Business Growth Programme for supply chains, innovation and expansion


The Birmingham City Council/GBSLEP Business Growth Programme is now open for applications. This programme of funding and support specifically targets supply chains, innovation and expansion. Eligible businesses must:

  • Be SMEs with a turnover <£35.5m;
  • Have been trading for at least six months;
  • Operate on a wholly B2B basis;
  • Have cash match;
  • Have an ‘investment-ready’ project which will grow your business, resulting in jobs being created (£10,000 grant = 1 job creation) and which can be completed in a four-month period following receipt of your offer of grant.


Retail is specifically ineligible and there is a list of other sector/activity exclusions — fully documented on the GBSLEP website.

Note: There has also been some ambiguity regarding the eligibility of social enterprises. While charities are specifically excluded from the scheme under EU regulations, social enterprises that meet all the other requirements of the programme are eligible.

There are four components of business support:

  • HS2 Supply Chain Programme – grant support of £20k-£200k towards project costs for supply chain companies which have, or are in the process of securing, or have the ability to secure a contract for HS2.
  • Green Bridge Supply Chain Programme – grant support of £20k-£150k towards project costs for supply chain companies operating in, or diversifying into the green economy.
  • Business Innovation Programme – grant support of £10k-£30k towards project costs for SMEs investing in innovative close-to-market processes, products and services.
  • Business Development Programme – grant support of £10k-£20k towards project costs for businesses looking to expand, relocate and improve access to markets.


Full information.

Exclusions and eligibility.

GBSLEP is recruiting a non-executive director for young people

The Friday 2nd Dec 2016 deadline is approaching…

The Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) has just announced that it is seeking to appoint a Non-Executive Director aged 18-30 to lead on the representation of Young People.

The GBSLEP says:

The ideal person for this role must have a genuine interest in and passion for the opportunities and challenges the Greater Birmingham and Solihull area faces.

They must be committed to engaging with and driving forward the LEP’s ambitious Strategy Economic Plan.

This person will need to be responsible for representing the views of young people in the GBSLEP area, and feeding these views back to the GBSLEP board.

Young people’s views are vital to the development and delivery of our strategy since their lives will be impacted by the economic decisions made by the Board.

The closing date for applications is the 2nd December 2016.

Anita Bhalla, GBSLEP Board Director, says, “This is an incredible opportunity for an excellent natural leader to represent the young people of Greater Birmingham. We’re looking for someone who cares deeply about the future of this region and is able to contribute by putting forward their thinking, and that of the young people they will represent. The young people of Greater Birmingham are vital to the development of the region and it’s hugely important that their voice is heard. We hope this will encourage other LEPs and Business Boards to follow suit.”

Full details and application instructions/documentation.

UnLtd is building a visual map of social entrepreneurs so they can connect and collaborate

UnLtd is looking for social entrepreneurs across the city who want to connect and collaborate.

unltd_-_unltd_-_for_social_entrepreneursIt says:

We are building a visual map of the support and #socent sector in Birmingham and we need your help.

Can you spend five minutes filling in this form. Your social venture will then be included and when the map is ready we’ll send you a link so that you can see who else shares your values and connect with likeminded people.

If you have any questions about why we are doing this please send mail. Many thanks for participating!

Keeping track of the quiet revolution in health — a free briefing paper

A week or two back we wrote at some length here about the publication of Birmingham and Solihull’s ‘STP’ — its NHS ‘Sustainability & Transformation Plan’. These are the new plans that all 44 NHS ‘footprints’ (i.e. areas) in the UK have been required to formulate.

Our old friend Simon Lee, who many of you will remember, has kindly been in touch to offer a recent briefing paper written by himself and Jamie Foster (Hempsons Solicitors), and Craig Dearden-Phillips of Stepping Out, a social business consultancy.

What the paper seeks to do is explain the changes that are currently taking place in the health service — changes that have little of the public profile of the ‘Lansley Reforms’ but which, the paper’s authors claim, could be more far-reaching in terms of the NHS’s future operation.

I find the paper valuable because it reassembles the bits of the jigsaw and establishes the links between the NHS Five Year Forward View, the ‘New Care Models’ advocated in that document (these include the ‘Multi-Speciality Community Provider’ model [MCP], and the ‘Primary and Acute Care System’ model [PACS]; the fifty experimental ‘Vanguard’ sites established in 2014-15 to test these new care models; and the latest STP documents.

Every STP, the authors say, will contain one or both of these care models — MCP and PACS — and any social enterprise, public service mutual or community-based provider seeking to deliver services in this new landscape will need to understand the implications of these changes.

We’re always grateful to those who produce valuable free information resources like this for the sector.

Download ‘STPs, MCPs, PACS and You! Understanding the latest round of NHS changes and being ready to respond’ or read it on the Hempsons website.

Health Exchange celebrates 10th anniversary

Health Exchange celebrates 10th anniversary: chief executive Graham Beaumont

In 2004, the Director of Public Health, the Chief Librarian and the Vice Chair of the Heart of Birmingham Primary Care Trust met to discuss an idea which they had provisionally named Health Exchange.

They were looking for a different way of delivering public health, particularly health promotion — one that would be rooted in the communities it served.

The word ‘exchange’ was felt to be critical, because it reflected the role that conversation plays in helping people adopt healthier lifestyles.

They also thought that individuals from the communities that would most benefit from healthier lifestyles and improved wellbeing could play a key part in promoting such change.

Health Exchange was formally established in 2006 and is now celebrating its 10th anniversary and to mark the occasion Graham Beaumont, its chief executive, reflects on the first decade of Health Exchange and the lessons learnt in steering a service from the public sector to a new life as an independent social enterprise. That this has been achieved during a period marked by some of the greatest changes in the NHS and the wider health landscape in a generation makes it even more significant.

From its early beginnings Health Exchange has become a key player in Birmingham’s social enterprise sector, and especially in Digbeth where it is a strong supporter of the Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter.

Read Graham’s reflections here.

Is a ‘social value’ version of Uber possible?

The successful court case brought against Uber by two of its drivers, Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar, appears to have scuppered the US taxi-app company’s claim that drivers are self-employed. Employment tribunal judge Anthony Snelson was scathing in his judgement and the finding has been welcomed not just by trade unions now seeking to organise ‘beyond the workplace’ but also by Citizens Advice, which reckons that there are in excess of 460,000 workers in the UK whose status as self-employed is bogus .

What has this got to do with social enterprise, I hear you asking. At the moment, very little — and that’s the point.

On the morning after the judgement a spokesperson from Sharing Economy UK appeared on the Today programme. The organisation was described as “a social enterprise that promotes the sharing economy” .

I don’t for one moment want to make out that this person was simply an apologist for Uber — that wasn’t the case. But a somewhat blinkered view was nonetheless evident, as if it must be clear to every right thinking person that the “sharing economy” couldn’t possibly be anything but benign.

What exactly puts Uber in the “sharing economy” defeats me, but the part it has played in thrusting the “sharing economy” into the spotlight is a good thing. It reminds us all that proponents of new economic and/or business models have to be alert to their potential for ill as well as good. Over many years social enterprises have learnt that there is a constant need for scrutiny in order to ensure that the enterprising is balanced by the social. Proponents of the “sharing economy” should do likewise.

Surely, if “sharing economy” means anything it suggests fairness, non-exploitation and mutual benefit. Now, what does that sound like? That’s right: co-operatives. The same thought has occurred to the Grassroots Economic Organizing group and Co-operative News, both of which have interesting coverage at those links.

Jericho Foundation steps up work to support victims of trafficking

jericho_-_supporting_people_to_become_fulfilled_and_employedIn response to the mounting crisis in human trafficking, The Jericho Foundation has in recent years stepped up its work in this area. Referrals of individuals who have experienced trafficking or modern slavery to the National referral Mechanism have trebled since 2013.

Being rescued and moved into a safe house is only the beginning for a survivor of human trafficking. Over 30% of survivors originate from inside the EU and are therefore technically EU migrants. Unless they secure special leave to remain, they have no recourse to public benefits when their 45 days in a safe house ends and can be vulnerable to re-trafficking, homelessness, crime, drug/alcohol abuse and mental health problems.

Finding paid, sustainable employment in the UK is critical for these individuals. Even those who have been trafficked can claim only three months’ Job Seekers Allowance and for most this is nowhere near long enough to learn sufficient English, gain confidence in the workplace and recover from the trauma of exploitation. And in any case a significant gap exists in the provision of work placement opportunities in Birmingham for victims of human trafficking and indeed for all disadvantaged groups.

The Jericho Foundation is seeking to fill this gap by providing a work experience programme specifically for victims of human trafficking.

You can help support this work. You can read more about what Jericho does and the resources it needs to be able to do this work here.

You can donate specifically to support Jericho’s work for victims of trafficking here.

You can find out more about the social enterprises The Jericho Foundation runs that help provide some of this workplace support here.

But most importantly, you can read the story of ‘M’, a Czech national trafficked into the UK in 2010. ‘M’ experienced exploitation, forced labour and inadequate diet for over three years. ‘M’ is now safely housed and is working in one of Jericho’s social enterprises. Read it here (Jericho) and here (BVSC).

Birmingham and Solihull draft ‘STP’ published


Further to this post, in which we wrote about the implications of the Sustainability & Transformation Plans (STPs) for the NHS, some will be interested to hear that Birmingham and Solihull’s draft STP has been published today.

There is background on the STP and a statement from Mark Rogers (‘System Leader’ for the STP and chief executive of Birmingham City Council) here on the Cross City CCG website and the document itself can be downloaded here.

This is a draft submission to NHS England and partners to the plan emphasise that  a series of community engagement events will be arranged in the coming months to discuss how the plan “can be improved and what needs to be done to make it happen”.

In some respects the STP seems an amplification of key messages we have been hearing from — and about — the NHS for some years now:

  • A new focus on promoting health and wellbeing rather than simply treating ill-health.
  • Helping people stay independent for longer.
  • Reducing health and social care crises.
  • Greater use of community-based and preventative services.
  • Promoting self-care and individual and community resilience.
  • Greater use of digital technology.


The part of the STP which will be of greatest interest to many is the development of a Community Care First offer, and specifically that focused on health and wellbeing (p.29 onwards in the STP).

This talks about digital technology to support prevention and self-care; community-based ‘care co-ordinators’ to aid service navigation, help build social networks and community resilience; the development of “locality hublets” (what these are is somewhat unclear), the better integration of multi-disciplinary teams (an “MDT approach”), and the integration of other services (housing, neighbourhood management, emergency services) as the basis of a “genuinely community-based health and wellbeing offer”.

It is worth noting that here there is also specific mention (p.38) of the importance of the third sector’s role: “The use of the third sector to support care navigation and target patients that would benefit from social prescribing and other community based support.”

Quite how this will work in practice is unclear, but assuming it results in new or redirected commissioning spend it is here that there seems to be huge potential for social enterprises, the third sector, community groups and others to contribute and for social value-based commissioning to come into its own.

The Birmingham and Solihull STP is also a goldmine of current statistics on key health, deprivation and demographic indicators and from this perspective many will find it useful.

There is some interesting commentary on two of the first draft STPs to be published — Birmingham and Solihull’s, and North Central London — on the Digital Health website here.

New funding for small charities and VCOs in Birmingham and the Black Country

The Heart of England Community Foundation (HoECF) has just announced that its new Birmingham and Black Country Communities Fund is now open for applications.

This fund is aimed at small (income under £50,000 p.a.) charities and voluntary and community groups across Birmingham and the Black Country (Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall & Wolverhampton) whose work helps those facing disadvantage or social exclusion.

Grants of up to £2,000 can be made for projects that meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Promote health and wellbeing.
  • Tackle disadvantage.
  • Support local solutions to meet local needs.
  • Promote community cohesion.
  • Develop sustainable & supportive communities.


Groups that have been awarded funding in the last 12 months from any programme administered by HoECF will not be eligible. Applicants must be registered charities, VCOs with appropriate Constitutions and/or Articles of Association, including Community Interest Companies. Grants are not made to individuals.

You can discuss your plans with the HoECF grants team prior to submitting an application if you wish. Contact details are in the guidance notes.

Birmingham and Black Country Communities Fund: details, guidance, applications.

University of Birmingham seeks social enterprises wanting Enterprising Interns — Summer 2017


Could your social enterprise benefit from a fully funded extra pair of hands?

The University of Birmingham is looking for social enterprises to take part in the Enterprising Internships programme.

The University of Birmingham is working with Santander to offer social enterprises in the West Midlands the chance to benefit from the support of a talented student in the summer of 2017.

If you have a short term project or piece of research that you would like to complete but struggle to find the time or capacity for, then an Enterprising Internship could be the answer.

The student will be paid directly by the University via Santander and projects will last one month (20 days). Projects can take place from June 2017.

Prior to starting their internship, all students will be invited to attend training aimed at helping them understand how to be enterprising, how to make the best impact on your business and developing their enterprising skills.

You must have a base (non-residential) which the student can work from.

For more information, to register your interest or to discuss potential projects, please send mail to Amrit Sandhu.

Expressions of Interest must be submitted by Sunday 27th November 2016 (deadline extended).

 More information — view PDF.


Fresh Perspectives — from Aston Business School


“Aston academics present the latest business solutions for strategy, management, accelerating business growth and professional development.”

Aston Business School is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and as part of the celebrations is hosting a series of free business talks called Fresh Perspectives, in which the school’s academics offer advice, insights and the latest cutting edge research to help you address the increasingly complex business challenges of the modern economy.

They are breakfast sessions starting at 07.30am and cover:

  • Thursday 20th October: Managing a Diverse Team.
  • Thursday 17th November: Scenario Planning.
  • Wednesday 30th November: Developing an Entrepreneurial Mindset in times of Uncertainty & Change.
  • Wednesday 7th December: Social media-is it really working for you?
  • Wednesday 14th December: How Sustainable is your Brand?
  • Thursday 16th February: The Changing Face of Customer Loyalty and Importance of Customer Emotions.


Book now to start future proofing your business.

More information and booking

Roots HR teams up with NCVO to provide HR hotline

Roots HR C.I.C has been chosen by NCVO to provide NCVO members with a free HR advice hotline.

Chris Taylor, Enterprise Development Manager, NCVO says, “Roots HR offer a flexible HR Advice line service which we are delighted to have negotiated for our members, strengthening our membership offering. Good HR practice is an essential part of supporting the voluntary sector workforce and ensuring organisations are run effectively.”

Read the press releases from Roots HR.

The Roots HR team

The Roots HR team

Raising awareness of hospice care

Home » John Taylor HospiceOne in three people will be touched by hospice care at some point in their lives and the John Taylor Hospice (JTH) alone provides care of some description for at least 600 people every single day.

And yet most of us prefer not to think about what hospices do, or the circumstances in which we personally or those dear to us may need their care.

JTH, the UK’s only social enterprise hospice, believes that frequent awareness-raising is essential to help address this, and last week joined over 200 hospices up and down the country in the sixth Hospice Care Week to promote the hospice movement’s essential work.

This year’s theme was, “Hospice care is….”

Patients, staff, volunteers and families took part.

You can find out more on Twitter #HospiceCareWeek and #hospicecareis and on JHT’s Facebook page.

Funding opportunities in health, tech, young people and older people’s care

Here’s a selection of funding opportunities we’ve picked up from various bulletins and newsletters over the past couple of weeks:

1.  The Nominet Trust’s Social Tech Seed is an open grant-funding programme that offers entrepreneurial organisations early-stage investment to develop innovative projects harnessing the power of the internet and digital technologies to deliver significant social change. The programme supports projects tackling pressing social challenges such as the environment and sustainability, education, employment and healthcare. Social Tech Seed will provide funding and support to help you demonstrate the social, user and financial value of your existing digital prototype.

2.  Comic Relief, in partnership with the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, has launched a Tech for Good Programme to support projects that use software and digital technology as a part of a solution to addressing any of the Comic Relief’s UK Main Fund themes of Empowering Women and Girls, Investing in Children and Young People, Building Stronger Communities, Improving Health and Wellbeing. This programme aims to support not-for-profit organisations that use software and digital technology to create social change. Applicants must already have some technical expertise and capacity to enact social change using digital technologies.  Details SCVO website.

3.  Sandwell Council for Voluntary Organisations has announced that a further round of funding is now available via the Sandwell Early Help Innovation Fund (SEHIF). The purpose of the Fund is to enable local voluntary groups and not-for-profit /charitable organisations to deliver preventative, community-based interventions for children and families in Sandwell. → Details SCVO website.

4.  The Peter Cruddas Foundation offers grants for projects that support disadvantaged and disengaged young people in the UK. Registered charities as well as organisations and individuals supported by registered charities can apply. The Foundation gives priority to projects focused on pathways into education, training and employment. There are no minimum or maximum grants and projects can be funded for more than one year. No funding for Capital Projects. The next closing date for application is the 1st March 2017.  Details SCVO website.

5.  BVSC has announced that funding to support activities for carers is available from the Birmingham Better Care Fund. The Fund is looking for local charities and community groups that can make good things happen for carers in their area, in line with the Carers Strategy. Funding of between £500 and £25,000 is available and the deadline for proposals is Friday 21st October 2016. Full details BVSC website. Details BVSC website.

With thanks to the organisations that originally circulated these notices.

University of Birmingham seeks social enterprise/third sector placements

about_us_-_university_of_birminghamThe University of Birmingham runs a postgraduate programme called MA Policy into Practice, which includes a work placement element. It is looking for social enterprises, third sector organisations and charities that can host what are intended to be mutually beneficial placements.


The University of Birmingham’s postgraduate ‘MA Policy into Practice’ (with integrated placement) programme has been running for over ten years. It primarily attracts senior South Korean government officers who have been competitively selected for overseas study. These are mid-career civil servants with a number of years experience in government. They generally have good English skills and are familiar with the work of governmental organisations.

They come to Birmingham for two years to complete a Masters degree programme and undertake a work-based placement of up to 20 weeks (typically three short days each week). Their areas of interest and expertise vary but most are in the broad social policy areas. Many are interested in the voluntary sector and social enterprise.

The university is currently organising placements for these students and is inviting social enterprises and third sector organisations to apply  to host one of these students.

Ideally a work-based placement should be be of value to both the organisation and the students. The university works with organisations to devise a programme of work which will be useful for the organisation and interesting for the students. This might include undertaking a small piece of research or contributing to a larger research project, volunteering, administrative work and shadowing/supporting organisation staff, or supporting event planning and organisation.

If you would like more information about hosting a placement, please send mail to Dr Kelly Hall or ring her on 0121 415 8027.

Dr Kelly HallLecturer in Social PolicyDirector of Policy into Practice Programmes
University of Birmingham

HLF launches new £10m grants programme to help 11-25s engage with heritage

kick_the_dust___heritage_lottery_fundThe Heritage Lottery Fund yesterday launched a £10m pilot programme and is inviting groups of charities and other organisations to apply for funding.

The Kick the Dust programme aims “to make heritage relevant and inclusive for 11 to 25 year olds” and is inviting consortia of three or more organisations, including heritage and youth organisations, to apply for grants of £500,000 to £1m.

More information on the Civil Society media website.

Kick the Dust on HLF.

ChangesUK is recruiting…

social_enterprise_development_manager_-_changes_ukDigbeth-based recovery charity ChangesUK is currently going from strength to strength. As well as developing the huge 50,000 sq ft, £1m Recovery Central facility, which we reported in this post, it is now branching out to include specialist social enterprise development expertise within its own staff team.

It is currently recruiting…

A Social Enterprise Development Manager
Location: Recovery Central, 9 Allcock Street, Digbeth, Birmingham B9 4DY
Salary: £24,000 – £28,000 per annum pro-rata (+ Bonus scheme)
Hours: Permanent/Full Time
Closing Date: 14th of October 2016

As ever, we wish ChangesUK well in this latest endeavour.

Full details and how to apply

A free presentation to help you identify your social value — and report it


The evidence from our work indicates that some social enterprises are struggling to identify the full social value of their work. Others are under-reporting the social value they are already achieving.

We have put together a short guide to help you examine your contracts, services and activities and identify the different kinds of social value that they create. It expands on some of the issues we described in this post.

We think a lot of social enterprises are selling themselves short in failing to include social value as a standard element of their reporting to funders, commissioners, clients, stakeholders and supporters. The aim of this guide is to encourage more social enterprises to be proactive in reporting on social value — even if commissioners are not asking you for this information.

The guide is available in both PowerPoint (download PowerPoint) and PDF (open PDF) and can be freely downloaded for use and for circulation. We hope you find it useful.

See also:

 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.

BSSEC gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of The Barrow Cadbury Trust, which has funded this work.

iSE launches new programme of social investment workshops

ise___ise_launches_the_new_programme_of_social_investment_workshops_iSE has launched a new programme to help social enterprises attract social investment. The workshops are designed to provide more information about social investment and give social entrepreneurs the opportunity to practice pitching. The workshops will cover:

  • Introduction to the legal and financial aspects of accessing social finance including the Social Investment Tax Relief.
  • Developing pitching skills.
  • Practicing pitch session.
  • A selection of social enterprises pitch to business angels.
  • Networking.


Choose from the following dates:

  • 6th October 2016 3pm – 6pm at Women’s Enterprise Hub, 249 Ladypool Road, B12 8LF.
  • 6th December 2016 3pm – 6pm at Women’s Enterprise Hub.
  • 7th February 2017 3pm – 6pm at Women’s Enterprise Hub.
  • (Date TBA) April 2017 3pm – 6pm at Women’s Enterprise Hub.
  • 6th September 2017 at Women’s Enterprise Hub.
  • 8th November 2017 at Women’s Enterprise Hub.
  • 7th February 2018 at Women’s Enterprise Hub.
  • (Date TBA) April 2018 at Women’s Enterprise Hub.


To book, please send mail to Marija Sakalauskaite or ring 0121 771 1411.

More information on the iSE website where you can also sign up to receive the newsletter.

Being a social enterprise champion — a GBSLEP year

Melanie Mills is the social enterprise champion for the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership. In this post she reflects on what being a social enterprise champion means and looks back over her first year in this role.

Being a social enterprise champion — a GBSLEP year

Melanie Mills: GBSLEP Social enterprise champion

So a year and a bit in I felt it was high time I provided an update and some reflections on what being the social enterprise champion for GBSLEP is really like!

Like all voluntary roles we tend to start with passion and enthusiasm to get things done, to incite change and to ensure that our specialism is really part of the mix — after all, it’s why we take on the extra responsibility. However with all good intention then comes the massive realisation of gaps in knowledge, getting to grips with how the machinery of a complex structure like the LEP works and then most importantly it takes time to understand where social enterprise, social value, social investment and the wider third sector is most relevant and can make the most contribution.

However this was never about one person or one role. I see myself as merely the voice of many so we will need to do this together: encouraging more regular dialogue and opening up more direct channels of communication with GBSLEP (and the with the right people) will be fundamental to future activity.

So what have I learned?

1. Everything that the LEP does must be considered through the lens of creating and sustaining economic growth.

2. That as a sector our contribution may be small but it is not insignificant.

3. The fundamental question in this setting is where can it add the most value.

4. There is still a real disconnect and a lack of understanding about what social enterprises and charities do, why we do it and how it also creates not just economic growth but socially inclusive economic growth — something that is important to the GBSLEP agenda.

5. Pinning down how to articulate, how to execute and how to involve and collaborate with the sector to do this is now the challenge.

So the great place to start was through gaining your input into the draft GBSLEP Strategic Economic Plan Refresh. Thanks if you have shared your views in the online survey (there is still time it’s still open until 9th September) and to those who attended the consultation event on Thursday morning it was great to have an opportunity for Nick and Katie to hear directly from the sector and for wider views and some great ideas about how we might move forward.

So what next? I see three key areas where the sector can really add value:

» I am committed to help shape the language and tone of the SEP document to ensure that it is inclusive of our sector and the contribution that we can make. There are key opportunities in the creations of JOBS and SKILLS particularly in reducing unemployment in some of our most challenged communities and in addressing barriers for those furthest from the labour market. This is a space that many social enterprises and charities already work in and where we have a major part to play.

» There are also opportunities in us helping to shape the SOCIAL VALUE GBSLEP wants to see created through HS2 to ensure it underpins the key objectives within the SEP. Effectively we need to set out what Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP wants in the added value our suppliers and contractors create. Again Social Enterprises and Charities should be key partners in the delivery of these targeted social value outcomes.

» Lastly we see additional opportunities in PLACE in the affordable supply of housing, in the running and sustainability of community assets and in the regeneration and empowerment of communities to help effect such change.

It’s not that we couldn’t add more but it is about time and focus and it is fair to say (and only in my humble opinion mind) that we need to be content with some key target areas rather than the all-encompassing application of social value. Frustrating yes, but realistic maybe?

So lots to do. At the consultation we reflected how there has been a gap in our sector’s involvement at the heart of the LEP agenda. So whilst there is much to be celebrated about what GBSLEP has achieved and there are statistics to prove the economic power of progress, to really improve the quality of life for all citizens of the GBSLEP area, particularly those who are most vulnerable and disadvantaged, we need more socially inclusive economic growth and this is where we as a sector must be part of the action.

Mel Mills, Social Enterprise Champion GBSLEP

Contribute to the GBSLEP consultation — complete the online questionnaire