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.

Launch of the Citizen Coaching CIC Big Lottery Funded Anger Management Programme

Social Enterprise Mentor networking

This month sees the launch of the Citizen Coaching CIC Big Lottery Funded Anger Management Programme.

This programme is designed to help small charities, social enterprises or third sector organisations that has service users, clients or customers over 18 years of age who would benefit from an anger management programme, but do not have access to funds to pay for one.

Join Martin, Otis and the Citizen Coaching CIC team at Social Enterprise Mentor, a relaxed networking event taking place at Saint kitchen in St.Paul’s Square, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham between 2.30pm and 4.30pm on Thursday 19th March as we launch of our new Big Lottery Funded programme. Social Enterprise Mentor is a free networking event for those in or interested in the Social Enterprise sector….not only that they even give you a coffee, tea or soft drink for free!

Discover how you could partner with Citizen Coaching CIC to make available this life changing programme to the people you work with, for free.

Over the last 10 years Citizen Coaching CIC has worked with hundreds of people across Birmingham and The Black Country to help them discover a ‘life less angry’. The impact of the programme has reduced offending, helped people achieve a more secured tenancy, led to a better feeling of well-being and helped people create more harmonious relationships.

More information on Social Enterprise Mentor and to register for the Citizen Coaching Anger Management Programme Launch Event here.

Social Enterprise Mentor



Small Business Charter/Aston Business School growth vouchers scheme

Eligible businesses have only until 31st March 2015 to apply for support under the SBS/Aston Business School Growth Vouchers scheme.


The Small Business Charter Growth Vouchers Programme is a 10-module programme, designed and run by a national consortium of world-class business schools.

The closing date for applications is 31st March 2015, and businesses keen to grow in 2015 should sign up now.

The programme accepts small businesses, CICs and charities from all sectors (businesses operated as sole trader partnerships able to show that they have employees paid through PAYE are also welcome to apply). IT businesses, learning providers, music groups, social care, food companies, beauty & hair salons, as well as manufacturing and professional businesses have all benefitted from the scheme.

A free 3-hour business diagnostic workshop and 1-on-1 mentoring session worth £500 is on offer — a chance for business owners to evaluate, gain practical knowledge and materials, and reap the benefit of direct access to a business mentor with experience of helping small businesses to grow.

Businesses receiving a Growth Voucher participate in the full course of growth training worth £5,000. The Government provides £3,000 to cover 60% of the cost, and the remainder is paid by businesses in small instalments.

Eligibility — businesses must:

  • Be registered in England (with a Companies House number).
  • Have 1-19 full time employees.
  • Have less than £3.2m annual turnover.
  • Have been trading or selling services for at least 12 months.
  • Not have paid for strategic business advice in the past 3 years.


Read leaflet.

Overview of programme and applicant information.

Click here to find out more and apply online. Or for a personal approach, ring the SBC Growth Vouchers team on 0121 204 4822 or send mail.

The next free diagnostic session is taking place on Wednesday 18th March 2015. The full course of 10 half-day practical workshops – run over a number of weeks – will run from April to July 2015, all taking place in central Birmingham.

Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme – APPLY NOW

This, just in from Charles Rapson at the School for Social Entrepreneurs Midlands…

Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme – APPLY NOW

The School for Social Entrepreneurs Midlands has added two additional information/taster sessions for anyone interested in finding out more about this sought after programme.

The Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Start Up programme is aimed at organisations with income below £25k and who have been trading for less than 2 years.

The programme offers 14 days of intensive support over a 12 month period, is free to attend and provides a £4000 grant from Big Lottery to help you get your project moving.

The taster sessions help you understand SSE’s unique and successful approach, what the programme is like and what to expect. Hints and tips on making your application stand out will also be given.

There are two sessions. One mid-day in Derby on 11 March and an evening session in Birmingham on 12 March. Booking is essential.

If you have already decided this programme is for you, then you can apply online now here. Don’t leave it to the last day (2 April). Get your application in early.

UnLtd ‘SEE Change’ event — Birmingham

This, just in from UnLtd

Social Entrepreneurship Exchange Network event

Date: 26th March 2015
Time: 2.00pm – 7.00pm

Venue: Millennium Point, Birmingham City University
Curzon Street, B4 7XG
Birmingham, UK
(Nearest Train station: Birmingham Moor Street)

You are invited to attend the ‘SEE Change‘ Social Entrepreneurship Exchange Network event, taking place at Birmingham City University in Birmingham, Thursday 26th March, 2.00pm-7.00pm.   SIGN UP TO THE EVENT HERE

Building partnerships and networks is vital in the pursuit of supporting social entrepreneurship locally, regionally, nationally and even globally.

This event will explore positive and effective partnership working, with an opportunity to experience first-hand our ‘SEE Change’ Social Entrepreneurship Exchange Network – both on and off-line approaches. This is a great opportunity to learn more from our existing networks and partners who have developed effective ways of ​engaging with communities, establishing support networks and developing knowledge sharing spaces.

Talking social enterprise with like-minded people

Join us for some great conversations and light refreshments with fantastic UnLtd Award Winners, social entrepreneurs, mentors, volunteers and supporters from across the country to talk ‘social enterprise!’ This is an opportunity to meet new people, share ideas, learn from others and make worthwhile connections.

About the programme

The relationship between UnLtd and HEFCE started back in 2009 with an aim to create a foundation of support for social entrepreneurs within higher education institutions. Five years on, we are in Phase 3 of the programme having funded 1,500 social entrepreneurs across 100 university partners. This is an opportunity for us as supporters of social entrepreneurs to share positive learning and achievements.

Refreshments and nibbles will be provided across the day.   SIGN UP TO THE EVENT HERE

New women’s enterprise hub for Birmingham




iSE has been awarded a contract from Birmingham City Council to develop and run a new Women’s Enterprise Hub for Birmingham.

The initiative is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Growing Places Fund.

The plan is to refurbish a part of the existing Southside Business Centre in Ladypool Road, Sparkbrook, and create a space that will be staffed by women to help women in setting up and growing both commercial and social enterprises.

The refurbishment work is due to take six months, but in the meantime the Hub is opening its doors in a virtual sense.

With immediate effect, women can access a variety of tailored support services by contacting the new Women & Enterprise helpline on 0121 663 1711 to start building the confidence and skills they need to succeed in business.

When it opens in Summer 2015, the physical Hub will also offer office space, hot desks, meeting and training rooms. You can register an interest in using these facilities in advance by ringing the helpline.

You can follow the progress of the Hub’s development and find out more about Women & Enterprise here.

Read the full press release.

Sarah Crawley and Marija Sakalauskaite from ISE at the new premises

Sarah Crawley and Marija Sakalauskaite from ISEat the new premises

Birmingham Post Growth Fund offers grants for businesses

The Birmingham Post Growth Fund, in partnership with Bournville College, is now open again for applications.

The scheme, which is financed through the Regional Growth Fund, provides grant funding to help businesses grow and create sustainable new jobs.

Companies can bid for grants of £10,000 to £100,000. The deadline for submitting bids is 1pm on Friday 20th March 2015.

To qualify applicants must:

  • Be situated in and trading from Birmingham, Solihull or Coventry.
  • Employ fewer than 250 employees, have a turnover of less than the equivalent of 50 million euros per annum, and/or a balance sheet of less than 43 million euros; and
  • Demonstrate an ability to ‘match fund’ £3 for every £1 of Growth Funding requested. This can be investment from the company, investment from banks or other lenders.


Read the PDF factsheet.

Go to the Birmingham Post Growth Fund website.




Vulnerability360 is a new website and community of practice concerned with vulnerability in its broadest sense — of children, families, young people, marginalised groups or communities. The project is interested in making available unpublished research, guest blogs, opinion pieces and other materials.

The initiative was developed following publication of a book called Working with Vulnerable Children, Young People and Families (Routledge 2013) and a conference that accompanied the launch of the book.

Peter Tatchell (and here), Alan Gibbons, and Danny Dorling have all done guest blogs for the project.

If you have an interest in this field of work Vulnerability360 would like to hear from you. If you have a topic you would like to write on, materials you would like the website to showcase, or research you want to publicise and/or make available send mail to Terry Potter.

The project also plans to put various chapters of the book on the resources page with free access as soon as it has clarified the legal position with the book publisher.

Santander/UnLtd social enterprise development awards 2015

The Santander/UnLtd Social Enterprise Development Awards (SEDA) programme for 2015 is open for applications!

Working in partnership Santander and UnLtd are providing support to ambitious social ventures with future high growth potential and intensive acceleration services for ventures that are ready to scale up rapidly.

SEDA Catalyst Awards

There are two levels of SEDA Catalyst Awards available in 2015: consisting of £5,000 cash and a 12-month development and growth support package or £10,000 cash and a 12-month development and growth support package.

SEDA fast growth award

The SEDA Fast Growth Award consists of a £20,000 Award and 12 months of intensive growth acceleration services.

You can submit an expression of interest for a Catalyst Award now. The deadline for expressions of interest is 27th March 2015. The deadline for completed application forms is 10th April 2015.

More information on the UnLtd website.

More information on the Santander SEDA website.

UnLtd_-_SEDA_programme 3

BVSC is recruiting for Fulfilling Lives: Ageing Better

Fulfilling Lives: Ageing Better is a Big Lottery Fund investment in community-led approaches that enable older people who are most at risk of social isolation and loneliness to lead more fulfilling lives across 15 local authority areas in England.

In Birmingham, BVSC is leading a cross sector partnership which has been successful in securing an investment of £6m from the Big Lottery Fund to help reduce social isolation amongst older people for six years.

BVSC is therefore currently recruiting for the following roles as part of this major project:

£31,754 to £40,741 per annum
35 hours per week
Based at 138 Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 6DR

A Partnership & Delivery Manager to lead and champion the Birmingham Ageing Better programme. You will take overall responsibility for the successful delivery of the programme. You will be a strategic thinker with excellent interpersonal and people management ability in addition to strong project management experience and an expert in Asset Based Community Development. You will have an understanding of the challenges faced and support mechanisms needed to assist older people suffering from isolation.
Closing date for applications – 20th March 2015 (by 10.00am)
Interviews to take place on 31st March 2015

£27,052 to £28,636 per annum
35 hours per week
Based at 138 Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 6DR

Someone who has contract management and project co-ordination experience. You will have an understanding of the challenges faced and support mechanisms needed to assist older people suffering from isolation as well as having an understanding of Asset Based Community Development. The successful candidate will also have proven experience of partnership working and the ability to actively listen and communicate to a diverse audience.
Closing date for applications – 6th March 2015 (by 10.00am)
Interviews to take place on 19th March 2015

£27,052 to £28,636 per annum
35 hours per week
Based at 138 Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 6DR

The successful post holder will have numeracy and financial analysis experience. You will have excellent interpersonal and communication skills with the ability to interpret and explain financial information and concepts.
Closing date for applications – 6th March 2015 (by 10.00am)
Interviews to take place on 25th March 2015

£15, 725 to £16, 830 per annum
35 hours per week
Based at 138 Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 6DR

An experienced administrator with high level customer service skills. You will have excellent I.T. and organisational skills with the ability to multi-task.
Closing date for applications – 6th March 2015 (by 10.00am)
Interviews to take place on 23rd March 2015

For further information or to request an application pack for any of the above mentioned roles please email or ring the Recruitment Team on 0121 678 8899.

Secondments will be considered for all posts.

BVSC is an equal opportunities employer.

What’s happening in social value in the health sector?

As promised in this post, we have now begun to document some of our initial research into current thinking in the health sector regarding social value.

You can read this on the dedicated Health & Social Value pages over on the website.

Colebridge Enterprises reaches 4m motor parts packed and boxed

Some of you may remember that a couple of years ago elsewhere on the website we featured Colebridge Enterprises — in particular the huge changes in direction that had happened there under Charles Rapson’s entrepreneurial guidance and Colebridge’s entry into the automotive parts packaging market.

Well, things have not stood still since then — I’ve just had this urgent email from Charles:

I’ve just being going through the numbers we record each week (our KPI’s).

We have now passed the 4 MILLION mark on the number of car parts we have stuck labels on, folded, taped and stuck in boxes since we started this roller coaster ride at Colebridge Enterprises just over 2 years ago. And there is another 20,000 or so waiting for our brilliant workers to get stuck into on Monday.

Blood, sweat, tears, laughter, stress, frustration, joy, bad singing and hefty sugar rations were all involved.

Shedding another little tear as I type.

Thought you might like to know and share

Charles Rapson
Colebridge Enterprises Ltd.

Charles in my experience is not easily moved to tears, so this must be significant news! Congratulations to everyone involved.