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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