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 contact@risingstarscleaning.com.
  • 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 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.
Share Button

Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You…

Greetings from me in my bedroom to you in your kitchen / living room / attic / broom cupboard / bedroom. I suppose I should really be doing this week’s newsletter via Teams or Zoom but I need to work out how to use them beyond chat conversations…

The serious part: Have I Got Social Enterprise News will be continuing as much as possible over the coming weeks and I’ll keep putting out all the information that I see that could be supportive to you and your organisation. If there is something that you think should be included, send it my way. Funding, online meet ups, working from home tips, podcasts – anything that you have found useful to help you going. If you have a specific request for support or a problem that you feel a HIGSENFY subscriber may be able to help with, let me know and I can put it out there.

Do keep sending any social enterprise news too. More then ever, we need to find some positive news to shout about. If you sent anything in the last week or so, it will be somewhere in my inbox and I’ll include it next week.

Stay safe…


Latest support + resources

  • My colleague Sophie emailed earlier this week with details of how charities and social enterprises can try to manage the current situation. If you missed it, it’s up on our website and we’ll keep updating it as we can. You can find it here
  • We’re also using our Twitter feed (@schsocent) to try and provide the latest support on offer. If you are offering online services, offers, or support for others during this time share them with using the hashtag #SocEntSolidarity and we’ll share them with our followers.
  • Our friends at Good Finance have created a COVID-19 Resource Hub for Charities & Social Enterprises. As with all these things, I imagine it’s worth bookmarking it and checking in regularly as the situation evolves. You can find it here. 
  • Digital agency Copy and Code are offering a free hour-long sessions to social impact organisations experiencing technical or communication challenges during the outbreak.
  • The always excellent Madeleine Sugden has compiled detailed advice for comms around coronavirus. Once again, it’s being updated regularly. Bookmark it here.
  • Matt Haworth has made his book The Digital Fundraising Book freely available to all. If you are looking at how you can migrate more of your fundraising online it’s well worth a look. There are also some great tips on building an online presence too. Read it here
  • ‘While none of us can pretend we really know what’s going to happen, we can influence the future’ writes Social Enterprise UK’s Dan Gregory in a piece exploring the wider societal impact that coronavirus may have. It’s well worth reading.

A couple of bits from me

  • As we move to an online world (for now) we’re going to deliver our one day workshops we can online. You can keep booking them via our website. If there are additional courses you think we should be running, let me know and we’ll do our best to put something together.
  • With that in mind, i’m also keen to hear from anyone who has a workshop they deliver online that could be of interest to our audience – contact me by email and I’ll get back to you next week.
Share Button

If you don’t want to get a song stuck in your head, don’t read Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

I’ve been ill this week and working from home so you may want to wash your hands after reading this email. Being unwell, I’ve obviously spent the week looking at the Guardian live coronavirus blog and checking the 111 website, doing that weird thing when you convince yourself that you’re in the worst situation possible and you’re probably only moments away from summoning an ambulance and going into A+E.

Fortunately, it hasn’t come to that. I did, however, learn one interesting snippet while doing my research though: ‘Covid 19’ fits perfectly into the song ‘Come on Eileen’.

You’re welcome…


And it’s live…

Applications are open for our biggest, funded programme, the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs programme. It consists of 14+ days of learning, a business 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.

Find out all you need to know here

Ask yourself this

Have you every truly considered repayable finance, and what it means to you? And I mean really considered it. As in looked into your soul, wrestling for meaning and answers. If you haven’t, the time to do so is now: the Adebowale Commission on Social Investment are looking for views from social enterprises on repayable finance.

There is a ten minute survey to take here


Youth Hostelling with Chris Eubank. Arm Wrestling with Chas and Dave. Monkey Tennis. None of these would be suitable applications for the Community Business Bright Ideas Fund (mainly because they are the ideas of a fictional television character). They also wouldn’t be eligible. However, community groups in England looking to set up and start running a community business are eligible to apply. On offer is tailored business development support, mentoring and visits and a possible small grant of up to £15,000 to fund development and start-up costs.

Apply by 7th April

To Hull and Back

First references to Alan Partridge, now to Only Fools and Horses. I should probably do more to cater to the youth demographic. If you do make it to Hull and it happens to be on the 17th April, you should make your way to The Social Enterprise Fayre, hosted by DropPoint CIC. It’s taking place at Hull Minster and promises a day of inspiration and the chance to shop for products brought to you by local charities and social enterprises. Further info is available in the link below. If you’d be interested in being a vendor on the day pop an email to chris@droppoint.org

Info here

All ears

I’m going to make a bold claim and suggest that these ‘podcast’ things might just take off. Don’t ask why, it’s just a hunch. If you’d like to explore this exciting new medium then SSE student Vic Turnbull has two workshops taking place in Manchester in the coming weeks: Get Started in Podcasting on 31st March and Nail Your Podcast Interviews on 8th April.

Both look really good

Culture club

Let’s bring some culture to this ragtag newsletter for once. Strike a Light are looking for 16 women in the South West working in the arts to take part in a paid leadership programme that includes work placements, mentoring and training. Beginning in June, the programme is open to women over 21 who are based in Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole, Plymouth, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, Southampton, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Gloucestershire, BANES & Bristol.

Find out more 

Record breakers

Biggest animal in the world? Blue whale. Longest river? The Amazon. Deepest ocean? The Pacific. And now there is a new record breaker: the world’s biggest impact investment fund for the creative arts, Nesta’s Arts & Culture Impact Fund. Take that other impact funds for the creative arts. Arts and culture organisations can apply for loans of between £150,000 to £1 million for a period of up to 10 years. Applications are now open.

Everything you need is here

A career at Year Here?

Year Hear are looking for a new CEO (£70k – £80k). The core of the job is propelling brilliant, compassionate, ambitious entrepreneurs, with the support of the great and the good of the UK’s social impact world. Based in London, they are looking for a social impact leader with commercial experience and bags of ambition.

Apply by 22nd March

Food for the Soul

A few weeks old but well worth a mention – Big Issue published a great piece about SSE Fellow Meg Doherty and her social enterprise Fat Macy’s.  As well as giving homeless people the experience they need to get back on their feet in the job market, Fat Macy’s centres on a housing deposit grant scheme that removes the biggest barrier for people locked out of getting a home of their own.

You can read the article here

Share Button

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 sophie.hobson@sse.org.uk 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 nicole@herpathtopurpose.org 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

Share Button

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 angelastanley@blackburnehouse.co.uk 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

Share Button