Too many cooks, spoiling the broth: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

Do you remember what it was like before the internet, when people didn’t eat? Cast your mind back to the days when people wandered the streets forlornly holding a potato, unsure of what it was and what they were supposed to do with it. This week we almost returned to those primitive times as the BBC threatened to remove all of its recipes from the World Wide Web.  No more quinoa goji tabbouleh or poached peaches with zabaglione for you.

While the threat has passed for now, I thought wise to begin building an archive elsewhere, beginning with one of my own creations: Short Crust Social Enterprise Pie.

Bon appetit!



Before we begin cooking, a word about your ingredients: it is important to consider their sourcing and provenance. Scrutinise your supply chain and seek to implement social value in your commissioning and procurement process. You may even wish to attend SEUK’s Social Value Academy on June 14th, a one-day masterclass created to equip you with all you need to know about the implementation and measurement of social value, designed for both commissioners and service providers.

As I am sure you already know, the quality of your equipment is just as important as the quality of your ingredients. I recommend that you keep an eye on Aerende, a soon to launch ethical online shop selling beautiful, hand-crafted homewares made in the UK by people facing social challenges. You can even back their crowdfunding campaign here.

Now we are ready to cook. First, drizzle a dash of funding into a pan and heat gently. I recommend using fresh, in season funding such as this spicy little number from the The Hilden Charitable Fund. Notice the ingredients, which contain grants of up to £5000 for projects tackling Homelessness, Penal Affairs, Asylum Seekers and Refugees, and Community Based initiatives for Disadvantaged Young People Aged 16 to 25. If necessary, the Allen Lane Foundation will act as a suitable substitute, although the ingredients are slightly different.

Next, sauté a cup of social investment. Please pay attention and be cautious with this step. If you have any concerns (your kitchen may not be large enough to hold the amount of investment required, for example) then please contact head chef David Floyd (no relation to fellow chef Keith Floyd, as far as I am aware). David is hosting a DIY Social Investment event at Esmee Fairbarn on June 1st between 2pm and 5pm. David is looking for organisations who are unlikely to be able to get investment via social investment intermediaries because the investment would be too small/risky, and also with organisations who would be likely to be offered investment by social investment intermediaries but feel raising money directly from investors (for example via a crowdfunded loan or community share offer) would be better for their business. Expenses can be paid to organisations travelling from outside of London – if you’d like to go email [email protected].

Hang on, we need to season the dish. A pinch of Himalayan sea salt should do just the trick. Ah, the Himalayas. That’s where Nepal is, and where SSE Bristol student Chloe Tingle’s organisation No More Taboo hopes to form its first international partnership. No More Taboo is a social enterprise selling reusable sustainable sanitary products and using 100% of the profits to help women living in poverty manage their menstruation. They are crowdfunding to help develop our Bristol homelessness project and the aforementioned partnership in Nepal. Back the campaign here.

How are you finding all this? If it’s all a little too much, you know what they say: if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen. Perhaps being a chef isn’t for you. Instead you may want to take a look at this Campaign Officer vacancy (for the End Furniture Poverty campaign) at Liverpool based social enterprise FRC or this Managing Director role at London social enterprise Streetscape.

Time to stir in a healthy measure of community spirit. If the cupboards are bare you can get yours here by voting to support SSE Yorkshire Fellow Jon Johnson in his bid to pitch to Richard Branson. Jon’s organisation Strip the Willow provides affordable eco homes made from 50-80% recycled materials. Vote for him here.

How’s it all coming along? Everything should be bubbling away quite nicely by now. There’s been quite a lot of interest from restaurants and cafes wanting to use this recipe you know. Maybe one day we’ll see it on the menu at London’s Cinema Museum? The Cinema Museum are teaming up with the South London Jazz Orchestra (SLJO) next Friday to lay on an evening benefit to support Syrian refugees in the camp at Calais. The money will be paid to Doctors of the World, the only registered medical charity operating in the camp. You can find details here.

Onto the final stage of the process. Carefully measure some social impact, before grating into a bowl. Poach over a low heat and you should then begin to see a theory of change begin to form. If this seems a little overwhelming, I suggest reading these top tips on approaching a theory of change by NPC’s Sarah Handley.

Et voila, that’s the completed dish. If you enjoyed making it, why not email it to a friend? But if you are France – be careful. They might be about to pass a law making it illegal to send after-hours work emails. Sensible lot the French.

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