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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