Complete the Birmingham Social Enterprise City survey and be entered in our FREE prize draw — 1st prize, an iPad

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Urgently calling social enterprises — help us push up the responses and build a strong evidence-base… There’s still time!

Further to this post, the Birmingham Social Enterprise City steering group is conducting a baseline survey to establish key facts about the sector’s social and economic contribution. 
The survey is aimed at social enterprises, co-operatives, mutuals, trading third sector organisations, and charities with trading or social enterprise arms. Completion time is about 10-15 minutes.  Please note that there has been some confusion regarding what we mean by ‘trading’ and some organisations have in some cases wrongly identified themselves as not trading when in fact they are. To be clear, in questions 2 and 4 which refer to ‘trading’ we mean: offering goods or services for sale, whether to end-users, commissioners or under contract to third parties who pay you to undertake work.
Every completed questionnaire will be entered in our FREE prize draw! The 1st prize is an iPad 9.7in.*  The 2nd prize is a Madlug backpack, with a matching backpack donated to a child in care.**
Please support this effort — and the sector — by taking the survey. The more completions we get, the better the evidence-base we can produce.  And a strong evidence-base makes a critical difference to the resources we can attract to support the continuing development of the sector. 
Thank you!
* & **: Closing date for entries is 10am on 22nd April 2019. Winners will be announced the following week. 
More about Birmingham Social Enterprise City

ART’s community share offer helps ensure ample funds for lending in 2019

ART Business Loans (ART) has just announced that its pioneering community share offer (previously covered here and here) raised over £250,000 from individual investors.

These investors will earn Community Investment Tax Relief (CITR) over the next five years, while their money — distributed in loans to local businesses — will help boost the local economy. 5% of the sum invested can also be claimed as a deduction from Income Tax or Corporation Tax bills each year for five tax years. 

The money from the share offer will enable ART to lever-in additional funds, bringing its total for lending in 2019/20 close to £3m.

Building on the success of this year’s offer, ART is planning to provide a further opportunity for investors in the 2019/20 tax year, through the leading positive investment platform Ethex. This offer too will give investors the additional benefit of Community Investment Tax Relief.

Chief executive Steve Walker says the ART team is looking forward to helping businesses of all kinds — including social enterprises — access the finance they need to survive and thrive. “We offer loans of between £10,000 and £150,000,” he says, “with an average loan size of £35,000. That is a sum which many businesses struggle to access from elsewhere.”

Find out more about ART loans and investment opportunities or call 0121 359 2444.

City Drive — New Start Stories event: great ideas, determination and an extraordinary personal story

When we trailed last night’s New Start Stories event at Evolve @ The Adam & Eve we said “expect open, frank conversation and stimulating insights”. We were not disappointed. Indeed, one of the stories we heard caused an audible collective gasp from the audience.

Here’s news from City Drive — almost as it happens…

Birmingham Impact Football Club CIC

Zehir Kadra (Photo: courtesy iSE)

Our first speaker was Zehir Kadra, the founder of Birmingham Impact Football Club CIC. Zehir set up this new Community Interest Company after completing iSE’s FUSE programme. His mission was to raise the standard of coaching available to grassroots football — and also to start club activities that would truly reflect the diversity of Birmingham. We previously covered Zehir’s story as part of our changing face of social enterprise series. 

Zehir explained that the early stages of his new CIC presented the greatest challenges — none more so than initially covering his operating costs. Sheer determination — and a huge amount of energy, it must be said — have seen him through and Birmingham Impact FC is growing. There are now 40 to 50 kids a week being coached with up to three sessions a day taking place at two locations, one in Moseley and one in Washwood Heath.

Word of mouth, networking and partnerships and a new marketing push have all been critical in helping the enterprise grow.

As well as raising the standards of grassroots coaching, Zehir also sees sport as a key means of building stronger and more cohesive communities. “As an ex-football scout,” he explained, “I was shocked at the poor quality of some coaching. But I also saw that many clubs were simply not diverse — they don’t reflect the true diversity of the communities they operate in. And so I began to see sport as one of the biggest contributions we could make to helping young people mix and integrate.” This, he feels, is a task that has only grown more important and more urgent in today’s polarised climate.

One of the things that Zehir showed the audience had several people saying, “I am definitely going to copy that!” This was a diversity map of the places and cultures now represented amongst the young people involved in Birmingham Impact FC — you can view it here.

Birmingham Impact FC — news, booking, contact details

Moseley Road Baths CIO

The historic Edwardian Moseley Rd Baths

Then we heard from Karen Leach, the chair of a very different enterprise indeed — the historic Edwardian swimming pool, Moseley Road Baths, in Balsall Heath. We have written at some length about this fascinating case study here.

There are only three Grade II* listed swimming baths in the country still in use for public swimming and Moseley Road Baths, which first opened its doors to the public in 1907, is the oldest. It has been saved as a result of a determined community action campaign and is now operated under license by a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).

The coalition of organisations working together to save the baths includes Friends of Moseley Road Baths, Moseley Road Baths Action Group, Historic England (which has made grant of almost £660,000 for urgent repairs to the roof of the Gala Pool), the National Trust and the World Monuments Fund. Karen talked about the complexities of working with trustees, staff, volunteers and a wide range of stakeholders and heritage interests.

The plan is that in the longer term Moseley Road Baths should be sustainable from the revenues generated from swimming — it is, in Karen’s eyes, first and foremost “a community pool, truly diverse, open to everyone”. Since April 2018, over 4,200 school children have learnt to swim at the baths, almost 10,000 swimmers have used the pool and 40 volunteers have been recruited and trained.

But the great historical significance of the building also presents some important opportunities for the enterprise and it is currently being supported both financially and with business planning and fundraising expertise by key heritage organisations. “The support of these heritage organisations has proven absolutely vital,” Karen says, “because it has freed us up to concentrate on doing the very best job we can of running the pool.”

But as well as being a great asset, the age of the building also presents its own challenges, as Karen explained. “We have learnt from community-run pools elsewhere,” she said, “including Manchester and of course the Castle Pool Community Partnership that took over running Castle Vale baths in 2015.” However, if one compares the more modern Castle Vale pool with Moseley Road Baths some of the problems of operating a unique heritage building are immediately evident. For example, Moseley Road Baths still costs the local authority around £100,000 a year in maintenance, whereas Castle Vale pool has maintenance costs of around £7,000 a year and is already able to meet these costs from revenues.

Karen says that getting the right people around you is essential, as is ensuring that there is an appropriate culture throughout the enterprise that will ensure that all who are able to make a contribution are welcomed and used in the best way. “We’ve worked so hard on this,” she says, “and yet even now every day brings some fresh problem. But being able to take a swim in this fantastic, historic pool, knowing that this is possible because of the efforts we have made is a brilliant feeling.”

Moseley Road Baths — timetables, prices, how to volunteer.

HUB  109, Erdington

HUB 109, Erdington High Street

Sean Alimajstorovic’s new Community Interest Company, HUB 109, has brought a new co-working space to Erdington High Street. We have previously written about HUB 109 here. Incorporated as recently as December 2018, HUB 109’s newly refurbished premises offer cost-effective solutions for local businesses — whether they are seeking shared hot desking space, incubation and start-up support, networking opportunities or permanent tenancies.

Sean knew from personal experience that one of the greatest barriers to new business start-ups is access to affordable premises. “Finding the space to work from, identifying help and advice, accessing professional networks and meeting the right people all present big barriers for new businesses,” he says. “But the single biggest obstacle for start ups is the cost and inflexibility of workspace accommodation — and that’s where HUB 109 comes in.”

It’s still very early days for HUB 109, as Sean acknowledges, but tenancies and subscribers for hot-desking and other services are coming in a little faster than originally anticipated and he is optimistic. When he began HUB 109 Sean knew nothing about social enterprise other than what he had read. “But I felt we should be a CIC,” he says, “because from the outset I saw us having a social purpose. I think we have a role to play in helping to remove the obstacles to business start-up in a deprived part of Birmingham, and I also like to think that we can be part of MEGA — Making Erdington Great Again! Yes, I know — it may not be original, but there is a great little high street here to be saved, regenerated, and I want HUB 109 to be part of that.”

Sean is now busy networking, establishing new partnerships — he has recently confirmed a new partnership with NatWest Bank — and getting the name of HUB 109 in front of as many businesses and local people as possible. “Having the opportunity to be part of events like this is also really important,” he says. “I want us to have a much stronger presence and be more recognised as part of Birmingham’s social enterprise community.”

Find out more: HUB 109 website, send mail or ring 0121 405 4405.

Diamond You and Diamond You Projects

Samantha Browne, Diamond You

And then we heard from Samantha Browne, the founder of Diamond You and Diamond You Projects. Samantha’s story was the most extraordinary — and the most courageous — of the evening and there was no one in the audience who wasn’t moved by what they heard.

Sammy is a qualified success coach, NLP practitioner, public speaker and mental health activist. She left an extremely well-paid job with Amnesty International, where she was a human rights educator, to start her personal business, Diamond You, and has already established a substantial track record in speaking at corporate events and coaching top executives. More recently she has developed Diamond You Projects to take her personal development workshops into schools, prisons, local authorities and other public authorities.

But it is the story that lies behind this enterprise — and Samantha’s frankness in recounting it — that is truly extraordinary. Everything she says and does is founded on the hardest personal experience. 

Samantha explained that she had a troubled childhood and came from a broken home. When she was sixteen a woman she considered her best friend groomed her and recruited her to sex work and the adult industry. When she was 21 the same woman introduced her to a man who for three years trafficked her for sex across England, Ireland and Wales.  You can watch an October 2018 interview with Samantha on BBC news here.

“But my biggest burden,” Samantha says, “became my biggest blessing,” and she is now busy carving out a new career — and a new social enterprise. “My mission,” she says, “is to make a contribution to tackling what I see as two of the biggest epidemics of our time — mental ill health, especially amongst younger people, and the rising tide of human trafficking.”

Samantha is currently developing more services and initiatives that can be taken into schools. “I’m not where I’d like to be in terms of earning a decent living from this work,” she says, “but I know it can be done, and I know it is the most important thing I can do, so I’ll live with any temporary hardship.” She currently continues to work part-time while developing Diamond You and Diamond You Projects.

She told the audience her four tips for success. Take advantage of free events like this — use all the help you can and all the help that’s offered. Network, network, network — she was interviewed by BBC news following a chance meeting with a BBC journalist at an event. Use your circles of influence — her experience of delivering Amnesty International human rights workshops made her used to approaching schools and negotiating access; new workshops for delivery in prisons are being delivered as a result of her direct personal experience of the criminal justice system. Make sure your vision is shared — especially as you expand and take on staff or work with other partners.

It has just been announced that Diamond You won the Digbeth Porridge micro-funding pitch event this morning (Tuesday 9th April 2019). Attendees gave their pitch for a pot of at least £500 given jointly by ART Business Loans and iSE — with the audience deciding the winner. Having heard Samantha speak last night I would frankly have been astonished if she hadn’t won this.

You can contact Samantha Browne through the Diamond You website.

* * *

We would like to thank iSE for organising our New Start Stories event — especially Sarah Crawley for her skilful facilitation, Elizabeth Forrester for publicity and marketing, and Simon Veasey for help on the night. We would also like to thank everyone who came and in particular our four speakers, Zehir Kadra, Karen Leach, Sean Alimajstorovic and Samantha Browne. They are all part of the changing face of social enterprise and you can read more stories like theirs here.

City Drive 2019 starts today

City Drive 2019 starts today, an annual week showcasing social enterprise across Birmingham city, organised by iSE CIC on behalf of supporters, sponsors and the wider sector. This year City Drive takes place over six days for the first time with 19 events and over 750 ticket places available. Many events are free to attend.

Birmingham became a recognised Social Enterprise City last April and there have been positive responses from within the social enterprise sector, private and public sectors to this accreditation from SEUK.

For five years iSE and its partners have used City Drive events to campaign and raise awareness of social enterprise, showcasing and celebrating the incredible social enterprises across Birmingham that contribute to the regional social economy and lead on innovative solutions to some of the social challenges our city faces.

There is a clear purpose behind City Drive with the following five aims adhered to and built on, year-on-year:

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


City Drive highlights this year include:

  • Birmingham’s only canal boat-hotel, Boatel UK, doing canal tours.
  • Walking tours in Digbeth with HS2 and the Birmingham Music Archive.
  • An Arts Trail.
  • Two localised micro-funding events (one in Digbeth and one in Soho).
  • A social enterprise festival with over 50 social enterprise trading stands, plus Birmingham’s first Ethical Wedding Fair.


There are still some places available and you can find all event information here.

See all posts tagged ‘City Drive’

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Share event media #CD2019 #brumSEcity

iSE and the Social Enterprise Academy announce new leadership development programme

iSE has just announced that it is working in partnership with The Social Enterprise Academy to deliver a new regional leadership development programme that has been designed by and for the social enterprise sector.

The programme is designed to provide practical opportunities to explore different theories and leadership themes creating a powerful and transformational experience.

This programme is unique in that it takes a whole organisation approach by working with Chief Executives and middle managers and the application process therefore requires applications from two people per organisation. Both applicants are not involved in the programme simultaneously, however. Learning and support is delivered in two separate but linked programmes over a six month period. The aim is to truly embed organisational change.

iSE says that as a result of taking part in this programme organisations are expected to be stronger and healthier, to have greater impact and to be more connected with each other. Individual participants will benefit from being able to better identify their strengths and impact, have greater clarity of thinking, and develop a greater ability to address the challenges they face.

This is a major opportunity to get involved with a radical approach to leadership development. The closing date for applications is 29th March 2019.

Apply HERE.

Graduate Planet CIC funds pioneering environmental workshop for 60 schoolchildren

SPS International team supporting local schools

We’ve written before here about Graduate Planet CIC, the specialist social enterprise recruitment consultancy which uses its surpluses to support environmental action.

Its founder Kate Evans recently worked with energy data specialists SPS International in Warwick to help the company recruit a new technical data expert, and as a result Graduate Planet has been able to fund an environmental sustainability workshop for 60 local children at Trinity school in Leamington, as part of the school’s STEM programme. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and maths teaching that enables pupils to make practical connections between these disciplines and the world of work, business, community or the environment.

The workshop was delivered by the the Smallpeice Trust, Leamington-based STEM specialists. This engaging practical education in environmental sustainability will help equip the children for the future, helping them to understand and solve sustainability issues.

Kate Evans, founder, Graduate Planet CIC

Working in teams the children had to imagine that they were on an island. The task was to design and construct the water pumps and wind turbines they would need in order to survive. The exercise was designed to help develop the children’s creative thinking, time management, team work, problem-solving, enterprise and social skills.

Graduate Planet’s Kate Evans says, “The children had great fun and the workshop supported the National Curriculum. It will also help the school achieve specialist STEM status. The organisations that worked together to make this workshop possible demonstrate the positive impact that businesses can have on the local community when they use their supply chains creatively to deliver extra social value.”

This project also highlights the increased demand amongst younger people for the world’s politicians to address the issue of climate change, following the Greta Thunberg protests and the climate change ‘school strikes’ that have spread around the globe. Earlier this month, thousands of pupils in sixty cities across the UK staged school strikes and marched for action on climate change.

This shows that with determination even relatively new social enterprises — Graduate Planet CIC was only incorporated in June 2017 — can rise to the challenge of delivering additional social value (extra social, environmental or economic benefits) as part of what they do. They can also enable others, including customers, to derive  greater social value from their activities and their business spend — just as was envisaged when the Social Value Act became law back in 2012.

Graduate Planet CIC

→ Graduate Planet CIC video

→ Smallpiece Trust

→ All posts tagged Graduate Planet

More about Social Value elsewhere on the BSSEC blog

iSE and USE IT! programme seek social enterprise work placements

iSE’s business development manager, Simon Veasey is keen to hear from social enterprises that can offer local unemployed people the opportunity to undertake work placements with employers that have a strong social mission. Read what he has to say below.

Simon Veasey writes:

One of the USE IT! project outcomes that we most want to focus on over the next few months is offering work experience places in social enterprises for local people in the USE-IT! area.

iSE and the USE-IT! partners are looking for social enterprises in Birmingham that can offer local unemployed people the opportunity to sample working in an organisation with a strong social mission.

Your placement offer can be as short as a day or as long as a week or anywhere in between.

The process is simple. ISE just needs a few words about what you will be expecting people to do and we will do the rest, matching individuals up with organisations.

People on placements will be prepared and supported by Birmingham Chamber. If you can offer an opportunity or want more information please contact Simon Veasey on 0798 355 9266 or send mail.

More about USE IT! on the iSE website

USE IT! is delivered through a partner network including iSE, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, University of Birmingham, Health Exchange CIC, Co-op Futures, Localise WM, Citizen Coaching CIC and Smethwick Can, and has been facilitated by Birmingham City Council.

Full City Drive programme now available

The full City Drive 2019 programme is now available — click here.

See all posts tagged City Drive

Talent Match programme concludes with ICC breakfast event — keynote speakers include West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street

Many local businesses report recruitment challenges — but our region continues to have high unemployment amongst young people. How can that be?

To mark the end of the successful Talent Match employability programme for 18-24 year olds BVSC is holding a special ‘Open Minds’ Breakfast event on Friday 22nd March, from 07.30am-10.30am at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham.

The event will celebrate the achievements of the programme, consider lessons learnt and the legacy of this major Big Lottery-funded programme.

This special free breakfast event will hear from those at the sharp end: young people who have overcome difficulties to get a job; businesses that have supported them — and those who recognise the challenges that can sometimes prevent young people from getting into sustainable employment. Practical lessons learned from the five-year Birmingham and Solihull Talent Match programme will help illuminate the issues.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street will speak about the issues and possible solutions whilst employers will also be asked to consider further ‘opening their minds’ — to recognise and appreciate the opportunities of employing young people regardless of their personal barriers.

A ‘Question Time’-style discussion will be hosted by Editor-in-chief of Reach plc in the Midlands, Marc Reeves.

If you’re still concerned about the future for the city’s school leavers and young people, this event will provide an opportunity to learn, discuss — and open minds.

Programme for the event:

07.30-08.15 Registration and breakfast
08.15-09.20 Key note speakers include WM Mayor, Andy Street
09.20-09.45 Q+A panel, hosted by Marc Reeves
09.45-10.30 Networking and close

Secure your place by completing our online booking form.

In memory of Mark Ellerby — social entrepreneur, activist & friend

In memory of Mark Ellerby, who died suddenly on the 7th March 2019

It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden death on the 7th March 2019 of our friend and colleague Mark Ellerby.

There will be few in the social enterprise sector who didn’t know Mark in one way or another, whether through his own social enterprise, Cloudberry Innovation & Development, or through the social enterprises he was instrumental in establishing, such as PSIAMS and Think Venue.

Mark previously managed Concept, RNIB’s conferencing and catering centre in Birmingham. When he decided to leave and set up Cloudberry in 2009, the social enterprise sector gained a great asset. He had energy and commitment to burn and was a constant source of fresh, new ideas and social enterprise opportunities. His contribution to social enterprise in Birmingham and beyond will be greatly missed. He was involved with BSSEC for many years and from 2015 served as one of its directors. 

We shall remember the many, many good times we shared with him — and that smile, which was never absent for long. 

Below is a message from Martin Hogg, Mark’s partner of 22 years. Our thoughts are with Martin and the friends and families of both Martin and Mark.

. . . . . . . . . . 

Message from Martin Hogg

It is with great sadness and total shock that I have to announce the sudden death of my Partner and best friend of 22 years, Mark Ellerby. I have tried to contact as many of you personally so apologies if this is the first time you are hearing this.

Mark collapsed in Newhall Street, Birmingham whilst walking to work on Thursday 7th March at 8:30 and died instantly despite the efforts of people on the street and a passing Police team to revive him. The coroner is still ascertaining the cause of death as Mark appeared fit and well. We may know more in the coming weeks.

In line with Mark’s wishes he will be buried in his home time of Boston Lincolnshire close to where his mum was buried.

A lot of people have expressed that they would like to attend Mark’s funeral and you would be most welcome.

This will be held on Wednesday 27th March at the Boston Crematorium at 12:30. The address is Marian Road, Boston Lincs PE21 9HA. This will be followed by a reception at the White Hart Hotel Boston PE21 8SH. If you are attending then please let me know [send email to Martin].

Funeral Dress code — Mark hated formality and I ask that you dress smart casual/casual for the day and there is no need to wear black, a tie nor a suit unless you feel more comfortable that way.

For those of you who can’t attend there will be a live streaming of the service — details to follow.

Rather than send flowers or gifts, which are not expected anyway, I would ask that you make a donation to the Dogs Trust.

I am sure that this news is as shocking to you as it is to me and I would ask that you remember the good times you spent with him. I know that the last few months we spent together were some of the best.

Martin Hogg
Citizen Coaching CIC

Citizen Coaching CIC, 205 Zellig, Gibb Street, Birmingham B9 4AU

City Drive 2019 — social enterprise conference: 8th April

UPDATE: The full City Drive programme is now available.

City Drive 2019 kicks off in grand style this year with a Social Enterprise Conference. The conference theme is exploring new business ideas that maximise social impact.


WHEN:  8th April 2019, 9.00am registration, 9.15 start -1.30pm finish. Includes lunch.

WHERE: Aston Business School, Aston University, Aston Triangle, Birmingham, B4 7ET

Conference programme, speakers etc HERE.

→ Tickets are £25.00 (+ VAT) and can be purchased HERE.

See all BSSEC posts tagged ‘City Drive’

City Drive 2019 news on the iSE website

→ The full City Drive 2019 programme is now available — click here.

City Drive 2019 — Impact Investing for Place: 11th April

Hold the date for yet another interesting and unusual City Drive event… Impact Investing for Place. Details below.

In promoting this event, Sarah Crawley explains:

I am especially delighted that we are running this event as I believe it’s the first conversation of its kind. The idea that reducing resources should prompt us to focus on place as a means of developing hot spots of social enterprise activity is one which is at the core of Birmingham as a social enterprise city.

We now need to align investment and consider the role that ‘impact investment’ can play. This breakfast event is being hosted by Big Society Capital. We have invited key stakeholders to discuss this hot topic but we are also keen that there should be loads of audience participation.

The event will be on Thursday 11th April, in Birmingham City centre [venue to be confirmed] registration from 8.15am with the event starting at 8.30 until 10.30am with breakfast.

Please come along — but note that booking is essential as places will be limited. To book your place send mail to Rebecca Giannelli.

See all BSSEC posts tagged ‘City Drive’

City Drive 2019 news on the iSE website

→ The full City Drive 2019 programme is now available — click here.

ART Business Loans’ community share offer — interested investors have 18 days left

Further to this postART Business Loans has just announced that investors interested in taking advantage of its recent community share offer have just eighteen days left to do so. The share offer closes on the 24th March 2019.

This is a community share offer and is open to businesses, social enterprises and individuals via the Ethex social investment platform. Purchasing shares in ART gives UK tax payers the opportunity to earn 5% per annum of the amount invested as a tax relief over five years.

The purpose of the offer is to raise additional capital for ART to lend to West Midlands businesses that are unable to access any or all of the finance they need from the banks. The minimum investment is £500 and the maximum is £100,000.

Full details of the offer are contained in the share offer document, available on Ethex — HERE. Share purchases must be completed through the Ethex site.

So far, the share offer has raised £130,000.

You can hear more about the share offer in this podcast and this video.

Hold the dates — for these very special City Drive events

Hold the dates for these very special City Drive 2019 events…

WHAT: Jewellery Quarter Music Walk
WHEN: Wed, 10 April 2019, 11am to 1pm; COST: £5.92 (inc booking fee)
WHERE: Jewellery Quarter, 16 Frederick St, Birmingham B1 3HE

Jez Collins — historic music scene walk, Jewellery Qtr, Birmingham

Join Jez Collins, founder of the Birmingham Music Archive, for a music-themed walking tour of Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter. Jez has over 20 years’ experience as a social and cultural entrepreneur in the creative and music industries in Birmingham.

This two-hour walk will reveal some of the hidden stories, spaces and places of Birmingham’s music history and heritage in the Jewellery Quarter.

Visit the site where Robert Plant jammed with touring bands and… Where a young David Bowie would suggest the formation of one the great Birmingham bands… Where the notorious Kray twins were sent packing back to London… Hear the story of the most violent gig ever to take place in the UK.

BOOKINGSHERE on Eventbrite

. . . . . 

WHAT: The Ethical Wedding Fair
WHEN: Sat 13th April 2019, 11am to 4pm; COST: Free entrance
WHERE: Blakesley Hall Museum, Blakesley Road, Birmingham B25 8RN

Certainly not your ordinary wedding fair — the Ethical Wedding Fair

This most definitely is not your typical wedding fair. It isn’t about throw-away, disposable weddings. The Ethical Wedding Fair will help you design an alternative wedding that is socially and environmentally conscious, that supports small, local businesses and social enterprises that do good for both people and planet.

→ BOOKINGSHERE on Eventbrite


See all BSSEC posts tagged ‘City Drive’

City Drive 2019 news on the iSE website

→ The full City Drive 2019 programme is now available — click here.

City Drive 2019 — You are invited to ‘New-Start Stories’

Further to this post, you are warmly invited to ‘New Start Stories’, sponsored by BSSEC and held as part of City Drive. Come and hear from four very different new starts and find out what starting a social enterprise is really like…

Light refreshments will be served.

Please send mail to Elizabeth Forrester to book.

Open PDF flyer.

→ The full City Drive 2019 programme is now available — click here.

City Drive 2019 — 8th April: hold the date for more ‘new-start stories’…

During City Drive last year BSSEC sponsored a very successful and enjoyable event called New-Start Stories: The Unvarnished Truth. We found that while new-start social entrepreneurs were keen to tell their stories and people were keen to hear them, there were very few opportunities to do so. And so we created an opportunity and people really enjoyed it. We wrote about these stories at length in this post.

We’re delighted to say that we are repeating this event for City Drive 2019 and have already got a number of very interesting — and completely different and unusual — new-start speakers lined up.

This promises to be an even  more varied line-up than last year and anyone with an interest in the ups and downs of getting a new social enterprise off the ground will want to hear from these speakers.

The event will be free and will take place on the opening day of City drive, Monday 8th April 2019, from 5.30pm until 7.30pm at Evolve @ The Adam & Eve.

Save the date — booking details will follow. We hope to see you there.

See all BSSEC posts tagged ‘City Drive’

City Drive 2019 news on the iSE website


John Taylor Hospice launches ‘special moments’ art competition for children

Mandy Pritchard (L), JTH Health Care Assistant and Mark Jones (R), JTH Head of Community Engagement

Children aged 11 and under across Birmingham and the West Midlands are being offered the chance to win art materials in a competition to picture their ‘special moments’. The art produced by winners and runners-up will be featured in a special month-long exhibition at Oikos Café, a popular community enterprise café on Erdington High Street. The café is operated by OIKOS Church. The competition — Moments that Matter — has been organised jointly by John Taylor Hospice (JTH) in partnership with the Oikos Café.

“We’re urging children to paint, draw or colour their special moments,” says JTH’s head of community engagement, Mark Jones, “because our motto is ‘every moment matters’. We want children across the region to create a picture of their special moments — the things that make life worthwhile to them. That could be a a favourite holiday, a drawing of a treasured pet, a painting of their family or simply a picture of something they love to do.”

The hospice cares for people as they approach the end of their lives and believes that celebrating life — all the special moments and memories that have made up that life — is a central part of this.

The Moments that Matter competition has been launched by the hospice as part of the Birmingham-wide festival A Matter of Life and Death which aims to encourage people of all ages to have open and honest conversations about living and dying.

The competition forms part of the hospice’s community engagement work with schools, groups and local businesses.

The exhibition featuring the winning artwork will run throughout May and winners will also be invited to a special Café Arts Evening of Creativity at Oikos Café on Friday 17 May from 6pm where their prizes will be presented.

The closing date for the competition is Wednesday 24 April.

Full details including entry forms are on the JTH website.

Forthcoming free training sessions at the Women’s Enterprise Hub

The Women’s Enterprise Hub has just announced the following sessions. Book early to avoid disappointment.

Social Media Workshop 27th February 10am-1pm

Learn all you need to know about Social Media for your organisation:

• General introduction to different social media platforms.
• The uses of each platform.
• Social Media Do’s and Dont’s.
• Learn how to set up a Facebook page.

Booking essential. To book a place please contact Mariam Yate — send mail or ring 0121 663 1711.

Sales Training Workshop 26th March 10am-1.30pm

Impact Sales Coaching is delivering an intensive and interactive sales training experience. Develop your skills and learn the following:

• Enhancing your sales mindset, confidence, resilience and motivation.
• Insight into sales strategy.
• Working with prospect stakeholders including gatekeepers, influencers and decision makers.
• Step-by-step process for overcoming and thriving on sales objections.

The training will be delivered by Adam Wootton, Managing Director of Impact Sales who has helped many businesses of different sizes and sectors throughout Birmingham and the black country.

Booking essential. To book a place please contact Mariam Yate — send mail or ring 0121 663 1711.

New CIC opens its doors on Erdington High St — HUB 109 has great ambitions

HUB 109, Erdington High Street

A new Community Interest Company has opened its doors at 109 High Street, Erdington, and is busy combining serviced and hot desking space, business incubation support, business consultancy and social benefit. It is called HUB 109 and its founder Sean Alimajstorovic has been explaining the enterprise’s purpose.

“Incorporated as recently as December 2018, HUB 109’s newly refurbished premises offer cost-effective solutions for local businesses — whether they are seeking shared hot desking space, incubation and start-up support, networking opportunities or permanent tenancies,” explains Sean. “It’s all about providing benefit to business start ups.”

He continues: “Our mission is to help and support entrepreneurs or intending entrepreneurs, freelancers, sole traders and recent graduates starting in business. We provide assistance to all those who are contributing to making ‘a good economy’ — by which we mean those who are seeking social, environmental as well as financial impact and those who are working in a range of industries across the green economy, social enterprise, arts, social finances and creative ventures.”

The business was prompted by Sean’s own experience. “I found from personal experience of the start up process that finding the space to work from, identifying help and advice, accessing professional networks and meeting the right people all present big barriers for new businesses. But the single biggest obstacle for start ups is the cost and inflexibility of workspace accommodation. I was convinced we could help with that.”

HUB 109 provides start ups and businesses with an affordable and supportive incubator environment, including workspace, meeting rooms, consultancy services, resources, and events.

But its ambitions don’t end there. “We want to help others overcome the barriers to socially focused enterprise and entrepreneurship,” Sean says, “and become a platform for business activity that’s driven by social purpose. Come and see us at HUB 109 and let’s find out how we can help your venture.”

Find out more: HUB 109 website, send mail or ring 0121 405 4405.

Calling Birmingham-based social enterprises — City Drive is back for 2019: be part of it

CityDrive 2019 is a week-long festival of social enterprise in Birmingham organised by iSE.

iSE is now seeking social enterprises that want to be part of the exciting CityDrive 2019 programme. From pop-ups, workshops and marketplaces, talks, debates, networks and awareness raising, CityDrive will involve hundreds of people from all over the city.

The events have five calls to action to guide participants in identifying how they can get involved in social enterprise:

» Start a social enterprise.
» Work for a social enterprise.
» Volunteer for a social enterprise.
» Invest in a social enterprise.
» Buy from a social enterprise.

If you have an idea for an event, no matter what it may be — the more interesting and unusual the better! — please do get in touch, ideally by the 15th Feb 2019 (to allow time for programme planning). You can send mail to Sarah Crawley or to Elizabeth Forrester.

To get your creative ideas flowing, have a look at last year’s programme.

More information here.

Keeping swimming open at Moseley Road Baths — this historic Edwardian pool is now run by a community-managed charity

The historic Edwardian Moseley Rd Baths

There are only three Grade II* listed swimming baths in the country still in use for public swimming and of these Birmingham’s Moseley Road Baths, an Edwardian time capsule which first opened its doors to the public in 1907, is the oldest. It has been saved as a result of a determined community action campaign and is now operated under license by a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).

Many of the iconic original Edwardian features of the baths remain intact — its private washing rooms with baths (in use until 2004), original oak ticket offices and attendants’ kiosks, a three sided spectator gallery, and possibly the only surviving example of steam-heated drying racks in a British swimming pool.

But the building has been under threat of closure for decades due to underfunding and the scale of ongoing maintenance. Major structural problems saw the Gala Pool close in August 2003, but it was the local authority’s decision to shut the building entirely in March 2017 that galvanised the Moseley Road Baths Action Group’s campaign to save the baths and prevent local swimming being lost forever.

The coalition of organisations working together to save the baths includes Friends of Moseley Road Baths, Moseley Road Baths Action Group, Historic England (which has made grant of almost £660,000 for urgent repairs to the roof of the Gala Pool), the National Trust and the World Monuments Fund.

A successful application to the Bright Ideas Fund enabled the group to engage approved business consultants Development in Social Enterprise CIC (DISE) which had previously assisted Castle Vale Library and Castle Vale Pool move into community management.

DISE has worked with the group to develop a viable proposal to keep swimming open at Moseley Road Baths using a part-staffed and part-volunteer model which was already working at Castle Vale Pool and community-run leisure facilities.

The business plan formed the basis of discussions with Birmingham City Council which subsequently saw the newly formed Moseley Road Baths CIO secure a licence to operate from 1st April 2018.

The chair of Moseley Road Baths CIO, Karen Leach says, “DISE’s experience of assisting similar community enterprises within Birmingham gave us the confidence that we had an achievable business plan that would satisfy the Council’s requirements and ensure that our greatly valued local heritage swimming facility remains for the benefit of local people.”

DISE’s continuing advice and support led to additional funding being secured to help make the business plan operational, including recruiting volunteers, further fundraising, training lifeguards and promoting and marketing the baths to users.

Around 50 volunteers and nine staff members now manage the pool, which is open seven days a week and used by the community, schools and swimming clubs. It is envisaged that after three years the facility will be operating at full capacity, producing an annual surplus and reaching around 20,000 local residents.

Dave Lane, Managing Director of DISE said: “Safeguarding swimming at this magnificent building will increase the likelihood of wider investment to develop this community asset for future generations, and further demonstrates the power of community-led partnerships to save local services.”

Birmingham City Council is continuing to invest in the service while a longer-term solution for the site is developed by the Moseley Road Baths coalition. This important historic sports venue is now — against all the odds — expected to feature in the cultural programming for Birmingham’s hosting of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Since April 2018, 4,200 school children have learnt to swim at the baths, almost 10,000 swimmers have used the pool and 40 volunteers have been recruited and trained.

If anyone ever doubted what can be achieved by new forms of community-based social enterprise and resident action, they should look to the example of the 102-year old Moseley Road Baths.

For opening times, events and more information about how you can support Moseley Road Baths by volunteering

Moseley Road Baths interior