Birmingham lifestyle services consultation

Care charity Freshwinds is working with Public Health Birmingham in conducting the ‘Birmingham Lifestyle services Consultation’.

Public Health recognises that Lifestyle Services are essential to improving the health and wellbeing of Birmingham citizens and this consultation is an opportunity to consult with the public as well as agencies regarding the current lifestyles services offered and the vision for Birmingham’s future ‘Lifestyle Services’.

As part of this consultation Freshwinds is keen to ensure that as many views as possible are heard, especially from the public and from organisations that work with unemployed people, homeless, older adults, ex-offenders, carers, children and families, those facing long term chronic disease, those facing issues of mental ill health, those with learning disabilities and those facing issues of substance misuse.

You can participate in several ways:

 Go to the website to complete the survey questionnaire online.

 Download a copy of the survey questionnaire for written completion or electronic completion (if completed electronically it can then be returned to this email address).

 Read the consultation document.

 Attend a stakeholder event at BVSC on 1st June 2015 1.30pm-4.30pm where you will be able to view and feedback on the proposed model for future ‘Lifestyle Services’ commissioning planned for 2016 . Book here.The consultation will continue until July 12th.

Click to read consultation document



SEUK to buy out SEWM




I suspect many will read with some sadness the report in Third Sector today that Social Enterprise West Midlands is to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of SEUK.

Businesses — including social enterprises — sometimes have to do whatever is most likely to guarantee their continuing survival, and perhaps in this case some kind of merger really was the only sensible option.

Nonetheless, it’s hard not to feel a little sad. Such immense effort went into building up both the SEWM organisation and brand and Melanie Mills, its former chief exec, was central to that success.

There are also bigger issues at stake here, though. The role of a regional membership body is somewhat different to that of a national one. Regional bodies by definition have a bigger role to play in local influencing: their members regard them in a different light and arguably expect more from them.

The report says that SEWM — currently part of the Aspire Group — will retain its Birmingham staff and offices and if true then this will surely be regarded as good news by many. This will be central in SEWM (or whatever SEWM becomes) retaining its local presence and identity.

The two bodies will be consulting their respective memberships over the coming months to work out how best the operations should merge.


UnLtd publishes free legal guides for social entrepreneurs

UnLtd_-_Legal_Help_Guides_»_UnLtd_jpgWorking in conjunction with global law firm DLA Piper, UnLtd has just published fourteen free legal guides aimed specifically at social entrepreneurs.

You can read them all here.

“Whether you’re a social entrepreneur just starting out on a new venture or you need to protect areas of your existing social enterprise, these fourteen help sheets are a great way to ensure your social enterprise stays on the right side of the law.” — UnLtd


UnLtd_-_Legal_Help_Guides_»_UnLtd 2

Help position the Birmingham city region — locally, internationally, globally


How do you tell the ‘story’ of something as amorphous as a ‘city region’ in a way that will appeal equally to the new inward investor, the young family looking for affordable housing and family-family neighbourhoods, entrepreneurs looking for the best place to start a business?

Marketing Birmingham is trying to find out.

Over the past few weeks, as part of repositioning the city region, over 20 group workshops and more than 50 1-to-1 interviews have been held. The second phase of this repositioning exercise is now underway, with a new website set up to handle the widest possible engagement  with everyone who wants to contribute.

Marketing Birmingham wants to find out your views about the Birmingham Region… What does the Birmingham Region mean to you? What’s good? What needs to be improved?

You can take part by going to the Birmingham Region website where you can:

  • Describe the Birmingham Region in five words.
  • Upload an image of the Birmingham Region.
  • Tell a story.
  • Complete a survey.


By taking part you have the chance to win tickets from attractions across the region such as Drayton Manor and the Sealife Centre.

Social enterprise — stairway to heaven?

Today we have a guest article by our old colleague Simon Lee, who left Brum for the glamour and riches of London.

Simon has written a paper in which he argues that in a climate of continuing public spending cuts,  social enterprises will have to scale-up if they are to compete successfully with the private sector ‘big boys’ in in winning public service contracts.

But the evidence that the sector generally is capable of scaling up, he argues, is slim: recent RBS research, for example, suggests that around 85% of social enterprises have turnovers of less than £5m a year.

He advocates a strategy of mergers and acquisitions in the sector as an alternative means of achieving scale.

 You can read the paper in full here.

Thanks, Simon.

North Birmingham – new programme of support for social enterprise

For anyone interested in starting a social enterprise, iSE is holding free workshops in Erdington to support you. In the first workshop “Starting Your Social Enterprise” we will take a look at what a social enterprise is, how to start it and consider the wealth of funding and finance options available. Come along and meet a local social enterprise and find out all about how great they are! There are over 25 in the North Birmingham area.

1st June, 10 – 12pm at St Barnabas Church, Erdington
To book: send mail to Marija at iSE or ring her on 0121 771 1411

“We just launched the North Birmingham Social Enterprise, to encourage the collaboration and cross trading between local social enterprises. It is a great opportunity for new social entrepreneurs to get involved and to regenerate the area,” says Sarah Crawley, CEO iSE.

Power to Change announces “initial grants programme” criteria

Further to this post, Power to Change, the new Big Lottery-backed fund supporting community businesses in England, has just announced that the criteria for what it is calling its first “initial grants programme”.

“The initial grants programme see will up to £9m of grants and a wide range of business support provided to around 70 organisations over the next eight months.

The programme has one aim: To help new and existing community businesses that are in a position to make a step change in their journey towards long term sustainability within the next 6 months.”

More information here.

Read criteria here.

Power to Change is also seeking Expressions of Interest from organisations, including community businesses, that can play a leading role in delivering new Strategic Programmes that start in autumn 2015:

  • Inspiration Programme: To generate momentum behind community business as a tool for addressing local challenges, catalysing the creation of more community businesses;
  • Innovation & Acceleration Programme: To develop and enhance the support infrastructure available to community businesses, helping them to accelerate their impact and journey to sustainability;
  • Community Business Network: To build the community business movement and develop the network of peer to peer support to create more robust and resilient community businesses.


The closing date for expressions of interest is 31 May 2015.

To receive a copy of the Expression of Interest form,  register here.


It stresses, however, that this call is as part of a market consultation exercise and does not imply any subsequent contractual relationship. The ideas it gets from this exercise will be used to inform the eventual tendering process for strategic partners.  More on this here.

Active Communities programme for Birmingham offers grants for work in addressing health inequalities

This, just in from the North West Birmingham Development Agency…

The People’s Health Trust has opened its Active Communities programme with a focus on creating a society without health inequalities through investing in people with great ideas for creating fairer places to grow, live work and age.

Active Communities can provide funding of between £5,000 and £25,000 a year for project that last for between 12 months and 2 years to not-for-profit organisations which –

  • are located within a fundable neighbourhood
  • are more than 3 months old;
  • have income of less than £350,000 – this can be averaged over two financial years; and
  • have unrestricted reserves of less than 6 months


NWBDA CIC will be providing support to organisations wishing to apply to Active Communities. We are delivering a briefing event on 6 May which organisations interested in applying to the programme are welcome to attend. At the event you can find out more about Active Communities, timescales and the support available. The event will take place at:

11.00 – 1.00 pm on 6th May 2015 at Laurel Road Community Sports Centre, Laurel Road, Handsworth, Birmingham B21 9PB

Please let us know if you are interested in attending one of these events by ringing Michael Brown on 0844 870 7982 or sending me mail.

Michael Brown

View the PDF flyer.

St Paul’s Community Development Trust (School) is recruiting

St Paul’s Independent Special School — part of St Paul’s Community Development Trust — is seeking to recruit…

Deputy Head Teacher (Quality of Teaching)

Full time L10 – L13

£47,750pa – £51,372pa

Closing date: 19th May 2015

“The person appointed will join a strong leadership team which benefits from the wider expertise of senior staff across the Trust’s various departments. We require an excellent teacher of one of the core subjects (English, Maths. or Science), who has a record of raising achievement and is able to lead the development of outstanding classroom practice.”

View Job Description and application details.

 Read full details on the St Paul’s CDT website.


Birmingham Play Care Network is recruiting

RE__job_advert_-_InboxBirmingham Play Care Network is seeking to recruit…

A Part-Time Administrator, 15 hours per week, initially 3-month contract.  Closing date: 10.00am, Friday 8th May 2015.

View the Job Description and application details.

“BPCN wishes to recruit an Administrator to support our current project delivery. The successful candidate must have a good telephone manner, strong attention to detail and excellent customer service skills. They should also be capable of thinking on their feet, enjoy problem solving and help to ensure that BPCN operates efficiently and effectively. Skills in excel, word and outlook are essential as well as general office duties.”


Anti-austerity learning event — Birmingham

I just noticed this in the news round-up from the Barrow Cadbury Trust

Responding_to_austerity__Learning_events_Registration___EventbriteThe New Economics Foundation (nef) will be hosting a free event at The Drum in Birmingham on 11th June 2015 from 10:00am – 5:00pm exploring how groups in the UK can respond most effectively to austerity – looking at what charities, activists, campaigners, local authorities, housing associations and funders have already done; and what they might do in the future.

  More information / bookings.


New play by Balsall Heath Theatre Co. explores first world war

When The Lamps Went Out, a new play by the Birmingham History Theatre Company will be premiered on May 8th at 7.30pm at St. Paul’s School, Hertford Street, Balsall Heath, followed by two performances on the 9th May at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.

Full of laughs, drama, film and original music by Peter Churchill, When The Lamps Went Out follows the life of a Balsall Heath family during WWI.

Tickets cost £5.00 (concessions £3.00). For further details send mail to Chris Sutton at St Paul’s or phone him on 0121 464 1890.

WhenTheLampsWent Out

Social enterprises well-represented in Ernst & Young entrepreneur of the year finalists

Now here’s another step-change in the sector that we wouldn’t necessarily have forecast a few years ago.

The finalists in Ernst & Young’s entrepreneur of the year 2015 awards have just been announced — and there are three CICs in the Midlands regional finalists, two of which are well-known Birmingham enterprises:


Congratulations and good luck to all of them. It is quite an achievement and something the whole of the sector can be proud of.


“Social enterprise — Be the News”

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

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

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

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

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

More information about this on the JTH website.

Booking essential — here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

City Drive opening event

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

I very much enjoyed this one…

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

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

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

And remember:

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


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

Tales of social enterprise

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

Click the graphic to read this on Issuu

Click the graphic to read this on Issuu

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

 Read more about the publication.

  Read more about theDigbeth Social Enterprise Quarter.

 Read more about City Drive.

  Read more posts on this blog about City Drive.





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

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

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

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

Closing date 3pm on the 8th May 2015.

Get cracking!

City Drive events start next week

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

“Health, Social Value & the Health Sector”

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

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

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

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

Read all posts on this blog about City Drive.

Talent Match — calling social enterprises

Recruiting for Social Entrepreneurs – Information Event

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See all posts about City Drive.