is looking for an Education Officer and a Partnerships and Business Development Manager – details here.
  • Also in London, also with two vacancies and also an SSE Fellow, Eve Wagg is looking for a Partnerships and Marketing Manager and a Progressions Administrator for her social enterprise Well Grounded, a specialist coffee training academy. More here.
  • In Plymouth, SSE student Matthew Pontin is looking for a non-exec director to join the board of Fotonow,  a creative and forward-thinking media social enterprise specialising in community-focussed photography, film and education projects. Find out more.
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