Patients and families supported by John Taylor Hospice tell their stories in film

As part of a major University of Birmingham project called Life: Moving, patients and their families receiving care from the John Taylor Hospice have been trained in film-making and have created a series of short films exploring their personal experiences. The project aims to challenge society’s misconceptions about terminal illness by giving those experiencing it the opportunity to tell their own stories and bring them to a wider audience.

Robert Homer, a JTH patient from Handsworth and an accomplished artist, is one of the participants. “People don’t know what it’s like when you you’ve been told you’re going to die,” he says, “so I hope this film will help them understand a bit more.”

The films will be featured in an exhibition at St Barnabas Church in Erdington on April 28-29 between 10am and 6pm.

JTH was selected as a community partner in the project because of its track record of involvement in arts projects and research, and its strong commitment to community outreach.

More about Life: Moving.
More on the story on the JHT website.
Read the press release.

Rethinking the ‘social enterprise city’ idea

Participants at the event (photo courtesy Stuart Emmerson SEUK WM)

Further to this post, I’m delighted to announce that the “Is Birmingham a Social Enterprise City?” event we sponsored as part of City Drive was a great success. 

We hoped that the event would provide an opportunity to rethink the ‘social enterprise city’ concept, to think about its continuing relevance, and to consider what a social enterprise city – especially Birmingham – might look like in a period of such political, economic and financial uncertainty. And that is very much what happened. Everyone who participated said they found it very satisfying to be able to take a step back and think more critically about the idea of ‘social enterprise places’.

Click to download PDF

We found that:

» There continues to be strong interest in the idea of positioning Birmingham as a social enterprise city, although participants also felt that to be genuinely meaningful this would have to be a ‘social enterprise city’ with more ambitious aims, capable of responding to the numerous long-term problems that Birmingham faces as a consequence of austerity, reduced government funding and the deepest service cuts in a generation.

» The development of such an initiative would need the active support of a much wider alliance of supporters — far beyond what might be termed the ‘usual’ players.

» While the ‘social enterprise place’ model does have some limitations — not least the limited capacity of organisers and the need to raise development resources — participants generally still do believe that the concept continues to offer huge advantages for the sector in terms of awareness and presence; influence; inter-trading; collaboration and partnership; promoting self-help and peer support.

» Much more would have to be done in terms of scoping and planning the idea, securing political leadership and commitment and widening the alliance of active development participants.

On balance participants felt that we should be seeking to establish Birmingham’s rightful place as a social enterprise city — because in all but name that is precisely what it already is!

 Read the report.


Women’s Enterprise Hub, free workshop — Working with Angel Investors

The Women’s Enterprise Hub is hosting a free workshop on the 25th April (08.30am-10.00am) and again on the 27th June (same time) called “Working with angel investors — attracting and partnering social angel investors”.

Download the flyer (pdf).

Please note booking essential by phone (0121 663 1711) or email to Lisa Rushton at The Women’s Enterprise Hub.

The Pump seeks business partner to realise full potential of on-site café

The Pump is a hub for youth work and activity in Kitts Green, East Birmingham and offers music, dance and dance studios, a performance space, a cyber-cafe and a day nursery.

Formerly known as the Shard End Community Building Project (SECBP), The Pump is the realisation of a vision of HRH The Prince of Wales, who wanted to create an outstanding building which as well as acting as a focus and inspiration for the personal development of young people would also be designed and built by young people. 

The Pump has the following social enterprise opportunity:

The Pump is looking for a provider to take on its Cafe to enable the organisation to offer even better services to our community.

It is looking for individuals who have experience of catering and have a passion for good, tasty, healthy food coupled with sound business skills to realise the potential of this great small business.

The aim is to partner with an organisation or individual, who shares The Pump’s vision to develop the café into a thriving and profitable community asset, whereby people can learn and achieve through dedicated training and bespoke courses to meet community need.

The Pump will be asking for presentations against a short brief to be given to two of its Trustees at the beginning of June 2017. If you are interested please contact Charlotte Linforth on 0121 675 8381 or send her mail

Busy, busy…Jericho Foundation scoops apprenticeship awards and puts in an appearance at No. 10

The Jericho Foundation has been typically busy over recent weeks.

Two of its young social enterprise employees scooped awards at the 2017 Star Apprenticeship Awards ceremony, held at the MacDonald Burlington Hotel on the 10th March. 

Billy, one of Jericho’s catering apprentices, won the Hospitality Apprentice Award, while Oliver won the overall Star Apprentice Award. Congratulations to them both. You can read the full story over on the Jericho Foundation blog.

Oliver (2nd from left), overall 2017 Star Apprenticeships Award winner

Billy, 2017 Star Apprenticeships Award winner – catering

In other Jericho news, chief exec Richard Beard was present at the Prime Minister’s ‘Celebrating Civil Society in the Midlands Reception’ on Wednesday 29th March at 10 Downing Street.

Richard Beard, Jericho Foundation CEO at 10 Downing St

Richard said, “We were delighted that the Jericho Foundation was given a special mention by Rob Wilson MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Civil Society. We will continue with our mission to provide post-National Referral Mechanism support to the survivors of modern slavery. One thing which would assist these brave people would be the confirmation of conclusive grounds guaranteeing benefits eligibility.”

You can read the full story of this too over on the Jericho blog.

“Promising Practice” — NHS England publishes paper on STPs and the third sector

We’ve written extensively about health and social value on this blog, and more recently, with specific reference to Birmingham and Solihull, have been exploring the role that NHS sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) should be playing in helping to embed social value and social enterprise and third sector commissioning.

At last, it seems we are not alone in banging on about these concerns. 

NHS England’s Public Participation Team has just circulated a document called Promising practice: how Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships are working with the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector. Sadly, Birmingham is not singled out for good practice but there are interesting examples from elsewhere in the country.

Now the most interesting thing about this document is the other sources it refers to. I found that virtually every report Promising Practice mentions was news to me — perhaps I haven’t been keeping up very well. For example, it draws on and reinforces the recommendations contained in the following:

» Joint review of partnerships and investment in voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations in the health and care sector (final report of the VCSE Review Team, May 2016 — chaired by Alex Fox, CEO of Shared Lives Plus). This report notes that “at present an adequate mechanism does not exist for making sense of [the VCSE offer] in ways that can best aid local adoption and spread” and recommends that NHS England uses a framework agreement “to commission a pool of preferred VCSE partners able to support person-centred, community-focussed interventions in defined geographical areas.”

» A new relationship with people and communities Actions for delivering Chapter 2 of the NHS Five Year Forward View: The report from the People and Communities Board to the Chief Executive of NHS England (February 2017). This report says: “Both the VCSE Review and Realising the Value confirmed that healthcare commissioning is still at a very low base when it comes to working in coproduction with the VCSE sector, and to taking a wellbeing approach to commissioning. For example, very few are actively using social value principles in procurement. Indeed, very few procure from the community sector at all.”

» Engaging local people: A guide for local areas developing Sustainability and Transformation Plans (NHS September 2016).

The point I’m trying to make is that at last it does seem that the right noises are being made — certainly by some parts of the NHS — and the dots are being joined-up between STPs, social value and the early intervention, preventative and community-based services that social enterprise and the third sector can offer.

The key problem, of course, is how on earth the sector — with its diminished capacity and spiralling demand — keeps on top of this slowly evolving agenda and makes the contribution it is not just able to but which is mapped out for it in all of the NHS documents mentioned above.

Working with the sector to develop protocols and agreements, to help establish and maintain networks, and to help the sector clarify and articulate its varied offers — all of which are mentioned in Promising Practice — is one thing. But enabling these services to get in front of commissioners who have not just the flexibility to commission them but also the money to fund those purchases is another matter entirely.

But progress has to start somewhere. If anyone has news about similar STP and VCSE sector progress in Birmingham and Solihull perhaps they can comment here or share links on our Twitter feed.

You can find out more or send your own examples of good practice to the NHS England Public Participation Team by sending mail to Frances Newell.

You may also want to see:

Social Value in health — it doesn’t have to be complicated.

See all blog posts tagged ‘social value’.

See all website material on public services and social value.

 See all website materials on social value and health.

City Drive — Workplace wellbeing event

As part of this year’s City Drive, Health Exchange has teamed up with iSE to offer a WorkStyle Workplace Wellbeing event aimed at helping social enterprises to understand how to improve the health, morale and productivity of their staff teams.

Join them on Tuesday 4th April, 10.00am to 12.30pm at the Park Regis Hotel 160 Broad Street, Birmingham B15 1DT.

A range of expert speakers will be joined by Graham Beaumont (Chief Executive, Health Exchange CIC) to give valuable insights into how organisations can partner with health and wellbeing social enterprises to develop resilient staff teams, improve staff retention and enhance their position as an ’employer of choice’.

The session will include: Mini Health Checks for the first 10 people to sign up for a WorkStyle programme; complimentary therapeutic massages – in collaboration with Hands On At Work; and WorkStyle Goodie Bags.

Those booking a free onsite workplace wellbeing introductory session will receive a VIP Birmingham Regis card entitling all those who attend to 10% off all food, drinks and spa treatments at the Shakina Spa.

There will also be an opportunity to meet a number of innovative health and wellbeing social enterprises in the exhibitor zone at this event. For more information or to exhibit send mail to Matt Jenkins.

Book here.

FOLLOW US: @HealthExUK #brumcitydrive

City Drive — Speed date your #SocEnt

The first City Drive event following the launch is  Speed Date Your #SocEnt on Monday 3rd April, from 4.00pm until 7.00pm at The Warehouse Cafe.

The aim of the event will be for start-up social entrepreneurs to come along and pitch their social enterprise idea to a host of established business minds from across the sector in an informal and friendly setting.

You’ll meet experienced social entrepreneurs and get to ask them those burning questions. You’ll be able to begin building your networks. You may even find a social enterprise mentor. 

So come along and kick-start your social enterprise success story!

It’s open to anyone who would like to know more, start-up, scale and grow or mentor a social enterprise.

This event is kindly sponsored by Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Hub.

Book here.

FOLLOW US: @iSE_CIC #brumcitydrive

UCB summer internships — calling all enterprises that can offer 8-week roles

University College Birmingham’s Summer Internship scheme is now open for 2017.

The university is looking  to offer internships to its food development, business, tourism and sports students. The internship can start any time after June when the students finish the semester.

University College Birmingham will pay up to £1000 towards the salary of each student, reimbursed at the end of the internship. To qualify an internship should last at least 8 weeks or 40 days if part time.

For more information see flyer, watch the videosend mail to UCB, or ring Natasha Lawson-Hollingsworth (0121 232 4322) or Sandeep Mahli (0121 232 4157).

City Drive — the Great Depressed Bake-Off event

Living Well Consortium is teaming up with City Drive 2017 to bring you The Great Depressed Cake Off event.

In recent years mental health and culinary experts have come round to the idea that baking can be helpful in relieving the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Kneading dough, weighing ingredients, decorating a cake — they all help bring feelings of calm and achievement.

So join us on Tuesday 4th April 2017, 2 -4pm at St. Martin In The Bull Ring Church B5 5BB, for The Great Depressed Bake Off event — and help raise awareness of mental health through this city centre drop in for cakes and treats…all with a message of support for those facing mental health challenges.

You can get involved by…

  • Baking some tasty treats to bring along, just be as creative as you want but keep it glum!
  • Dropping in and buying some cakes, biscuits or traybake to show your support and enjoy at the office or at home later!
  • Being a Star Baker and enter our Cake Off!


Kindly, and happily, sponsored by Living Well Consortium.

Book here.

City Drive — Be the Board event

A brand-new event for City Drive 2017 is Be the Board on Thursday 6th April 10am – 12noon hosted by The Women’s Enterprise Hub.

This interactive event is for early start social enterprises or those who would like to gain more experience of board meetings, strategic planning and decision making.

The topic for ‘Be the Board’ is expansion and business growth.

The Board will investigate, discuss and deliberate a growth strategy, a challenge faced by many social enterprises.

As a ‘Board member for the day’, you will have the chance to engage with other social entrepreneurs, work together and challenge each other to get to a good solution for the social business.

  • You will look at the costs involved, the social value and what difference it will make to the existing business.
  • You will have decided the best way to monitor social impact and social value.


At the end of the workshop you, the Board, will have made the decision as to whether the social enterprise should expand.

This will be a lively workshop, with ‘the Board’ having the final say!

Please do come and join us at the Women’s Enterprise Hub where you will be able to engage with like-minded individuals and add your views to a situation which could turn into a reality.

Book here.

FOLLOW US: @iSE_CIC #brumcitydrive

Graduate and Placement Jobs available from PSIAMS Systems


PSIAMS Systems, are currently recruiting to their Graduate and Undergraduate Placement Scheme for students that are leaving university or wanting to undertake a placement this year.

PSIAMS Systems provides a range of solutions for use in the Voluntary and Community sector to assist organisations, such as, charities and social enterprises to measure the impact they have in the local community and local economy. Staff within these organisations will use PSIAMS on a daily basis to record, track and support a range of customers.

Based in Dudley there are a number of full time and part time in the following areas:

  • Software Development
  • Programming
  • App or Website Development
  • CRM Administration
  • Sales/Marketing

All roles come with a Competitive salary, Volunteer and work placements opportunities, Training and CPD (Continual Professional Development) and Flexitime.


Applicants will need to demonstrate practical knowledge in their specialist area, commitment to their studies, working well under pressure whilst showing accuracy and efficiency in work. Problem solving skills, along with motivation and a good attitude to handling tasks to a high standard. Applicants will be keen to develop or expand their skills set and looking to make progression within their career.

Interested applicants should send CVs to PSIAMS Systems

Round one of applications close on 4th April 2017

Transformation and Social Value: Social Prescribing Keynote

PSIAMS Systems will be hosting a data focussed conference during City Drive Week in Birmingham. The event will feature a range of presentations and workshops on how data is transforming the way the Voluntary and Social Enterprise Sector are responding to change and the needs of commissioners and funders for outcomes focussed results and improved efficiency in service delivery.

The event on the 5th April 2017 will feature a keynote presentation from the award winning Integrated Plus, a Dudley based Social Prescribing project that has been identified as an exemplar of work in the sector.

The event will also feature service change in Children and Young people Services, social care services and peer to peer support.

Additional places added: Register Here Now!


City Drive partners with Grant Thornton to host “Leading the Way” event

City Drive week has always been a catalyst for bringing private sector organisations, public sector commissioners and social enterprises together and creating great conversations.

For City Drive 2017, we are delighted that Grant Thornton are hosting a high-value evening of networking and TED style talks that will stimulate enterprising leaders across all sectors as we explore what it means, and the benefits of, an ‘inclusive economy’. Thursday 6th April from 6pm until 8.30pm.

Grant Thornton has launched an exciting initiative across the UK, ‘Vibrant Economy’, that seeks to bring together all demographics, both business and social, to look at how we can achieve so much more when we work together.

Becky Eagle, Head of Commercial Audit for Grant Thornton, will be our first ‘TED Talker’ and share some of the findings form the Vibrant Economy Live Labs that have been taking place, and reflect on the Grant Thornton values-led culture that is a business imperative for CEO Sacha Romanovitch.

Martin Hogg, Founder of Citizen Coaching CIC will describe his journey from lone entrepreneur to a social enterprise ‘placeshaper’ and his view importance of social enterprises in growing the regional social economy.

As a relatively new ‘fourth sector’, we know we can make a difference. By harnessing the passion to ‘do more good’, whether it’s in how we manage our businesses, opening up recruitment to see the potential of the individual in front of us, improving how staff are supported and improving talent retention, to managing waste and reducing emissions… we can all ‘lead the way’ and realise the shared potential of businesses, cities, people and communities across the UK.

Come and join the conversation at “Leading the Way” hosted by Grant Thornton.


TWEET US: @GrantThornton @iSE_CIC #brumcitydrive

City Drive Bus SE — tour of North Birmingham social enterprise sector

In an exciting development for the North Birmingham Social Enterprise Network, we are planning our first tour event of the social enterprise community as part of our City Drive 2017 week of events.

NBSEN was officially launched  two years ago at the first City Drive and has been growing from strength to strength ever since. A wide variety of social enterprises in the North Birmingham area now regularly take advantage of the knowledge sharing and networking opportunities on offer through our meetings.

This successful model for forming new networks for social enterprise development will reach its newest phase of expansion during City Drive week with the launch of The Soho Network across West Birmingham and Smethwick.

In recent months, we have had speakers at the network meetings covering topics from social value to social media, green energy and bid writing, and attendees regularly report the benefits of meeting like-minded businesses in a supportive environment.

The NBSEN Bus Tour follows on from a successful model iSE has championed in our native Digbeth, visiting sites in the locality to promote the amazing work going on in the social enterprise community to interested parties, be they fellow social entrepreneurs, local politicians, students or just individuals with an interest in being inspired by seeing social enterprise in action.

The Bus SE tour is starting at iSE’s office in Digbeth on Wednesday 5th April 2017, 11.00am, and will be visiting three of the gems of the North Birmingham network, including Upcycle CICRoots to Fruit and the YMCA Birmingham facility at The Orchard.

The opportunity to hear these social enterprises’ great stories, as well as seeing their operations up close is a fantastic insight into the work of our sector, and one that anyone keen to learn more about how different social enterprises operate should not miss out on.

Book here.

TWEET US: @MyBCU  @iSE_CIC #brumcitydrive

More news on City Drive — book your places at the events you don’t want to miss!

Further to this post and this post, here’s some fresh news about what’s happening during City Drive week from the 3rd-7th April — especially the built environment-themed hackathon event on Wednesday 5th April from 12.30pm-5.30pm.

A new event for City Drive 2017 is a HACKATHON at the Impact Hub on Wednesday 5th April 12.30pm until 5.30 pm. The HACKATHON is aimed at involving young, socially-minded people who are interested in social enterprise and innovative solutions to social challenges.

The theme is the ‘Built Environment’ and we will be hacking some of the many social issues within this sector, seeking social enterprise solutions. We are delighted that the event will be facilitated by Pauline Roche from RNR CIC – she has a wealth of experience both in social enterprise and group problem solving. Pauline will be ably supported by Beatfreaks – another social enterprise which has great experience running Hackathons.  

The theme of ‘The Built Environment’ was suggested by Wates, City Drive sponsors, who through their ‘Buy Social’ policy are great examples of a corporate using their purchasing power to create social value. They will be with us on the day and be presenting a couple of the social issues alongside Andy Reeve (Impact Hub) and Tony Bhajam (Beatfreaks). We will be considering technology and the built environment, housing shortages, recycling and the environment and young people.

We are really excited about this event because should a really feasible social enterprise idea — and perhaps even more than one — emerge there is the potential to support this to start up beyond City Drive.  

There will be a meet up session on Monday 3rd April at 6pm at the Impact Hub B5 5NY, to find out more about the social issues and to help those taking part make choices about which issue to explore.   

Everyone attending will get a goody bag (social enterprise based) and lunch etc will be provided. DO JOIN US.

TWEET US: @WatesGroup #BCD17Hackathon and @iSE_CIC #brumcitydrive

And don’t forget that BSSEC is sponsoring “Birmingham — social enterprise city?” from 2pm-4pm on Thursday 6th April at the Impact Hub.

School for Social Entrepreneurs Mids announces new FREE 40-place programme

The School for Social Entrepreneurs Midlands has just announced the following:

Free programme to help you start a Social Enterprise + £3,000 to get things going

The School for Social Entrepreneurs Midlands is looking for 40 start-up social entrepreneurs from across the West & East Midlands to join its award winning Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs programme.

It starts in October. It’s free (yes, free) and 40 places are available. 15 days over 12 months. A Big Lottery Grant of £3000 to boot.

The deadline for applications is 26th April.

To help you decide if it is right for you, we are running a series of free 2 hour Information Events across the region. They are:

Leicester 23 March from 5:30pm Booking essential
Coventry 28 March from 6:00pm Booking essential
Birmingham 30 March from 5:30pm Booking essential
Nottingham 6 April from 5:30pm Booking essential
Birmingham 11 April from 5:30pm Booking essential
Wolverhampton 12 April from 6:30pm Booking essential

If you have a desire to address a social or environmental issue; if you have an idea for a social enterprise; if you have a desire to learn or need help, this is for you.

Jericho Foundation secures £440K funding to support victims of modern slavery & trafficking

L-to-R: Patrick Masih (Client Support Manager), Louise Gore (Client Support) and Richard Beard (Chief Executive) of the Jericho Foundation

Further to this post, the Jericho Foundation has just announced that it has received £314,000 from the Big Lottery Fund and a further £128,000 from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to support its “Labour for Change” project which supports victims of modern slavery.

These disadvantaged people became the focus of attention last year when Theresa May pledged £33m to fight human trafficking. It is a huge problem in Britain today – it is estimated that in 2015 there were 13,000 people enslaved in the UK alone, while last year 3,266 individuals were rescued and referred to the National Referral Mechanism.

The “Labour for Change” Project improves the economic, social and personal outcomes of the survivors of modern slavery and those at risk of this kind of exploitation. The project provides supported employment, apprenticeships and volunteering opportunities in Jericho’s eight social enterprise businesses. The Jericho Client Support Team delivers information, advice, guidance, personal development, language skills training and other services throughout the employment period or apprenticeship. Hope for Justice is one of the partners Jericho will be working closely with on this project and they will be sharing expertise while providing referrals and legal advocacy support.

Richard Beard, Chief Executive of Jericho, said: “We are incredibly grateful for the funding provided by the Big Lottery Fund and the Esmée Fairburn Foundation. It will truly transform the lives of victims of modern slavery. Our holistic programme ensures these survivors achieve a regular income, personal development and a feeling of safety and security. They are able to end their dependency on benefits, secure sustainable employment and become an inclusive and integrated part of their local community.”

For more information about this work send mail to Richard Beard at Jericho or ring 0121 647 1960.

Birmingham Volunteer Centre signs up with easyfundraising

Birmingham Volunteer Centre, the city’s volunteering support service provided by BVSC has just announced the following:

Did you know you now can help support the Volunteer Centre by shopping? Yes it is true! We have signed up with easyfundraising to raise funds for events like volunteers week and continued development of the services we offer.

In order for you to donate all you need to do is register and shop as you would normally do so. You will receive discount offers from high street retailer and supermarkets and may well save on your purchases whilst still supporting a worthy cause. See the link below for further information

Do you shop online? Do it via this link and raise a free donation for Birmingham Volunteer Centre every time you shop! 

Thank you, and happy shopping, Birmingham Volunteer Centre

Birmingham — social enterprise city?

Further to this post about City Drive, we’re delighted to say that BSSEC is sponsoring an event during the week — an afternoon of interesting and provocative debate entitled, What We Want — Is Birmingham a Social Enterprise City?

This takes place from 2pm-4pm on Thursday 6th April at the Impact Hub.

Expect lively and passionate presentations from our speakers representing business, social enterprise and stakeholders across Birmingham as we explore the concept of social enterprise cities, and whether we have got one, want one, or are in the process of building one.

Places will be limited so book soon