Old but not yet obsolete: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

It was my birthday yesterday. If you think about it, birthdays are quite an odd thing to celebrate. If I’m perfectly honest, I didn’t really have a whole lot of input on the whole thing, my mother did the hard work. I have no memory of the occasion. I can remember my third birthday, however – I hid in a cupboard because I was scared of candles.

Still, it gives me a chance to do a ‘birthday party music special’. So for this one we’re going back 39 years (yeah, I know) to the 1981 singles chart. Turns out it was a pretty good year for music. I just wish a few more of the artists had thought a bit harder about how their song titles could be used almost four decades later…A song called ‘Social Investment (Share the Equity)’ would have made life far easier.

Have a good weekend



Just The Two Of Us, Grover Washington, Jr. & Bill Withers

If Withers and Washington aren’t for you, there is also this cover by Will Smith (but if you do prefer it, you’re wrong. And I say that as something of a Will Smith fan). It there were only two people in total, it would certainly make things quicker for the people running the UK Census, which is taking place next year. There is an interesting opportunity through Good Things Foundation for organisations that could deliver support to people wishing to complete the census online between March and May 2021 – you’d essentially get paid for everyone you helped.

You can find out more here

Absolute Beginners, The Jam

Absolute beginners, those with a little experience and those who just want a refresher are all invited to our Finding New Customers and Making More Sales workshop in London on Thursday 6th March. It’s a fab course – if sales is something you find challenging and you’d like some support it’s well worth coming along. Currently it’s a smallish group as well so there should be lots of opportunity to discuss your organisation.

Book a place here

Start Me Up, Rolling Stones

A song that would later be used by Microsoft to advertise Windows 95. Remember that? Windows 3.1 to Windows 95. Software upgrades were what used to pass as excitement back in 1995. Now, Microsoft are keeping excitement levels high with The Microsoft Global Social Entrepreneurship Program, which ‘supports social impact startups with technology, connections and grants so you can focus on bringing your big vision to life and making the world a better place’. Just as long as Clippy is nowhere near it, it should be good.

Details here

De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da, The Police

De do do do, de da da da, here comes Lord Adebowale. Yeah I know it doesn’t scan properly but you try and find a song title from 1981 that pithily encapsulates the recently announced Adebowale Commission on Social Investment. The Commission will be investigating the current state of the social investment market and how social investment could better support the growth of social enterprises. They are now looking for social enterprises to get involved with the research.

Read more here

The Best of Times, Styx

I have not heard of Styx before. It turns out they broke up in 1985, when I was four. I was probably too busy watching Pigeon Street to be listening to a band ‘best known for melding hard rock guitar balanced with acoustic guitar, synthesizers mixed with acoustic piano, upbeat tracks with power ballads’.

I have heard of SSE Fellow Alex Winstanley and his social enterprise Happy Smiles, however. The organisation, which empowers young adults with disabilities to create positive social change, has recently been nominated for a National Diversity Award. Now Alex needs your support – if you’d like to vote for him to win you can do so at the link below.

This one


There’s a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis, Kirsty McColl

Surely one of the great song titles of all time. If the chip shop happens to be a social enterprise (not as unlikely as you might think) based in London and if Elvis fancies some mentoring from property business Grovesnor, he should check out a new programme from SocialStarters. It’s free to take part, and the scheme runs over six months. If you would be interested in accompanying Elvis, identify two or three business challenges in different business areas (or in the same area if there is a larger challenge you are trying to solve) you would like to address and SocialStarters will match you with a mentor.

Apply here

I Heard It Through the Grapevine, Roger

This is an 11 minute cover of the Marvin Gaye song by funk musician Roger Troutman. It sounds very 80s and the keyboards are a bit like that episode of Friends when Ross is playing them.

But enough of that, because this week heard on the grapevine that SSE Fellow Katie Buckingham has a published a Guide to Developing a Workplace Mental Well-being Strategy’, a 24 page resource aimed at employers and Human Resources professionals who are looking to update their employee well-being approaches’.

It’s a very useful read

Every Woman in the World, Air Supply

It’s International Women’s Day on 8th March, and we want to showcase on social media the wonderful work our students and SSE fellows (of all genders) do to tackle gender inequality. Email [email protected] with:

  • a photo of yourself making the #EachforEqual sign with your arms (see examples here)
  • one sentence (less than a tweet’s length!) that explains how you’re forging a more gender-equal world
  • your social media handles
  • We’ll share through SSE’s channels

Job done.

Rock This Town, The Stray Cats

We’re not the only people who will be celebrating International Women’s Day. SSE student Nicole Robinson-Edwards, founder of Her Path to Purpose, will be touring schools in Birmingham to deliver assemblies and workshops with the aim of inspiring over 1000 young women. Nicole is now looking for speakers to take part – she has two SSE students already speaking but would love some more. Contact [email protected] if you’d be interested in hearing more.

I Wouldn’t Have Missed It For The World, Ronnie Milsap

That’s what you’ll be saying after TrustLaw’s annual Café Pro Bono workshop. Attendees will have the opportunity to speak directly with lawyers about their organisations’ legal needs and how pro bono support can help them achieve even greater impact. Taking place in London on April 1st, lawyers will be available to discuss a broad range of topics, from addressing common operational and governance questions and challenges relating to commercial contracts, employment law, intellectual property, tax and finance and charity compliance. All the good stuff.

Book a spot here

Hard Act to Follow, Split Enz

Birmingham based social enterprise development organisation iSE are looking for a new chief executive to replace outgoing boss Sarah Crawley. It sounds like big shoes to fill, based on the hard regard that Sarah in which is held.

If you are interested in applying for the role, you can find our more here. The deadline to apply is 22nd March.

Just Can’t Get Enough, Depeche Mode

I tell you what I can’t get enough of. Our head of comms Sophie’s new blog post examining how to balance purpose and profit as a social entrepreneur.

Recommended reading

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Much ado about nothing: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

Very little to report this week, I’m afraid. I’ve mainly been in meetings, which don’t generally generate the most interesting material for a weekly newsletter. I think I’ve covered the language that people use in meetings (“holistic approach”, “take this offline” etc etc) in a previous edition and I don’t want to bore you with repetition.

I will endeavour to do something a bit more exciting next week. It’s my birthday next Thursday so I’m sure I’ll have something to report from that…

Enjoy this week’s news and have a great weekend…


Trip Advisor

We’re looking for environmentally friendly / eco friendly / social enterprise hotels or accommodation in Liverpool, Birmingham and Leeds for a programme and we’re drawing a bit of a blank. If you know of anywhere we should be looking at and you could email [email protected] it would be very much appreciated.

Weirdos and misfits with odd skills

Long sentence alert: Lloyds Bank Foundation and National Lottery Community fund are looking for researchers, digital agencies, individual freelancers or consortia to develop a set of common principles, language, standards and approaches to measuring organisational development. It’s too complicated (for me) to explain succinctly here but if it sounds of interest, you can get all the info you need here.

This is the one

Or at least it is if you are a charity or social enterprise in Manchester: building company Sir Robert McAlpine are offering grants of up to £3,000 an access to a volunteer workforce to projects that address local needs.

Go mad for it here

Are you wanting to scale impact, increase capacity and diversify income?

You are? Good, because the search is on for changemakers across the UK who are leading social enterprises, charities and community businesses that create social and environmental impact. Register for SSE’s biggest UK programme: the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Scale Up and Trade Up programmes, jointly funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.

You get a Match Trading grant up to £7,000, learning programme (14 days spread over a year), business mentor and a supportive community of other social entrepreneurs.

You can register your interest now and we will email you when applications open in March.

Trading places

We are also looking to recruit 10-15 London based organisations working with young people aged 4-18 for a new Transition to Trading programme we are running in partnership with Childhood Trust. It’s aimed at organisations that are actively planning to, or already trying to, diversify their income streams and transition to a model that includes trading income, either by growing existing trading activity or developing new earned income models. You can find all the info you need (including a webinar recording) here.

The deadline to apply is 9th March, an application form is available here.

Dig this

Spring is in the air (or at least it is until the now traditional weekend storm). It won’t be long until you can dust off your trowel, sharpen your shears and head out into the garden again. And if you happen to be in Preston on April 21st you can also head to SSE Fellow Donna Rowe-Green’s Horticulture for Health training day and learn how to use gardening to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities. It’s all run through Donna’s marvelously named social enterprise Rosemary and Time.

Further details

Tick tock

No time to mess around with this one (the deadline is Sunday) but the Inclusive Economy Partnership are looking for high impact innovators, working in transition to work, mental health or financial inclusion, who are ready to scale. They have the opportunity to take part in Boost, a scale-up programme offering a range of expert workshops, 1:1 coaching and mentoring.

Head here, quickly


Power to Change have released The Community Hub Handbook, ‘packed with information, case studies, checklists, templates and practical tools…to run a thriving community hub and ensure its future is secure’.

Read it here

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Sent with love: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

Roses are red, violets are blue

Nothing says ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’

like Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You. 

Quite pleased with that. I may recycle it and use it in the card I give my wife later. (I’m joking, of course. I’ll save time and just send her a link to this.) And they say romance is dead…

Enjoy this week’s news.


One plus one = phwoar

What do you get if you combine an SSE member of staff (and SSE Fellow) with a current SSE student? You get a cracking campaign to ‘pay it forward’ this Valentine’s Day, asking people to buy a meal for those in need. Charlie Wright (SSE / Hopeful Traders) and Ruth Rogers (Canvas Cafe) have teamed up and are asking you to donate to provide free meals to people in the most deprived borough in London, Tower Hamlets.

Find out more here

Like Tinder, if Tinder was a four day training course on digital leadership

If you do have a date tonight then there is apparently a 32% chance that you met online and experts reckon that by 2035 more people will meet their partner online than offline. I think this is a good thing, it prepares you for the evenings when you both just stare at your phone rather than talking to each other.

Digital is changing the world, so it’s a good thing that we are going to be running our Third Sector Digital Leaders course again this year. The four day course will start on 14th May.

You can find out more here

It’s a lorra lorra laughs

That’s a Cilla Black reference, for those of you who weren’t brought up on the Gladiators / Blind Date Saturday night double. Also a lorra lorra laughs will be our new Start Up Plus programme. If you run a start-up social enterprise (with a turnover of less than £15,000) and want to build stronger trading skills to achieve lasting impact you should check it out. It’s a six-month programme of ten action-based learning days and is open to leaders of social enterprises across the UK.

Deadline to apply is 18th March

I heart this

This is cool – The Ethical Events Company are building a directory of social enterprises that supply the event industry. If you run, or know someone who runs, a social enterprise providing venues, catering, decoration, production and so on then complete this form and get added onto the directory. (Additionally, if you’re a web developer who’d like to get involved with the project then also get in touch via the form).

Community and business sitting in a tree…

Valentine’s Day, of course, is a celebration of love. But what if that isn’t what you want, and you’d rather have a celebration of Community Business? Do not fret, for SSE Yorkshire & North East are here to help. On March 17th they are bringing together people from across the region who believe in the transformative power of the community. There will be loads of inspirational stories from businesses that are shaping the places we live; making them happier and more inclusive and a key note speech from Jen McKevitt, Chief Executive from Back on the Map.

The event takes place in York from 1pm. Get all the details here. 

March forward

Also in Yorkshire, also in March is SheFest, ten days of fierce, feminist fun from 5th to 15th March across Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster. There is loads going on, from a workshop on ‘how to make the most of Instagram for business’ to a ‘women in beer and brewing walking tour’. It all looks really good. 

Find out more

Baked beans, Coke cans, a button

A quick Google suggests that gifts made of tin are traditionally given on a tenth anniversary.  Worth bearing in mind if you are heading to Social Enterprise Mark’s ten year celebrations on 2nd March. Taking place at the Wesley Hotel in London from 6pm, the event promises drinks, canapes and the opportunity to recognise long-standing Social Enterprise Mark holders.

You can book a ticket here

Puppy love

For some people Valentine’s Day is all about spending time with their pets. People love spending time with animals. But what if you could take it to the next level? (Not like that. Behave.) SSE Fellow Kathryn Kimbley is running a 3 day Animal Assisted Therapy in Counselling course starting on for Saturday March 28th in Wolverhampton. It’s aimed at counsellors, psychotherapists, health professionals,  social workers and student in any of the health fields wanting to find their niche or USP for their professional practice and a unique approach to add to their professional “toolbox”.

Find out more

Girl Talk

SSE Fellow Kim McCabe has been in touch with details of her Rites for Girls International Facilitator Training, a training programme that ‘provides you with meaningful employment that can fit well alongside raising a family and other commitments’. You can acquire the skills and knowledge to deliver year-long Girls Journeying Together groups and become affiliated to a professional association.

There is a free webinar explaining more on Sunday 1st March.


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Avoiding controversy: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

I’ve been writing this newsletter for about four hundred years. During that time I’ve received emails from people who like it, emails from people who hate it and emails from people commenting that I’m not as funny as I think I am (and those haven’t all been from my wife). But nothing has provoked a response quite like my claim last week that Boosts were a mediocre chocolate bar. My email inbox has never seen anything like it. Ok, I get it. Some of you like Boosts and I’m sorry for offending you.

Anyway, it’s forced me to revise this week’s newsletter, which was going to be about how milk in tea and coffee is disgusting, that pineapple is an excellent topping on a pizza, and all fish tastes the same (like sea water) and focus on the social enterprise news instead.

Have a good weekend.


Made to measure

When I’m not responding to emails about chocolate bars I’m in the process of launching a new stream of work for SSE. Imaginatively titled ‘SSE Bespoke’, it’s a programme of support that we’ll come and deliver in house to charities and social enterprises that want to generate new income through trading and sales. You can view some introductory slides at the link below (or check out our website). Let me know what you thing (good or bad) or if you’d be interested in finding out more and please do circulate far and wide! Before you ask, it is something you’ll have to pay for…

View the slides here

Not a postcode lottery

Postcode Trust have opened applications to their latest funding round – grants of up to £2,000 are open to not for profits who aren’t registered with the charity commission and up to £20,000 to those who are. They are interested in funding three themes: promoting human rights, combating discrimination and preventing poverty.

Applications need to be in by 24th March

Back to the future

NCVO have fired up their DeLorean to take a look at what the future holds for the voluntary sector. ‘The Road Ahead’ is a really detailed report analysing ‘forces and trends that are shaping the sector and are likely to have an impact on organisations in the future’. It covers everything from Brexit to the economy and the increasing role of digital.

Well worth a look

Ice cool

A long time ago I went to watch Oxford United play Oldham at Boundary Park and it was possibly the coldest I have ever been. Oxford lost and it took about five hours to get home; I swore that day that I would never return to Oldham. I may have to break my vow, however, for E3M’s ‘Growing the New Economy’ conference on 12th February. It will apparently bring together ‘an exciting mix of key decision makers from local authorities, health and other local public institutions, leaders of co-operatives and social enterprises with funders and investors to explore how the social economy can play a much more central role in the economic and community wellbeing of places across the country’.

Fingers crossed they have the heating on

Look North

Hannah Corbett from our comms team is running a new series of blogs exploring social enterprise in each of the ten regions in the UK that we have an SSE school. First up is Yorkshire and the North East.

It’s a good read

Trading places

SSE Yorkshire and North East is one of four SSE schools (along with Scotland, Dartington, and London) that will be delivering our Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Trade Up Programme this year. It’s a great programme if you’ve been running a project for at least a year, have a total yearly income of at least 15k and want to increase your income from trading and make your organisation more sustainable. You’ll get a fully funded learning programme and a match trading grant of up to £4k.

You can register your interest in the programme here

SSE this, SSE that…

Loads of SSE news this week. Someone must have put sugar in the coffee.

Applications are open for our new programme for people in the arts and cultural sector. If you want to strengthen your leadership skills and you’re driven by social impact in your work, Creative Leadership could support you. We’re offering a part-time learning programme and grant of up to £2,000. We’re especially keen to support people of colour and people from minority ethnic backgrounds; D/deaf and disabled people, including those with learning disabilities and hidden disabilities; people with caring responsibilities; LGBTQ+ people; and people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Deadline for applications is 1pm on Wednesday 4 March

Food glorious food

A few interesting jobs for you to consider. SSE Fellow Meg Doherty is currently looking for a Progression and Engagement Officer, a Marketing and Press Officer and Trustees for her social enterprise Fat Macy’s. Based in Aldgate,  Fat Macy’s is a social enterprise serving cooked food and dining experiences at supper clubs, events and offices across London while training and supporting young Londoners living in temporary accommodation and help them move into their own homes. All the details here.

In Harbury, Warwickshire, SSE Fellow Lynne Barton is after an Employment Development Manager for her organisation Entrust Care Partnership, which provides work experience for individual disabled young adults in three community cafes. The role is ideal for someone with strong personal commitment to the field of disability combined with an understanding of the hospitality sector. Apply by 21st Feb.

Mandatory reading

I’ve been meaning to include this for a while because it’s brilliant: Basecamp’s Guide to Internal Communication, which covers ‘how to keep everyone in the loop without everyone getting tangled in everyone else’s business’. There’s loads of good stuff in there, but I particularly like ‘five people in a room for an hour isn’t a one hour meeting, it’s a five hour meeting’.

Read more here

Six letter word

Finally, I wasn’t going to mention the B word this week (there’s enough of that elsewhere) but an article titled ‘Expert Views -Into the unknown: UK social entrepreneurs brace for Brexit’ piqued my interest, particularly when I saw it featured a quote from SSE Cornwall’s CEO Sally Heard.

Read it here

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