iSE announces new Flying Start support programme for women

iSE has been successful in winning the RBS Inspiring Women in Enterprise public vote for its women-centred project Flying Start, designed to encourage and support more women into social enterprise.

Flying Start will provide bespoke, non-traditional social enterprise start-up support to 30 women in Birmingham.

It will focus on leadership, expertise, finance and networks.

Managed by Sarah Crawley, CEO of iSE, and Elizabeth Barker, the programme will build confidence and empower local women to lead successful and sustainable social businesses.

The first event in the programme — a masterclass on leadership presented by Joy Warmington, chief exec of BRAP — has just been announced. See below.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

To book for this or any of the other events send mail to Elizabeth Barker or call 0121 771 1411.

Download the programme here.

Go to the iSE website for information and eligibility terms.


Moseley CDT launches Change It! competition for young social entrepreneurs

Click the graphic for info

Click the graphic for info

Moseley Community Development Trust has launched a competition for young social entrepreneurs called Change It!

The aim of Change It! is to help young people launch ventures that can change the places where they live for the better. “You provide the inspiration; we provide a place and the support to make it happen,” says Tony Thapar at Moseley CDT.

iSE and ClearlySo to host ‘investment angels’ event for social enterprises

Are you a…

  • Social Entrepreneur?
  • Investor?
  • Potential Investor?
  • Interested in supporting the sector?


If one of the following is yes, please book your place for our networking event which will give you a great opportunity to meet same minded people and build your networks and knowledge.

Over the next few months iSE is supporting the development of a regional social angel group to invest into social enterprises based in the Greater Birmingham area. Therefore, iSE in partnership with ClearlySo will be hosting a launch event, which will be supported by four future workshops and a final dissemination event as a part of a Big Lottery funded project.

Launch event will be held on the 20th of May from 5.30pm till 7pm at 134 Edmund Street, Birmingham, B3 2ES.

This launch event will include a keynote speaker, and introduction to the project as well as short pitches from a number of social entrepreneurs and a short debrief on angel investing and social enterprise. It will be your chance to hear all about the new and important Social Investment Tax Relief too.

The exciting launch event audience will consist of social entrepreneurs, investors, potential investors, and those with an interest in supporting the sector from universities and economic development.

Future Workshops & Events…
Our future events will include four focus groups for potential investors alongside four investments readiness and pitch preparation events for social entrepreneurs to enable them to gain skills and take advantage of the investment pitch opportunities.

The final event will be a great chance to share the results and hopefully to launch a regional angel group.

ClearlySo, together with their delivery partner iSE in Greater Birmingham, has been funded by the Big Lottery. We are working with social enterprises to develop an investment pipeline, potential social angel investors to form a regional angel network, and partners and supporters of social investment in the region.

To book
More information and to book for Birmingham Investors
More information and to book for Birmingham Social Entrepreneurs

Interested but can’t attend?
If you are interested in the topic but cannot come along then register for ClearlySo’s newsletter for news of other events and results.

Gateway Family Services is recruiting

Gateway Family Services CIC is seeking to recruit a Programme Manager (6 month fixed term maternity cover with possible extension to contract).

GFS is the leading provider of training and employment to the health and social care sector. Our aim is to reduce inequalities in learning, employment and health.

Position: Programme Manager (6 month fixed term maternity cover with possible extension to contract)
Salary: £25313 per annum
Hours per week: 37
Job Reference: GW156

The role will involve management of staff within a telephone based Health and Wellbeing service. Applicants must have a Level 3 management qualification or possess relevant experience. A proven track record in meeting targets and ensuring contractual requirements are met is vital as is the ability to lead and motivate others. The ability to work autonomously and communicate effectively at all levels and through a range of mediums is required. Knowledge of Health and Wellbeing services would be advantageous.

The service is operational from Monday to Friday 9am – 7pm.

Applicants for this post must be willing to work flexible hours around the needs of the service, this may occasionally include times outside the normal working hours specified above and weekends.

Please send email for an application pack, quoting the reference number GW156, telephone Marisol Daley on 0121 456 7820 or visit our website.

Download the Job advert

Download the Job description

Closing date for applications is 5pm on Wednesday 30th April.

Upcycle — official launch

Further to this postUpcycle Birmingham — Castle Vale TRA’s new furniture recycling social enterprise — held its official launch party on the 7th April.

Guests gathered for afternoon tea as they discovered more about the social enterprise that brings new life to furniture and homes.

There was plenty of opportunity for networking as key figures from the city’s leading third sector organisations turned out in force.

The event was held at Upcycle Birmingham’s state-of-the-art training unit and showroom in the OYO Business Park, Park Lane.

Upcycle Birmingham is the result of a unique partnership between Castle Vale Tenants and Residents’ Alliance (CVTRA), Castle Vale Community Housing Association (CVCHA) and its Employment and Enterprise Trust Fund. All three bodies – that have helped fund the project – are committed to providing help, information and support for residents in Castle Vale and east Birmingham.

Donations of furniture and household goods have already been flooding in from across Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield and Solihull — and Judy Tullett, who is directing this new project, says they have already uncovered some real gems.

Upcycle already has restored tables and chairs, cabinets, beds, sofas and wardrobes in stock, along with a host of domestic appliances, electrical items and other household goods.

People planning a spring clean or clear-out are being encouraged to donate to the enterprise — either by delivering the items or by using the business’s home collection service.

To donate or find out more go to Upcycle Birmingham or send mail to Judy Tullett or call 0121 747 5932.


SEUK says awareness of social value is still not as high as it should be

Click the graphic to download the report

Click the graphic to download the report

Social Enterprise UK, in conjunction with Landmarc, has just published The Future of Social Value: A Report from the Social Value Summit 2014.

SEUK’s research identifies areas of outstanding good practice — including in Birmingham, the West Midlands, Knowsley, Durham, Liverpool and elsewhere — but concludes that overall:

  • Awareness of the social value legislation and how to use it is not as high as it should be one year on from the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 coming fully into force.
  • Pre-procurement consultation with the social sector has not been as thorough as was hoped.
  • Where awareness is higher, this hasn’t necessarily led to identifiable changes in procurement practice.
  • How to measure social value (for the provider) and how to ask for social value to be measured (for the commissioner) remain central largely unresolved questions.


Our work in Birmingham and the research we have done elsewhere certainly bears out at least some of these findings, but we also feel there is cause for cautious optimism.

Birmingham has made great strides in implementing social value, and the progress review event we held in January 2014 also highlighted good practice and innovative ideas and approaches in Oldham and Liverpool. You can read our full report of this event here. Indeed, given the financial and other pressures that local authorities are currently operating under, we think the progress that has been made on social value is in some cases extraordinary and shows considerable determination.

Read more about social value on the website:

 Public services and social value

 Birmingham City Council and social value

 Useful resources on social value

 All blog posts tagged ‘social value’

ASPIRE sports quiz dinner

Aspire, the charity supporting people with spinal injuries, is holding a fundraising sports quiz dinner on the 25th September 2014 in Birmingham.

You can download a booking form here.

Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter — work on a baseline survey of the Qtr begins

Following the successful launch of the Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter last December and receipt of an  Awards for All grant of £10,000  to help fund its continuing development, work has begun to produce a comprehensive profile of the Quarter, beginning with a baseline survey.

Click to download the survey

Click to download the survey

A questionnaire has been sent to all social enterprises  in the Digbeth/Highgate area, designed to capture data about their economic, employment and social  contribution.

This is the kind of information that will be vital in order to further raise the profile of the Qtr and explain its importance —  especially to potential funders and supporters — and iSE is urging as many Digbeth/Highgate social enterprises as possible to complete the questionnaire and return it by the 30th April.

If you don’t think you have received the questionnaire you can download it below.

 Download the questionnaire (MS Word form document).

 More news on the Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter on our website.

→ See all blog posts tagged Digbeth Social Enterprise Qtr.

Birmingham social enterprise My Time clinches historic deal with Richmond Fellowship

My_Time_CICRichmond_Fellowship___Working_towards_a_society_that_values_everyone_with_mental_health_problemsBirmingham-based community mental health social enterprise, My Time CIC, has been acquired by the Richmond Fellowship.

Read the full story here.

Is this the first example of a Birmingham social enterprise merging with a national charity? We think it must be.

My Time CIC became a majority-owned subsidiary of the Richmond Fellowship on 1st April in a deal which saw the Richmond Fellowship taking a 76% stake in the company.

My Time provides services which help tackle depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and long-term mental health issues in the community. It will remain a company in its own right and continue to provide and manage its own services.

My Time has 35 staff and in 2012/13 posted an income of £696,000. The Richmond Fellowship has 886 staff and in the same period posted an income of £33.4m.

Michael Lilley and his colleagues at My Time are surely to be congratulated and we hope the sector in Birmingham — and beyond — recognises this for the historic news that it is.

Birmingham Enterprise Foundation at Cobalt Square

Birmingham Enterprise Foundation is now offering workspaces plus business support at the new Cobalt Square development at Five Ways.

For more information send mail to Jonathan Harris or ring 0121 454 8069.

UnLtd — Living It campaign

Putting social entrepreneurship on the agenda -- UnLtd's Living It campaign

Putting social entrepreneurship on the agenda — UnLtd’s Living It campaign

In partnership with the Social Economy AllianceUnLtd’s Living It campaign celebrates and showcases young social entrepreneurs.

UnLtd will shortly be holding two live debates on the future of youth employment and how social entrepreneurship can create more jobs and opportunities for young people.

UnLtd  believes that enterprise, social entrepreneurship, training and education, self-employment and job creation can help address the problems of social immobility, unemployment, and stagnating wages and living standards, inequality, disadvantage and reduced access to opportunity.

Join UnLtd at Google Campus on Wednesday 2nd April for an event providing the chance for young social entrepreneurs and supporters in the sector to inform and shape policy recommendations for the Social Economy Alliance ahead of the 2015 General Election, to ensure social entrepreneurship features as a significant part of the solution for the future of youth employment.

If you can’t make it on the 2nd of April at Google Campus we will be hosting a Live Twitter Chat on 31st March from 12.30pm to 2pm.

For more information about the campaign and to register for the event at Google Campus  go here.

Heart of England Community Foundation — New ESF Community Grants Programme Open

The Heart of England Community Foundation has announced the launch of its new European Social Fund Community Grants Programme for Coventry, Warwickshire, Solihull and Birmingham & The Black Country. The programme is now open for applications.

ESF Newsflash 2014[1]

Social enterprises in the Greater Birmingham area employ over 14,600 people and turnover at least £180m a year

Click to download

Research just published by the GBSLEP (March 2014)  offers a level of detail about the social enterprise sector that has never previously been available, underlining just how important the sector is — socially and economically.

Size of the sector

There are an estimated 450-500 social enterprises in Greater Birmingham, with a combined turnover of at least £180m and employing over 14,600 people.

Social enterprise is a growth sector

Staff levels  increased by almost 11% during the period 2011-2013 — meaning that about 1,500 jobs were created. Over 72% expect to create additional jobs in 2014 – with a significant proportion of these being for young people. 73% reported an increase in turnover on the previous year and over 67% expect to see growth in 2014.


Trading is now overwhelmingly the greatest source of income for social enterprises. Roughly 86% of social enterprises’ income is earned from trading as opposed to about 14% from grants, donations and ‘other sources’.

Social enterprise is an innovative sector

The introduction of new products or services is often regarded as a proxy for business innovation. Over 78% of social enterprises reported introducing a new service or product in the preceding twelve months.

Social value

Social enterprises combine trading, social purpose and voluntary effort to deliver a unique blend of social and economic impact. While there is no single, definitive measure of social value, the survey revealed that social enterprises in the GBSLEP area:

  • Invest over £36m a year in achieving their social mission.
  • And are supported by over 2,100 volunteers who donate about 450,000 person-hours a year –- time which is worth another £4.73m a year valued at the average West Midlands hourly wage.


 More detail on the GBSLEP website.

 Download the brochure showcasing the findings of the report and case studies here.

 Download the full survey findings here.

 Follow the links under ‘About Social Enterprise’ on the BSSEC website  for more information about social enterprises in Birmingham, social enterprise case studies, and the Digbeth Social Enterprise Qtr.

Forthcoming FREE workshop on social value

As part of our Barrow Cadbury Trust-funded project on Social Value, we will be holding a major FREE workshop for social enterprises and commissioners involved in implementing the new legislation.

This will take place in May or early-June.

The likely theme of the workshop will be “Evidencing Social Value: The Elephant in the Room”.

We want to build on what we have learned about the practical implementation of the social value Act amongst local authorities (especially key partner Birmingham City Council) and provide a free opportunity that will:

  • Update social enterprises on where things are at with social value.
  • Reflect on the practical implications of social value in commissioning.
  • Examine the likely evidencing requirements.
  • Find out more about how we can best help social enterprises rise to the challenge of social value.


If you would like to reserve a place at this workshop send mail to Alun Severn.

Following on from this workshop we will also be offering further support around social value for social enterprises and trading third sector organisations, and this will include more intensive support and surgery-style sessions. Watch this space.

 You can read our latest report on emerging trends in implementing social value here.

 Go to our dedicated social value pages on the website.

Social enterprise bouquets & floral arrangements

Step into spring mothers day  Easter

Park Lane Garden Centre is now producing beautiful floristry to suit all occasions — birthdays, new baby, anniversaries, funerals, special events, corporate hire -– ideal for Mothers’ Day.

For further details or to pre-order send mail to Julia Parkes.

Measuring Social Impact – An NHS Building Health Partnerships Case Study

The Building Health Partnerships programme aims to improve health outcomes through supporting the development of effective and productive partnerships between Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), local authorities and voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations. Supported by NHS England, the programme is delivered by Social Enterprise UK in partnership with the Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR).

Dudley, is one of the 12 pilot areas and has been working on bringing commissioners into a new conversation with the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector, the Dudley Building Health Partnership programme has created a common system for demonstrating and measuring social impact. This is making commissioning a more collaborative process, leading to better health and care outcomes in Dudley.

The video, which was recently shown at the NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester, features work from BSSEC member, Cloudberry, on their PSIAMS (Personal and Social Impact Action Measurement System) which is being used by a number of organisations across the Dudley borough and Birmingham.

You can download a pdf version of the case study below.

Visit the PSIAMS Website here

Download Health Partnership Dudley Case Study

Up to £40m in ‘money plus advice’ for struggling service delivery organisations?

The government seems likely to throw a lifeline to struggling third sector service delivery organisations in the 2015 financial year.

According to a piece in today’s Third Sector Online, civil society minister Nick Hurd is concerned that some third sector organisations providing valuable services for those most in need are at financial risk. The fund — which Hurd says he hopes will be worth around £40m — will offer money coupled with advice to ensure long term survival and is likely to make its first grants shortly before the general election in 2015.

OCS is about to open a public consultation on the shape and operation of the fund. There’s nothing on the OCS website or Cabinet Office announcements page yet but watch this space…

Upcycle Birmingham — new life for furniture, new hope for communities

For months now, under conditions of closely-guarded secrecy (I know: I’ve tried to winkle the details out of them often enough), the folks at Castle Vale TRA have been developing a new social enterprise.

Well, the wraps are finally off and we can tell you about Upcycle Birmingham — a new furniture recycling business which aims not just to give new life to carefully restored furniture, but new hope to local communities too.

Working from a state-of-the-art training unit and showroom in the OYO Business Park, Park Lane, the team restores furniture and household goods for re-sale, while also providing employment, training and volunteering opportunities for local people who are looking for work.

Donations of furniture and household goods have already been flooding in from across Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield and Solihull — and Judy Tullett, who is directing this new project, says they have already uncovered some real gems.

Upcycle already has restored tables and chairs, cabinets, beds, sofas and wardrobes in stock, along with a host of domestic appliances, electrical items and other household goods.

People planning a spring clean or clear-out are being encouraged to donate to the enterprise — either by delivering the items or by using the business’s home collection service.

Upcycle Birmingham is part of the Castle Vale Tenants and Residents’ Alliance (CVTRA),  the only resident-led organisation of its type in Birmingham, and one of only a few in England.

To donate or find out more go to Upcycle Birmingham or send mail to Judy Tullett or call 0121 747 5932.

 One of the first Recycling Assistants taken on by the new enterprise is Michael Wootton [seen above] from Shard End.

Michael left school at 15 with just a handful of qualifications after his education was blighted by bullies. He struggled in the classroom and didn’t attend lessons in fear of cruel jibes on a daily basis.

After a couple of years of temporary jobs — including working in a McDonalds — Michael found Upcycle and things are now starting to look up for him.

Lottery announces £150m programme to support community-led enterprise

bigottery-logoLaunched in December of last year, BIG has just announced that its new £150m ‘Power to Change‘ programme will be overseen by Richard Handover, ex-CEO of WH Smith.

The fund will support community-led enterprises that directly engage with and service  local communities.

BIG has defined ‘community-led enterprise’ as meeting the following criteria:

  • The enterprise is community-led, meaning it is endorsed by or engaging directly with local people.
  • The lead partner is a charity, social enterprise, not-for-profit or member (co-operative) organisation. The governing documents provide that on dissolution or winding up, the organisation’s property and income will not be distributed amongst its members but will be transferred to another charity or similar organisation.
  • The enterprise is locally based, benefiting a specific geographical place and is inclusive of all in this community.
  • The aims and objectives of the enterprise are a direct response to local social and economic need or opportunity.
  • The enterprise has a sustainable business plan and aims to become viable beyond grants or public funding.


BIG’s briefing about Power to Change is on this page — click the download link ‘read our briefing’ in the final paragraph.

Thanks to Angus McCabe at TSRC for the nudge to this story.

Sustainability Spring Fair @ the Custard Factory

It’s Sustainability Spring Fair time again — at the Custard Factory.

The Old Library will host the ethical market with stalls selling fairly traded and ethically sourced products. In The Dome there’ll be interactive art including making toys and models from junk.

During the day the solar powered stage in Gibb Street will feature the Purple Dragon magic act, sets from local bands with a swing and rock and roll theme and  headliners the famous Electric Swing Circus.

Also taking place at the Custard Factory that day is “Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair”.

Pop down for a FREE fun, green, entertaining day out at the Sustainability Spring Fair.