Staying positive: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

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The world is a pretty dark place at times. Events in Manchester on Monday demonstrated the depths to which the human race can sink. The mind can’t begin to comprehend what drives someone to do something like that. Predictably, the gutter press and imbeciles like Katie Hopkins then try to dominate the response to try and push their agenda of division and hate. It’s all a bit bleak.

But you know what? Most of us are alright. We’re not perfect, but we go about our business each day, try and help people where we can and look out for one another. And that’s worth remembering; one of the reasons I enjoy writing this newsletter each week is that each story is a little vignette of something positive – good people, doing good things. Long may it remain so…


A while back I mentioned the Unusual Suspects Festival which is taking place in London on 14th – 16th June. The programme has been announced and you can now register for tickets. The three days will explore ‘what happens when social innovation meets collaboration and how together we can meet some of society’s most pressing challenges.’

Clothing company Patagonia is offering grants of up to $12,000 to environmental organisations that ‘that identify and work on the root causes of problems and that approach issues with a commitment to long-term change’. Applications to the European tranche of funding are open until June 30th.

SSE Fellow Marie Osborne is running a share offer for her organisation Future Wolverton. The money will pay for the redevelopment and refurbishment of the Old School, a Grade 2 listed building and create a community hub and guest house facility run by 6th form students from Slated Row School, a school for children and young people with moderate to severe learning difficulties. If you’d like to invest, you’ll qualify for Social Enterprise Tax Relief.

Not one, not two, but three awards for you to enter this week. Social Enterprise UK have thirteen categories this year and will be closing applications on 7th July. Social Enterprise Scotland will be closing applications to their awards on 10th July. Finally, our friends at Blue Patch are looking for exciting and interesting entrepreneurs and businesses across the British Isles to enter their Business Awards – make sure that you apply by 24th July.

Charities and community groups in Coventry, Solihull, Warwickshire, Birmingham and the Black Country can apply for a grant from the Wesleyan Foundation. The grants will be focused on organisations that promote or improve health, education, innovation or social development.

SSE Fellow Whitney Iles has written a great blog on things to consider when starting up a social enterprise. There are some very useful pieces of advice in there.

Local Trust are carrying out a piece of research to understand how communities become more empowered and vibrant in the next ten years. They are keen to gather a wide range of views about the future of communities; individuals, organisations, public services and community groups can all take part – further details here.

SSE Fellow Marie Yates and her colleague Chris Kent have launched CPD Academy, a new venture supporting people who want to develop a social enterprise working with dogs. They’ve also published a book on the subject: The Power Of The Human-Canine Bond; Turning Your Passion Into A Business.

Social enterprise Voice Over are piloting Connected, a new video-link interpreting service and are looking for 12 organisations to take part in the pilot. The service costs £29.50+ VAT per hour and organisations taking part in the pilot will not have to pay any subscription charges for the first year. Connected will suit organisations with clients or staff in remote locations, or who avoid using interpreters because of the costs involved. Email Zahra – – for further information.

Finally, a useful new resource. Charity Catalogue is a collection of online tools that can be accessed by not for profits at a discounted rate. There are tools for email marketing, social media, volunteering and donation processing among others.

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