Blog

September 2020 FUSE programme is open to applications now

Further to this post, iSE has just announced that its social enterprise start-up programme targeting new  health and wellbeing-led enterprises has opened for a further enrolment for September.

Applications close at the end of August and the programme will begin in September (date tbc).

Find our more about practical arrangements and how to apply (scroll down to “September 2020 FUSE programme is open to applications now”).

→ Request application from Elizabeth Forrester by email at iSE or download one here (MS Word).

 

 

 

Useful round-up of Covid-19 crisis funding sources

Birmingham City Council’s Neighbourhood Development and Support Unit has produced a very useful round-up of Covid-19 funding sources.

The list is current at August 2020 and contains over 120 sources.

 External Funding — Covid-19 crisis response — view or download PDF

Scottish Government urged to put third sector at the heart of recovery for a “wellbeing economy”

Regular readers will be aware that we have been trying to stay abreast of new documents that have a direct relevance to Covid-19 recovery planning (see all posts).

What this reveals is that in England, Covid-19 recovery planning is still seen primarily as economic recovery, with an emphasis on business. Rather than the government, it is other organisations — ourselves included — that are arguing that economic recovery has to have a more joined-up approach in which economic, social and community recovery are seen as interconnected and on an equal footing.

Contrast this with Scotland, where the Scottish Government’s Independent Advisory Group on Economic Recovery has just published its report, Towards a Robust, Resilient Wellbeing Economy for Scotland (June 2020).

This report argues for what it calls a “wellbeing economy” and recognises the vital contribution the third sector makes to this. It locates social purpose organisations at the heart of economic recovery.

The report says that the Scottish Government must take action “to protect the capacity and financial sustainability of the third sector, in recognition of its important role in building and strengthening social capital” and that this should include examining “the scope for longer-term funding arrangements for services; more flexible and collaborative approaches to procurement; and new ways to incentivise private investment in the sector”.

If only we were seeing such an enlightened approach being advocated by our own government.

Read all posts tagged Covid-19 recovery planning

→ Towards a Robust, Resilient Wellbeing Economy for Scotland: Report of the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery: Scottish Government (PDF)

Lloyds Bank Foundation announces £7.4m Covid recovery fund

Lloyds Bank Foundation has recently announced that a new £7.4m Covid recovery fund for small to medium charities will open for applications today.

It is encouraging to see that Lloyds Bank Foundation is recognising the need for this funding to be unrestricted, enabling recipients to use it as part of their recovery and continuation planning rather than being tied to predetermined ‘project delivery’ requirements. It would be wonderful to see more funders adopting this outlook. But it is unfortunate that the funding appears to be restricted to registered charities.

The Foundation’s press release said:

At 10am on 3 August 2020 we will be launching £7.4 million COVID funding aimed at supporting charities to recover beyond the immediate crisis.

From our conversations with small and local charities and the wider sector, we know that to be able recover from this health crisis charities need unrestricted funding and the space and support to adapt their organisational, income generation and service delivery models which have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.

To meet these needs, our COVID Recovery Fund will offer around 140 charities a two-year unrestricted grant of £50,000 alongside a Development Partner to help charities navigate a tumultuous future.

To survive the aftermath of the pandemic, charities have needed to alter the way in which they operate, deliver services and source income. Alongside crucial funding, we know charities need the space, support and resources to be able to do this and become more resilient to future challenges. This kind of work is complex, it takes time and involves the whole organisation and with the COVID Recovery Fund programme, a Development Partner will be appointed to work hand in hand with charities through this process.

*

This fund is open to small and medium sized charities with an income of between £25,000 and £1 million a year that are helping people overcome complex social issues such as dependency, homelessness and domestic abuse.

Applications will open from 10am 3rd August 2020 and will close at 5pm 11th September 2020.

Find out more.

→ Lloyds Bank Foundation is holding a Q&A webinar with its grants team on 11th August between 2pm – 3.30pm you can register here.

 

BSSEC publishes eighth annual report

For many, 2020 will for ever be associated with the coronavirus crisis, despite the fact that the full scale and implications of the pandemic only became evident as the financial year drew to a close.

But much of the year — had we only recognised it at the time — now seems a golden age of normality and we were able to make significant progress on a variety of fronts: influencing key policy-makers in favour of social enterprise, planning the next moves for Birmingham Social Enterprise City, publicising the news, events and services of Birmingham’s busy social enterprises, looking for new collaborations and partnerships that will help create opportunities for the sector and a positive environment for social enterprise.

But looking forward, it is clear that our emphasis for perhaps the foreseeable future will be on recovery planning and ensuring that social enterprise and the principles of trading for social purpose and social value are not forgotten in the rush to a ‘business as usual’ economic recovery.

Download the report

See all annual reports

‘A new life for the high street’ — report from the Social Market Foundation

Again, I’m indebted to David Alcock of Anthony Collins Solicitors on whose LinkedIn feed I saw mention of this.

The Social Market Foundation has just published an extremely interesting report called A new life for the high street.

Some will know that I have been trying to keep up with the reports, statements and documents now emerging that have something to say about long-term prospects and strategies for post-coronavirus recovery. This report by the SMF sells itself somewhat short, I think, if one goes only by the title. It sounds as if it couldn’t help but cover the same ground as the recent Bill Grimsey report that I covered in this post and this really isn’t the case.

To my mind, it does significantly more. It isn’t all that long and yet it manages to consider:

  • Repurposing of town and city centres — permanently reduced demand for retail and city centre office space could unlock massive house-building programmes.
  • Writing-off local government debt and increasing the borrowing levels under the Public Works Loans Board (PWLB) — making it possible for local councils to invest in community infrastructure and arrest urban decline.
  • The renaissance of the suburbs.
  • A permanent shift to home- and remote-working — but will this only widen inequalities for those whose accommodation is too small for successful home-working, those with families, those in lower-paid jobs and service industries not amenable to home-working?
  • The impact on social capital.
  • Permanent shrinkage of bricks-and-mortar retailing and service sector jobs with disproportionate impact on younger workers and women?
  • Poorer prospects for those ‘divorced’ from their offices?
  • A much more variable picture of the benefits of home-working and individual attitudes to homes-working than some of the headlines now in the media suggests.
  • New waves of entrenched, structural unemployment as some sectors — retailing, service industries, leisure and hospitality — permanently shrink?
  • Who handles the retraining and reskilling workloads?
  • Are Economic Growth Areas (EGAs) the answer?

 

As I have said in all the other posts, if you are simply trying to keep abreast of at least some of the relevant reports now coming out, or if you are assembling arguments as you try to influence post-coronavirus recovery plans, then this is well worth reading. I’ll be honest: I expected it to be pure boosterism for home-working and rise of the remote, digital white collar professional, but it is a far more nuanced take than that. It is also very well written.

See all posts tagged Covid-19 recovery planning

Birmingham City Council launches important public health survey to assess impact of Covid-19 on city’s residents

Birmingham City Council has launched an important public health survey aimed at gauging the personal impact of Covid-19 on Birmingham residents.

The survey asks about your background, your understanding and views regarding Covid-19 and the impact that lockdown measures have had on various aspects of your health and wellbeing, such as mental health, physical activity, employment and relationships. It should take about 15-30 minutes to complete.

The data collected through the survey is anonymous, so you cannot be identified from what you have said. BCC plans to publish the findings from the survey at a population rather than an individual level (for example in tables or graphs using summary results) and any quotes used from answers will remain anonymous.

This could be an important source of data in the city’s recovery planning.

READ MORE & COMPLETE THE SURVEY

Wales sets out plan to put social enterprise at the heart of Welsh economy and society

Social enterprises, support organisations and the Welsh government have worked together to produce a bold and ambitious vision for the sector in Wales. Transforming Wales through Social Enterprise, published by Wales Co-operative Centre, significantly raises the bar in terms of sector development goals and we can all learn from this well researched and clearly written document.

In 2020, the Welsh social enterprise sector has grown to more than 2,000 social enterprises employing 55,000 people and contributing over £3bn to the economy. By 2030, the report says, social enterprise will be the business model of choice for entrepreneurs delivering solutions to social, economic and environmental problems in Wales. And by working as a broad movement in ‘ethical alliances’ with other socially responsible businesses and organisations, social enterprises will be at the heart of a fairer, more prosperous and more sustainable Wales.

It clearly sets out the socio-economic problems Wales faces:

» Parts of Wales have levels of deprivation and inequality that are worse than the rest of the UK, with the added complexities of rural areas and former coalfields. Disabled people in particular are being denied the right to independent living. It has an ageing population.

» Workers on zero-hour contracts have been the worst affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

» The fourth industrial revolution — emerging digital technologies being deployed at unprecedented speed and scale — offers immense potential for good, but the Welsh government is also concerned that this could further widen inequalities, with automation substituting for labour.

» Wales, like the rest of the world, faces a climate emergency. 

» Many communities feel excluded and disenfranchised: local resources and assets — including language and culture — are under-valued.

» Forty years of economic planning based on the rule that ‘markets know best’ has concentrated wealth, ownership and power in the hands of small, self-serving economic elites.

» Health and wellbeing are declining.

» Wales sees the need to further strengthen and extend the role of social enterprises in public procurement, with the Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015  having somewhat similar aims to the UK Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012.

In describing these entrenched socio-economic inequalities, one could say much the same of the rest of the UK.

The difference here, however, is that the Welsh government sees social enterprise models as absolutely central in offering solutions to these systemic problems and the document sets out the case for social enterprise being at the heart of long-term Welsh recovery.

The document identifies nine key outcomes that should guide efforts to support and grow the social enterprise sector in Wales over the next decade:

  1. More people will choose to engage with social enterprises –- as customers, employees, volunteers or leaders.
  2. More people will choose a social enterprise model to start a new business.
  3. Policy makers will prioritise social enterprise solutions when considering how to address problems and will create conditions which help social enterprises to rebuild and thrive.
  4. Social enterprises will be better connected to each other and will speak with a more unified voice.
  5. Social enterprises will play a greater role in tackling the climate emergency and protecting the environment.
  6. Social enterprises will adopt Fair Work practices, pay the Living Wage and increase diversity amongst their employees and volunteers.
  7. Social enterprises will be better able to exploit digital technology for social good.
  8. The range and value of finance options tailored to the needs of social enterprises will multiply.
  9. Good quality specialist business support tailored to the needs of the sector will be available to everyone who needs it.

 

How familiar some of these goals are. And yet taken together this is as far-reaching a national commitment to a social enterprise future as we are likely to see. One might even say it offers a blueprint for a ‘social enterprise country’ — and that really does take the idea of ‘social enterprise places’ to the next level.

→ Read more on the Wales Co-operative Centre website and download full report.

Read more in Pioneers Post.

Free WiSE Wednesday webinar from iSE — Recovery, Innovation & Growth: 22nd July

 
iSE CIC announces the expert speaker for the next WiSE Wednesday webinar on Wednesday 22nd July 2020 at 10.00am. She is award-winning social entrepreneur Daniella Genas, founder of She’s The Boss and international speaker on innovation, motivation and growth, and Daniella will be speaking on Recovery, Innovation & Growth.
 
In this session, we learn more about real-time #socialenterprise  #innovation and #growth with Daniella — what it is, how to do it, learnt lessons, tapping in to your motivation and defining your pathway through enterprise recovery to ‘new world working’.
 
Topics include: obstacles as lessons for growth; innovation for growth; and strategies for growth.
 

New BVSC survey seeks views of voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise sectors on impact of Covid-19 and recovery prospects

BVSC‘s chief executive Brian Carr has just announced that the organisation is launching a major new survey to help gauge the impact of Covid-19 on the voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise sectors in Birmingham.
 
His statement, issued today, reads:
 
The Covid-19 pandemic has seen exceptional upheaval and loss across the world, changing the way that people live, work and socialise.
 
We know that in Birmingham and across the UK the voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise (VCFSE) sectors have been key partners in leading the local, regional and national response to the pandemic, responding to the existing and emerging needs of our most vulnerable citizens.
 
We want to capture the fullest possible picture of how the sector in Birmingham responded to the crisis, as well as understanding more about the short and long-term implications for the sector in a post-Covid recovery landscape. Our latest State of the Sector survey has been completely redesigned with these aims in mind and we now urgently need your input.
 
The survey will evidence what is happening across Birmingham’s VCFSE sector and enable us to share this crucial information at a strategic city-wide level. Specifically, it will be possible to provide detailed findings regarding:
 
  • The way in which services responded and adapted to meet the needs of service users during the crisis.
  • The immediate impact of Covid-19 on the VCFSE sector in terms of income, staffing levels and volunteers.
  • The current capacity of the sector in the wake of Covid-19.
  • The anticipated longer-term impacts of Covid-19 on sector capacity, service delivery and sustainability.
  • The anticipated support needs of the sector as we move into recovery and beyond.
 
The information gathered will be fed back to all participants and to policy-makers at city, regional and national level, and will be used to frame BVSC’s sector support offer in the months ahead.
 
 

National Lottery and partners announce £18.7m Social Enterprise Support Fund

This terrific news, just in…

The Social Enterprise Support Fund, a brand new £18.7m support fund for social enterprises, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, has just opened and is taking applications now.

The Social Enterprise Support Fund is delivered by The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), UnLtd, Key Fund, Resonance and Big Issue Invest. It is taking applications from ventures aiding those at direct health risk from Covid-19, or those who have been hit hardest by the pandemic. For example, supporting people through loneliness and isolation, or supporting BAME communities who experience health inequalities. Read the full eligibility criteria and FAQs here.

The Fund particularly encourages applications from enterprises led by those with direct lived experience of the social issues they are trying to solve.

The first round is now live and will close for new applications and submissions on Monday 20th July at the very latest, but may close earlier if the maximum applications for each round are reached. You are therefore strongly encourage to submit your application as early as possible.

There will be another opportunity to apply over the next three months, reopening in August.

Key eligibility criteria include the following but you should be sure to read the full details:

  • Your organisation must have been incorporated for at least one year to be eligible for this fund.
  • Your social enterprise must be incorporated.
  • It must have:
    • A clear social purpose.
    • A restriction on distribution of profits, to the extent that at least 51% of surpluses are reinvested for its social purpose.
    • An “asset lock” — there must be a clause in your constitution or articles which prevents assets, such as cash or buildings, from being distributed for private benefit when the organisation is wound up.
  • Your income EITHER in your last financial year OR the year up to 31st March 2020, must be between £25,000 and £1.5 million. This means all income, not just trading income.
  • Your social enterprise must have been financially stable before COVID-19 and specifically on December 31st 2019. 

 

Eligibility criteria and FAQs.

Full details & applications.

 

 

New CIC formed to fight for support for 3m self-employed workers excluded from government’s Covid-19 support schemes

I know that as social entrepreneurs, voluntary sector workers, leaders of charities or activists in community groups, the plight of social enterprises and the wider third sector is what is really at the forefront of our concerns.

But like many I have been following the news regarding the estimated 3m self-employed people who are ineligible for either furloughing or the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS). Typically, these are freelancers who do not earn at least 50% of their income from self-employment, those who employ themselves through limited companies and those in new-start self-employment.

I can only begin to imagine the anxiety these people are experiencing. Especially affected are freelancers in the arts, creative and cultural industries, where short-term PAYE contracts for freelance self-employed people are apparently commonplace — meaning that many freelancers are ineligible for SEISS because they earn more than 50% of their income from short-term PAYE contracts or were between contracts when SEISS came into force.

That the Chancellor’s statement of the 8th June did nothing at all to offer any hope to these people seems an injustice that desperately needs addressing. There is a very good piece in The Guardian explaining the dreadful impact of this injustice and another on the This is Money website that better explains the technicalities. 

A new CIC called Excluded UK was formed in May specifically to fight for the rights of these workers. An All Party Parliamentary Group of Excluded UK led by Jamie Stone MP has also been established and now numbers almost 200 MPs.

If this concerns you or someone close to you, then you can do something to help:

Get involved in Excluded UK.

→ Donate to Excluded UK.

→ Write to your MP (via the excellent WriteToThem website which offers authentication and digital signature of letters).

‘Recharge the West Midlands’ — does this offer the kind of economic, social and community recovery we all hoped to see?

Click for report PDF

In earlier posts I have been trying to keep abreast of a variety of recovery planning initiatives, including recent proposals and reports.

Up for consideration today is Recharge the West Midlands — Kickstarting the West Midlands Economy. This is West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) business case to government for a £3.2bn investment package that will ‘reset, rebuild and recharge’ the region’s economy as part of post-Covid economic recovery planning.

The plan — backed in a collective letter to the Chancellor by 600 signatories from business, institutions, trade unions, the region’s Chambers of Commerce, local authorities and LEPs — was submitted to the government at the end of June 2020. Mayor Andy Street is hopeful that the scale, approach and ambition of the West Midlands plan will not just find favour with the Chancellor but will also inform the government’s national recovery strategy.

The WMCA strategy has three main pillars:

  • Creating green manufacturing jobs by harnessing clean technology and electrification.
  • Turning HS2, Coventry City of Culture and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games into jobs for local people by accelerating major infrastructure investment.
  • Investing in healthcare innovation, capitalising on the region’s existing strengths as a centre for health research, and using this to improve the region’s health.

 

The scale and ambition cannot be denied. But is this really about ‘resetting’ the West Midlands economy? There still seems to be a massive emphasis on transport, infrastructure, capital projects, and brownfield regeneration. What seems less evident is the Combined Authority’s much-repeated commitment to inclusive economic growth. It is also difficult to see a comprehensive approach throughout the document to addressing inequalities — and especially to measures that will ensure that a massive economic kickstart won’t widen existing inequalities or further exacerbate those the virus has exposed.

If you take as an example the first pillar, creating green manufacturing jobs, it is perfectly true that this includes a £100m programme of retrofitting to take 50,000 households out of fuel poverty, and £30m to decarbonise Black Country industry. But these sums are far exceeded by the £484m dedicated to capital projects (Gigafactory battery production facility), transport (very light rail), electric vehicle charging infrastructure and automotive R&D.

Similarly, maximising local job creation via HS2 and other WM opportunities devotes around £225m to capital projects — the HS2 interchange; Curzon St/Digbeth regeneration; and the redevelopment of Birmingham’s Square Shopping Centre, King’s Parade and Dale End/High Street car park as a new mixed-use ‘destination’ called Martineau Galleries. And while an £80m ‘Cultural Catalyst Programme’ is included to enable critical business transformation in the cultural sector, even this sum includes £50m for ‘shovel ready’ capital projects for arts and cultural venues. Surely this isn’t what the arts and cultural sector in the region needs right now?

Investing in healthcare innovation shows a similar emphasis. This includes £10m for reducing health inequalities through radical prevention and £13m to create a community-based health diagnostics hub at Grand Central, but again these sums are significantly less than the £127m dedicated to capital spend on construction of a Precision Health Technologies Accelerator, and planned diversification and business transformation programmes in MedTech supply-chains.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not rubbishing the plan because I am certainly not qualified to do so. I understand that this has to be a plan for the entire economy, and it is a complex document, but in its overwhelming emphasis on capital projects, regeneration and high-growth/high-profit sectors I can’t help but wonder whether it will offer the kind of  inclusive economic, social and community recovery we are all hoping to see.

I would love to know what others make of this plan. Do you see it as a transformational ‘reset’ for the region’s economy that is in keeping with the new world of Covid-19 recovery? Do we have any economic analysts out there who can help us better understand this?

Round-up of funding opportunities

I’m indebted to BVSC’s weekly e-bulletin for all of the following funding opportunities. They are reposted here in case anyone has missed them. If you aren’t already subscribed to BVSC’s e-bulletin you can subscribe here.

The opportunities below are all either new money or programmes that are reopening to resume ‘normal’ service.

Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants

Reopening from 22nd July 2020 with a budget of £59.8m available until April 2021. 

Arts Council says: “We have prioritised reopening this programme to help fund independent organisations, creative practitioners and freelancers as quickly as possible. We’ll publish updated guidance for the programme by mid-July.”

More information: Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants.
Coverage in Charity Times.

Birmingham Children’s Partnership Covid-19 Community Grants

The Birmingham Children’s Partnership has developed a new locality approach to supporting families in need across the city as part of the response to the Covid-19 crisis.

As part of this development a community grants scheme is currently in place to support locality working, which Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise organisations can apply for up to a maximum of £10,000.

Support is available through Birmingham Community Matters for community groups to help them put together applications for this grant. It is important that any applications reflect a need in the local community, and that projects work with all members of that community.

Applications are sought from organisations wishing to work with the local partnerships.

→ More information: BVSC website.

National Lottery Community Fund — Coronavirus Community Support

National Lottery Community Fund — Coronavirus Community Support Fund: £200m. Part of the government’s £750m support package for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors.

Some service categories have specific funding attached — domestic abuse, loneliness, food distribution, zoos, health and more.

More information: National Lottery Community Fund website.

Severn Trent Community Fund

Severn Trent Community Fund reopened to ‘normal’ applications.

To apply you must be a Severn Trent customer (ie receive your water supply from or have waste treated by Severn Trent), and the location and the beneficiaries of your project must be located within the Severn Trent region. You can check both using this tracker.

→ More information: Severn Trent Community Fund website.

Sport England

Sport England is committing up to £210m of funding to help the sport and physical activity sector through the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

→ More information: Sport England website.

 

Subscribe to BVSC’s weekly e-bulletin

Sandwell Council of Voluntary Organisations also produces an excellent fortnightly Funding Digest to which you can also subscribe here.

 

 

BVSC — short questionnaire to identify pro-bono support priorities

BVSC has just posted a short questionnaire online.

It is seeking to refresh and improve the pro-bono support offer that some private sector businesses make to the VCS as part of their corporate social responsibility.

BVSC says: “We recognise that the pandemic has forced many organisations to adjust their focus and priorities, and what was true of the sector before the virus may not be true now. We hope this survey will give us a clearer picture of the needs of Birmingham’s voluntary sector in a COVID-19 dominated world, and ensure that when we work with businesses keen to support the voluntary sector, the most appropriate support can be made available to those who need it.”

Take the survey.

WiSE Wednesday — free webinar from iSE: Levering Localism with Kevin Davis, CEO The Vine Trust

 
The next of iSE’s WiSE Wednesday free webinars takes place on Wednesday 8 July at 10am and is given by Kevin Davis, CEO of The Vine Trust and a Black Country LEP Board Member. He will be talking about Levering Localism
 
Kevin Davis will pose the question: can levering localism help us to build back better in these unprecedented times? He will cover the following topics:
 
1. The Economy of Together! A vision for place based social enterprise, looking to the Black Country as an example.
 
2. Influencing the Social Economy in the public/private realm. 
 
3. Can Social Enterprises save the High Street?
 

This will be followed by a Q&A session.

 
Kevin Davis is CEO of the Vine Trust Group – a group of social enterprises focused on education, employment and the re-engagement of young people. He also serves on the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, with a focus on social enterprise and economic inclusion.
 
WiSE Wednesdays are organised and facilitated by iSE CIC in order to provide regular support, insight and Q&A opportunities for the social enterprise sector during these challenging times. iSE is a leading third sector support organisation providing start-up and development opportunities for social enterprises, community organisations and not-for-profits in Birmingham and beyond.
 
 
 
 

Social enterprises — could you benefit from a funded virtual intern during the summer?

Social enterprises — could you benefit from a funded virtual intern during the summer? Under a new scheme just launched by the Transformation West Midlands (TWM) partnership you may be able to.

The Transformation West Midlands Summer Work Experience Scheme has been exclusively created to enable local students and recent graduates from the West Midlands region to gain quality work, supporting local businesses who need a helping hand for up to 2 weeks.

From July until Sept 2020, up to two virtual interns can carry out specific work-related tasks for you, over a set period of time – tasks that you’ve been wanting to do, but haven’t had the resource. It might be secondary research to spot innovative ways to keep or generate new customers; a social media campaign to launch a new service or product; or help with setting up better operations and processes.

The 2-week work experience can be undertaken on a full or part-time basis.

To apply, please describe your project brief in a few words by email to Alison Sharp, the Project Lead at the University of Birmingham.

The brief will be offered to a pool of TWM students and graduates from Newman University, University College Birmingham and the University of Birmingham, and interested individuals will get in contact with you directly.

Virtual interns will receive a bursary from the TWM’s funders, the Office for Students.

The programme is especially interested in hearing from enterprises that are able to offer high-quality virtual internships offering organised and well-structured experiences for interns. The TWM work experience scheme is particularly aimed at BAME students/graduates, those who are first generation HE entrants, and students/graduates with a disability, so by creating an intern opportunity you’d be helping your enterprise and creating additional social value for students. 

For more info, or to submit your short placement proposal send mail to Alison Sharp, Project Lead at the University of Birmingham.

iSE opens second FUSE new-starts programme to meet high demand

Following exceptionally high demand for registration, social enterprise development organisation iSE has reopened its FUSE start-up programme to new applications for an additional July programme.

If you have an emerging social enterprise idea with potential to create social impact and would benefit from six months of support email Elizabeth Forrester for an application form or go to the iSE website.

Deadline for applications: 20th July, programme commences 29th July.

For health and well-being-led social enterprise ideas this programme is fully-funded by the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN). For other non-health social enterprises a £50 contribution towards costs is required. The programme covers:

  • Monthly masterclasses covering key elements of start-up coaching.
  • Mentoring.
  • Peer support.
  • Access to opportunities, developing sector connections and networks.

 

Applicants will need to prove they have the makings of a sustainable social enterprise including income generation through trading rather than relying on grant funding. The programme is open to individuals and groups in the West Midlands.

For more information.

 

PM asks Danny Kruger MP to review role of civil society during coronavirus crisis and ensure it is supported as part of recovery

I’m indebted to an email from the Directory of Social Change for this item.

Apparently, Danny Kruger MP (Devizes) has announced on his Twitter feed that the Prime Minister has asked him to work closely with Baroness Barran, the Minister for Civil Society in DCMS, to review the role played by civil society during the Covid-19 crisis and to make recommendations regarding how best the sector can be supported and communities empowered as part of recovery.

The PM asks that Kruger’s review should consider, amongst other things, how civil society can support public services, the role of philanthropy, social investment and business, and opportunities for young people.

‘Government has a role to play,’ the PM says in his letter (and pictured in Kruger’s tweet), ‘in supporting the voluntary effort and social entrepreneurialism that have proved so valuable so far, indwell be just as vital in the years ahead.’

‘How can we empower & strengthen communities for the long term?’ Kruger asks in his tweet, asking people to ‘please email me’ (which you can do by clicking this link).

 

Pressure for a fairer, greener, juster recovery increases

Pressure is growing for an economic and social recovery that is fairer, more just, and greener. A recent YouGov poll reported in The Guardian indicates that just 6% of the public want to return to an unchanged ‘pre-pandemic’ economy.

A recent letter to the government from the Build Back Better UK Campaign calling for a more equitable recovery was signed by more than 350 people including trade union leaders, heads of corporations, civil society, religious leaders, major charities, cultural and arts institutions, and environmental and climate change groups. Keeping abreast of what these various groups, campaigns and commentators are saying is hard work, however.

I’m still reading the TUC report A Better Recovery, published in May. It’s the most far-reaching and detailed of the documents I have so far tried to read. I thought it might be worth recapping some of its key recommendations here because I find that when someone says, ‘So what should be in a fairer recovery plan, then? my mind goes blank. This may help. Here’s what the TUC says in its key recommendations:

Decent work and a new way of doing business

  • Raising the national minimum wage to £10 an hour.
  • A ban on zero-hours contracts and bogus self-employment.
  • Ensuring all workers are automatically put into an occupational pension scheme.
  • Boost collective bargaining, including union access to workplaces.
  • Increase workforce voice in corporate governance and reform of corporate purpose.
  • Establish a National Recovery Council, mirrored at regional and sectoral level, with workforce representation.

 

Sustainable industry

  • A recovery programme that delivers benefits both in terms of reducing carbon and increasing jobs, overseen by a new Just Transition commission.
  • Work with trade unions to ensure that every investment programme comes with an Olympics style plan for decent jobs attached.
  • Support workers to get into new jobs, with a new jobs guarantee and an individual right to retrain.
  • Build UK manufacturing supply chains by increasing the requirement for UK content in any investment programme.
  • Put a Just Transition at the heart of the (UN Climate Conference) COP26.
  • Ensure that trade deals don’t undermine UK manufacturing.

 

A real safety net

  • Reforms to social security to provide help faster and prevent poverty.
  • A job guarantee scheme so everyone can work and long-term unemployment does not take hold.

 

Rebuilding public services

  • Bringing our public services back to full strength, with decent pay for those who looked after us in the crisis.
  • A new focus on good jobs and direct employment in social care.
  • Public sector pay-rise.
  • A new settlement for social care.
  • A democratically accountable, integrated health and social care system.
  • A new care sector workforce strategy.
  • A new funding settlement for local government, the NHS and across public services.
  • End the outsourcing of public services.

 

Equality at work

  • A cross-departmental action plan to tackle the entrenched disadvantage and discrimination faced by BME people.
  • Strengthen the role of the Race Disparity Unit and equip it to deliver the action plan.
  • Review and redraft the Gender Equality Roadmap to reflect the current context and include a clear timetable for delivery.
  • Engage with disabled people’s organisations and with people with disabilities to ensure that their voice and experiences are central.
  • Access to Work grants to take account of the current context.
  • Examine the implications of the increase in home working for disabled workers and improve disabled people’s access to work.
  • Close the disability employment and pay gaps.
  • Address the systemic inequality that disabled people experience in the labour market.
  • Ensure compliance with the public sector equality duty throughout response to Covid-19.

 

Rebuilding internationalism

  • New international rules to prioritise decent jobs and public services for all.
  • International institutions must be reformed so that they work towards a new social contract.

 

At the moment this groundswell of public opinion sounds unstoppable but unless there are meaningful ways for local, regional and national recovery plans to be influenced by wider society, there is no guarantee that this will be the case. And so far, real routes into recovery planning seem few and far between.

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS:  Better Recovery: Learning the lessons of the corona crisis to create a stronger, fairer economy (TUC, May 2020)

FULL REPORT: A Better Recovery: Learning the lessons of the corona crisis to create a stronger, fairer economy (TUC, May 2020)

Build Back Better UK and its key demands

→ See all posts on this blog tagged Coronavirus updates

→ See all posts on this blog tagged Covid-19 recovery planning