Tag Archives: social enterprise

Be more Hebden Bridge!

A conference taking place in Birmingham (Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd February) is to look at ways to make more places like Hebden Bridge!

Future Co-ops 2019 logo

Future Co-ops 2019 will address how the co-operative sector can grow and has found that Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire has almost 50 times more independent co-operatives per head of population than Hull, only 80 miles away.

As independent, democratically-owned and controlled businesses, co-operatives often tackle some of the most important issues in a locality such as employment, access to healthy foods and care issues. But the establishment of these businesses is very sporadic and Future Co-ops 2019 will explore new, practical actions to help co-op deserts bloom!

While Hebden Bridge has been identified, in this study, as being one of the top English towns in terms of number of co-operatives per inhabitant, a number of other towns and cities have a significant density of co-ops too.

University cities, especially those with a tradition of social innovation, seem to display a higher density of co-operatives with Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford, Brighton and Manchester all scoring relatively well.

After Hebden Bridge, Totnes in Devon has been identified by Co-operative Futures as another strong example of an English ‘co-operative town’, although Hebden Bridge still has twice the number of co-operatives per head as Totnes.

According to Jo White of Co-operative Futures, the organisers of the event, co-operatives can be found right across the UK, but their distribution is very uneven.

“Our figures give an insight into the uneven distribution of co-ops. There are brilliant co-operatives across the country, and we all want to see them replicated. Future Co-ops 2019 gives delegates the opportunity to learn from Central England Co-operative’s Think Digital team some innovative, engaging and effective techniques in generating solutions to problems. We’ll be applying those techniques to the conference’s central theme – how to make co-operative deserts bloom and turn everywhere into Hebden Bridge. Only with less rain. Join us for fun, challenge, learning and great networking!”

Find out more: https://futures.coop/future-coops-2019

Welshpool’s Cae Post in tie up with Dutch recycling business

Refil recycled 3D printer ink - greenCae Post, the Welshpool based environmental social enterprise, has become an exclusive distributor of Refil recycled 3D printer ink.

In an innovative tie up with Rotterdam based Refil BV, Cae Post will distribute Refil’s recycled 3D printer filament to the UK market.

Speaking about the collaboration, Sue Packer, General Manager of Cae Post, said: “Cae Post is well known locally as an innovative supplier of environmentally based services and we are now looking forward to working with Refil to develop the market in recycled plastic filament for 3D printing.”

Refil recycled 3D printer ink - blackCasper van der Meer of Refil believes the 3D printing industry is set to boom and said: “3D printing is today’s trendiest industrial revolution. At Refil we aim to make it a sustainable one as well. Why do people continue to use new plastics, when there’s so much old plastic we can re-use?”

Refil’s recycled filament is made using old car dashboards or PET bottles and helps to stop some of these plastics ending up in landfill, or worse, in the sea. Recent reports suggest that ‘plastic soup’ could grow at such a rate that there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050.

3D printing is a relatively new development and is being used to create models in 3D from extruded plastic filament.

Cae Post has championed environmental awareness for over 30 years and provides supported employment opportunities to local people. All profits from its activities are used to support its charitable work locally.

For more information, please visit www.caepost.co.uk.

Cae Post invests in Robert Owen Community Banking Fund

Cae Post has invested some of its surplus in the Robert Owen Community Banking Fund, to help support new and expanding local businesses in Powys. Trustee Susan Morley explains.

Cae Post - 1.1Cae Post, an innovative social enterprise based near Welshpool in Powys, provides work and training for people with disabilities or who are disadvantaged in the jobs market, through the delivery of waste management and recycling services across mid-Wales and north Shropshire.

Cae Post believes that employment and access to work are central to how people see themselves and that people with a range of disabilities, or who are disadvantaged in the labour market, should be given the same opportunity of contributing to their community through work.

Ten years ago, the Carnegie Commission for Rural Development was gathering research on rural communities throughout Britain, in order to see how communities were tackling contemporary problems of living in rural areas and how ideas and solutions were being proposed and put into action. It would be addressed to all who have any interest in the sustainability of rural life in the UK. The research was published in June 2007 as A Charter for Rural Communities.

Under a section entitled ‘Supporting a dynamic local economy’, the report noted that the way in which rural communities of the future will be resilient and vibrant will occur “in part through the growth of local social enterprises and the entrepreneurial development of local assets”. It found that in many rural areas it studied whatever work available was low paid, often seasonal. Although inward investment from elsewhere may provide new employment, there is an important role for local communities and entrepreneurs including social enterprises.

Cae Post featured in this section (as well as the New Economics Foundation) as an example of action to address employment in local rural economic contexts. Researchers visited Cae Post and evidence was taken from staff and trustees on what such a social enterprise does and can achieve when it is located in such a sparsely populated part of the country. Here is what was said about Cae Post:

“Cae Post is a pioneering charity and social enterprise that provides work and training for people with disabilities or who are disadvantaged in the job market. In partnership with Powys County Council Cae Post run a commercial scale recycling centre near Welshpool. They operate kerbside, bring-site and commercial recycling collections in Powys and beyond and work closely with local schools and communities to spread the message of social inclusion and sustainability. The social enterprise has a business manager who constantly looks for new sources of recyclable materials that enhance work opportunities for the supported volunteers, or for new avenues for the sale and reprocessing of sorted materials.”

Of course, since the Carnegie report was published, there has been a global economic crisis, and rural areas have not necessarily seen the slight recovery that some areas of the UK might be experiencing. The optimism of the report in 2007 is evident. Cae Post itself is in a challenging period, with its partnership arrangement of 15 years with Powys County Council coming to an end. Nevertheless, Cae Post continues to explore how it can develop new areas of employment under its aims. Not only that, Cae Post has invested some of its surplus in the Robert Owen Community Banking Fund, to help support new and expanding local businesses in Powys.

To find out more about Cae Post visit www.caepost.co.uk


Co-operative Group Emergency Motion

Members of the Co-operative Group are seeking support for an emergency motion to be discussed at the Co-operative Group Annual General Meeting on Saturday 16 May.

The emergency motion calls on the Co-operative Group to reinstate three candidates for election to the Member Nominated Director Board seats and for the election to be re-run within six months. It calls for an additional Member Nominated Director position to be created and for the Society to undertake a full process of engagement with members, the Party and the wider co-operative movement.

The Co-operative Group emergency motion in full is as follows:

As members and owners of the Co-operative Group, this AGM reaffirms the Group’s commitment to internal democracy as a distinguishing feature of co-operative enterprises. This AGM recognises that the new ‘one member, one vote’ constitution is being tested for the first time at this AGM, and that it is vital to our success as a co-operative business that the new rules have the confidence of members.

This AGM notes with particular concern that the National Member’s Council on the 11th April voted to make three specific requests to the Board and asked the Board to fulfil commitments made during the Governance Review process in 2014. This AGM further notes, with particular concern, that the Council’s requests have not been responded to or acted upon by the Board.

Recognising all of the above, and in accordance with the views of the National Members Council, confirmed in its votes on 11 April, this AGM decides:

a) To withdraw the current ballot for Member Nominated Directors and to re-run the elections for the Member Nominated Director Board seats, within six months, with the reinstatement of the three candidates who were eliminated from the final shortlist. This would give members a choice of six candidates for the Member-Nominated Board seats.

b) To create an additional Member Nominated Director position, so that there will be four Member Nominated Directors, and to re-run the elections for the Member Nominated Director Board seats on this basis, within six months.

c) To delete Motion 9 from this AGM Agenda as requested by the Council and instruct the Society to undertake a full process of engagement with members, the Party and the wider co-operative movement.

Members and non-members of the Co-operative Group are invited to sign the emergency motion by going to: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1BPfvypRSS0t-ajekoHa6Yh7FH-LZh6_mtmbvnxln8Ng/viewform

More information about the background to the emergency motion can be found in this article, published recently in The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/03/co-op-group-boardroom-shakeup-could-be-halted-emergency-motion

Big Issue Invest offers £650K investment and much more to early stage social businesses

_GDJ9616_SmallBig Issue Invest is calling upon early stage social businesses throughout England to apply for the Corporate Social Venturing (CSV) 2015 programme, which it launched recently. The CSV programme is specifically tailored for early stage social businesses, which often face challenges when it comes to securing finance.

Against the current climate of cuts and austerity, developing sustainable businesses that tackle some of society’s biggest challenges is more important than ever.

It is not necessary for applicants to be trading, however proof of concept is essential. To be considered, ventures must operate in the following sectors: arts & culture, education, employment & training, tackling homelessness, sustainable & community transport, health & social care, environment and financial inclusion.

Successful applicants will have the opportunity to pitch for up to £50,000 investment. Alongside this, they will be assigned at least one lead mentor from the programmes’ investment and support partners, attend professionally designed workshops and learn to how measure their social impact.

Candidates will also have the opportunity to network, work with and learn from other social entrepreneurs both on the current programme and those who have gone before.

Thirteen social businesses received investment and mentoring in 2014.

CSV 2014 investee, Alice Lacey, founder & CEO of Now>Press>Play, which promotes learning through movement to children by immersing them in experiences delivered through wireless headsets, commented: “The CSV programme has been incredibly valuable to the evolution of Now>Press>Play. Apart from the loan, which is enabling us to expand and scale up our social impact, the corporate mentors have helped us to focus our vision and strategy for the company. Big Issue Invest has been on hand to support Now>Press>Play and the mentors throughout the process and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with them as we build our business together.”

Circle Sports, another CSV 2014 success story, has just launched its ‘Jobs for the Jobless’ campaign. With backing from Deborah Meaden and a provocative youtube clip, they are appealing to UK employers to hire young, unemployed candidates.

The CSV programme is an innovative partnership between Big Issue Invest and Barclays (as part of their commitment to impact five million young futures by 2015) with investment and support from five partners: Experian, First Ark, Fusion 21, Places for People and The University of Northampton. CSV is also supported by the Cabinet Office, as part of the £10m Social Incubator Fund.

Kathleen Britain, Head of UK Community Investment at Barclays, said: “Our partnership with Big Issue Invest is an important part of Barclays’ broader commitment to impact five million young futures by 2015. This programme will see Barclays invest not only money, but colleagues’ time and expertise in helping social enterprises develop and grow. The CSV programme will help support a talented pool of people in developing the skills they need to fulfil their potential while adding real and significant value to society.”

The programme is particularly focused on developing social businesses outside London and the South East, targeting 80% of applicants based outside of these areas.

While the process is a competitive one, it is collaborative too. It is about bringing people with diverse skill sets and backgrounds together who have one aim: helping fledgling social businesses unleash a profound and sustainable impact.

To apply, please visit www.bigissueinvest-csv.com.

Closing date for applications is Monday 25 May 2015.

Bigger Together – Navigate the World of Social Business

Bigger Together EventsBig Issue Invest Corporate Social Venturing (CSV), First Ark, Fusion 21, Places for People and the University of Northampton will host ‘Bigger Together’ – Navigate the World of Social Business, a series of events taking place in Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and Northampton across March.

These events are intended for those who own, manage or play a very hands on role in the running of social businesses and are aimed at bringing social businesses of all stages together. Offering much more than a list of potential finance options, there will be entrepreneurs on hand at the events to talk through their experience of handling investment.

While finance is a vital element to business development, there are many other factors needed to attain success. The events provide an opportunity for those businesses creating a social impact to meet social investment managers, sector specialists and an array of experts from health, education, housing associations, enterprise bodies and the legal field. There will also be the chance to network with other like-minded social entrepreneurs.

The events will take place as follows:

  • Manchester – Wednesday, March 4th, 2015, 1.30 – 5.00 PM
  • Liverpool – Thursday, March 12th, 2015, 1.30 – 5.00 PM
  • Newcastle – Tuesday, March 17th, 2015, 2.00 – 5.30 PM
  • Northampton – Wednesday, March 25th, 2015, 1.00 – 4.30 PM

To find out more and to book your place, register here.

Credit Union Leader Honoured

Peter LovellPeter Lovell, Chief Executive of North London Credit Union and Financing Enterprise Ltd, has been honoured in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List with an MBE, in recognition of his commitment to business development, financial inclusion and regeneration in north London.

A life-long Enfield resident, Peter was one of the founding members of the North London Credit Union in 1994, and has worked tirelessly for over 40 years to provide advice, training and financial services in north London and Hertfordshire to people of all backgrounds.

He managed one of the UK’s first enterprise agencies in its early day, setting up many funding streams for SMEs, before being asked to set up Barnet Enterprise Trust.

As well as running small businesses himself, he has served on the Council and worked with many charitable concerns.

He currently runs a group of not-for-profit companies that provide personal and business finance and support in an affordable, ethical way, with the needs of local people at its heart.

Peter said: “I was surprised and obviously, incredibly honoured, to receive the news that I had been nominated to receive this award. I am very lucky to have had great support around me and to have worked with colleagues and partners who have the same objectives that I have always had – to make north London a community that offers opportunities to all its residents and is an attractive place to start and grow your business.”

Investment success for home care service

Bell View Help at Home Care Workers

Five of Bell View Help at Home’s newly appointed care workers.

Big Issue Invest, the social investment arm of the Big Issue, is hailing the success of north Northumberland-based home care provider Bell View Help at Home, following its launch earlier this year.

Bell View Help at Home is a social enterprise dedicated to providing high quality home care to older people in north Northumberland and was launched with the help of a loan from Big Issue Invest.

Big Issue Invest (BII) is the social investment arm of The Big Issue. It supports and extends the work of The Big Issue, with self-help and prevention at its core, by backing business-like solutions to help tackle poverty and inequality.

Rod Jones, Regional Director for the North East and Cumbria at Big Issue Invest, says: “We are here to help worthwhile social businesses like Bell View Help at Home access the funding they need to grow and develop, so that they can help more people and communities.”

And Bell View Help at Home has already shown how an investment can make a real impact. The new service has only been going since February of this year but is already delivering over 300 hours of care a week, which has allowed over 25 elderly people to remain independent and live more flexibly in their own communities.

According to Jane Field, Service Development Manager at Bell View the Big Issue Invest investment was what was needed to make a new business idea a reality.

“We wanted to deliver an innovative way of providing care for older people. Not like the old kind of home care, chucking breakfast in front of you and going out the door. We wanted to offer an integrated package of support to people in the community.

“Although, in many ways, a social enterprise is just like any other type of business, it can be difficult for traditional lenders to see that our aims go beyond profit, and they are sometimes wary to lend to us. That’s where Big Issue Invest came in.”

Rod Jones adds: “Bell View Help at Home is a revolutionary service providing real care for elderly people, allowing them to remain independent and live more flexibly in their own communities, and Big Issue Invest is pleased to have been able to help them.

“At a time when many small businesses are struggling to access finance, Big Issue Invest is here to support social businesses in the North East, be they charities, co-operatives or social enterprises like Help at Home. People can find out more at our website www.bigissueinvest.com.”

Bell View Help at Home

Bell View is a registered charity which has been in operation since 1998 and runs a purpose built resource centre in Belford, Northumberland, offering care and support facilities for the elderly in the area. Thanks to a loan from Big Issue Invest, Bell View was able to establish Help at Home, to provide reliable and consistent care and support to older people in their own homes.

Running a home care service in an area which covers 150 square miles between Alnwick and Berwick is no mean feat. Qualified carers help with everything from supermarket trips to cleaning, but older people are also offered the chance to get out of the house and join lunch clubs at Belford day centre or in participating village halls. Local volunteers help out with transport and befriending services, making it a true community enterprise.

One customer said: “The Help at Home service is the best thing that has happened to our family. My father is like a different man.”


Survey shows surge in demand for third sector services in Dumfries and Galloway

Organisations in Dumfries and Galloway Third Sector First logothat provide advice and support to the most vulnerable people in our communities have reported a significant increase in demand for their services as a result of the UK Government’s welfare reforms.

A survey of third sector organisations in Dumfries and Galloway, carried out by Third Sector First, showed that, over the last twelve months, almost 94% of organisations that responded said they had seen an increase in demand for their services. All those organisations that responded said they expected demand for their services to increase in the coming year.

The results suggest that that more people are living in fear of change and people are increasingly worried about their employment prospects, whether they can afford to meet housing costs or simply make ends meet.

David Coulter, Chief Executive of Third Sector First, said: “Many of our members are the organisations that people turn to when they are in difficulties. Not only have many of these organisations experienced an increase in demand for their services over the past year, but they predict a further increase in demand in the next twelve months.

“Inevitably what this means is that some of the most vulnerable people in our communities are experiencing increased levels of stress and mental health problems.”

The results of Third Sector First’s survey will be revealed in full at Connect 2013 – a conference being held in Dumfries on Friday 8 November that will bring the third and public sectors together to explore issues that affect the people and communities of Dumfries and Galloway.

Visit www.connect2013.org.uk for more information and to book a place.

Calling all voluntary organisations in Dumfries and Galloway

Third Sector First, Third Sector First logothe Dumfries and Galloway wide organisation set up to promote charities, voluntary organisations and community-led groups, is holding two training sessions in Castle Douglas.

Volunteers play an important role in many organisations and these workshops will give local organisations help in developing programmes and policies for the involvement of volunteers in their organisation.

Speaking about the courses, David Coulter, Chief Executive at Third Sector First, said: “There are hundreds of voluntary organisations locally which are doing some fantastic work with local volunteers. Many organisations that help to make Dumfries and Galloway the place it is rely on volunteers and it is only right that they receive the best support possible.”

These two workshops are designed to help those organisations consider the important role volunteers play. Topics to be covered include: who volunteers and why; what motivates volunteers; recruiting & selecting volunteers; supporting volunteers and equal opportunities & diversity.

Added David: “Without volunteers our communities would be so much poorer in terms of charity and social cohesion. That’s why we are helping to give local organisations the skills and practical support to help them work with their volunteers.”

The courses run at Castle Douglas Fire Station on Thursday 31 October 2013 and Thursday 5 December 2013, from 9.30am to 4pm.

To find out more or to book contact Third Sector First on 0300 303 8558. Alternatively the workshops can be booked online at http://thirdsectorfirst.eventbrite.co.uk.