The Relate Macmillan Counselling Service — for those living with or affected by cancer

Macmillan Cancer Support and Relate have teamed up to provide a new, free counselling service for families living with cancer.

The number of people surviving and living with cancer is increasing. In Birmingham and the Black Country alone over 5,000 people a year are  diagnosed with cancer and many experience long-term difficulties, including relationship difficulties, as a consequence of their treatment and recovery.

This new service is designed to help with these problems and offers counselling to anyone living with or affected by cancer in Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country. It covers such issues as:

  • How to talk to your friends and family about what is happening to you.
  • Changes and problems with relationships because one of you has cancer.
  • Difficulties talking to and supporting each other.
  • Problems talking to children, or parents and other relatives about cancer.
  • Challenges in getting ‘back to normal’, as a couple or family, when cancer treatment is finished.
  • The impact on intimacy and sex life resulting from surgery, treatment, altered body image, tiredness or anxiety.


If you or a family member are living with or are recovering from cancer, or you are caring for someone with cancer, and would like to meet a counsellor you can ring Relate Birmingham directly on 0121 643 1638 and ask for the Macmillan service. You can also be referred by your cancer nurse, doctor or your GP.

More information — Relate website.
Read the Relate Macmillan leaflet.

* * *

Independent researcher opportunity — self-employed or consultancies

In addition, to help further develop this service and evaluate its delivery through to March 2019, the project is seeking expressions of interest from suitably skilled/experienced independent researchers (self-employed or consultancies).

The closing  date for EOIs is 12 noon on Wednesday 18th January 2017.

Full details here.

Read the role description.


John Taylor Hospice announces 2017 events calendar

JTH logoJohn Taylor Hospice has just announced its 2017 events calendar.

Every year — and this will be no exception — JTH needs to raise around £570,000 from public donations and fundraising to support its work.

There are events throughout 2017 that you can get involved in and help towards this target — an annual Quiz Night (Feb), a charity fashion gala (May), the adventurous skydive challenge (June), the birthday walk and family fun day (Oct), the annual winter remembrance, and more.

There are lots of ways you can take part — and if you need any more information about any of the events or have suggestions about other kinds of events you’d like to help with you can call 0121 465 2000 or send mail to the fundraising team. 

See the full calendar over on the JTH website.

Jericho Foundation is looking for social investors

social_investment_tax_relief_-_jerichoThe Jericho Foundation is one of Birmingham’s most established charities supporting disadvantaged groups into employment.

Over the years it has grown into a significant social enterprise ‘group’, with offshoot social enterprises operating in print, catering, construction, landscape, cleaning, recycling, and first aid training.

Through its newly established investment fund social investors can now support the charity’s work financially while at the same earning tax relief and interest through the Social Investment Tax Relief scheme.

Full details here.


Have you discovered UnLtd’s free legal help sheets?

unltd_-_unltd_-_for_social_entrepreneursFor those who may not yet have discovered them, UnLtd has enlisted the help of law firm DLA Piper to produce some truly excellent — and comprehensive — legal help guides on a range of key social enterprise issues. The subjects covered include:

Legal structures, intellectual property and service provision:
» Structures for Social Enterprises.
» Overview of Service Level Agreement.
» Overview of Service Level Agreement.
» Intellectual Property Protection Help Sheet.
» Supply of Services Agreement Guidance Note & Template.

» Offer of employment.
» Contract of Employment.
» Electronic Communications & Internet Policy.

Using consultants:
» Contractor Agreement.
» Non-Completed Deed Guidance Note & Template Deed.
» Confidentiality Agreement Guidance Note & Confidentiality Agreement Template.

Property lease:
» Negotiating a Commercial Property lease in England and Wales.
» Negotiating a Commercial Property lease in Scotland.

Privacy and confidentiality:
» Template Privacy Policy.
» Data Protection Checklist.

You can find all of the guides here — we suggest you bookmark them for future reference. Of their kind they are amongst the best we have ever seen.

Thanks, UnLtd!

Jericho Foundation’s ReUsers outlet steps up a gear for Xmas

Used_Furniture_in_Birmingham___Jericho_FoundationJericho Foundation’s ReUsers outlet, which we have written about before here, has been busier than ever in recent weeks.

On Social Saturday, this 15th October, Jericho took the opportunity to promote its eight social enterprises — in print, catering, construction, landscape, cleaning, recycling, and first aid training — its co-working space, The Loft Workspace, and its apprenticeship schemes.

The ReUsers Centre in Sutton hosted a half-price promotion on all outdoor and leisure equipment, with excellent sales of tables and chairs.  “We were delighted by the turnout at our ReUsers store,” says Helen Worrall, the group’s social enterprise manager. “Shoppers loved the free cupcakes and our rescued and restored bargains. It was a great opportunity to show people social enterprise in action and make more excellent contacts in the local community.”

And for the fourth year in a row Jericho is also pleased to announce that its Christmas Emporium — on the second floor of ReUsers — is now open. This special Christmas pop-up store is offering a huge range of recycled Christmas decorations, ornaments, gifts and trees, as well as handmade festive gifts from the Jericho Wood Shack.

ReUsers offers great items that have bags of life left in them but were destined for landfill. “Secondhand can be first choice” is its slogan, and in Sutton it’s an idea that has really taken off.

For further information contact Roger Bauckham, Development Director: send mail or ring 0121 647 1960.

#birmingham #charity #socialenterprise #news #socialsaturday #buysocial

Details of both Re-Users outlets are on our Social enterprise retail page, along with a number of other stores and pop-ups.


Re-Users — Jericho Foundation’s outlet for rescued and restored bargains

JTH celebrates Charles Blackburn, awarded France’s highest military honour

Decorated war veteran 98-year old Charles Blackburn

Decorated war veteran 98-year old Charles Blackburn

Great-grandfather Charles Blackburn — born in Small Heath in 1918 — had an extraordinary surprise when he was staying recently at the John Taylor Hospice for a short respite break.

He was awarded France’s highest military honour, the Légion d’Honneur, for his service with the Royal Navy during the Second World War and his part in the historic actions that helped liberate Europe from Nazism.

The award follows François Hollande’s announcement on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in 2014 that all surviving British veterans  who fought for the liberation of France would receive the Légion d’Honneur. His family applied on Charles’s behalf — and kept this a closely guarded secret.

Charles served with the navy throughout the war. He was part of the convoys that helped liberate France; he was part of the Arctic convoys that saw such huge loss of life in ensuring that supplies reached our Soviet allies. He remembers kicking a football across the frozen seas of Murmansk during a short rest break.

Charles’s story is truly astonishing  and his undimmed memories of those years make remarkable reading. His modesty and sense of duty come from another age. Join us in congratulating him and wishing him and all his family well.

Read the full story over on the JTH website.
Home » John Taylor Hospice

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.