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

City Drive is back for 2017

City Drive, iSE’s week-long showcase of all things social enterprise has rapidly become a fixture in the calendar — and it’s back again this year, from Monday 3rd to Friday 7th April, with a packed programme of free events, workshops, debate and networking.

More programme details and booking links for all events here.

Questions, offer to host an event, or to publicise your own event, send mail to Sallie Ryan.

Click for a larger view

Click for a larger view


This year, celebrate International Women’s Day at the Women’s Enterprise Hub

You are warmly invited to celebrate International Women’s Day at the Women’s Enterprise Hub.

Drop in any time on Wednesday 8th March between 10:00-14:00 to browse the stalls of local creative goods and mingle with inspiring and ambitious like-minded people.

Stalls and exhibitors include:

  • Herbs and allotment kits
  • Mini pamper treatments including massages and manicures
  • Henna artist
  • Bakhur, halal perfumes and girls’ abayas
  • Popcorn & candy floss
  • Children’s bicycles
  • Scarves for special occasions
  • Anthology book stall, awarded best seller on Amazon. ‘Beyond The Scars’ real encounters about women overcoming diversity
  • Bespoke jewellery & hair accessories


And many more.

You will also get the opportunity to meet all our fantastic tenants and the services they provide.

Refreshments and cake will be provided throughout the day.

The event is FREE, but you are asked to please reserve tickets via Eventbrite

A fire safety company — with a difference

Fire Safety Managers Ltd is a fire safety company with a difference.

It is the UK’s only fire safety provider operating as a social enterprise

It reinvests part of its profits in teaching schoolchildren fire safety techniques and has developed interactive fire safety workshops that make learning fire safety fun and enjoyable for all children. It is also looking to help victims of fire who have no insurance policy.

The company is currently offering a 35% off special offer to social enterprises and charities.

For more information ring 0121 439 1220 or send mail to Paul Hughes, Director.

Transformation & Social Value Event – 5th April 2017

Transformation and Social Value taking place in Birmingham on 5th April 2017 is an opportunity to hear from the charities leaders and social enterprises in the West Midlands who have embraced new technology and data to empower their organisations to work differently and demonstrate the difference they make to their communities.

Keynotes and workshops

  • Hear about the transformation of service delivery in Dudley.
  • Establishing an evidence base for future funding applications.
  • Going Mobile – freeing your staff from paper and office work.
  • Consortia Building – the benefits of using a collaborative system.
  • Increased Income Generation – manage every aspect of marketing, sales and finance.
  • Organisational Development – make change a positive experience.


Who should attend?

  • Voluntary sector leaders.
  • Social enterprises.
  • Service commissioners (Local Authorities and CCGs).
  • Business support agencies.
  • Funders.
  • University and college research departments.


Event Registration

Part of City Drive Week: 3-7 April 2017

Save Our Support plans flash mob demo 27th February — against cuts to services for city’s most vulnerable

Further to this post, yesterday’s huge lobby against the cuts to Birmingham’s services for its most vulnerable groups showed just how passionately service users, advocacy groups and others are fighting to defend these services (coverage: here, here, here).

Save Our Support is planning a final push to try and halt these cuts with a flash mob demo on Monday 27th February 2017 at 12.00 noon in Victoria Sq — the day before councillors take a final decision on the proposed budget cuts.

More details on

 #Save Our Support

West Midlands Academic Health Science Network — ‘Celebration of Innovation’ awards now open

West Midlands Academic Health Science Network’s (WMAHSN) annual Celebration of Innovation Awards will be formally launched today (15 February) at the Merdian LIVE event.

Following on from the success of last year’s awards — which saw more than 80 entries from across the West Midlands — this year, there will be even more categories, celebrating innovation in healthcare across the region.

The awards will be presented at a glitzy ceremony at the WMAHSN’s annual stakeholder event in June, and reflect the WMAHSN’s dual aim of improving health and creating wealth, as well as the organisation’s key priorities and themes. There are also special awards for innovative individuals or teams and innovative organisations. The categories are:

— Economic Impact Award
— Excellence in Wellness and Prevention of Illness
— Innovative Organisation Award
— Innovator/Innovative Team of the Year Award
— MidTECH Award for Best NHS Invention or Innovation
— Patient Safety Award
— Supporting Self Care Innovation Award
— Social Enterprise Award
— Medicines Optimisation Award
— Mental Health Innovation Award
— Industry Collaboration Award
— Advanced Diagnostics, Genomics and Precision Medicine Award.

You can take a look at the full list of awards criteria here, as well as the application forms for individuals and organisations (to apply for the Innovative Organisation and the Innovator/Innovative Team of the Year Awards) and for innovations (to apply for the other categories).

A panel of experts will assess the entries, with shortlisted entries invited to attend the ceremony in June. As well as a trophy, winners will receive promotion of their win through print and digital channels, support from WMAHSN communications team to raise their profile, mentoring and support to adopt the innovation across the region and a winner’s logo for email signatures and websites.

The closing date for all entries is 12 noon on 5 May. If you have any queries, please ring Tammy Holmes on 0121 371 8061 or send her mail.

Locality says “Keep it local — for better services”

Locality, the national network of neighbourhood development organisations, has just published How to Keep it Local — A Five step guide for councillors and commissioners.

As part of its national Keep It Local campaign, Locality is calling on councillors and commissioners to keep their commissioning local and break the cycle of large, inefficient out-sourced contracts that are unresponsive, inflexible and almost invariably awarded to national providers.

The guide highlights five steps can be taken which will not only save money but ensure more responsive local services that offer better outcomes:

1. Take a place-based approach and utilise the full range of local assets.

2. Demonstrate social value, maximising the potential of the Social Value Act across all commissioning and procurement decisions.

3. Commit to building community capacity through commissioning strategies that support local organisations.

4. Impose a maximum value on contracts to ensure that contracts aren’t out of reach of smaller organisations.

5. Involve local people through co-design.

It is significant that the Social Value Act, if fully implemented, makes it possible for commissioners to do virtually all of these things in a co-ordinated way and within a social value framework — as can be seen in Birmingham City Council’s social value policy and its Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility.

But the sad fact is, in the current climate of spending cuts and crisis management, the Social Value Act is not being as widely utilised as any of us once hoped would be the case. Its application is partial and inconsistent, and this is especially so in health commissioning.

We have been working to try and help social enterprises report more proactively on the social value they achieve — including publishing a simple guide for how to identify additional social value outcomes in contracts. We need to  do more to ensure that commissioners hear the social value message — especially from providers already in their supply-chains.

The Locality guide is a really useful contribution to the current debate about commissioning, service redesign and social value — not least because it goes beyond the blunt “how do we get more for less” arguments that many service commissioners are understandably preoccupied with.

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.

New sport project for young people in Birmingham with mental health illness

With funding from Sport England’s small grants scheme and Birmingham Council’s Community Safety Fund, Start Again Project CIC is launching a new six-month ‘Healthy Lifestyles’ project that uses sport and activity to improve the well-being of young people with Mental Health illness in Birmingham.

Working closely with Forward Thinking Birmingham (FTB) — the city’s mental health service for young people — the project will ensure that service users from the Early Intervention Service can access social recovery through sport and activity.

Start Again Project CIC will also be developing further sport-specific ‘well-being clubs’ beyond Early Intervention Servicer users so that other services and agencies can refer young people.

For more information call 0121 604 9637 or send mail to project director Jamie Bunch.


RNIB and Shoosmiths offer free sight-loss at work seminars

Do you know what the implications are for you as an employer who has a staff member affected by sight loss? Do you see the legal issues clearly?

RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) and Shoosmiths invites you to a free Sight Loss at Work — Seeing the Issues seminar.

These free seminars have been designed to help employers provide the best environment possible for employees who have or are developing a visual impairment, or are caring for someone affected by sight loss.

There are two events — both start at 9am until 11.30am:

Birmingham — Thursday 23rd March 2017 at Shoosmiths Birmingham

Nottingham — Wednesday 5th April 2017 at Shoosmiths Nottingham

Please feel free to bring a colleague and to pass this invitation on to anyone you think may be interested. Also please note that there is no parking at either venue but see the Shoosmiths website for the nearest parking facilities.

RSVP by 5pm on Friday 10th March (for Birmingham session) or Friday 24th March (Nottingham session) by sending mail to Bernadette Halton at RNIB indicating which event you wish to attend.

If you are unable to attend either event but would like more information do please get in touch and we can arrange a meeting with you.

Birmingham City Council launches Crowdfunding Birmingham

Birmingham City Council is launching Crowdfund Birmingham and wants to hear now from local organisations interested in raising money through crowdfunding.

For a self-reliant, healthy Birmingham — funding available to projects that benefit vulnerable people and help them create stronger, healthier more resilient communities.  — Birmingham City Council

The council is setting aside £470,000 from its Community Innovation Fund to provide match funding to pledge on projects that will benefit the people of Birmingham.

More details

Healthwatch Birmingham seeks new non-executive directors & chair

Healthwatch Birmingham is seeking new Non-Executive Directors and a new Chair.

The primary purpose of the Healthwatch Birmingham Board is to maintain a strategic role in governing Healthwatch Birmingham. The Board has oversight, leadership and accountability in ensuring compliance with the organisation’s values and objects. Meeting quarterly, the Board is critical to Healthwatch Birmingham’s continuing growth.

A number of exciting opportunities now exist to join Healthwatch Birmingham and drive its continued success.

  • Role: Non-Executive Directors: remuneration: Expenses Only (Voluntary Position)
  • Role: Chair: remuneration: £3000 per annum (excluding expenses)


Closing date for applications: Friday 24th February 2017 by 10.00am.


The Pump, premier youth hub in East Birmingham celebrates tenth birthday

With a music studio, performance space, a dance studio, cyber-cafe, a daycare nursery, room hire, and facilities over four floors with full disabled access, The Pump is the hub for youth work and activity in Kitts Green, in the heart of East Birmingham.

And it is celebrating its tenth birthday — and you are invited!

10.00am-8.00pm, 23rd Feb 2017 • Dance • Music • Performances • Fireworks • Careers Fair

The Pump, 286 Kitts Green Rd, Birmingham B33 9SB • 0121 675 8381

Jericho Foundation holds first social enterprise workshop

Inaugural social enterprise workshop at The Jericho Foundation – CEO Richard Beard speaking

Richard Beard, CEO of The Jericho Foundation writes:

On the 26th January 2017 The Jericho Foundation ran its very first Social Enterprise workshop aimed at connecting, equipping and empowering churches and Christian organisations with the basic knowledge and resources to engage in social change through social enterprise.

We have over 20 years’ experience of running social enterprise businesses across Birmingham and at its heart Jericho has a Christian mission  to help break down the barriers of unemployment in the city. We currently employ around 72 core staff and a further 17 apprentices and survivors of human trafficking who are undertaking supported work placements across our social enterprises. Our turnover is approximately £3.2m a year of which 86% comes from social enterprise trading.

We began the day by sharing the Jericho story and the vision, passion and faith that are the foundation of Jericho.

Throughout the day members of the senior management team shared their tips and advice and there were speakers from our print, catering, construction, landscape, cleaning, recycling and re-using businesses. Delegates were also able to explore and develop their own social enterprise business ideas.

Our aim was to spread the social enterprise message and equip delegates with the basic, practical know-how to start developing their own enterprises in the local communities they serve. The positive feedback from delegates suggests that we went a long way towards achieving this and we shall certainly be continuing with these workshops in the future.

For information on future workshops please send mail to Patricia White

Social enterprise…in the cathedral — Jericho Foundation secures contract to clean interior of Birmingham Cathedral.

#birmingham #charity #socialenterprise #news #development #workshop

Tech Wednesday — meet-up for women in the ‘tech for good’ sector

Tech Wednesday is the monthly meet-up for the technology and entrepreneur community in Birmingham.

The next meeting is at at 5.30pm at Innovation Birmingham on Wednesday 15th February 2017. All welcome.

5.30-6.00pm – Registration and networking

6.00-7.00pm – Talks

7.00-8.00pm – Networking with pizza and beer


Pauline Roche, Managing Director at RnR Organisation, was awarded the West Midlands Women of the Year award for Outstanding Contribution to Technology.

Sally Tomlinson was a Mathematician. Having worked in pensions, banking and book distribution she is now trying tech! Worktaster is her latest venture — an online digital platform for schools and colleges, managing and supporting work experience placements for students aged 14-19.

More information & bookings