Plunkett Foundation offers free, specialist business adviser help for community pubs

Has your local pub closed or been put up for sale or lease? Does your area need a welcoming social space for all residents?

UK charity Plunkett Foundation has free specialist adviser help available for groups of residents or community groups interested in exploring community ownership or community leasehold of their local pub building.

Groups might have innovative ideas to explore, and the sale of alcohol is by no means necessary as part of the use of the building. Plunkett can also work with communities wanting to set up community owned micro-pubs and has no-cost support especially for the urban West Midlands area.

Contact Plunkett for a friendly chat on 0845 5571469 or send mail

Could you benefit from the support of a bright and motivated University of Birmingham student?

Click to enlarge

This, just in from the University of Birmingham College of Arts & Law…

It’s that time of year when the University of Birmingham starts recruiting employer partners for our Professional Skills Module Placements Bank.

Placement students from the College of Arts and Law can help your organisation in a host of ways through the Professional Skills Module, which co-ordinates 70-hour work placements operating between June-December.

Our students are keen to work with charities, social enterprises, start-ups and SMEs where their contribution can really make an impact. We are seeking site-based or virtual roles in which students can take ownership of a project or focus under your supervision. The extra capacity and support you gain will help students towards their degree.

Just think what your organisation could achieve during these difficult times with the energy, creativity, writing and research skills of some of our brightest minds…

Find out more:

University of Birmingham ‘Professional Skills Module for Employers’ page.

→ Find out how students supported organisations in 2021.

→ Send mail to Lesley Griffiths, Placements Officer, to arrange a discussion.



“Covid-19 Omicron wave – getting the sector prepared” — BVSC open letter

BVSC CEO, Brian Carr — open letter to the sector: we’ll need to mobilise quickly

BVSC’s chief executive Brian Carr has just published an open letter calling on Birmingham’s third sector organisations to use their  communications channels to promote key public health messages in advance of the  mid-January point when cases of the Omicron COVID variant are expected to reach critical levels. 

“The speed at which the Omicron wave will be upon us,” Brian says in his open letter, “will require us to mobilise very quickly when the time comes — for example, in supporting discharge from hospital.”

You can read Brian’s open letter here.

→ You can also book for the online VCFSE briefing session BVSC is hosting with Dr Justin Varney, Director of Public Health for Birmingham, on Thursday 6th January 2022 from 2:00pm-3.00pm.

→ UPDATE 10/01/22: Watch the VCFSE public health briefing in full and download Dr Varney’s PowerPoint presentation.

WMCA unveils plans to grow the region’s social economy sector

L to R: Social Economy Task Force chairs, Carole Donnelly and Gill Morbey, with Mayor Andy Street. Pictured at Moseley Road Baths, a social enterprise managed by local people (photo: WMCA)

West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) today made major announcements regarding plans to help the region’s social economy sector grow and thrive.
At an online roundtable event today, the Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, and a wide range of public sector and social economy partners, welcomed plans to invest in the region’s social economy. The social economy sector, which includes social businesses, charities, voluntary organisations and community groups, operates for social purpose and community benefit rather than personal profit. These plans are being developed in response to recommendations made by the Combined Authority’s independent Social Economy Taskforce which asked WMCA to develop a plan for doubling the size of this sector over the next decade. 
The West Midlands has been hit hard by the Covid pandemic, and many of its community-focused organisations and social businesses have been similarly affected, facing lower turnover and a furloughed workforce while also seeing rising demand for many of the services they provide. 
Recognising that these social economy organisations offer some of the best routes to inclusive growth and fair and equitable Covid recovery, WMCA has been working with the sector to develop a four-point plan to help build the social economy back stronger than before. This will ensure that the pledge WMCA made to the Social Economy Taskforce regarding sector growth is delivered in a way that responds to current challenges. The strategy published today, Growing the Social Economy in the WMCA area, sets out four key areas for action:
» Working with new and existing funders to improve uptake of investment to support growth of social enterprises and community businesses.
» Business support and advice through an accelerator programme to encourage rapid growth of social enterprises, from start-up companies through to more established organisations.
» Establishing social economy clusters across the region – clustering of sector-specific businesses has been proven to help build economic growth and resilience.
» Directing WMCA investment plans towards supporting schemes that can help increase growth among social economy businesses.
WMCA used today’s roundtable to test these aims with local partners and begin the process of turning them into a plan for delivery. Partners hope that this new, region-wide collaborative approach to social economy growth will result in additional external funding and goodwill support that will help achieve the key aims of the strategy. Speaking at the event, Mayor Andy Street said: 
“The social economy may not be one that many people are familiar with, but it is a vital part of our region’s overall economic success. These are businesses and organisations that apply all the expertise and skills that one might expect from traditional commercial companies, but in a way that prioritises social impact.
“The Covid pandemic has tested us all, and this sector is no exception. Yet we know these companies and organisations are part of our recovery, and work closely with our communities. Which is why I’m so pleased with all the hard work and goodwill that has been put into preparing this strategy, and that the roundtable today has illustrated the breadth of the buy-in that we have to turn these growth plans into reality.”
The team that developed the strategy — Meena Bharadwa (Locality), Carole Donnelly (CJD Consultancy), Charles Rapson (School for Social Entrepreneurs) and Alun Severn (BSSEC) — was led by Sarah Crawley in the months leading up to her retirement from iSE, the specialist social enterprise development organisation she founded and led. Speaking at the event, Sarah said:
“This strategy is unique in that it has been written by a consortium drawn from the social economy sector in the West Midlands. Its aim is to stimulate social economy growth, bring together best practice and learning, and create a framework for action. Following the roundtable today we are delighted that the Mayor and WMCA are supporting this work which will enable social businesses to increase their economic, social and environmental impact and contribute to the region’s recovery from COVID through inclusive growth.”
At the same time as the WMCA Board approved Growing the Social Economy in the WMCA Area: A Framework for Action, it also approved four more  detailed business cases proposing specific actions. These four business cases cover the following:
→ WMCA Business Case: Developing Social Economy Clusters — download/view
→ WMCA Business Case: Social Enterprise Support & Accelerator Programme — download/view
→ WMCA Business Case: Using WMCA Regional Investment Programmes to enable growth — download/view
→ WMCA Business Case: A West Midlands Social Economy Development Fund-Discussion — download/view
While it will not be possible to enact all of these business cases in their entirety with immediate effect, they are important in establishing the ambitions for social economy growth that are shared by both the WMCA and the wider sector. Virtual teams have been established by WMCA to work collaboratively to take these forward. On the last of these, the case for a new WM Social Economy Development Fund, WMCA is commissioning an options appraisal by finance experts to determine whether and in what form the ambitions set out in the business case can best be realised.
If you would like to be added to a new BSSEC mailing list specifically to receive news of progress in the WMCA social economy growth plans please send mail to Sallie Ryan.
→ For more information about how to get involved please send mail to Claire Spencer at WMCA

Online briefing to explain West Midlands’ £53m share of Household Support Fund

Click to go to Eventbrite

On 30th September the government launched a £500m Household Support Fund to provide winter support to families and vulnerable households with food, fuel, bills, household items and essentials between October 2021 and March 2022.

This funding is being issued to local authorities to add to work already taking place concerning financial inclusion, crisis support and support for families in receipt of free school meals. £53m will be distributed via local authorities in the West Midlands either directly to households or via local VCSE organisations and networks.

West Midlands Funders Network is hosting an online briefing event on Wednesday 15th December 2021 (12.00pm-2.00pm) for those who wish to find out more. The briefing, ‘Financial Inclusion: Supporting Vulnerable and Poorer Households in the WM’, will:

» Provide an overview of the issues facing vulnerable and poorer individuals and households and how these have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

» Share information about existing prevention and crisis intervention initiatives.

» Provide an overview of eligible funding purposes in existing and new measures.

Register to attend the online briefing (via Eventbrite).

Lottery announces second round of Social Enterprise Support Fund grants worth £16.3m

Click for NLCF page

The National Lottery Community Fund has just announced that a second round of funding totalling £16.3m in grant support is being made available through its Social Enterprise Support Fund, which began last year. Its aim is assist to social enterprises that have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The fund will offer grants of between £10,000 and £100,000 to eligible organisations in England.

The funding is being distributed by five social enterprise support agencies — Big Issue Invest, Key Fund, Resonance, the School for Social Entrepreneurs and UnLtd. The aim is to support 500 social enterprises through the scheme.

Last year the fund distributed £18.7m to more than 600 social enterprises.

This second funding round opens at 1pm on 25 November and prioritises social enterprises supporting people facing increased social and economic challenges as a result of the pandemic. Applicants must have had an annual income of between £20,000 and £1.8m in either of the last two financial years.

There are free briefing webinars (1st & 8th Dec) for those considering applications.

→ Eligibility, funding & application guidance.

Social enterprise networking in Digbeth

iSE says:

Calling Birmingham-based social enterprises, mission-led businesses and not for profits! Come along to Centrala Space in Digbeth for brunch time networking, conversation and connection in the heart of our Social Enterprise City.

Let’s catch-up, network and reconnect with each other. We’ll be serving up mince pies plus excellent coffee available at the Centrala Cafe.

Booking essential, please.

iSE marks Human Rights Day at the Women’s Enterprise & Community Hub

To mark Human Rights Day 2021 on the 10th December the Women’s Enterprise and Community Hub is holding its first ever Unity Fair — and it needs your support. The event will be based at the Women’s Enterprise and Community Hub in Sparkbrook, Friday 10th December and will run from 11am till 3pm.

The centre is currently looking for female-led businesses to take part and invites you to come along and show off what you do — whether it be free activities for adults or children, stalls selling your wares or putting on a talk to inspire others.

And in recognition of how tight things are for many businesses, this a FREE EVENT. “It’s about uniting our community of women,” says iSE’s Caroline Owen, “and displaying our services and our talents. We’re in the early planning stage at the moment but we’ve already started to take bookings for stalls. Already lined up are kids’ activities, food, and some stalls selling their products — but we want to welcome many more, so please get in touch.”

For more details or to book a stall please email Caroline Owen or call the Women’s Enterprise and Community Hub on 0121 663 1711.

University of Birmingham announces new round of its Impact Internships programme

The University of Birmingham has just announced that its Impact Internships programme, which offers fully funded undergraduate interns to social enterprises and SMEs, has just opened for a further round of applications:

This is a fantastic opportunity to recruit interns and utilise funding from the University of Birmingham through the Impact Internships programme.

Impact Internships are designed specifically to support start-ups, social enterprises and SMEs to recruit talented students and recent graduates from the university to support with specific projects.

The scheme offers fully funded internships, taking place over the summer for a period of 20 working days, on either a full- or part-time basis. The intern could contribute to a specific project or their work could involve whatever best suits your business requirements at this time. If you have a permanent role you would like to recruit for, you may wish to offer an initial trial period of 20 working days and utilise the funding this way. 

The programme will be advertised to final year students and recent graduates in February 2022, with recruitment taking place in March and internships starting from June 2022 onwards.

If you wish to recruit an intern through the scheme, please complete this short registration form by Wednesday 15 December 2021.

If you have any questions or queries please send mail.

Citizen Click spins out as a new, independent CIC

Anyone who has read either the BSSEC website or blog over the past decade or so will be familiar with the website design work of social enterprise Citizen Click. This is because Citizen Click undertook a complete redesign of our website in 2012, helping us to salvage everything we wanted to keep while migrating across to a customised version of WordPress. Our aim — and it was long overdue — was to get to a point where we could manage almost all aspects of the BSSEC website, thus keeping our online costs to a minimum. 

Now, Nate Sheridan, Martin Hogg and the team at Citizen Coaching have just announced that Citizen Click has been spun-out as a new, independent Community Interest Company.

Nate Sheridan says: “Over the past year Martin and I have been talking about how we could make it clearer to clients about what we provide. People often asked Martin and I why a counselling company made websites or a website company provides counselling.”

Any lingering confusion has now been removed. “As of September 2021,” Nate says, “Citizen Click has separated from Citizen Coaching, bringing our website, design, video and social media services into to an independent Community Interest Company. We’ll continue to work closely with Citizen Coaching but this is a really exciting opportunity for Citizen Click and we are looking forward to developing as an organisation and putting into practice our social aims of providing apprenticeships and volunteering opportunities in digital media, alongside our continued support and work within the social enterprise sector and local communities.”

Martin Hogg, who founded Citizen Click says: “This is an exciting new chapter for Nate and Citizen Click. It’s going to be clearer about what they offer and there will be new opportunities to focus on digital inclusion work, something they’ve always been passionate about. I will be supporting Nate during the transition and wish him well. Citizen Coaching will certainly remain one of his loyal customers.”

Personally, I think this is brilliant news. Yes, it makes the offer of these two companies clearer but more important than this it marks a huge step in the evolution of the Citizen Coaching group.

To have established Citizen Click from scratch, to have staffed it with young apprentices that have turned into a skilled and stable workforce, and to have developed a client list of over seventy organisations is a terrific achievement and we congratulate all concerned. Best wishes and every success to the new Citizen Click CIC.

Birmingham City Council announces new business recovery scheme grants of £5K-£50K, open to all types of SMEs

Birmingham City Council has just announced availability of a grant scheme designed to help SMEs recover, safeguard jobs and implement recovery plan projects over the next three months.

The scheme is called the ARG (Additional Restrictions Grants) Business Recovery scheme and offers grants of £5,000 to £50,000 to SMEs in any sector, that have been actively trading for at least three months and have main business and trading addresses within the Birmingham City Council area. The scheme is open to all types of SMEs whether registered via Companies House, Charity Commission or self-employed.

Applicants must be able to cash-flow the proposed activity as grants are paid retrospectively and capped at 75% of the project costs.

Eligible costs may include:

» Implementation of COVID-19 related measures.
» New plant and equipment.
» Improvements to systems, production processes or production layout.
» Internal refurbishment.
» IT and Digital.
» Diversifying and developing new markets.
» New product development.
» Other costs which may be considered on a case by case basis.

A high volume of applications is expected.


Steve Dixon, Changes UK CEO, named Barclay’s national social entrepreneur of the year 2021

Steve Dixon, Changes UK, wins Barclays’ National Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2021 (photo: Changes UK)

Ground-breaking, Birmingham-based recovery charity Changes UK has just announced that Steve Dixon, its founder and CEO, has won Barclays’ National Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2021. 

The awards celebrate UK entrepreneurs for their exceptional innovation in creating social change in unique and positive ways. Speaking at the Award ceremony on the 21st October Steve said:

“I am honoured to receive this award from Barclays. From where I have come from, I still have to pinch myself with the life I am living and am so grateful that I have found my purpose and an amazing team to help many others find freedom and recovery from active addiction and mental health challenges. Not only is this award for me and Changes UK it is an award that belongs to those who are starting out on their journey and starting to believe that they too can succeed and achieve their dreams.”

Changes UK is recognised as a leading model of recovery services for its pioneering approach to recovery and its vision of enabling a future where anyone can find recovery from addiction, restore connection with their families/communities and achieve a life with dignity, hope and purpose. It was founded in 2009 by CEO Steve Dixon, himself recovering from addiction, in response to the lack of support available in Birmingham for people wanting to find recovery.

Changes UK grew from Steve’s passion to make a difference to people’s lives, and the organisation is now recognised as being amongst the most innovative recovery services. Its core services are increasingly supported by its social enterprises which provide valuable income, as well as training, work experience and employment for those in recovery.

Congratulations to Steve and to everyone at Changes UK who have been part of helping the organisation receive this well-deserved recognition.

No Going Back — SEUK’s state of the social enterprise sector survey 2021

In 2009 Social Enterprise UK carried out its first state of the sector survey and with each passing survey these exercises have become more sophisticated and arguably more valuable. The latest, No Going Back: State of the Social Enterprise Sector 2021, has just been published and it is probably the best yet. It casts deeply needed light on the impact of COVID on the sector but manages to do this without allowing the pandemic to dominate or crowd out other important concerns. A brilliant piece of work.

Everyone reading the report will have their own particular priorities. The following are simply some of the findings that struck me most forcefully.

Workforce and leadership diversity in the sector have continued to increase

47% of social enterprises are led by women. 31% have directors from BAME backgrounds. 83% of leadership teams include a woman and 47% of social enterprises are led by women. This is far higher than other forms of business — only 6% of FTSE100 companies have female CEOs and only 18% of SMEs are 50%+ owned by a woman. 

Across the UK, and in every region and devolved nation, social enterprise staff teams include a higher proportion of staff from BAME communities than is present in the corresponding national and regional society as a whole.

But the picture on diversity is also a complex one

It is still the case that 40% of social enterprises nationwide have no staff from BAME backgrounds, with White-led social enterprises more likely (44%) not to have staff from BAME backgrounds, compared to just 5% of those social enterprises that are led by people from BAME backgrounds.

There are stark differences in turnover when compared by ethnicity and gender. The median turnover of social enterprises led by Black women, for instance, is £31,900. This could be accounted for by higher levels of new-starts in this category and requires further investigation.

Led by their values

22% operate in the most deprived areas of the UK. Almost three-quarters (72%) are Living Wage employers. 84% seek to source products and services from ethical, environmentally-friendly and socially responsible sources — and consider this more important than the increased cost that may result in some areas of their operational spending.

20% regard addressing the climate emergency as a core part of their social mission. 67% plan to embed action on climate change further still by writing this into their constitutions or articles of association.


The trend of recent years has been an ever increasing proportion of younger and new-start enterprises. Surprisingly, the survey reveals that this trend continued throughout the pandemic.

The proportion of SEs established within the past three years has increased from 25% in 2017 to 34% currently. Approaching half of all social enterprises (47%) are under five years old — compared to just 10% of conventional SMEs. Sector surveys in Birmingham over recent years strongly confirm this trend and indeed suggest that the age profile of social enterprises in Birmingham has for some time been younger than the national profile: in 2019, for instance, we found that 41% of all SEs had been formed in the preceding three years.

Conversely, however, the survey identifies a significant decline in the proportion of SEs trading for 21 years or more. In 2019 this accounted for 24% of the sector. In 2021 the proportion is down to 10%. SEUK notes that this could result from sampling anomalies as much as from long-term decline amongst older, established enterprises and acknowledges that it requires further investigation.

Decline in turnover

This survey identifies the greatest decline in trading turnovers in the sector since the 2008-09 financial crisis. In 2011, 20% of SEs reported a reduction in turnover, with some recovery in trading evident by 2019 when only 11% were reporting a reduction in turnover.

In 2021, however, 34% report a reduction in turnover, with this reduction most likely amongst older, longer-established social enterprises (e.g. 26% of those trading for up to 3 yrs, and 41% of those trading for 11 years or more). BAME-led social enterprises and smaller, neighbourhood-based social enterprises are also more likely to have experienced a fall in turnover.

Impact of COVID

The survey contains a particularly useful section on the impact of COVID and take-up and usage of the government’s COVID support schemes (p.52).

32% of SEs made no applications for COVID-19 schemes. 38% applied for business grants funded by government or local authorities. 36% applied for funds from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the furlough scheme) — far smaller proportion when compared to the conventional SME sector, where 68% of businesses applied. 23% of SEs applied for government-backed accredited loans or finance agreements. 

Social enterprises are less likely than conventional SMEs to have used business rates holidays (11%, cf. 17%), deferred VAT payments (8%, cf. 28%) and are less likely to have secured government or local authority grants (34%, cf. 42%). 

In terms of receipt of the schemes, most of those who applied were successful but social enterprises led by people with disabilities are an exception, with 53% reporting their applications to have been unsuccessful.

What this generally poorer access to (or lower take-up of) government COVID support schemes may mean in terms of the sector’s recovery prospects raises some very big questions.

I know I shall keep No Going Back to hand because it is packed with information and my first reading has only really scratched the surface.

You can read the key findings at SEUK and download the report when you register (free) with a valid email address.

BITC calls for evidence on role of business in place-based regeneration

Business in the Community’s (BITC) Place Taskforce, chaired by Lord Steve Bassam, is launching a call for evidence into the role of business in place-based regeneration.

The Place Taskforce builds on BITC’s four decades of experience facilitating place-based solutions, working across business, community, and government to drive impact, change and opportunities for growth. The ambition of the task force is to capture and showcase ‘what works’ in transforming the prospects of a place. The objective is to create a blueprint for business engagement in place-based transformation.

The findings will be shared via a report by April 2022 to coincide with the 40th anniversary of BITC.

The Place Taskforce is a group of specialists from diverse sectors who will advise, drive and participate in the process.

A number of key themes are examined in the call for evidence:

» Understanding the key drivers and barriers for business engagement in place-based working.
» How cross-sector collaborative working can be facilitated.
» The lessons that can be learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic.
» How business can have a truly transformative impact in their communities.

The Taskforce will strive to inform policy-makers on the crucial role business can play in this, as well as informing and influencing the Government’s flagship ‘place’ programme, the Levelling Up Agenda.

BITC is keen that social enterprises and mission-led businesses are prominently represented amongst contributors.

 Submit evidence.


Social enterprise networking in Digbeth

iSE has just announced that face-to-face social enterprise networking in Digbeth is back for the Autumn. This, just in:

iSE is delighted to be back with face-to-face networking for October!

Join us from 10:00am-12:00pm on Wednesday 20th October 2021 at Centrala, Digbeth for brunch time networking, conversation and connection for Birmingham-based social enterprises, mission-led businesses and not for profits.

What are the current opportunities that exist for our sector? Where can we collaborate?

Let’s catch-up, network and reconnect with each other.

Light brunch included. Booking essential.

Also forthcoming:

There are opportunities for social enterprises to have stalls or run family workshops at the upcoming Digbeth Fest-EVIL event on Saturday 30th October, led by the Digbeth Business Forum. This event will attract a larger number of visitors to the area so offers a great opportunity for local social enterprises wanting to grow their reach and be part of an exciting collaborative and creative event.

If you are interested in this opportunity please send mail to Elizabeth Forrester as soon as possible with details of what you can offer.

Coventry & Warwickshire CDA — tender opportunity

This, just in from Coventry & Warwickshire CDA:

Coventry and Warwickshire CDA is a not for profit organisation which aims to support local people to lead economically active and fulfilling lives by providing useful, practical and accessible services that make a positive difference.

We are offering a:

Contract for Social Enterprise Business Services

Contract value: £8,200

The contractor will be expected to provide professional business services to support new and existing social enterprises (SE) and community groups in Warwickshire and will be required to:

» Establish a peer-to-peer mentoring service with 20 organisations.
» Develop 6 business tools that will be available on the members only SE tools website.
» Run 2 networking events.
» Run 2 investment readiness events.
» Provide 6 organisations with 6 hours support re investment readiness.

This contract is funded by Warwickshire County Council until 31st March 2022.

Tenders are invited on or before the 13th October 2021.

View Tender Specification and submission arrangements.

BVSC State of the Sector survey 2021 is now live

There is still time to complete BVSC’s State of the Sector survey 2021…but the survey will end soon. Please see below.

BVSC has just announced that its State of the Sector survey 2021 is now live and will run until the 15th October.

The State of the Sector survey generates the most comprehensive data-set available regarding the health of Birmingham’s voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise (VCFSE) sector.

Last year’s survey was launched at a time of exceptional turmoil for VCFSE organisations and its findings enabled BVSC to do important work in lobbying for and advocating on behalf of the sector. As the long shadow cast by COVID continues, it is clear that the survey will be equally important this year.

You can help by completing the survey and by promoting it to your sector contacts and networks. Thank you.

You can read more about the survey on the BVSC website here.
Direct link — take the survey.
For more information about BVSC’s State of the Sector research send mail to Andre Castro-Bilborough. 

There’s A Better Way — new campaign promotes giving and joined-up action on homelessness and rough sleeping

Birmingham City Council has just announced the launch of the There’s a Better Way campaign (Birmingham City Council blog and news), a new initiative to encourage people to donate to Change into Action, a charity supporting the region’s homelessness and street outreach charities.

The campaign wants to see people donating through Change into Action rather than giving loose change to people who are begging in the street or at roadside junctions and busy main roads. Over the past eighteen months COVID has reduced city centre footfall, emptied offices and shops and accelerated the shift to cashless payment. There can be few who have not witnessed the way that this has driven many to increasingly dangerous forms of begging.  

Change into Action is a partnership between Birmingham City Council, the Mayor of the West Midlands and the West Midlands Combined Authority and covers the local authority areas of Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

By bringing together a platform for donations, multi-disciplinary teams and other existing provision such as the StreetLink portal for notifying outreach services of at-risk homeless people and rough sleepers, this new campaign seems to offer a genuinely significant advance in enabling agencies and individuals to work together to take action on homelessness. Please help promote it.

There have already been donations totalling almost £95,000 to Change into Action and everything raised supports the work of front-line homelessness charities in the region. Donations are processed through JustGiving and held by BVSC prior to being allocated according to individual need. 

Change into Action — Twitter

There’s A Better Way — Birmingham City Council blog and news

Change into Action

Aston Business School opens registration for the government’s new Help to Grow management programme

Aston Business School has just announced that it is now recruiting the second cohort of businesses for the government’s new Help to Grow management programme.

The 12-week programme offers senior business leaders a practical management training programme, with 1-to-1 mentorship, delivered across the UK by leading business schools accredited by the Small Business Charter.

It costs just £750 and is 90% subsidised by the government as part of its Plan for Jobs to help businesses to drive growth and create jobs. It is aimed at senior leaders of small and medium businesses. Charities are not eligible for the programme but all other business types are. Your business can trade in any sector of the economy but must have been operating for more than one year and have 5 to 249 employees.

There are a wide range of modules available, including financial management, strategies for growth and innovation, leading high-performance teams, and approaches to digital adoption. The course is designed to be manageable alongside full-time work. By the end of the programme participants will develop a tailored business growth plan and will have access to an extensive alumni network.

For more information send mail to Ibrahim Abbas, Business Engagement Manager at Aston Business School, Centre for Growth or click here to express interest in the course.

Birmingham City Council launches new Match My Project portal

For some while now Birmingham City Council has been considering methods for making it easier for businesses to support local community projects — whether they wish to do this as part of their CSR commitments or in pursuit of specific Social Value pledges a company may have made as part of winning public sector contracts.

The intention of the new Match My Project portal, however, goes beyond this in seeking to link as many businesses as possible with community organisations/projects that are seeking help and support.

Obviously, the better populated the portal is both with companies able to offer assistance and community groups seeking support, the more effective it is likely to be.

In the longer term, as the site becomes more widely used, it will also offer a quick indication of companies supporting their local communities, the amount of time they have donated and the impact that this has achieved. It is an interesting development in the practical application of social value.

Whether you are a business or a community organisation you can find out more and sign up here