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West Midlands public sector organisations join forces for social value event for the VCSE sectors

West Midlands Combined Authority, Birmingham City Council, Solihull Metropolitan Council, Walsall Metropolitan Council and the Social Value Portal invite social enterprises and voluntary and community organisations in the region to join them at an event aimed at promoting a better understanding of Social Value and its role in the procurement process.
 
The event is about Social Value in the public procurement process and has been organised in order to enable public sector organisations in the West Midlands to connect more effectively with the VCSE sector.
 
By attending you will:
 
  • Learn more about how Social Value is being used in public procurement across the West Midlands.
  • Learn more about how best to present and describe your ‘social value offer’.
  • Find out how you can work with suppliers and contractors who want to increase Community Engagement within their supply-chains or amongst their beneficiaries.
  • Meet commissioners and procurement professionals from local authorities/organisations and find out more about current and forthcoming Social Value procurement opportunities in the West Midlands.

 

The event is free and takes place on:
 
Monday 7th October 2019 from 09:30 – 13:00 BST.
 
Location: Solihull Council House, Council House, Manor Square, Solihull, Birmingham B91 3QB
 
 
 
#socialvalueWMCA
 

Good Finance Live! is coming to the Midlands

Good Finance LIVE! hosted by iSE and Good Finance in collaboration with Big Society Capital and Access Foundation is coming to the Midlands. 

This free event will take place at BVSC on Tuesday 29th October 2019 from 10.00am until 3.00pm. It is aimed at social enterprises, charities and voluntary and community organisations who are actively looking for investment. This could be via community shares, an unsecured loan to develop your business or cashflow a contract, or a secured loan (mortgage-like) debt to buy a building. 

16 investors are already confirmed for the marketplace. There will be talks and sessions happening throughout the day. You’ll hear directly from social enterprises about their experience of taking on social investment and will also be able to learn more about the support offered by the Reach Fund and the Community Shares Booster Programme


If you are a #charity #SocEnt #CommunityBiz looking for repayable finance to help fund new plans or grow your enterprise, then don’t miss #GoodFinanceLive in Birmingham and the chance to meet social investors who are ready to discuss your plans.

Sign up for the event here.

Download the event programme.

The Community Business Trade Up Programme

The Community Business Trade Up Programme is run by the School for Social Entrepreneurs, in partnership with Power to Change.

This programme helps the leaders of community businesses in England. It focuses on growing income from trading, to improve impact and sustainability. It offers:

  • A learning programme: 12 days spread over nine months.
  • A Match Trading grant of up to £10,000.
  • A community of people running organisations like yours.

 

There is no cost to participants at any point.

In 2020, the programme will help a further 80 community businesses and will open for applications in autumn 2019.

Read more about the programme.

Register your interest (you’ll then receive an email reminder).

John Taylor Hospice is holding an open evening for people interested in becoming volunteers

Volunteers are an essential part of the team at John Taylor Hospice (JTH), helping in the hospice itself, in its shops, in fundraising and with services like driving and wellbeing.

JTH is looking to boost its current numbers of volunteers and is hosting a Volunteers Open Evening so that those with an interest in supporting JTH’s work can meet staff, volunteers and families who use the hospice’s services. If you’d like to find out more about what is entailed in hospice volunteering, pop along. All are welcome and you don’t need to book.

The Open Evening takes places as follows:

Volunteer Open Evening
Thursday 19th September — drop-in between 6-8pm
John Taylor Hospice, 76 Grange Road, Erdington B24 0DF

Founded in 1910, JTH is one of the oldest non-denominational hospices in the UK. It was also the first ‘new mutual’ or social enterprise hospice leaving the NHS in in 2011 under the Department of Health’s Right to Request process.

More about the event on the JTH website
Read more posts here about JTH

Staff at John Taylor Hospice

Healthwatch Birmingham is recruiting

Are you passionate about helping Birmingham citizens by tackling inequality in the health and social care system?

There are currently a number of opportunities to join Healthwatch Birmingham’s team and the commencement of the organisation’s new contract, along with major continuing changes in the health and social care system, make this an exciting and important time to be part of Healthwatch Birmingham’s work.

There is one staff vacancy:

Marketing and Communications Manager
£26,999 – £30,507 per annum
35 Hours per week
Based at Cobalt Square, 83 Hagley Road, Birmingham. B16 8QG
Closing date: Friday 6th September (10am)

 More information and how to apply.

The organisation is also seeking new (voluntary position) Non-Executive Directors.

Non-Executive Director
Remuneration: Expenses Only (Voluntary Position)
Average Term: 3 Years
Closing date: Friday 6th September (10am)

More information and how to apply.

Free LinkedIn workshop with Citizen Click at The Women’s Enterprise Hub 17/09/19 — open to all

The Women’s Enterprise Hub is offering a free mixed workshop on how to use LinkedIn effectively as a tool in your business.

Please note that booking is essential — send mail to Ashleigh Howe or ring 0121 663 1711. The workshop will be delivered by social enterprise Citizen Click. Details below.

UnLtd’s Thrive accelerator programme, ‘Solutions for an Ageing Society’, now open for applications

UnLtd has just announced that Thrive, its new social accelerator programme designed to help ambitious social ventures to grow, has re-opened for applications.

The ‘Solutions for an Ageing Society’ (SfAS) Accelerator is looking for eight game-changing social businesses who want to grow nationally and contribute to significantly improving the quality of life for the over 50s.

Specifically, UnLtd is looking for social entrepreneurs who are delivering solutions that improve outcomes around:

  • Quality of Life.
  • Wellbeing.
  • Loneliness.
  • Independence.
  • Support for Dementia/Alzheimer’s.

 

Successful applicants will work with a dedicated, highly skilled Venture Manager and will receive 1-to-1 tailored support, access to a specialised network, first class social impact measurement support and the opportunity to take on up to £50K of investment (debt or equity). You’ll be assessed on performance to date, potential for growth and profitability. In return you’ll have the opportunity to scale both your organisation and impact rapidly.

If you have been typically operating for 2 – 6 years and have a clear social mission and demonstrable social impact UnLtd wants to hear from you.

Register your interest before the end of September 2019.

Click to read about 2018 SfAS winners so far in 2019

Co-operatives WM announces study visit to Robert Owen museum, Powys

Co-operatives WM has just announced that its Member Education Group is organising a study visit to the Robert Owen museum, Powys.

There will be an introductory talk at the museum about Robert Owen and his links to Newtown, a detailed view of the museum, followed by a guided walk around Robert Owen sites in Newtown; plus free time in the museum. Afterwards there will be lunch at a cafe in Newtown.

Reformer, socialist, co-operator: Robert Owen 1771 – 1858

Organised by the West Midlands Cooperatives Member Education Group.

For more information and bookings.

Read about a previous study trip by Phil Beardmore, secretary, Co-operatives WM.

Robert Owen Museum, The Cross, Broad St
Newtown SY16 2BB
Sat 14th September 2019
11:30am – 1:00pm

Breakfast briefing — social enterprise applications to the Queen’s Enterprise Award for Sustainable Development

8.30am – 10.00am on Thursday 15th August
iSE, 
Avoca Court, 23 Moseley Road, Digbeth
Birmingham B12 0HJ

iSE has just announced that it will host a breakfast briefing to support social enterprises seeking to apply to the Queen’s Enterprise Award for Sustainable Development.

Chief executive Sarah Crawley says that social enterprise still has a quiet voice in the wider business community. Therefore, as part of iSE’s work to boost recognition of the sector, eligible social enterprises are being encouraged to make an application to the Queen’s Enterprise Award for Sustainable Development. The closing date is the 10th September 2019.

This will also support our collective efforts Birmingham Social Enterprise City.

To support organisations that want to make an application iSE is holding a breakfast briefing on 15th August from 8.30 am until 10am. Amongst the guest participants will be BELU Water’s chief executive Karen Lynch, who made a successful application last year and will share her experience of the process.

The Queen’s Enterprise Award is an opportunity to promote the valuable contribution that your social enterprise makes to the sustainable development of Birmingham. Successful applicants are invited to a royal reception, where the award — a crystal trophy and a Grant of Appointment (an official certificate) — is presented by one of the Queen’s Lord-Lieutenants. Award-holders are permitted to fly the Queen’s Award Flag at their offices and use its emblem on marketing materials.

Eligibility:

To apply for the Queen’s Award for Enterprise your enterprise must:

  • Be based in the UK (including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man).
  • File your Company Tax Returns with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) with two years of completed accounts.
  • Be a self-contained enterprise that markets its own products or services and is under its own management.
  • Have at least 2 full-time UK employees or part-time equivalents.
  • Demonstrate strong corporate social responsibility.
  • Show how you have achieved outstanding sustainable development for more than 2 years.
  • Provide evidence of the benefits or positive outcomes of your actions or interventions

 

Join iSE from 8.30am – 10.00am on Thursday 15th August. Breakfast will be available!

To book your place email Paul Barnes or Sarah Crawley.

Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development — blog and news.

Birmingham Social Enterprise City — survey prize draw winners

When we began the first city-wide baseline survey of social enterprise in Birmingham, as part of building a more robust evidence-base for Social Enterprise City plans, we promised a free prize draw, with an Apple iPad as the first prize, and a second prize of a backpack from social enterprise  Madlug, which for every bag purchased donates another to a child in care.

We’re delighted to announce that the prize draw has taken place and we have two very deserving winners — both social enterprises founded by women, led by women, and which specialise in working with vulnerable women.

The winner of the first prize, an Apple iPad, is Jane Strand, the founder of Wild Oyster CIC, which began trading just three years ago. The enterprise works with women and organisations and employability support, advice and guidance, health and wellbeing, mentoring, tenancy support, supported housing for women, as well as a range of social impact consultancy services.

The winner of the second prize, a Madlug bag, is Marcia Lewinson, the founder and CEO of WAITS — Women Acting in Today’s Society. Marcia has been involved with WAITS since its inception in 1992. WAITS provides critical services for women who need help and support in order to make positive changes in their lives.

Congratulations to both of them.

We would also like to thank all the social enterprises that made time to complete the survey thus helping to significantly improve the evidence-base for the sector’s social and economic contribution.

Read the survey findings.

Facts and figures — profiles of the the social enterprise sector; Birmingham; Digbeth; and the Greater Birmingham area.

Jane Strand, founder of Wild Oyster CIC, winner of the 1st prize

Marcia Lewinson, CEO of WAITS, winner of the 2nd prize

Social Enterprise Mark CIC announces new entry-level accreditation scheme for younger and new-start social enterprises

Social Enterprise Mark CIC, the organisation behind the nationally recognised Social Enterprise mark accreditation scheme has just announced the launch of a new accreditation for new-start and young or emerging social enterprises.

Called the Aspiring Social Enterprise accreditation, the company says that this new Mark has been “developed specifically to support aspiring social enterprises to get started on the pathway to social enterprise excellence”. It is aimed at businesses that may only recently have become incorporated, that have not necessarily started trading or have just begun to, or that may have been operating for some time but have been grant dependent, reliant on loans or investment income.

Social Enterprise Mark CIC says that to qualify for the new accreditation enterprises should meet the following criteria:

  • Be primarily dedicated to social objectives.
  • Be an independent business.
  • Be planning to become sustainable through trading income.
  • Commit to dedicating a majority of any annual profit to social purposes.
  • Have a vision of how its social objectives will be achieved.

 

Social Enterprise Mark CIC says: “Through this new entry-level accreditation, younger and new-start social enterprises can access tailored support to achieve sector-agreed standards of good practice and excellence in social enterprise, represented by the Social Enterprise Mark and Social Enterprise Gold Mark.”

The new accreditation scheme carries an annual fee of £150.00 + VAT.

Find out more about the Social Enterprise Mark and its new Aspiring Social Enterprise accreditation.

Register your interest in achieving the Aspiring Social Enterprise accreditation. UPDATE 29th July 2019: The Social Enterprise Mark has kindly offered a 10% discount on the first year’s licence fee to BSSEC’s readers/followers/network. I suggest you enter “10% discount offer” after your name when registering.

Business growth planning workshop for women at the Women’s Enterprise Hub

iSE has just announced that in conjunction with HSBC it is offering a free business growth planning workshop for women — details below.

Booking essential, please – by email to Ashleigh Howe.

Social Enterprise City — survey reveals important new trends in the sector

Click for full PDF (with thanks to Rebecca Giannelli iSE)

The latest baseline survey of social enterprise activity in the city conducted on behalf of the Birmingham Social Enterprise City steering group during February-May 2019 and published July 2019 gives us a much more detailed profile of the sector in Birmingham than we have ever previously had and reveals some significant new trends. 

It also confirms beyond doubt that social enterprises’ ability to unlock social value is a key characteristic of the sector. Over and above the services they deliver, social enterprises in Birmingham create social value worth around £40m a year through reinvesting in their businesses, spending on social mission, and involving volunteers.

Here are some of the most significant headline findings.

Population

  • 564 social enterprises were identified.

 

Trading

  • 75% of social enterprises are engaged in trading activities and 74% derive at least 25% of their income from these activities.

 

Age profile

  • The sector in Birmingham is characterised by a high proportion of newer, younger social enterprises: almost 41% of social enterprises have been operating for three years or less. This is a substantial increase in this age-band.

 

Turnover

  • 38% of social enterprises have turnover in the £0-£24k a year range, indicating that they are still in the early stages of trading and income-generation.
    • This reflects the high proportion of social enterprises that have been operating for three years or less. 
  • 43% of social enterprises are in turnover-bands from £25k to £400k a year but thinly represented in turnover-bands between £401k and £1m.
  • 10% have turnovers exceeding £1m.

 

Social enterprises as employers

  • Almost 39% of social enterprises do not yet employ staff, again reflective of the increase in newer, younger social enterprises.
  • In the two years to date it is estimated that the sector’s net job creation was over 460 FTE posts.
  • 59% are living wage employers.

 

Significant inter-trading — retaining the social economy pound

  • 86% spend with other social enterprises and this is worth almost £17m a year.
    • It is encouraging to see that this key message regarding the importance of inter-trading within the social economy — a key aim of City Drive and of Social Enterprise City — has been grasped and acted on.

 

Unlocking social value

  • 64% of social enterprises utilise volunteers and across the sector this donated effort is equivalent to almost half-a-million volunteer hours worth at least £5.6m a year.
    • This is yet another example of how social enterprises unlock additional social value. Our local surveys again reveal a little acknowledged fact — that volunteer effort is central to the social enterprise sector and enables it to deliver additional social value. 
  • 69% of social enterprises reinvest in their business — worth a further £5.6m a year.
  • 69% reinvest each year in achieving their social mission — worth almost £30m a year.

 

It is these last three statistics that in some ways are most revealing. In addition to the services and goods delivered, social enterprises are unlocking at least another £40m-worth of social value a year through utilising volunteers, reinvesting in their businesses and reinvesting to achieve their social aims.

For more facts and figures about the sector in Birmingham:

Download the survey infographic.

Survey report — EXECUTIVE SUMMARY.

 Survey report — FULL TEXT.

More about the profile of social enterprise in Birmingham and in the Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter.

More about Birmingham Social Enterprise City and the baseline survey on the iSE website.

Also featured on BVSC’s UPDATE BRUM blog.

Healthwatch Birmingham receives national recognition and wins contract to continue providing service

Click to view full report

Healthwatch Birmingham, the independent champion representing public and patients’ experiences of using local health and social care services, has just published its Annual Report 2018/2019.

The report details the organisation’s most successful year to date:

  • 59% more people’s experiences being heard and shared.
  • 13 investigation reports published to influence positive changes to services.
  • More people from diverse communities have had the opportunity to speak up.
  • People getting the links they need to health and social care support.
  • Its work recognised and awarded at a national level.

 

It has also been nationally recognised for its work, receiving Highly Commended at the National Healthwatch Network Awards and runner-up in the Patient Experience Network National Awards (PENNA) awards. It also achieved ‘Best in Class’ as a Healthwatch Organisation of the Year.

These successes, according to its Chairperson, Danielle Oum, were instrumental in helping the organisation win the continued contract to deliver Healthwatch Birmingham services for the city and all its communities.

If you have a health and social care experience you wish to discuss with Healthwatch Birmingham you can arrange a meeting by emailing the team or ringing 0800 652 5278 .

Read the online version of the report.
Follow on Twitter.
Follow on Facebook.

BSSEC publishes seventh annual report

We are very pleased to publish our seventh annual report.

There has been excellent news in the 2018/19 financial year, but there was awful news too.

First, the good news. In April 2018 it was confirmed that Birmingham’s application to be recognised as a ‘social enterprise city’ under SEUK’s ‘social enterprise places’ scheme had been successful. This huge step forward, ushering in a new period of development for the sector in Birmingham, is largely down to the immense efforts of Sarah Crawley and her team at ISE.

We have also seen significant progress in working with new partners and stakeholders — such as the West Midlands Combined Authority — to advance the cause of social enterprise.

And we have been able to increase the time and efforts we can dedicate to some of our core work — including working as part of a social economy task force established by West Midlands Combined Authority — thanks to continuing support from The Barrow Cadbury Trust, which we grateful acknowledge.

And now the bad news. On the 7th March 2019 our friend, colleague and co-Director Mark Ellerby collapsed and died suddenly. We and many others in the social enterprise sector miss him dreadfully and we wish to record here our lasting gratitude for his contribution to BSSEC and to the wider sector. Mark was an accomplished social entrepreneur, of course, but he was also a dear friend and it still doesn’t seem entirely believable that he has gone.

See all BSSEC annual reports.

Direct link to our Annual Report 2019.

Explaining Birmingham’s social economy

26 educators, students and entrepreneurs from Bulgaria, Latvia, Slovenia and Lithuania – on Bridging to the Future’s exchange project

Last week, Simon Veasey from ISE and myself did our bit for international relations. We were asked by Bridging to the Future’s MD Duncan Chamberlain to help give an overview of social enterprise and the wider social economy in Birmingham to a group of 26 educators, students and entrepreneurs from Bulgaria, Latvia, Slovenia and Lithuania who were in the UK on a week-long European exchange programme with Bridging to the Future.

We joined the group at one of the longest standing mental health social enterprises in the Digbeth Quarter, Better Pathways, where we were kindly accommodated and made very welcome.

Better Pathways’ Operations Manager Raj Gill kindly agreed to kick the proceedings off by explaining how her organisation operates and the role social enterprise plays within it.

We then spoke and answered questions about the social economy in Birmingham.

Simon spoke about the realities of operating a specialist business development agency — how business support is delivered, and the need to operate as a commercially viable social enterprise able to win delivery contracts. I explained that creating favourable conditions for sector growth also involves working with a wide range of other types of stakeholders, including local policy-makers and key public authorities.

The group had had a very busy day and were showing signs of exhaustion but two of the group — both tutors — stayed behind to talk further and clarify some of the points we had made. 

We hope we sent them away with plenty to think about and at least some idea of the long history of social enterprise support and development in Birmingham. Our thanks again to Better Pathways for kindly offering to host this session.

Incidentally, Better Pathways currently has an excellent dedicated training space to let. For details send mail to chief exec Sue Roberts.

‘Place-based investing for impact’ — report published

This year City Drive 2019 included an event called Impact Investing for Place which considered new trends in place-based social investment and social economy development.

The event was kindly sponsored by Big Society Capital, chaired by its Social Sector Engagement Director, Melanie Mills, and hosted by Anthony Collins Solicitors.

Place-based investment for impact and outcomes is an idea that is gaining ground in financial circles, social enterprise support, economic development and amongst policy-makers and public authorities. But this event marked a first for Birmingham: it is the first time that key players with an interest in local impact investing in Birmingham have come together to learn more about local impact investing and consider the role that ‘impact investment’ could play in the city and what can be done to align investment.

While the dominant model of place-based social investing is currently the Local Impact Fund (LIF), this event concluded that there are opportunities for Birmingham to take a different approach – one that isn’t necessarily solely about financial investment and that place-based investing for impact should also:

» Consider wider opportunities for creating social value and community benefit – whether in public service commissioning, major public works such as HS2, or major sports or cultural initiatives such as the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

» Be incorporated into Birmingham’s Social Enterprise City plans as well as into wider support and development priorities for the social enterprise sector.

You can read more about the event on the iSE website.

You can read the full report here.

Birmingham — a ‘real living wage’ city?

West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, speaking at the event (photo: courtesy of WMPCC)

This morning Birmingham City Council hosted a breakfast discussion introducing the Living Wage Foundation’s new Living Wage Places scheme.

The aim was to bring together businesses, local politicians, public sector organisations and members of civil society to discuss how we can work collectively to ensure everyone in Birmingham earns the Real Living Wage. The real Living Wage is based on the cost of living and is already voluntarily paid by over 5,000 UK employers. The UK real living wage rate is £9.00 an hour (outside London) and £10.55 inside London.

In Birmingham 25% of workers earn less than the real Living Wage, as set by the Living Wage Foundation, and for women that rises to over 30%. Almost half the local areas in Birmingham are in the most deprived fifth nationwide. In some areas of Birmingham over 50% of children are in poverty. Currently, only 102 employers in the WMCA area are accredited Living Wage Employers. If the 25% of low-paid workers in the city region received the real living wage this would result in a £560m boost to their pay packets and to the local economy, according to the Living Wage Foundation.

In March 2019 Dundee was announced as the first UK city to officially commit to the new Living Wage Places scheme with the Living Wage Foundation. An alliance of prominent employers launched an action plan setting out how they will work together on “Making Dundee a Living Wage City” in partnership with Living Wage Scotland.

Birmingham City Council would dearly love Birmingham to be England’s first real living wage city and the event brought together a cross-section of employers, civil society organisations, educational institutions, public sector bodies and politicians to begin discussing the first steps in how to make this happen. Speakers included: Liam Byrne MP, Cllr John Cotton, Lucy Bannister and Clare Goff from the Living Wage Foundation, Paul Faulkner of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, Mary Vadaie of JM Security Systems and Lee Barron of TUC West Midlands.

The Living Wage Foundation recommends a standard ‘model’ for taking forward place-based campaigns on the real living wage. First, establish an action group of key players that want to work together — local authorities, employers, public institutions, civil society. Second, research the local low pay landscape. Third, develop an ambitious action plan with real, demonstrable targets.

Obviously, this is just the beginning and there is a huge amount to do, but it was slightly disappointing that the meeting didn’t discuss how an action group might be brought together. However and whenever this happens, though, it will be essential that social enterprise and the wider voluntary sector are represented and that we have champions in all the key sectors that can help drive forward this ambitious campaign.

This could be a really important initiative for Birmingham — a vital bit of the jigsaw in addressing low pay, entrenched poverty, and the continuing scandal of some of the biggest corporations’ and institutions’ pay packets effectively being subsidised by state benefits.

You can follow immediate developments on Twitter.

How to become a real living wage employer.

Please help by giving iSE some feedback on City Drive 2019

Rebecca Giannelli at iSE has just been in touch to say:

CITY DRIVE once again proved to be the biggest social enterprise event in Birmingham’s calendar, with 18 events taking place all over the city. Here at iSE we thoroughly enjoyed what was a non-stop week showcasing Birmingham as a vibrant social enterprise city – and we hope you did too.

iSE is interested in learning about the impact created by CITY DRIVE 2019 and we would also like to hear your thoughts and ideas for CITY DRIVE 2020! We have therefore created a very brief survey reviewing CITY DRIVE and we would really appreciate if you could spend 5 minutes of your time filling it out.

Complete the survey.

If you have any questions then don’t hesitate to email me or call us on 0121 771 1411. (If you need to remind yourself about what took place during CITY DRIVE you can read the full programme here.)

Thank you very much,

Rebecca Giannelli

iSE

Contract opportunity — iSE and partners seek consultancy support for USE-IT project legacy

iSE and partners are seeking a consultant to support the project steering group to develop and implement a strategy for the USE-IT Project legacy, which is the focus of Work Package 7.

This consultancy work is to commence from 24th June 2019 and complete by 20th December 2019. It is expected that the consultant will work flexibly most weeks over this period to achieve the expected outputs and outcomes. The consultant will attend project steering group meetings and Work Package 7 meetings both of which take place monthly to report on progress and consult with partners.

Full consultancy brief