Gardening’s Coming Home: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

In a parallel world, I should be at Wembley tonight watching England playing in the Euros. In reality, I’ll probably be tuning in to Monty Don giving tips on growing tomatoes during Gardeners’ World. You might say that I’ll be subbing Harry Kane for garden cane. Danny Rose for an ornamental rose. John Stones for some decorative gravel. And so on and so forth…

Increasingly, it feels like my Outlook calendar is taunting me. A couple of weeks ago it popped up to remind me that I was supposed to be at the Oval watching cricket and last Friday I got a notification pointing out that I was meant to be at a gig in Camden. There are positives though – all of these things mean staying out late and and as I get older staying up later than 10pm requires about a week of recovery.

Enough waffle, on with the news…


  • Set a reminder in your calendar for this one: on Monday Natwest Social and Community Capital are launching a £1m Coronavirus Response Fund. Grants of between £5,000 and £50,000 will be offered to organisations across the UK that employ people from vulnerable or disadvantaged groups. These grants are unrestricted and can be used for any purpose, including core costs.

Organisations must have an annual turnover between £50,000 and £1 million, must have been generating at least 30% of revenue from trading income before the crisis and must have suffered a loss in trading income due to lockdown restrictions. Get your application in as soon as you can from Monday, as the fund will be closed once capacity has been reached. Full details will be available here from Monday.

  • Acevo and Voice4Change England this week published ‘Home Truths: Undoing racism and delivering real diversity in the charity sector’. It’s startling and important reading – nearly 70% of BAME respondents to Acevo’s survey had experienced, witnessed or heard stories of racism in the charity sector – and the report concludes that racism is a significant and unresolved issue in the charity sector just as it is in the rest of society. You can download the report here.
  • Acevo have also opened applications to the Jane Slowey memorial membership, which provides expert support, helps to builds connections and develops the skills of women from BAME backgrounds or those who have a disability, in their first two years as a CEO for a charity or social enterprise. Applications close on 1st June.
  • Impact Hub are offering one year’s free global membership for you to join their community. There are loads of benefits, including perks and discounts, access to job opportunities and live events. Find out more here.
  • Supply Change hosted an interesting webinar looking at the future of social enterprise post Covid-19. Panelists included SSE Fellow Robbie Davison. It’s a good listen – I’ve had it on in the background while writing his. You can watch the webinar here or read a blog covering the main issues here.
  • Social enterprise Feed Me Good are running a survey to learn more about peoples thoughts around home cooking, especially during the pandemic. FeedMeGood run Health and Wellbeing projects in the UK, one of which is teaching individuals and families how to cook nutritious home-made meals on a budget. The survey takes about 90 seconds to complete.
  • The British Academy have pulled together a very impressive cast of speakers for the ‘Future of the Corporation – Purpose Summit’ taking place online between next Monday and next Wednesday. The summit ‘will provide a platform for policymakers, business leaders, investors and civil society to share ideas to transform business behaviour at this pivotal time’. Sessions are free to attend.
  • If you were going to put together a list of 10 female founders of color in Europe to watch in 2020, who would you put a number one? Business Insider would nominate SSE Fellow Christina Taylor, founder of Aim Sky High. I know because they’ve done so, just here. Aim Sky High provides dance, drama and singing tuition to children and young people aged 2-25 years old. Their pupils have performed with Stormzy and Justin Bieber, have opened for the Anthony Joshua Victory Tour, and performed at halftime of a Manchester United match.
  • Finally, bookings are coming in fast for our first ever ‘Digital marketing and press for social enterprises and charities’ workshop on 30th June. The workshop will highlight some of the ways that you can keep connected to your customers and future proof your sales online. Book a spot here.
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Sidestepping the elephant in the room: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

Obviously there is some fairly big news this morning but I’m going to leave it for now. I don’t trust myself. All I’d suggest is that if you are going to go out this weekend and do something like, I don’t know, attend a political rally or fly on an airplane in close proximity to others you really should wear a mask.

Away from all that, it feels like I’ve entered a second phase in the working from home cycle. The first phase (March – October) was fairly healthy. I did my hour long walks every day. I cooked. I even did some yoga. This week, however, things have changed. All bets are off. Yesterday I ate a packet of Biscoff biscuits and about three Cadbury’s mini rolls. I think it must be the weather – I’m looking out the window now and wondering if I can brave a run to the shops to pick up some Haribo.

I’ll be back next week about three stone heavier. Enjoy the news – it’s a good week if you’re a fan of social enterprise support programmes.


Community Business Trade Up. Applications are now open for The Community Business Trade Up programme.  It includes a FREE learning programme and a Trade Back grant of up to £10,000. You’ll gain the headspace and skills to recover and rebuild your income from trading, have more impact, resilience and become sustainable

Sign up for a webinar to find out more about this transformative programme, and see if it’s right for you at 10.30am on Thursday 15th October. The programme, run by School for Social Entrepreneurs with partners Power to Change is prioritising applications from communities hit hardest by Covid-19, including BAME-supporting organisations. Community businesses that are BAME-led, BAME-supporting and/or located in and giving support to very deprived or disadvantaged local communities are strongly encouraged to apply. More info and apply here.

Muy bien. Spanish fashion and fragrance company, Puig together with Ashoka are recruiting for entrepreneurs aged 18-30 whose business has a social or environmental purpose to be part of a mentoring and business support programme, with a 3,000 Euro stipend. It can be at ideas stage, as long as there is proof of concept. There’s no website, but an application form a bit more info can be found here.

Clore 2021 courses. Clore are now accepting applications for their 2021 Fellowship and their next Emerging Leaders and Leadership Pulse courses. To be honest, there is far too much information to put succinctly within a newsletter so my best advice to you  if you are a leader working within the cultural sector is to check out everything that you need to know here.

Allia Impact Accelerator. Applications for Allia’s Impact Accelerator are now open until Oct. 11th! The Impact Accelerator is dedicated to taking impact driven ventures to the next level, in order to address long standing economic and social issues that have been exacerbated by COVID-19. A six month program packed with workshops, mentors, and industry experts culminating in a pitch day focused specifically on investors with impact driven missions. Find out more here.

Free office space in Liverpool. Remember offices? Those places where you went and had meetings with actual real life people, rather than just staring at their heads on a screen while shouting ‘I think you’re on mute’? We’ll be back there one day. And if you’re in Liverpool, Amey have some space at their offices (at The Matchworks in Speke Road, Garston) which they would like to offer to a social enterprise or charity to use as office space. They have available space to accommodate individual social enterprises of up to 40 people. The space will be available until early 2024 and will become available in the next few months. There would be no cost re rent water or electricity and they may be able to offer office furniture. Email [email protected] for further info.

Social Enterprise Futures. When I was in the SSE office, way back in 2012 or whenever it was when we were allowed to do it, I used to occasionally meet with some of the illustrious team at Social Enterprise UK for meetings in Brigade, the bar / restaurant in our building. “Sounds like an excuse to drink on the company dime, Dave”, I can hear you mutter. You’d be wrong. They were great meetings and we came up with some great ideas. We didn’t write any of them down and we couldn’t remember them the next day but they were great ideas all the same. And it seems the SEUK team have had another – Social Enterprise Futures 2020. Starting on November 25th, it’s an online  summit across 2 days that brings the UK Social Enterprise movement together to celebrate the sector and address future needs for growth. Check it out here.

Some SSE news. Here at SSE, we have been reflecting on our past two decades, as we explore the impact we want to create in the future. We’re pleased to share some news about how we’re strengthening our long-term future. We are moving towards a more responsive and collaborative structure. It’s probably not such a big deal outside SSE, but we’re excited here! Read more here.

Programme director vacancy. SSE student Max Girardeau is looking for a programme director to join his organisation The Visionaries. Based in London, The Visionaries support holistic school development and participatory community building through transformative rites of passage experiences, wellbeing training and nature connection for schools. They help students, teachers and parents to have healthy and trusting relationships in school, develop emotional resilience, nurture positive self-worth and create a culture of ecological leadership in school. The role pays £26k and the deadline to apply is 7th October. Details here.
Ideas Cafe. The Happy Start Up School (founded by SSE Fellow Carlos Saba) are running a series of Ideas Cafes for ‘the new breed of entrepreneur that believes there’s more to life (and business) than making money’. The next event takes place on November 20th – it’s currently scheduled to take place in Brighton but the last few have run online so keep an eye on it. You can find out more here.

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Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr….Have I Got Social Enterprise (and Charity) Social Enterprise News For You

Greetings from cold and rainy South East London. I think today is the day: I’m going to have to put my shorts away, throw on some jeans and turn on the heating. It turns out that I’m not hardy enough to handle 9°C without additional apparel. It makes me think that I would not have been a very successful caveman.

But (and you need to read this next bit with the voice of a local radio dj in your head) if there is one thing that can put warmth in my heart it’s a bumper collection of social enterprise news. Put on a jumper and enjoy…


Virtual Volunteers. Over the summer we launched Virtual Volunteers, a new volunteer platform. We’re now looking for skilled professionals take part and apply their skills to support social entrepreneurs across the UK who are working hard to tackle social and environmental issues in their communities. We’re looking for people to commit an hour or two a month, you can find out more here.

The Phoenix Fund. Applications are open to round four of The Phoenix Fund, offering core funding to BAME grassroots groups across England working with BAME communities. Grants of up to £20,000 are available to organisations that have annual operating budgets up to £100,000 per year. Apply by 30th September.

Kruger report. Not a reboot of the Nightmare in Elm Street series but in fact a new paper from MP Danny Kruger. Levelling up our communities: proposals for a new social covenant outlines how government can best support charities and social enterprises ‘to sustain the community spirit we have seen during the coronavirus pandemic’. It features a proposal from SSE’s very own Alastair Wilson, that ‘ the government should
establish a ‘MatchTrade’ scheme where public money is used to match the revenue social enterprises make through trading’. You can read some reaction to the report here.

Last minute course opportunity. We only have one place left on our Navigating the New Normal course which begins next Tuesday. It’s going to be a cracking course – we’ve got participants from a range of sectors including arts, education, sports, health and community development. Find out more here.

Food talks.  Food Ethics Council, Impact Hub Kings Cross, Organico, and London Food Link have come together to organise Food Talks, a series of events looking at the UK’s food system. The next event takes place online on 29th September and will examine the role that food businesses can play in helping to build back better. speakers will include Thomasina Miers (co-founder of Wahaca and former winner of Masterchef) and Geetie Singh-Watson (restaurateur, including Riverford at The Duke of Cambridge and The Bull Inn in Totnes) and Christopher Kong (co-founder of Better Nature, promoting plant-based eating with tempeh. You can register to attend here.

Evo Accelerator. It sounds like a Mitsubishi model but it’s actually a new a two-month course for businesses that care about social and environmental impact from The Trampery. Open to organisations registered or operating out of the Greater London area, the programme promises ‘ to give you the practical tools, support and guidance so you can build better businesses with social and environmental impact at their core’. It’s free, and applications need to be in by 11th October.

Women in Social Enterprise Week 2020. You need to be quick with this, but Pioneers Post and Natwest are looking for nominations for the most inspirational women leading the UK’s social enterprises during the Covid-19 pandemic. WISE Week 2020 will then share and celebrate the journeys of some of these women. You have until Sunday to nominate someone.

Trustee opportunity. SSE Fellow Jenny Young is recruiting up to four trustees for her organisation Blue Cabin, which delivers creative programmes, develops partnerships between local authorities and arts organisations, and conducts research into the impact of creative interventions for care experienced children and young people. You don’t need to have been a trustee before as Blue Cabin will provide a full induction and help you understand the role and responsibilities of being on a board. Further details are available here.

A further trustee opportunity. Sutton Community Farm are looking for two people to join their management committee – one with experience in social impact measurement, and one in digital innovation and technology. Successful candidates will be part of a warm, welcoming & knowledgeable team and join a farm community committed to sustainable, inclusive, local food production. Deadline to apply is 4th October, you can find more information here.

Facebook grants. This is only open to for-profit companies but Facebook have opened a small business grants programme offering £1,929 in cash grants and £1,157 in ad credits to businesses that have experienced challenges from COVID-19. Applications close on 1st October.

Marketing manager opportunity. Are you an established digital marketer, with an in-depth knowledge of the social enterprise and credit union sector? SSE Fellow Anthony Bennett is looking for a marketing manager for his organisation Zync Digital, a digital marketing company which works with credit unions to increase membership and loan applications. The role is based in Wembley. You can apply here.

The Growth Project. Are you a leader who wants to make a difference? The Growth Charity are recruiting for their 2021 cohort to take part on a 10-month personal development program that brings together charity and business leaders in an environment of shared learning. During the course, participants will share knowledge and experiences, learn how to run more effective and efficient organisations and develop their leadership skills. Apply by November 30th.

Coaching for SSE Fellows. My colleague Amber is currently training to be a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC). For the final part of the qualification and to achieve certification, she is looking for a few people who would like to have 3 months of coaching. If you are a social entrepreneur who would like some guidance to help find your purpose, overcome what may be holding you back or create a life in balance then get in touch with [email protected] for more information.

2021 calendar. Let’s be honest, I think we’re all looking forward to seeing the back of 2020. It’s not been great. 2021 can surely only be better – if you want to start looking forward to it now then why not buy a Cafe Art 2021 calendar. Cafe Art was founded by SSE Fellow Paul Ryan and supports people who have been affected by homelessness. The calendars are always great – I’ve had one hanging in my kitchen for the last few years. You can buy one here.

Social Media: How, where and when to talk to parents? Michelle McHale of Attachment Parenting UK is running a social media session for Dangerous Dads on Wednesday 14th October from 7pm-8pm. Michelle is an expert in developing social media that speaks to her audience of parents and has run sessions on how to develop your social media strategy for the School for Social Entrepreneurs. In this session she will cover what types of posts work best, how to create engaging posts and how to find out the best times to post for your audience. Dangerous Dads (founded by SSE Fellow Ian Blackwell) will also be sharing what they’ve have learnt about marketing through social media. To book your free place please email: [email protected]

Are you hiring? Finally – over the last year I’ve been assisted with the marketing of SSE courses by my brilliant colleague Charlie. His contract comes to an end in November and he’s now looking for a new role. If you are looking for an excellent marketer for your organisation, drop me an email and I can put you in touch. He comes highly recommended!


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It’s a very distracted Have I Got Social Enterprise (and Charity) News For You

I am too excited to concentrate properly. It feels as thought nothing has been going on for months and then out of the blue, it seems that Gareth Bale is moving back to Spurs an that it could all be confirmed today. He’s on this plane at the moment apparently. I might be able to wave to him as he flies over London.

If you’re not a football fan, you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about. You’re probably right to as well, but for the time being it feels a bit like Christmas where I’m sitting. Just without a tree. Or Christmas lunch. And there is no-one else in the house, which isn’t particularly festive.

Anyhow, I’m rambling so I’ll stop there. I told you I was too excited to concentrate.

Enjoy the news…



Learn to juggle. One of the more unusual stories to kick off the newsletter with but I’m in a good mood and I like this one. SSE student Kat Borrowdale and her social enterprise Think Circus have created a free online course teaching the basics of juggling. It’s free, suitable to anyone over 8 and will build co-ordination, improve mental flexibility, and is a great way to be both physically and intellectually engaged. Take a look here. 


Navigating the New Normal. We only have two places left on our Navigating the New Normal course and we are expecting to close bookings at the end of today. The course will help you to map out how to respond to future bumps in the road during the Covid-19 recovery period, and opportunities to do things differently and better than before. We’ve got participants signed up from a wide range of not-for-profit organisations including in the education, health, sports and arts sectors, so we’re anticipating a real range of insights, perspectives and challenges. Places are £850, book here.


SSE Fellows. Important news! We’ll be opening up applications to the latest round of the Fellows Future Fund at 5pm on Tuesday next week. Four grants of £5k will be available, so keep an eye on your inboxes for further details next week. You can read all about the fund here.


Being the Story. When I was seven I’m fairly sure I spent my evenings watching Knightmare or Grange Hill, I certainly wasn’t speaking at conferences. (32 years on, not much is different to be fair). So I find it amazing that seven-year old Nylah Abitimo-Jones will be speaking at the first ever evening Being the Story, featuring talks and performance on the theme of ‘Life in Lockdown’. Also speaking will be award winning author Onjali Rauf, among a whole line-up of excellent contributors. It takes place on Wednesday 14th October, tickets are priced £5-£15. Book one here.


SYHA Enterprises launches its Social Value Investment Fund. SYHA Enterprises (part of South Yorkshire Housing Association) are looking for organisations in the region to invest in. They are keen to look at opportunities which help to tackle the climate emergency and which would offer direct benefits to the health and wellbeing of people in the region. Typically, investments range from £10,000 – £100,000 with an expected minimum return of 7–10% per annum and investment payback in under 10 years. For more information, contact the Enterprise Team via email at [email protected].


Fundraising from Trusts and Foundations. We’ve got a reasonable number of places available on our online workshop on Tuesday. If you have some bid writing experience already but would like to add more quality and strategy to your approach, or you are struggling to repeat previous success in an increasingly competitive and urgent funding climate, then fire up your modem and join us online. You can book a place here.


Small grants to registered charities. Until writing this newsletter I had never heard of The Leathersellers’ Company. Apparently it is ‘one of the ancient Livery Companies of the City of London, ranked fifteenth in the order of precedence. It was founded by royal charter in 1444 with authority to control the sale of leather within the City.’ So now we know. They are also a grant maker, currently offering small one-off grants (up to maximum of £3,000) to registered charities with an annual income below £200,000. Find out more here.


Well Grounded are hiring. Social enterprise Well Grounded, founded by SSE Fellow Eve Wagg, are searching for a Marketing & Partnerships Executive (£22.5k – £27.5k) to join the team and lead the marketing and communication function, whilst nurturing employer networks and building brand presence. Well Grounded runs a series of specialty coffee training academies, connecting people looking for work with sustainable careers in the coffee industry, regardless of their background. Deadline to apply is 28th September.


Leaders with Lived Experience 2020. National Lottery Community Fund are looking to support organisations set up or run by people with first-hand experience of a social issue, who are trying to create positive change for communities and people who share those experiences. Grants of £20,000 to £50,000 are available, apply by 13th October.


Community Business Trade Up Programme. Community businesses! The Community Business Trade Up programme is coming your way real soon.  It’s a FREE learning programme with a Trade Back grant of up to £10,000. It’ll give you the skills to grow your income from trading, have more impact and be sustainable. Run by the School for Social Entrepreneurs with partners Power to Change we’re prioritising applications from communities hit hardest by Covid-19 including BAME-supporting organisations and those working in deprived areas. Find out more and register interest here.


Ethos explores activism. A cool sounding event from Ethos Magazine next week: Ethos Explores Activism features the head of global activism for Ben and Jerrys and will look at how issues can turn into action and we go from caring to action, policy and vigorous campaigning. It’s takes place on Thursday at 5pm and is free to register.


Learn more about managing your social impact. Social Tech Trust are running a 90 minute online workshop focused on how to get started with impact management on 24th September. It’s suitable for all levels – whether you’re just at idea stage, already have a purpose-led initiative or start-up, or simply want to understand more about impact management. You can book a place here.


UnLtd Celebration: Thrive Accelerator for Healthy Ageing Ventures. Unltd a celebrating the graduation of 12 entrepreneurs from the Thrive accelerator on 30th September and would like to invite you all along. It’s an opportunity for aspiring social entrepreneurs to hear more about the work that Unltd do and the support that they provide. (I’ve heard whispers that Unltd will be opening their general grant programmes again from the end of the month so it’s well worth joining the event to find out more). Register for a free place here.




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Rise of the robots: Have I Got Social Enterprise (and Charity) News For You

Worrying times for newsletter writers. This week, the Guardian published an article that was written by a robot. I think we all knows where this ends up. A year or so ago I bought a robot vacuum cleaner and its already become a vital part of the household infrastructure. We’ve even given it a name – Victor the Vacuum. It’s better at cleaning the floor than I would ever be and I think my children find it more entertaining than I am.

It wouldn’t take much for a robot to churn out something better than this nonsense each week. I don’t think it would even take hugely sophisticated technology – you’d probably get away with it on one of those Casio calculators that we all use to write naughty words on numerically. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about…

Enjoy the news.


Last chance to apply! Grants of £10k – £300k.  We’ve opened up the final round of the Social Enterprise Support Fund to more social enterprises. You can now apply if your pre-COVID annual income was £20k – £1.8m (previously £25k – £1.5m). The fund offers grants of £10k – £300k for social enterprises in England that support people at direct health risk from COVID-19 and/or those hit hardest by the pandemic. The final round is open Thursday 10th – Thursday 17th September.

The fund was established in partnership by The National Lottery Community Fund and five social enterprise support agencies: UnLtd, School for Social Entrepreneurs, Key Fund, Resonance and Big Issue Invest. Our partner UnLtd has created this video and this blog with tips to help you with your application. You can apply to the fund here.

Navigating the New Normal. We’re closing bookings to our Navigating the New Normal course next Friday (18th September). Taking place over five sessions, the course will help you develop a recovery plan for your organisation to respond to the challenges emerging from Covid-19 and enable you to identify new opportunities to do things differently, better and more cost-effectively in your organisation. Places cost £850 and are available here.

LGBTQ+ Covid-19 Fund.  Comic Relief and Metro are offering grants of £5000 – £15,000 to  LGBTQ+ community-led organisations and groups, to support their vital role in supporting LGBTQ+ communities through the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. Applications are open to groups and organisations with an annual turnover under £100,000. Further details are here.

Data protection webinar. Have you been concerned about data protection while your team work from home? Are you unsure about GDPR in the new Covid-19 world? TrustLaw are hosting a free webinar to address the legal implications of Covid-19 on data protection for UK-based nonprofits and social enterprises. This is an opportunity to address your legal concerns and receive expert advice directly from lawyers. Register for the webinar on Thursday 17th September here.

Funding deadline. Today is the last day to apply to Lloyds Bank Foundation’s COVID Recovery Fund. Open to registered charities with an annual income of between £25,000 and £1m, it provides a two-year unrestricted grant of up to £50,000. Apply by 5pm.

Enterprise Development Programme. Mental health VCSEs can now apply to the Enterprise Development Programme, which offers grant and learning support for charities and social enterprises looking to increase their sustainability by developing or growing their enterprise. It is open to a spectrum of organisations, from those in a testing phase to those at a stage of scale. You need to complete an expression of interest by 25th September. Details here.

Bristol jobs. A reminder that SSE Dartington have a couple of vacancies open for recruitment. They are looking for a marketing associate (£23,522) and a learning facilitator (£22,895) to work on the South Bristol Enterprise Support Project, which will deliver tailored advice, coaching and grants to individuals and businesses across South Bristol. Both roles close on Thursday 17th September. Apply here.

SSE Dartington success. A trio of good news stories from our Dartington school: fellow Marie Yates (Canine Perspective), and London fellow Talia Kensit (Youth Realities) have been selected as part of the Acumen Academy cohort; fellow Ben Crowthter’s organisation Lettusgrow has been selected as part of the Tech Nation Net Zero cohort and Heart of BS13, whose Executive Director Georgina Perry is a current student at the school, have been successful in a funding bid as part of the Bristol Green Partnership meaning the city will get a £375k boost to their green initiatives. There’s obviously something good in the Dartington water.

New Economy Programme. Stir to Action have announced the New Economy Programme, a series of webinars covering topics such as engagement and participation, social communication, media and journalism, democratic business, placemaking, creativity, and autonomy at work. The first workshop is on 23rd September. Readers of this newsletter can get a 20% discount by using the code NEP20. Find out more here.

Fantasy football league. Finally, and almost certainly most importantly, football is back from tomorrow. Have we got any Fantasy Football players among you? If you do play and you fancy testing yourself against other newsletter readers I’ve created an SSE Super League. Stick your team in the league here and we’ll see who is Jurgen Klopp and who is Jurgen Flop.

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