Perception versus reality: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

No, you’re not losing the plot. It is Thursday. I’m operating on slightly random timings at the moment. When all this kicked off part of me thought, ‘Hmm, lockdown. Doesn’t sound too bad. I can catch up with some reading, maybe learn a new language or something’.

Things are perhaps not running that smoothly. I’m staring at an email inbox with about 300 unread emails in it and a large part of my day is spent chasing my eighteen month daughter around while she comes up with increasingly creative ways to destroy our house. I am getting very good at washing up and tidying, however. Who knew how much washing up there could possibly be? By the time this is all over I’ll almost certainly have done the required 10,000 hours of washing up to be considered an expert. So that’s something positive.

Enjoy this week’s news…


  • Has your social enterprise been affected by Covid-19?  Trying to take your business online?  Frustrated that you’ve lost your income from trading? The Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Trade Up programme will help you get back on track and set up to go beyond this with a stronger, sustainable, resilient business model.There are less than 2 weeks unttil the closing date: 30th April. Find out more, join an online info session and apply here.
  • Social Enterprise UK are hosting a a webinar focusing on digital marketing hosted by Stephanie Bennett, MD of digital agency Battenhall on Monday (20th April) at 11am. You can register here. It follows a webinar they delivered earlier this week which discussed digital tools & working from home, which you can watch here.
  • A really detailed article over on Pioneers Post looking at what the UK’s social sector needs now from social investment. (Five points to you if you guessed that a large part of it is grant funding.) Read the article here.
  • Along with the resurgence of hopscotch as a popular past time, ‘counting the rainbows in the windows’ appears to be keeping south east London’s children busy at the moment (we got to around 45 the other day). Now SSE Fellow Alex Winstanley of Happy Smiles is taking things a step further by raising money to send rainbow badges to NHS staff, frontline workers and carers across the country. You can donate from just £3 here.
  • If you’d like to experience the output of an organisation that has made the move online, then do take a look at our one-day workshops. We’ve currently got good availability on our Crowdfunding for Charities and Social Enterprises on 15th May – if you are thinking of running a crowdfunding campaign in the coming months it will be money well spent. Book a place here.
  • Are you a social enterprise in Essex, Kent or East Sussex? The South East LEP would like to hear how your business has been affected by the Covid-19 lock down. It’s likely that decisions on resources and funding will follow the findings of this survey so if you specifically mention social enterprise in the comments, we could see critical resources being earmarked for social enterprise across this region. You can take the survey here.
  • Donna Rowe-Green of Lancashire based social enterprise Rosemary and Time is putting together garden memory boxes to go out to local care homes and hospices. If you have links to a hospice or a care home in Lancashire, Donna can send a box (which you can see here) for free. Contact Donna by emailing [email protected]. There are also some smaller packs some smaller packs that can be sent out to individuals in Lancashire too (containing prompt cards, a scrapbook to create and guidance notes) – use the same email address to contact Donna for further details.
  • A neat idea from SSE Fellow Rhiannon Mair Griffiths and her social enterprise Comics Youth. They’ve launched Comics Youth Radio, designed to be a place of sharing and empathy and a resource for young people (and adults) about how to live IWC replica through lockdown. The fortnightly online live radio show Lockdown! at the Disco will feature songs requested by young people across the Liverpool City Region – you can learn more about it here.
  • Finally, we were saddened this week to hear of the death of SSE London Fellow Jobeda Ali. Jobeda was an incredible force of nature and well loved by many SSE staff who were around when she learnt with us. Our thoughts are with her friends and family. A page for Jobeda’s friends and family to connect and share their memories has been set up here.
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Looking for the bright side: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

*Our ‘Coronavirus: How social enterprises & charities can prepare‘ blog is being regularly updated with the latest resources to help support your organisation at this time*

I’ve been looking for positives among the gloom this week. There are some. London is a strangely tranquil city at the moment; I can hear birds singing outside instead of the usual din of traffic and airplanes. The air is noticeably cleaner. People smile and say hello as they cross the road to avoid coming anywhere near you. I’m chatting to old friends on the phone more (although the topic of conversation doesn’t tend to differ from one call to the next). The walls in my house are slowly becoming covered in crayon, so it feels like I’m living in some sort of alternative art installation.

And I’ve had a chance to put together this week’s newsletter. Thank you to everyone who sent something to be included. Some really good stuff in here – this covers last week too hence the length!

Stay safe


  • Applications are still open for our biggest, funded programme – Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs programme.  14+ days of learning, a mentor, a grant and a peer-to-peer support network, run by SSE and jointly funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.  There are three levels for social entrepreneurs at start up, trade up or scale up stages of growth. In these challenging times we’ll make sure the learning on this programme meets your needs.  Our recruitment process is now fully online, and learning activities will take place online until government guidelines change. Find out more here.
  • We’re also still keen to learn more about how the current Covid-19 crisis is affecting you and your organisation, so we can tailor our learning and develop new support offerings accordingly. If you’ve got a few spare minutes, there is a survey here.
  • Our school in Yorkshire & North East are looking for a home-based part time administrator on a freelance basis for an initial period of six months. You’ll need great people skills and written communication skills, be highly organised and enjoy working as a part of a supportive team. If it sounds like you, you can find out more here.
  • Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) have launched a Coronavirus Emergency Fund, open to organisations with a charitable purpose and charitable activities, which had income of £1million or less in their last financial year. Grants of up to £10,000 are available and can cover core costs, staffing, volunteer costs, supplies and equipment, communications or other critical charitable areas. You can find out more here.
  • Pioneers Post have put together a list of grants, loans and other funding available to social enterprises and other social sector organisations. It’s well worth looking at.
  •  SSE Fellow Becky John’s business 92 Minutes is offering free communications consultancy calls with social enterprises who are supporting others remotely through this time. You can find out more here.
  • I’ve not been able to go to the shop for the last week and there are two things that I’ve needed: Haribo Starmix (which fortunately my colleague Kylie was able to deliver) and bread. If you find yourself in a similar position, live in London and need some bread then SSE Fellow Martin Cosarinsky Campos is offering online delivey through his social enterprise Breadwinner. It has the added benefit of allowing Breadwinners to keep running our programmes (which are now online) supporting refugees and young people seeking asylum. Find out more here.
  • If you are at home and find yourself with the role of ‘teacher’ added to your c.v. then SSE Fellow Sophie Parker of multi award winning Tutor in a Box  is offering live online classes for students in year 5 all the way to year 11. The first week is free, you can sign up here.
  • If you have a premises that needs cleaning, SSE Fellow LaToyah Lewis’s social enterprise Rising Stars Property Solutions can help out. Rising Stars commercial and industrial cleaning solutions and who are specialists in Bio Hazards. They are currently stepping up their capacity to clean public spaces such as hospitals, transport, schools, venues, offices, etc using the methods deployed across the NHS to disinfect for COVID-19. They use an NHS approved antimicrobial disinfectant that kills enveloped viruses such as COVID-19. They can be contacted via 01922-277117 or 07882 589997 or email [email protected].
  • Helen Mincher from SSE Yorks & North East has written a blog looking at how some of our other students and Fellows are adapting to the Covid-19 crisis. It’s the first of a series of posts detailing how our remarkable SSE fellows and students are adapting, in order to continue to deliver against their social missions. You can read the blog here.
  • Current SSE student LJ Flanders has launched a crowdfunding campaign for Cell Workout, which delivers fitness workshops to people in prison across the UK. LJ is using the campaign to launch a new ‘MADE IN HMP’ brand, producing t-shirts for men and women made by prisoners in HMPs Downview and Featherstone. It’s a great campaign, you can back it here and get your hands on one of the first t-shirts.
  • Impact Hub Kings Cross, Invest2Innovate and the British Council have partnered to to develop a new Scaling Readiness Toolkit to help enterprises access new markets. They’ll be launching it online at 11am on Thursday 9th April with a panel discussion on scaling, with perspectives from Pakistan and the UK. It’s free to take part, you can register here.
  • Early-stage, education-focused social innovators should take a look at at Fair Education Alliance’s ‘Virtual Booster’ throughout April. It gives you the opportunity to join a series of live webinars and a virtual networking event to develop your knowledge, enhance your skills and engage with experts and fellow innovators. You can register for free here.
  • SSE Fellow Henry Greenwood is recruiting a a Programme Manager (£32k) and Programme Delivery Officer (£28k) for his organisation rolex kopi Green Schools Project. Based in London, it’s an opportunity to be at the heart of an early stage social enterprise that is helping schools to develop a response to the climate crisis and get young people involved in protecting the living planet.
  • If you are in SW England, Local Spark Torbay runs a Social Enterprise Network covering Torbay and the surrounding areas. Future meetings will take place online with the next scheduled for Monday 6th April from 6pm – 8pm. You can find a link to the meeting here.  They are also running weekly Check-in/Help out meetings every Thursday evening from 6.00 – 7.00 pm. It’s an opportunity to gain information, experience, contacts and ideas. You can find out more here.
  • Finally, Year Here is a course in social innovation that is grounded in the daily experience of those at the frontline of inequality and focused on launching social businesses with potential for huge impact. Applications for the 2020/21 Social Innovation Fellowship are now open – the deadline for application is midnight on 26th April. You can apply here.
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