Sent with love: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

Roses are red, violets are blue

Nothing says ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’

like Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You. 

Quite pleased with that. I may recycle it and use it in the card I give my wife later. (I’m joking, of course. I’ll save time and just send her a link to this.) And they say romance is dead…

Enjoy this week’s news.


One plus one = phwoar

What do you get if you combine an SSE member of staff (and SSE Fellow) with a current SSE student? You get a cracking campaign to ‘pay it forward’ this Valentine’s Day, asking people to buy a meal for those in need. Charlie Wright (SSE / Hopeful Traders) and Ruth Rogers (Canvas Cafe) have teamed up and are asking you to donate to provide free meals to people in the most deprived borough in London, Tower Hamlets.

Find out more here

Like Tinder, if Tinder was a four day training course on digital leadership

If you do have a date tonight then there is apparently a 32% chance that you met online and experts reckon that by 2035 more people will meet their partner online than offline. I think this is a good thing, it prepares you for the evenings when you both just stare at your phone rather than talking to each other.

Digital is changing the world, so it’s a good thing that we are going to be running our Third Sector Digital Leaders course again this year. The four day course will start on 14th May.

You can find out more here

It’s a lorra lorra laughs

That’s a Cilla Black reference, for those of you who weren’t brought up on the Gladiators / Blind Date Saturday night double. Also a lorra lorra laughs will be our new Start Up Plus programme. If you run a start-up social enterprise (with a turnover of less than £15,000) and want to build stronger trading skills to achieve lasting impact you should check it out. It’s a six-month programme of ten action-based learning days and is open to leaders of social enterprises across the UK.

Deadline to apply is 18th March

I heart this

This is cool – The Ethical Events Company are building a directory of social enterprises that supply the event industry. If you run, or know someone who runs, a social enterprise providing venues, catering, decoration, production and so on then complete this form and get added onto the directory. (Additionally, if you’re a web developer who’d like to get involved with the project then also get in touch via the form).

Community and business sitting in a tree…

Valentine’s Day, of course, is a celebration of love. But what if that isn’t what you want, and you’d rather have a celebration of Community Business? Do not fret, for SSE Yorkshire & North East are here to help. On March 17th they are bringing together people from across the region who believe in the transformative power of the community. There will be loads of inspirational stories from businesses that are shaping the places we live; making them happier and more inclusive and a key note speech from Jen McKevitt, Chief Executive from Back on the Map.

The event takes place in York from 1pm. Get all the details here. 

March forward

Also in Yorkshire, also in March is SheFest, ten days of fierce, feminist fun from 5th to 15th March across Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster. There is loads going on, from a workshop on ‘how to make the most of Instagram for business’ to a ‘women in beer and brewing walking tour’. It all looks really good. 

Find out more

Baked beans, Coke cans, a button

A quick Google suggests that gifts made of tin are traditionally given on a tenth anniversary.  Worth bearing in mind if you are heading to Social Enterprise Mark’s ten year celebrations on 2nd March. Taking place at the Wesley Hotel in London from 6pm, the event promises drinks, canapes and the opportunity to recognise long-standing Social Enterprise Mark holders.

You can book a ticket here

Puppy love

For some people Valentine’s Day is all about spending time with their pets. People love spending time with animals. But what if you could take it to the next level? (Not like that. Behave.) SSE Fellow Kathryn Kimbley is running a 3 day Animal Assisted Therapy in Counselling course starting on for Saturday March 28th in Wolverhampton. It’s aimed at counsellors, psychotherapists, health professionals,  social workers and student in any of the health fields wanting to find their niche or USP for their professional practice and a unique approach to add to their professional “toolbox”.

Find out more

Girl Talk

SSE Fellow Kim McCabe has been in touch with details of her Rites for Girls International Facilitator Training, a training programme that ‘provides you with meaningful employment that can fit well alongside raising a family and other commitments’. You can acquire the skills and knowledge to deliver year-long Girls Journeying Together groups and become affiliated to a professional association.

There is a free webinar explaining more on Sunday 1st March.


Avoiding controversy: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

I’ve been writing this newsletter for about four hundred years. During that time I’ve received emails from people who like it, emails from people who hate it and emails from people commenting that I’m not as funny as I think I am (and those haven’t all been from my wife). But nothing has provoked a response quite like my claim last week that Boosts were a mediocre chocolate bar. My email inbox has never seen anything like it. Ok, I get it. Some of you like Boosts and I’m sorry for offending you.

Anyway, it’s forced me to revise this week’s newsletter, which was going to be about how milk in tea and coffee is disgusting, that pineapple is an excellent topping on a pizza, and all fish tastes the same (like sea water) and focus on the social enterprise news instead.

Have a good weekend.


Made to measure

When I’m not responding to emails about chocolate bars I’m in the process of launching a new stream of work for SSE. Imaginatively titled ‘SSE Bespoke’, it’s a programme of support that we’ll come and deliver in house to charities and social enterprises that want to generate new income through trading and sales. You can view some introductory slides at the link below (or check out our website). Let me know what you thing (good or bad) or if you’d be interested in finding out more and please do circulate far and wide! Before you ask, it is something you’ll have to pay for…

View the slides here

Not a postcode lottery

Postcode Trust have opened applications to their latest funding round – grants of up to £2,000 are open to not for profits who aren’t registered with the charity commission and up to £20,000 to those who are. They are interested in funding three themes: promoting human rights, combating discrimination and preventing poverty.

Applications need to be in by 24th March

Back to the future

NCVO have fired up their DeLorean to take a look at what the future holds for the voluntary sector. ‘The Road Ahead’ is a really detailed report analysing ‘forces and trends that are shaping the sector and are likely to have an impact on organisations in the future’. It covers everything from Brexit to the economy and the increasing role of digital.

Well worth a look

Ice cool

A long time ago I went to watch Oxford United play Oldham at Boundary Park and it was possibly the coldest I have ever been. Oxford lost and it took about five hours to get home; I swore that day that I would never return to Oldham. I may have to break my vow, however, for E3M’s ‘Growing the New Economy’ conference on 12th February. It will apparently bring together ‘an exciting mix of key decision makers from local authorities, health and other local public institutions, leaders of co-operatives and social enterprises with funders and investors to explore how the social economy can play a much more central role in the economic and community wellbeing of places across the country’.

Fingers crossed they have the heating on

Look North

Hannah Corbett from our comms team is running a new series of blogs exploring social enterprise in each of the ten regions in the UK that we have an SSE school. First up is Yorkshire and the North East.

It’s a good read

Trading places

SSE Yorkshire and North East is one of four SSE schools (along with Scotland, Dartington, and London) that will be delivering our Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Trade Up Programme this year. It’s a great programme if you’ve been running a project for at least a year, have a total yearly income of at least 15k and want to increase your income from trading and make your organisation more sustainable. You’ll get a fully funded learning programme and a match trading grant of up to £4k.

You can register your interest in the programme here

SSE this, SSE that…

Loads of SSE news this week. Someone must have put sugar in the coffee.

Applications are open for our new programme for people in the arts and cultural sector. If you want to strengthen your leadership skills and you’re driven by social impact in your work, Creative Leadership could support you. We’re offering a part-time learning programme and grant of up to £2,000. We’re especially keen to support people of colour and people from minority ethnic backgrounds; D/deaf and disabled people, including those with learning disabilities and hidden disabilities; people with caring responsibilities; LGBTQ+ people; and people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Deadline for applications is 1pm on Wednesday 4 March

Food glorious food

A few interesting jobs for you to consider. SSE Fellow Meg Doherty is currently looking for a Progression and Engagement Officer, a Marketing and Press Officer and Trustees for her social enterprise Fat Macy’s. Based in Aldgate,  Fat Macy’s is a social enterprise serving cooked food and dining experiences at supper clubs, events and offices across London while training and supporting young Londoners living in temporary accommodation and help them move into their own homes. All the details here.

In Harbury, Warwickshire, SSE Fellow Lynne Barton is after an Employment Development Manager for her organisation Entrust Care Partnership, which provides work experience for individual disabled young adults in three community cafes. The role is ideal for someone with strong personal commitment to the field of disability combined with an understanding of the hospitality sector. Apply by 21st Feb.

Mandatory reading

I’ve been meaning to include this for a while because it’s brilliant: Basecamp’s Guide to Internal Communication, which covers ‘how to keep everyone in the loop without everyone getting tangled in everyone else’s business’. There’s loads of good stuff in there, but I particularly like ‘five people in a room for an hour isn’t a one hour meeting, it’s a five hour meeting’.

Read more here

Six letter word

Finally, I wasn’t going to mention the B word this week (there’s enough of that elsewhere) but an article titled ‘Expert Views -Into the unknown: UK social entrepreneurs brace for Brexit’ piqued my interest, particularly when I saw it featured a quote from SSE Cornwall’s CEO Sally Heard.

Read it here

Work emails, Boost chocolate bars and cashpoints: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

Don’t worry workers. Only a few hours to go until the weekend. Not long until you can break free from the emails, the meetings and the spreadsheets and enjoy approximately 64 hours of your own time. That doesn’t sound particularly long when you think about it really does it? Once you’ve factored in sleeping, showering etc it probably only leaves you with a few hours before you’re back in the office. This all came up in a conversation I had with someone earlier this week which resulted in me removing access to my work emails from my phone – honestly, it’s revelatory. I thoroughly recommend it.

Hopefully you’ve had a good week, enjoy the news…


Alba affairs

Unless anyone has any objections, let’s start north of Hadrian’s Wall and work our way down. (If you do have any objections, this newsletter probably isn’t for you.) SCVO have two pieces of news this week – first, they’ve opened applications to the Scottish Charity Awards with eight categories to enter. Despite the name, you don’t need to be a charity to enter, but you do need to get your entry in by 26th March.

SCVO have also published the full programme for The Gathering 2020, which takes place in Glasgow on 19th and 20th February. It’s free to go along and there are 65 events taking place over the two days – it looks well worth attending. You can find out more here.

Boost (non chocolate bar) news

Scrap that heading, let’s take some time to discuss Boost chocolate bars. Do you know anyone that eats them? It always seems to me that there are at least four of five above them in the pecking order (Mars, Dairy Milk Caramel, Wispa, Raisin and Biscuit Yorkie for example). I’m not sure when a Boost would ever be needed. Let me know by email if you are a Boost eater though.

Back to proper content. Through their own Boost It fund, Firstport and the Scottish Government are offering repayable grants of £30k – £50k to social enterprises that are responding to climate emergency and environmental issues.

Applications are open until 3rd February.

Blame the sat nav

This whole north to south thing is going to fall apart somewhat for things that exist online. To maintain the narrative, you could pretend you’re reading this in a cafe in the Pennines (if you are reading this in a cafe in the Pennines you don’t need to pretend). It’s online we’re going for the recently relaunched Aviva Community Fund, open to charities or CICs with an income of below £1 million. The first funding round is open until 11th February and you can apply for up to £50,000.

You can find out more here.

You won’t find us on Alta Vista

While we’re surfing the web (what happened to that phrase?) it provides an ideal time for me to plug our Start Up Boost course which we’re running again throughout 2020 after it went down well last year. Aimed at early stage social entrepreneurs, two online sessions will give your young enterprise – or even just the germ of an idea – direction and clear sight on how to grow and flourish. Numbers are limited and it’s first come, first served…

Next course runs in March

Don’t forget your PIN

A quick trip to the cashpoint before we head off again. (I know no-one uses cashpoints anymore but just stick with me on this one). This particular cashpoint is a Natwest cashpoint. It’s a remarkable coincidence because I was about to tell you about Natwest’s Social & Community Capital 20th Anniversary Grants, which offer £20,000 to seven organisations making a positive impact around the UK.

Apply by 21st February.

No mention of Robin Hood

To Nottingham, home of the largest publicly owned bus network in England and the first place in the UK to introduce a workplace parking levy. It’s also home to SSE Fellow Jacqueline Hollows’ ‘FreeMinds FreePeople’ project, run as part of her social enterprise Beyond Recovery. The project is funded by Nottinghamshire’s Violence Reduction unit and works with men who are serving or have recently been released from Nottingham prison and has had some remarkable success.

Read all about it here

Time for some serious business

Make sure you’ve got some smart clothes with you because we’re in London now and we’re meeting with Deutsche Bank. They’d like to tell us about the Deutsche Bank Awards for Creative Entrepreneurs, a programme which ‘aims to enable and celebrate creative entrepreneurship for social good led by 18-30-year olds in the UK today’. Five winners will receive a share of a £50,000 prize fund along with £100,000 worth of business support.

Applications close March 31st

Puppy power

A hop, skip and a jump away are the offices of Ashoka. They have started the new year with a bang and have a whole load of support programmes available for you to apply to. There’s support for everything from helping develop the skills needed for everyone to play an active role in the economy of tomorrow to harnessing the mutual positive power of the pet–human bond…

Check if there is something for your organisation here

We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when

We’re going to leave London now, and the last stage of the journey is up to you. How exciting!

Will you head to Cornwall, where SSE Cornwall are recruiting a Marketing & Communications specialist on a freelance basis (£150 per day, 2 days per month). If you have experience communicating with hard to reach groups, great people skills and you’re an excellent team player then apply by 3rd February.

Or perhaps you’d rather head to High Wycombe, the only place in the world where the mayor gets weighed every year. It’s also where you’ll find SSE student Michael Brown and his social enterprise Empower to Cook, which provides cookery classes, food education and consultancy to children, community groups, families and corporates. Michael is looking for someone to run a newly funded Community Cooking and Wellbeing Kitchen on a part time basis. Further details here.

But if the only way is Essex, take a trip to Basildon and drop in on SSE Fellow Sarah Rafique and her social enterprise Generation Medics. While there you could apply to become a Marketing and Outreach Officer. The organisation aims to widen access to medical and healthcare careers information, advice and opportunities for people from all social backgrounds. You can find out more and apply here.

Jumpers for goalposts: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

You’re reading this at a time of high excitement for me. For a couple of months a group of us have been planning a birthday surprise for one of our friends and tomorrow it reaches its denouement. We’ve all clubbed together and he’s going to be the match day mascot at Barnet FC v Dagenham and Redbridge tomorrow. He’ll be dressed in the full kit, he’ll walk out onto the pitch (wearing bright orange boots that we’ve bought him) with the players before kick off and at half time he’ll be taking penalties against Mr Bumble, the Barnet club mascot, in front of the home fans. We’ve even got the Barnet Times interested in running a story about it.

He’s 50 years old. It’s going to be amazing.

Whatever you’re up to, I hope you have as good a weekend as I’m planning too!


Fixture list

Back in the olden days the release of the next season’s fixture list was a day of great excitement. Now it’s been rendered almost meaningless because every game gets moved for TV coverage. Fortunately this shouldn’t be an issue for most of the events highlighted in the 2020 Giving Dates Wall Planner, which covers all the awareness dates you need to know about in the coming year. Tomorrow is Winnie the Pooh day, for example.

You can download it here

Shifting the goal posts

Do you want to help shape the future of social purpose funding? Social innovation charity Shift, funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, are running a survey to explore the need for social investment, equity and other alternatives to grant funding.

The survey takes 15 minutes and the results will be fully anonymised. To say thanks for your time, you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win £100 for a charity of your choice.

You can complete the survey here

Half time oranges

Do professional footballers eat oranges at half time? I can find no evidence to suggest that they do. There is evidence of basketball player LeBron James consuming some during a game but nothing for football. If you’re a professional footballer reading this let me know.

If you’re a social entrepreneur who could provide half time oranges (or indeed if you’re a social entrepreneur running a sustainable food business) you may want to take a look at Impact Hub’s Feeding the City Accelerate programme. It’s kicks off in February and over six months will support the next stage of growth, helping sustainable food businesses to overcome the key challenges they’re likely to face when they come to scale.

Deadline to apply is 9th February

One of our own

Our very own Henna Patel had a busy 2019 collating lessons from experts and social entrepreneurs with first hand experience with social impact measurement. Every time I asked her what she was doing, she’d reply ‘collating’. Now she’s put together a blog post for Good Finance summarising her findings.

You can read it here

Sideways pass

While we’re on impact, individuals and organisations are invited to apply to a tender opportunity at Delight, a social enterprise founded by SSE Fellow Kathryn Mills. They are looking for someone undertake the evaluation of Delight’s intensive multi-year model of art-based learning. There’s a fee of £16,000 available to the successful party.

It looks a really good piece of work to get stuck into, you can find out more about it here.

“You’re not talking”

Anyone who has played Sunday league football will be familiar with the player who spends most of the match clapping and shouting things like “you’re not talking to each other” at the other players on the pitch. I’ve always wondered if at the top level the players can actually hear each other over the crowd noise (obviously this isn’t an issue at Arsenal).

Still, communication is important so it’s good to see that creative marketing agency Good Beans are hosting a one day workshop for purpose-driven organisations who need some help communicating with on and offline audiences. It takes place in London on 30th January and readers of Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You can get a 15% discount with the code EXPRESSYOURPURPOSE.

Book a spot here

Managerial merry-go-round

According to the League Managers Association the average managerial tenure within the men’s football league is under two years. That’s an awful lot of C.V. updating. Perhaps if Messrs Klopp, Mourinho or Guardiola decided to move into a more stable occupation they could check out one of the following:

  • Cracked It are looking for a Relationships Lead (£22k – £27k, London) to co-ordinate repair clinics, manage corporate relationships and provide great customer service. Cracked It were founded by SSE Fellow Josh Babarinde and combine business and tech to support young ex-offenders away from crime and towards employment. Apply by 27th January.
  • SSE Fellow Rebecca White is looking for an Operational Manager (£31200, Norwich) for her social enterprise Your Own Place. It’s a a chance for you and the team to grow, and the role has been designed to allow a leader to lead a high-performing team and manage the operational running of services. Your Own Place are committed to finding new solutions to old problems with the prevention of homelessness as their impact. Apply by 24th January.
  • Back in London, Hatch Enterprise are looking for two programme co-ordinators (c£25k) to support their Female Founders and Social Enterprise programmes. If you are interested in supporting entrepreneurs to set up businesses and fulfil their individual potential then make sure to apply asap.

Ten years at the top

Staying at the top is difficult in football. Ten years ago Chelsea were champions, and look where they are now. The world of social enterprise support is somewhat different, however, as evidenced by the fact that SSE Dartington are celebrating their tenth birthday next month. To mark the occasion they’ll be hosting an SSE Fellowship event on 13th February. If you’re an SSE Fellow in the South West it’s a a great opportunity not only to catch up with people from your programme, but also from all of the programmes run in region and beyond.

Book a spot here

Training academy

Finally, Social Enterprise Mark have some upcoming focus group events at the University of Westminster that will help influence the design of new postgraduate course in social enterprise. They are looking for input from the wider social enterprise sector to ensure the course meets the needs of the market. You can join them in London on 28th January or in Plymouth on 12th February.

Find out more here


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

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