“Social enterprise — Be the News”

Social enterprises in the West Midlands are being invited to a free event to help them raise their profile in the local media.

Social Enterprise – Be the News is an afternoon of speakers and discussion organised by Birmingham’s John Taylor Hospice and Social Enterprise West Midlands.

The event on 2nd July 2015 at the Priory Rooms in Birmingham will feature talks, forums and a question and answer session with media specialists including Birmingham Post editor Stacey Barnfield.

Aiming to give social enterprises the skills and confidence to share their stories with the media, the afternoon event is open to all social enterprises in the West Midlands.

John Taylor Hospice, which was founded in 1910 and became a social enterprise in 2011, has won awards for its media work including the SE100 Storytelling Award and the SEWM Prima Award for innovation. It is the only independent social enterprise in the hospice movement.

More information about this on the JTH website.

Booking essential — here.

Self-employment and online enterprise — young people try to by-pass labour market discrimination

BRAP has a really interesting piece in the latest issue of the online journal Open Citizenship.

Based on recent research and the organisation’s experience in delivering Lifeline, a youth enterprise programme, BRAP’s chief exec Joy Warmington offers a thought-provoking perspective on young people’s attitudes to and understanding of the world of work — and why some are turning to self-employment and micro-business, especially online business, as a means of creating their own opportunities.

Anyone involved with or interested in youth employment issues will find it worth a read.  Read it here.

Just as France has its banlieues and Italy its quartieri periferici, the UK has stigmatised neighbourhoods. Many young people from these areas believe employers use their addresses as an indicator of ethnicity, class, and educational attainment, rejecting their job applications out of hand.

Employment and the world of work remain a mystery to many of these young people. Barely 40% said they knew what qualities employers were interested in. Many are angry that schools did so little to help impart practical, useful life skills. Many feel that schooling has done little but prevent them from achieving their full potential.

What really surprised us was young people’s interest in enterprise and self-employment, with many seeing starting a business as a route to greater personal autonomy – as well as a means of side-stepping the negative stereotypes and discrimination they believe prevent them from succeeding in the labour market. In effect they were saying, ‘if no one else wants us, then we’ll have to create our own opportunities’. — Joy Warmington, brap

City Drive opening event

Further to this post, there are some excellent pictures from the City Drive opening event on iSE’s Facebook page. The photos are courtesy Ian Cuthbert Design.

I very much enjoyed this one…

City Drive opening event: L-to-R: Sarah Crawley, iSE; Helga Edstrom, Office fror Civil Society, Cabinet Office; Peter Holbrook, SE UK (c) Ian Cuthbert

City Drive opening event: L-to-R: Sarah Crawley, iSE; Helga Edstrom, Office fror Civil Society, Cabinet Office; Peter Holbrook, SE UK (c) Ian Cuthbert

And also further to this post, if you would like to see what you missed at the Health & Social Value event held as part of City Drive today, then you can view my presentation here. (It probably needs explaining that the purpose of this presentation was to: establish the wider context of social value; explain what we found out from two years’ work with Birmingham City Council and other local authorities about their approaches to social value; and summarise emerging trends in social value in the health sector.)

And remember:

  • Buy from social enterprises
  • Work for a social enterprise
  • Volunteer for a social enterprise
  • Invest in a social enterprise
  • Start a social enterprise


It isn’t too late to check what City Drive events you are missing in the remainder of the week and book!

Tales of social enterprise

Published to mark Birmingham’s first week-long City Drive social enterprise festival, Tales of social enterprise tells the stories of six social entrepreneurs whose businesses operate in the Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter.

Click the graphic to read this on Issuu

Click the graphic to read this on Issuu

City Drive — which runs from the 20th-24th April inclusive — is about raising the profile of social enterprise in Birmingham. We want to get more people thinking about how they can support social enterprise — by buying from, volunteering with, working for, volunteering to help, investing in or even starting a social enterprise.

For anyone curious about the real-life experience of starting, growing and sustaining a social enterprise — what makes people do it and how do they go about it? — Tales of social enterprise will be a fascinating read.

The booklet was researched and written by Sally Edwards of Spot On Marketing CIC.

Do have a look at the City Drive programme of events — there are over twenty events at various times and venues throughout the week. They’re all free. The themes for the week are:

  • Monday: Telling the story of the Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter.
  • Tuesday: Social enterprises in supply chains.
  • Wednesday: Involving young people in social enterprise.
  • Thursday: Social change and social enterprise.
  • Friday: Birmingham — a social enterprise city.


UPDATE 21/04/15: Sally Edwards, who masterminded this publication, has asked me to add the following. Some little while back contributions were invited from social entrepreneurs willing to be case studies in a larger new book showcasing social enterprises in Birmingham and beyond. Over 50 enterprises sent expressions of interest.

There is therefore clearly the potential for a much more substantial publication and Sally still intends to pursue that. The work involved will be significant, however, and so this is now planned for August/September 2015. We’ll update with further information as it becomes available.

 Read more about the publication.

  Read more about theDigbeth Social Enterprise Quarter.

 Read more about City Drive.

  Read more posts on this blog about City Drive.





Comic Relief ‘Tech for Good’ fund targets non-profits

Comic Relief has just launched Tech for Good, a one-off fund offering grants of up to £60,000 to not-for-personal-profit organisations using digital technology to create social change by delivering new ideas or more effective services.

The programme is specifically targeted at not-for-profit organisations that already have some technical expertise and capacity to enact social change using digital technologies.

Projects have to be completed over a six-month period.

Closing date 3pm on the 8th May 2015.

Get cracking!

City Drive events start next week

There can be few who have missed the fact that City Drive events start on the 20th April — that’s next week! City Drive (see full programme) is a week-long series of events aimed at raising the profile of social enterprise across Birmingham and getting everyone shopping for change and buying for good.

“Health, Social Value & the Health Sector”

On Tuesday 21st April there will be a very special event that will be of interest to those involved in the health sector — in any shape or form: “Health, Social Value & the Health Sector” (see programme).

Date: Tuesday, 21st April 2015.
Time: 09.30am for 10am-1pm (including lunch).
Venue: The Studio, Caxton Gate, 14 Cannon Street, Birmingham B2 5EP.

The event will include a presentation of BSSEC’s findings regarding progress on implementing social value legislation in the health sector (this draws on BSSEC’s Barrow Cadbury Trust-funded work), a discussion on health social enterprises as part of the health supply chain, and an expert panel chaired by the chief executive of Social Enterprise UK, Peter Holbrook. And it’s free. What more could you ask for?

→ BOOK HERE for “Health, Social Value & the Health Sector”. Places limited, booking essential, please.

Read all posts on this blog about City Drive.

Talent Match — calling social enterprises

Recruiting for Social Entrepreneurs – Information Event

When: 22nd April 2015 – 2pm-4pm.
Where: iSE, Avoca Court, 23 Moseley Road, Birmingham, West Midlands B12 0HJ.

Social entrepreneurs have a fantastic opportunity to boost their social impact through recruiting new employees. But barriers, such as cost and employment legislation can make the risk to take on support staff seem too great.

Talent Match Company offers a solution for all businesses that is particularly appealing to smaller social enterprises. We employ young adults who have been out of the job market for at least 12 months, but having gone through the Talent Match programme are now ready for work.

We place these young adults with host organisations for 6 months to do a real job and add value to your business. Roles can be anything from a catering assistant to a trainee electrician and from an HR administrator to a van driver. We also provide generous wage subsidies depending on the opportunities available to the young adult with your organisation.

Come along to hear from one social entrepreneur who is already taking advantage of Talent Match and find out how you can get involved.

This event is part of iSE’s City Drive week to promote social enterprise in Birmingham, it is a free event but delegates are asked to register online.

Queries — please send mail to Alison Sheffield at BVSC  or ring her on 0121 678 8838.

See all posts about City Drive.

ESF Youth Employment Initiative — Birmingham City Council calls for partners

Further to this post, Birmingham City Council has just issued the following notification…

-_Birmingham_City_Council_Call_for_Prospective_Partners_-_InboxIf you are interested in registering with Birmingham City Council as a prospective partner to help develop Youth Employment Initiative (Birmingham and Solihull only), please go to this link to access the opportunity through Find it Birmingham. [You will need to register to use FIIB if you haven’t already done so.]

We have placed the opportunity on Find it in Birmingham in order to put some transparency in the proposed partnership approach for BCC to become lead applicant in a YEI proposal for Birmingham and Solihull.

There is a very short closing date for prospective partners to come back to us — we have set the close date for next Wednesday 15th April.

Could you please alert your networks to the opportunity.

Thank you.

Jane Newman
Employment Development Manager

Calling social enterprises — in need of free advertising?

Shop for Change LargeThis, just in from iSE…

If you’re in need of some free advertising, then we have just what you’re looking for.  Would you like to be featured in the NEW Shop for Change Directory?

As part of City Drive 2015 (20-24 April) we are relaunching the Shop for Change Directory.

Shop for Change aims to support social enterprises’ sustainability by encouraging more inter-trading and putting you in front of more customers. One of the ways we are doing this is by providing a directory of local social enterprises for commercial businesses, other social enterprises and private individuals.

If you would like the goods and services provided by your social enterprise to be featured in the directory please download the entry form, fill it in and email it to Jane Mitchell at iSE.

If you have any questions please contact Jane Mitchell on 0121 771 1411 or send her mail.


GBSLEP seeks social enterprise champion — call for applications


Urgent news just in from the GBSLEP…

The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) is seeking to appoint a Champion for Social Enterprise in recognition of the key role that this sector plays in the local economy.

It is looking for a passionate individual to champion the Social Enterprise Sector and to help create the conditions in which the sector can flourish and make even more of an impact on the Greater Birmingham economy.

Applications are invited from suitable candidates in line with the Role Description. Applicants are invited to submit:

  • A detailed CV (no more than 3 pages)
  • A covering letter (no more than 2 pages)


The closing date for applications is 1st May 2015. Interviews are planned to take place week commencing 25th May 2015.

Applications should be emailed to the GBSLEP, marked ‘Social Enterprise Application’ in the subject line, or posted to: GBSLEP Ground Floor, Baskerville House, Centenary Square, Birmingham, B1 2ND.

A total of three roles are being advertised: (1) Non-exec Board Director ‘optimising assets'; (2) social enterprise sector champion; (3) food sector champion.


Calling researchers and evaluators — ‘Talent Match’ and ‘Changing Futures Together’

BVSC Bidders Event – Local Research and Evaluation Services for ‘Birmingham Changing Futures Together’ and ‘Talent Match Birmingham & Solihull’

Time and Date: 9.45 for 10.00-11am, Friday 17 April 2015

Venue: BVSC, 138 Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 6DR

Birmingham Changing Futures Together supports people with multiple and complex needs to lead a more fulfilled life. The project will seek to use its evidence base to focus on long-term service and system change.

Talent Match Birmingham & Solihull supports long-term unemployed young adults into employment.

BVSC will be issuing two separate Invitations to Tender. This Bidders Event will outline the two projects, explain the nature and content of the ITT, give details of how to apply and answer clarification questions. Details will then be posted on BVSC’s website.


For event queries only, please send mail to Rahiel Hussain, putting Bidders Event in the email subject line. In the interests of a fair and transparent process, other queries on the bid will be answered at the event itself and posted on BVSC’s website.

Further information

The ITT will be issued week beginning 20 April 2015.

Potential bidders may wish to register their interest in advance on BVSC’s Tendering Portal, where the ITT will be advertised and managed.

BVSC & Solihull SUSTAIN host EU funding briefing event

Event: 1st April 2015: 09.30 to 12.15

Venue: BVSC, 138 Digbeth, Birmingham B5 6DR

Further to this post, BVSC and Solihull SUSTAIN have just announced a forthcoming briefing event for the voluntary and social enterprise sectors on the GBSLEP’s European Structural & Investment Funds (ESIF) strategy.

There is further information about this event on the BVSC website.

Please book here.

→ First calls for projects along with guidance now live on the website.

WAITS is recruiting

WAITS (Women Acting in Today’s Society) is recruiting… For more information and application pack please send mail to MARCIA LEWINSON or ring 0121 440 1443.


Conferences at BVSC — new website launched

BVSC has today launched its new Conferences at BVSC website.

As well as information on pricing, catering options and special offers and discounts, the website also enables customer feedback and reviews for the first time.

Many perhaps don’t realise the degree to which infrastructure support in Birmingham is underpinned by revenue from BVSC’s trading arm. BVSC Enterprises — of which the conference service is part — invests all  its profits in BVSC’s charitable work, enabling important support services for volunteers and voluntary groups to remain free at the point of delivery.

Self-generated income  also helps maintain independence — which, as many charities have recognised, is increasingly important in the current climate.

Find out more about BVSC’s conference, catering events management service here.

BVSC -- meeting and networking space

BVSC — meeting and networking space

“City Drive” — social enterprise story teller volunteers needed

Birmingham City Drive – Social Enterprise Week 20th-24th April 2015

Further to this post, and this one, iSE has just announced the following:

We are looking for social enterprise volunteers who are happy to give up 2 hours to share their social enterprise stories in small groups with students at Birmingham City University on Wednesday, 22nd April 10am-12pm and at Aston University on Wednesday, 22nd April 1.00pm-3pm.

Please help spread the word about social enterprise to the next generation — get involved in Birmingham City Drive! It will also be a good opportunity for you to promote your work.

Please send mail to Marija at ISE  if you would like to be involved, or ring me on 0121 771 1411. Many thanks!

“City Drive” social enterprise walks announced

Further to this post, iSE has just announced the following schedule of social enterprise walks to coincide with the City Drive week of events:

As part of the City Drive week, iSE is hosting five social enterprise walks in Digbeth, in order to show how social enterprises work.

Birmingham City Drive 2015 is a week of events that aim to raise awareness of the fantastic work social enterprises are doing and the impact they are having every day on society and the environment in Birmingham.

We want to encourage more people to:

  • Start a social enterprise
  • Buy from social enterprises
  • Work for a social enterprise
  • Volunteer for a social enterprise
  • Invest in a social enterprise


The walks are as follows:

Creative” – Monday, 20th April 2015 at 2.30 – 4.30pm
Health and Well-being” – Tuesday, 21st April 2015 at 2 – 4.30pm
Young People” – Wednesday, 22nd April 2015 at 9.30 – 12pm
Environmental” – Thursday, 23rd April 2015 at 9.30 – 12pm
Business to Business” – Friday, 24th April 2015 at 9.30 – 12pm

To book places for the walks please click the links above. 

If you have any queries please call Marija on 0121 771 1411. Each walk starts at iSE, Avoca Court, 23 Moseley Road, Digbeth, Birmingham B12 0HJ.

GBSLEP — European funding update

Update 20/03/15: Further to the post below, the first calls have just gone live on the website  HERE.

Those who attended one of the GBSLEP roadshows (they took place in late-Feb and early-March) may already know this, but colleagues from the ESIF team at Solihull Council have kindly just sent the following update:

European funding update

Government has announced that calls for proposals will be launched on 23rd March 2015. These will be national calls with a ‘local bias’.

For the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP area, the calls will be for the European Regional Development Fund, including the Priority Axis’ for Research and Innovation, Business Support, Low Carbon.

For European Social Fund, calls are limited to the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI), and other ESF provision that may be subject to time limited match funding.

Details and guidance will be live on the website from  23.3.15.

For further information as it becomes available send mail to the ESIF Team.

‘Back Down’ — on tour from Birmingham Rep, world premiere at St Barnabas

An exciting play comes to Erdington next week. Back Down is on tour from Birmingham REP and it plays at St Barnabas on Wednesday 18/03 and Thursday 19/03 before heading off across the country.

Social enterprises — see it free!

Paul Hanna, centre manager at St Barnabas wants to encourage the local social enterprise community to come along and is offering complimentary tickets!

So if you are a social enterprise/not-for-profit organisation and would like to see this play on one of its premiere nights at St Barnabas as a special guest just give Paul a ring on 07547 431 244 / 0121 306 4820 or send him mail so he can allocate you a ticket.

Thank you Paul, thank  you St Barnabas!


Social enterprises — complimentary tickets:  Paul Hanna 07547 431 244 / 0121 306 4820 or send him mail.

Standard bookings: 0121 306 4820 / 07547 431244 or send mail.

Trailer and Programme notes (Birmingham Rep).

Attachment theory workshop

Attachment Theory has developed since the 1930s, as a way of understanding human brain, emotional and social development. One of its fundamental principles is this: that our experiences of relationships with early caregivers (those in whom we place our trust and our ability to survive) shape our sense of self and our relationships with others throughout life. If those experiences have been anxious, or insecure, then we are likely to become anxious, insecure adults (and in instances of acute attachment insecurity, we are likely to be predisposed to violence.)

Marci Green and Chris Purnell have been piloting workshops for professionals in health, education, social care and welfare. Over the past year, they have worked with mainly counsellors and therapists who have some understanding of Attachment principles and practice. They now want to extend their material to those unfamiliar with attachment (or who may have some basic understanding of the ideas), and who work with clients across a range of volunteer, educational and social services.

Bookings/expressions of interest by 23rd March — send mail.  More information about Attachment West Midlands.

Investment for energy entrepreneurs

Ignite is the UK’s first impact investment fund with a focus on energy. Set up through Centrica, Ignite believe that energy entrepreneurs have a vital role to play in building a better society and are here to help them achieve their potential.

Centrica are investing people and money into emerging and mature organisations that have a clear vision of how they benefit society. By focusing on energy, this programme will drive innovation at every point of the energy chain – from sourcing and generation through to supply, service and saving energy.

As well as providing capital, the Ignite programme will work to understand the specific needs of each of our investments and help them grow through mentorship, networking and the skilled support of Centrica employees.

Thanks to our backing from Centrica, we’re providing funding of £10 million over the next ten years, and will make investments in the UK of between £50k and £2m.

To be eligible, you must be in the energy or energy-related sector, have the potential to make a real social impact in the UK, be seeking a minimum of £50K in debt or equity investment, fulfil a clear social demand & have clear outputs and goals.

The first Ignite road show is in Oxford on 20th April with more to follow in other regions.

For more information and to apply, please click here.