The calm before the storm: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You




Today is the SSE staff Christmas party. I’d like to pretend that it will be a sophisticated soirée of cultured conversations and sparkling bon mots but I’m not that good a liar. Last year’s party took place on a Thursday with work the next day and by the end resembled a scene from Animal House – who knows what could happen on a Friday night?

So that you don’t miss out on all the gossip and intrigue from the evening I’ve made some predictions about what might take place below…


This conversation will take place: “Who is paying for this? Are we paying? If we’re paying I’ll probably only have a starter but if work are paying I’ll have three courses.”

This conversation will definitely take place on arrival at the party. It happens every year. Whatever the result, I can tell you for certain who won’t be paying for the party, and that’s Lankelly Chase: they don’t fund parties. But they do fund a whole range of other things and they are looking for grant proposals at the moment; grants made to date have ranged from less than £5,000 to £370,000.

Someone will overindulge on wine and start giving their opinion on anything and everything.

At which point I’ll whip out the 2015 Social Entrepreneurs Training Survey and hand it to them as a distraction, because that’s one place where I do want to hear their views. (You’ve got until Christmas Eve to complete it and to be in with a chance of winning a one-day workshop place. Imagine how magical your Christmas would be if you won.)

There will be a big debate about which bar we should go to next.

Do we go to the cool hipster hangout in Shoreditch or to the bigger and brasher bar in Covent Garden? Or to put it another way – should we head somewhere alternative or somewhere a bit more mainstream? It’s a puzzle which goes much further than where to get the next drink from, as David Floyd discovers in ‘Mainstream Believers’, examining the path forward (or lack of it) for social enterprise and social entrepreneurship.

Despite it being a party, we’ll spend a lot of time talking about work. 

So that I can maintain the pretence that I do actually do some work occasionally, I’ve been swotting up on the resource section of our website. We’ve added a whole host of new articles this week, from winning contracts through to funding sources and communicating your idea. They won’t catch me out this year.

There will be terrible music.

But if there has to be terrible music, could it be terrible music that raises money for charity? Civil Society have put together the top ten charity singles this Christmas.

Someone will say something that they regret.

Isn’t that what Christmas parties are for? I can still remember last year when


Good thing that he didn’t hear eh? What we should all do is take advantage of the Media Trust’s free 8-month media training programme so that we are less inclined to say something daft. (Actually, we don’t qualify: it is only for community leaders from London’s migrant and diaspora communities).

But maybe we shouldn’t worry: this article suggests that radical candour is the surprising secret to being a good boss.

We’ll try to persuade our CEO to close the office between Christmas and New Year and not make us take it out of our holiday allowance.

I joined SSE in 2011 and we’ve tried this at every Christmas party since. Sadly, we are yet to succeed. But this year I coming armed with this article: From flexible working to away days: how can charities boost staff wellbeing?

Someone will leave their Secret Santa present in the pub. 

Probably along with their coat, their phone and their keys. Let’s hope that Prince Charles takes better care of his possessions, as he was presented with gifts for his grandchildren by social enterprise From Babies With Love.

Our Project Officer Antonia will miss her train home on Saturday morning.

Antonia is booked on the 8.03am train from Kings Cross on Saturday morning. Considering that last year’s party finished after 2am I think that her being on this train is highly unlikely. Sorry Richard. Luckily for Antonia, SSE Fellow Jem Stein has recently launched an online bike shop supporting his organisation The Bike Project. If Antonia enters ‘supporter’ at the checkout she can get a 10% discount on a bike and cycle the 200 or so miles to her parents.

What’s on at SSE

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