It was the best of times, it was the worst of times: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

Here we go then. Welcome to what is officially the funniest, best written and most widely read Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You of the decade to date. It’s also the least funny, worst written and most poorly read version of the decade so far but I’m not going to dwell on that, I’m going to try and maintain a degree of optimism for at least the first part of the year.

Hopefully you all had a decent Christmas break. I think it’s actually some sort of mandatory social etiquette that you add it ‘seems like a long time ago already, doesn’t it?’, so, seems like a long time ago already, doesn’t it?

Remember, if you ever have anything you’d like to have included in this newsletter send it my way and I’ll do my best to include it. You don’t need to have been on a course at SSE or anything, just make sure it’s fairly interesting…



It’s a kind of magic

Some great news for SSE Fellow Yvonne Farquharson’s organisation Breathe AHR. Josh Parsons, who came through the Breathe Magic Intensive Therapy programme aged 13, has recently been made a member of The Magic Circle. Josh has hemiplegia (a form of cerebral palsy) and Breathe’s programme used magic tricks in place of traditional occupational therapy to build Josh’s dexterity.

It’s a remarkable story

On point

One of the key things you’re taught about marketing is that you should always put yourself in your customers shoes (perhaps a little trickier if you’re actually trying to sell them shoes). Someone who has absolutely nailed this is SSE Fellow Jen Gale, who yesterday published ‘The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide: Everything you need to know to make small changes that make a big difference.’

The pitch: if you want to save the planet, but your to-do list is already pretty long and remembering your re-usable coffee cup feels like a Herculean task, then this is the book for you.

I’ve ordered a copy

Not so secret garden

If your new year”s resolution is to learn everything there is to know about sustainability and impact then here’s an absolute humdinger of a resource for you. Impact Garden has been designed to help navigate newcomers and enthusiasts around the fundamentals of sustainability as applied to business, finance, innovation/ entrepreneurship and personal journeys’. There are loads of videos, links and articles to get stuck into.

Which you can do here

Behind the curtain

There has always been a lot of intrigue around what exactly happens at an SSE graduation and we’ve always tried to keep it a closely guarded secret. Need to know basis and all that. But someone has leaked coverage of our recent SSE Plymouth Graduation, so the cat is out of the bag with that one.

You can watch it here

Team work makes the dream work

I used to have a manager in a previous job who spouted nonsense like that all the time. Incredibly demotivating. What isn’t incredibly demotivating, however, is the news that SSE Scotland and Social Enterprise Alliance Midlothian are teaming up to bring you a Bright Ideas Workshop on the evening of 5th February in Gorebridge. If you have a business idea that could help make the world a better place and want an introduction to the wonderful world of social enterprise then check it out.

Book a free ticket here

Oodles of impact

I’m calling it now: 2020 is going to be a huge year for impact measurement. It’s going to go mainstream. Dinner parties will be filled with conversations about theory of change, qualitative engagement and participatory appraisals. Children will run home from school talking about their latest pilot led evaluation. Simon Cowell will launch a talent show based around SROI. So make sure you get ahead of the crowd and know what you’re talking about or you’re going to look silly.

The best place to start for an introduction is this ‘How do you measure social impact‘ video from Good Finance.

After you’ve watched it, you may want to go one step further and book onto our Measuring Social Impact course on 27th + 28th January. We’ve only got two places left…

Book your place here

Good eating

If you do come on the social impact course (or indeed any other course at SSE London) and want a lunch or dinner recommendation then Hot Dinners have compiled a list of ‘do good London – the restaurants and cafes that are giving back’. It’s a decent list and features both Dusty Knuckle and Old Spike Roastery, both founded by SSE Fellows.

See the list here


If you’ve walked back into your office after the holidays, sat down and asked yourself ‘what am I still doing here?’ then there are a few options for alternative employment this week.

Leicester based charity Pedestrian are looking for a Director (£32k – £37.5k) to develop and lead the team. The charity provides education and training to young people at risk; individuals whom are often socially excluded and from disadvantaged backgrounds. If you understand the challenges and complexities of working in the third sector, and have a track record of working at a senior level within an organisation of a similar size and structure they would like to hear from you. Quickly though, the deadline is midday on 13th January.

We’ve also got a number of open vacancies at SSE. We’re looking for two Development Officers (£32k – 33k, location flexible), a Learning Facilitator (£26k, Liverpool) and a Programme Administrator (£26k, London). You can check details of all the roles here.


You want a flake with that?

If you are applying for one of the jobs at SSE and you have previous experience selling ice cream you’ll fit right in, at least two of us have it on our CV. Biggest player in the UK ice cream world? I’d argue it’s Walls although Cadbury’s are making headway.  Walls, of course, were run by Thomas Wall II in the 1900s and the foundation that he established has a new grant programme for 2020. Organisations working towards improving basic digital skills for people in need can apply for grants of up to £5000.

You can find out more here

Get yourself a mentor

Expert Impact have launched a new mentoring service for businesses. Following the growth of the Human Lending Library, Expert Impact have announced a new staff learning and development service, training company employees to mentor social entrepreneurs. A film of the new service, featuring Belu staff as mentors, is available to view on YouTube.

Social entrepreneurs interested in participating should get in touch at [email protected]

West Midlands Powerhouse

Finally, West Midlands Combined Authority have given themselves the bold ambition to double the scale of the social economy in the region over the next ten years. They’ve pledged to spend at least 5% of their procurement budget on social enterprises, which is great to see.

You can read more here

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