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Summer 2007 • Issue 19

Inside: Editorial


To follow

Lights, camera, action!

Fire and Passion:


SEEE reports on the filming of five dynamic, regional social enterprise case studies

In the SEEE office this quarter … 4 Rachel Cranham kicks off a new feature

Driven by fire and passion


For SEEE CEO Michele Rigby, that’s an apt description of social enterprise

Introducing the 2007-8 SEEE directors


Working on your behalf ... The line up of SEEE directors

Focus on … Business Link East


We interview BLE’s new CEO, Pat Smith, about the transformation of Business Link, and talk to two of his specialist social enterprise staff. Plus, we ask a social enterprise about their experience of Business Link, past and present.

InTouch readership survey – results and analysis


Your own analysis of InTouch

Inspiring rural communities


Don’t miss this conference

Policy > Opportunity > Delivery


SEEE’s model of business development for the social enterprise sector

IiC support for social enterprise


An analysis of what IiC support means to social enterprise in the region

Social enterprise business 14 support in the East of England What business support is available for social enterprises in the region?

Resources Unlimited


What we hope is really useful news and information

Internet: SEEE’s Web services are:

SEEE celebrates first full year at AGM


ith the theme of “Fire and Passion”, Social Enterprise East of England (SEEE) celebrated its first full year of operation at its second AGM at Homerton College, Cambridge on Thursday, 12th July. As delegates arrived at the event, they were treated to the unusual syncopations of “Bright Trash”, a social enterprise group that provides percussion from recovered materials such as metallic items and plastic drums, accompanied by a fire-dancer.

Keynote address from Business Link East

After a welcome from CEO Michele Rigby and Chair Ben Higham, delegates heard the keynote address from Steve McAteer, Director of Marketing and Partnership, Business Link East. Steve outlined the differences with how Business Link previously operated and the new IDB model. IDB stands for “Information, Diagnostic and Brokerage”. BLE now provides basic information through phone contact, workshops and the website; advisors help a business diagnose the issues it faces and then broker on to independent advisors to help with those issues if necessary. A voucher system is in place to help businesses pay the independent advisors. These independent advisors are drawn from a growing database. Steve reminded independent business advisors in the audience to register with this Supplier Brokerage System, if they hadn’t already done so. The intention of this change is to allow businesses to identify their own needs and timings, rather than work to preset programmes. Photo courtesy of The new system aims to provide a more consistent service across the region with back-office costs minimised, and BLE advisors based locally where possible. There will be 90 advisers, of which 60 will be generalists and 30 specialists. “As they are not targeted with numbers, they can be completely objective”, said Steve. ➜ page 2

Feature Cover ➜

Key stakeholders and partnership working to embed entrepreneurship Steve emphasised the need for partnership working and relationships with key stakeholders such as EEDA and SEEE to drive up the business performance of the East of England to be very best. Steve pointed out that the East of England currently lags behind much of the rest of the country in new business start-ups, so there will be a focus on helping more would-be entrepreneurs into self-employment. “Embedding entrepreneurship in the region is the most important thing we can do”, he commented.

Concerns discussed in Q&A

During the Q&A, Don Tricker of Social Enterprise Network Suffolk observed that in the past there had tended to be too much focus on inputs and outputs and not enough on real outcomes: this meant that once an organisation had been “boxticked”, Business Link’s interest sharply diminished. He asked how the new Business Link East would monitor outcomes, and help enterprises develop over the longer term. Steve replied that while there are still the inevitable boxes to be ticked, that is a back-office job, leaving client-facing colleagues to provide service and follow-up, re-contacting clients at various stages where necessary. He reassured delegates that there would be follow-through and concern in helping organisations with ongoing support. Nicky Stevenson of The Guild commented that social enterprises need a lot of ongoing support because they are trying to do complex things and the IDB model doesn’t provide that level of support. What is going to provide consistent, long-term support to social enterprises? Steve responded that the IDB is a core service that must work with other specialist organisations

such as The Guild in ensuring a joined up service to the sector. P a u l H e n r y, Business Link East’s Sector Manager for the Third Sector, agreed with Nicky’s analysis, which Chair Ben Higham and CEO Michele Rigby reflect on a successful day applies to other sectors too. Paul also mentioned extra funding under discussion from The Office of the Third Sector to provide additional support for social enterprises, commencing at around £50,000 this year with more to follow in subsequent years.

Film case studies

During the course of the day, delegates were treated to four case-study films produced by SEEE about exemplar regional social enterprises. In particular, “Apsley Paper Trail” was named the most enterprising place in the East of England in May, becoming the regional winner of the DTI’s ‘Enterprising Britain 2007’ competition. The workshop sessions added to a very full day of activities, with a choice of themes on subjects of particular interest to social enterprises. CEO Michele Rigby addressed the group on her experiences and observations over the previous 12 months – see “From the CEO” on page 5 of this issue.

The AGM and new SEEE directors

The AGM followed, with the acceptance of the draft report and accounts for the financial year to March 31st, 2007. ➜ page 3

Contracting with Public Agencies: Free training in tendering, marketing and business skills for social enterprises in Cambs The Commissioning Access Programme aims to help social enterprises win contracts to supply products or services to statutory agencies such as local councils or health authorities. The free training courses below are open to staff from social enterprises in the Greater Cambridge Partnership area.

Tuesday 25th September 2007

Negotiation Skills

This all-day session will explain the role of negotiation within the tendering process, offer tips and techniques, and discuss which contract clauses are usually up for negotiation.

The Meadows Centre, Cambridge

Thursday 8th November 2007

Introduction to PQASSO

An introduction to the basics of implementing PQASSO, the quality assurance system for the third sector (all-day).

Cambridge Professional Development Centre, Trumpington

Wednesday 9th Risk January 2008 Management

A look at the best ways of managing the risks involved in delivering contracts for the public sector. This all-day workshop will cover risk evaluation, contract law, clawback, and what to expect if things go wrong.

South Fens Business Centre, Chatteris

Wednesday 23rd January 2008

A half-day introduction to the basics of operating full cost recovery.

The Maple Centre, Huntingdon

Introduction to Full Cost Recovery

For further information or to book a place on a course, please contact Tom on 01223 360977 or email The Social Enterprise People is supported by:

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No 19 Summer 2007

The Commissioning Access Programme is funded by:

Editorial From the Editor

InTouch Social Enterprise East of England Summer 2007 Issue 19 InTouch is published by SEEE (funded by EEDA/Investing in Communities) SEEE Bedford iLab Stannard Way Bedford MK44 3RZ T: 01234 834549 To communicate with SEEE contact: CEO: Michele Rigby Editorial Staff: Editor: David Lloyd Contributing Editor: Howard Tait Advertising Sales: SEEE office T: 01234 834549 Creative/Production Editor: Austin Bambrook LGS T: 01487 831459 Please send PR and other information items to: Rachel Cranham, e-mail: T: 01234 834549

The squeaking wheel gets the grease A

s you will gather from this issue of InTouch, much change and progress has been put in place across the East of England - for businesses and also for social enterprises in particular. There is no question that a joined up Business Link service across the region (and, more broadly, across the country) will work for better and more effective delivery of services to the businesses that need them. The IDB brokerage model (see interview with Pat Smith on page 8) puts choice in the hands of the clients and means there will be much less tendency for being channelled into programs mainly in order to fulfil preset government targets. And I really do like the new website.

SEEE comes of age

SEEE has come of age, and is in a position to deliver some exciting new programmes to really help social enterprises move forward (see “Driven by fire and passion” on page 5 and “Policy > Opportunity > Delivery” on page 13). On the marketing front, SEEE has a vibrant new website (which you must look at if you haven’t already); InTouch continues to be highly-rated and valued by its readers according to our latest survey, and the SEEE has also taken the camerapeople in tow to produce some engaging and dynamic social enterprise case studies (see pages 4, 12 and 15).

But ... in-depth support?

However, one of the big questions that also looms large this issue is one that came up at Business Link’s key address at the AGM, again during my interview with Pat Smith, and is reflected in the finding of two SEEE items of research – undertaken by The Guild – summarised on page 14. It boils down to: what consistency, quality and strength of social enterprise support can be expected for the Eastern Region? There’s an old American saying: “the squeaking wheel gets the grease”. Social enterprises should continue to squeak noisily about this issue in particular.


David Lloyd Editor, InTouch E:

page 2 ➜

The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in an information retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the publishers. This publication has been prepared using information provided by contributors and, while we make every effort, accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Social Enterprise East of England (SEEE) Ltd is unable to accept any liability for the consequences of any inaccuracies, errors or omissions in this publication. No representations, warranties or endorsements of any kind are intended.

© SEEE 2007

Three new SEEE directors were appointed. Under the SEEE rules, one-third of the directors have to seek re-election each year. However, only one place was contested, which was in the social enterprise category. In a vote between Keith Smith of the Ferry Project and Trevor Lockwood of Felixstowe Radio, Trevor was as elected by a narrow margin. Pam Walker of Co-operatives East and Steve Liddle of Social Firms Eastern Region took uncontested places in the Regional Umbrella Groups category. Nicky Stevenson from The Guild was welcomed back in the Partners Category. Congratulations to the new Board Members, and thank you to Keith Smith and Steve Clare for their contribution to SEEE in the last year. The day’s business done, delegates were able to enjoy a well-earned glass of wine, buffet and a chance to network with the melodious harmonising of the “Sounds Familiar” women’s barbershop quartet in the background, appropriately dressed in “fire and passion” red.


No 19 Summer 2007



Lights, camera, action! S

EEE took to the road and set about filming five dynamic case studies to show the world that the East of England has some good examples of social enterprise. Community Music East (CME), East Anglian Brewers, Neomari Beadcraft

Training Services, The Ferry Project and The Paper Trail all let the SEEE crew loose in their social enterprise for the day. Five short films, one for each social enterprise, have been produced. Each film outlines the structure of the enterprise and demonstrates the work that is undertaken. The social enterprises themselves can use these as promotional tools for their own work and SEEE are using them to spread the understanding of social enterprise and what it is about. The films have been used in presentations and conferences to show good examples of social enterprise in the East of England. We are hoping to make more films in the future

to broaden the range of business and representation. A big thank you goes to Ian Phillips, Community Music East (CME), East Anglian Brewers, Neomari Beadcraft Training Services, The Ferry Project and The Paper Trail for making the first films possible and such a success!

In the SEEE office this quarter... W

e have mostly been winning bids, planning the AGM and launching the website! SEEE was awarded the “Supporting Micro Organisations to Deliver Sustainable Communities in the East of England” bid by EEDA and is underway in delivering this work. The bid is about harnessing and sharing the expertise of social enterprises and other small businesses and organisations in the East of England. The next steps involve forming a steering group to develop a skills audit and tools for monitoring and evaluation. You can read more about this in “Driven by fire and passion” on page 5. SEEE continues to work with Co-operative Community Finance and the Plunkett Foundation to deliver the Building Communities Fund. The website is now up and running and the first applications are being received and processed. If you are interested in applying for money to purchase and develop buildings or land please visit www.buildingcommunitiesfund. SEEE has been busy planning various events, including cohosting the Rural Social Enterprise Conference with the Plunkett Foundation being held in the East of England this year. We held our AGM and you can read more about this in this edition. We have also booked our place at Destination Growth 07 in November, so if you’re planning to attend please visit our stand. SEEE has launched a brand new and exciting website at www. and we dare you not to be surprised at the difference! All the useful content and documents are featured on the new site, with brand new user friendly forums and member only access to downloads and Virtual Coffee Mornings. We have also been planning and booking more Virtual Coffee Mornings. In the last quarter we have had some varied and interesting topics, such as The Ashoka Foundation, procurement and skills for life. Past transcripts can be downloaded by members from our new website so you needn’t miss out. Is there anyone that you think would be good at delivering a Virtual Coffee Morning webinar? If so, please contact Rachel. And if you

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want to start being a part of the VCM and are unsure please also contact Rachel and we’ll help you install and use the software and give you a trial run before the VCM. Congratulations to Adele Dunn, Dawn Easter, Bob Westrip, Joan Combes, Alan Spurgeon, Dave Neilan, Celia Hodson, Christine Stocker-Gibson, Chris Lee and Sally Chicken who all won prizes after being selected at random from those completing the InTouch readership survey. Thank you to all those who took the time to complete the survey and let us know what you thought about InTouch. You will begin to see some of your suggestions coming into the publication over the next few issues. As ever your feedback is important to us and we would love to know what you think about the new website, take a moment to complete our website feedback survey at


Rachel Cranham T: 01234 834549 E:

Membership Services

Driven by fire and passion by Michele Rigby, CEO Social Enterprise East of England


tanding on the platform at the SEEE AGM in July took me back a year when I had been in post for six short weeks. Although I knew all about running one kind of social enterprise, I was aware of the breadth and diversity of our very exciting sector, and knew I had a lot to learn about this diversity and about the region’s businesses.

Fire and passion

And the most important lesson is that what keeps us going, what makes us want to get up every morning and change the world a little bit more, is the fire in our spirit and the passion for improving our society. That fire and passion is at the heart of everything we do. Each time another person finds a new way of living, of thinking and of being, because they have a job, because they are training, because they are valued and supported in a way they had never experienced before, it lights a flame in our souls, and it is fresh and new and inspirational simply because each person is unique and their story is unique to them. Social enterprises do fantastic work because of passion, not because it is easy. There’s a story that Ginger Rogers was once asked how it felt to dance with such an artist as Fred Astaire. She replied: “everything he did, I did too, but backwards and in heels”.

For me, that sums up the sector: we get on with operating businesses that make a difference, we do the business equivalent of dancing backwards and in heels. What is it that makes us want to do things so differently? Why does the fire and the passion translate into the businesses we run or want to run? Maybe we see the world in a different way. Edward de Bono said: “Sometimes the situation is only a problem because it is looked at in a certain way. Looked at in another way, the right course of action may be so obvious that the problem no longer exists”. Do we just see that obvious right course of action, with our passion coming from the real confidence that we are right? At VOICE 07, Tim Smit gave a great speech. For him, that confidence that we are right is key: he said: “Let me tell you where innovation comes from. We all have it. We are all creative, but actually it comes from the confidence to trust your own instincts, that’s where it actually comes from”. So does the fire and passion come from being right? Maybe, but seeing the obvious right course of action doesn’t mean that we always get it right, that we always approach it the right way. Maybe the fire and passion makes us try again and again to get it right. Thomas Edison said: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up”. Even though you might be close to success, isn’t it still tough to get it right?

Photo courtesy of

Carrying a torch for social enterprise

Wouldn’t it be great to get a helping hand from others that are getting it right?

Micro-Coach programme and Building Communities Fund

This led to our Micro-Coach programme, which I believe will work really well for our sector. Leaders or managers in social enterprises who have particular skills will have the opportunity to learn how to coach others. We are so excited to be helping to deliver this kind of peer-to-peer coaching right into your businesses, providing a short-cut to more successful business. Fire and Passion alone cannot overcome all obstacles that social enterprises face. One of these is the lack of assets. The saying is that you have to speculate to accumulate, but it is sometimes easier – especially when you are already dancing backwards and in high heels, to accumulate to speculate. That is where the Building Communities Fund comes in, with £3 million this year, and the same next, for communities to invest in buildings and land, and to make entrepreneurial gain from them for the social good. We expect that the fire and passion of the sector will come up with some really innovative and creative ideas to make the most of this pot of money. Victor Kiam describes entrepreneurs as: “simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage”. That is what we are so good at – using our fire and our passion to look at problems and see how we can turn them into a success story.

The value of fire and passion

We started off the AGM with a short film clip telling us that social enterprise is incredible as a sector, and it is true. We get on with it, we dance backwards and in heels because we don’t know another way we want to be. We infect others with our fire and passion, and we make it work one way or another. Social entrepreneurs are making a profit to make a difference, and they are pushing the boundaries of business and the economy. Mark Twain knew the value of fire and passion when he said: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover”. Or, in the cheesier but perhaps more immortal words of Flashdance: “Feel the passion, make it happen”.


No 19 Summer 2007


Membership services

Introducing the 2007-8 SEEE Directors The most important people to SEEE are it’s members. Member developments, feedback and concerns are communicated to SEEE directly, of course, but also more formally through sub-regional networks and by representatives on the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors can consist of up to 20 people and is comprised as follows: (a) Up to six persons representing social enterprises in the East of England; (b) Up to three persons representing regional umbrella groups for social enterprises; (c) Up to six persons representing sub-regional social enterprise support networks; (d) Up to two persons representing partner organisations; (e) In addition to the above, the Board may co-opt representatives of up to three other member organisations who offer appropriate skills and experience Groups a, b and c are elected at the AGM. At each AGM, one third of the elected members resign or are chosen by ballot to stand down. You may have read the results of the elections at the most recent AGM, but we thought we would take this opportunity to introduce you to the SEEE Board of Directors so that you can see who is working on your behalf to raise the profile of social enterprise, ensuring that the needs and contributions of social enterprises are taken into account when formulating regional and national policy.

Ekky Archibong (Neomari Beadcraft Training Services) Ekky, the daughter of a Nigerian diplomat, has lived in a number of countries. She speaks fluent Polish, French and Ibibio (her native Nigerian language) She is dedicated to facilitating empowerment for women within the community, as well as encouraging cultural diversity, especially between Africa, the UK and Eastern Europe. Ekky mentors and encourages new and enterprise growth in minority businesses. Ekky is a Millennium Award Fellow, a title bestowed in 2001 for her BeadCraft Skills Project. She has since written and delivered various Beadcraft and business development courses in London, Hertfordshire and Poland.

Andrew Brady (Anglia Ruskin University) Andy is a founding director of SEEE and has enthusiastically contributed in numerous ways to its development: from helping to set targets and priorities to writing promotional material. He took the initial lead on the development of SEEE’s new website, and is a member of its marketing group. He also helped to establish the Social Enterprise Network for Essex, Southend-on-Sea & Thurrock. Andy’s broad experience includes seven years teaching at and managing a refugee community centre in London. Since 2001, he has managed a variety of innovative social enterprise projects at Anglia Ruskin University.

Ben Higham (Community Music East) Ben is the present chair of SEEE. He has been Director of Community Music East (CME) since its establishment 22 years ago. The organisation delivers developmental educational experiences for a range of vulnerable people in the community and seeks to increase music and multi-media resources in Norfolk. Ben trained as a musician, and later developed his business experience as a partner in an international transport company. His experience embraces all aspects of company and charity operation, employment and strategic planning.

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Steve Liddle (Social Firms Eastern Region)

One of three new SEEE directors, Steve is the Business Development Officer for Luton Borough Council, supporting and setting up social e n t e r p r i s e s t o c re a t e opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged people. He has worked in the social economy for seven years, five of them as a director of Social Firms Eastern Region. In his previous eight years with the NHS he set up and run employment rehabilitation programmes for recovering mental health clients. “Now is a very exciting time”, says Steve, who has observed substantially growth in the sector in recent years. “I want to do my bit to support the eastern region, as I feel passionate about what social enterprise can offer in terms of opportunities for the disadvantaged”.

David Lloyd (Business for People) David has enthusiastically supported SEEE since its inception, and worked with the predecessor project, SSEER, for several years. David proposed and launched InTouch magazine in 2003, and has been its editor to date. He provides other writing and editing services to the third sector. Business for People, of which David is MD, is highly-rated for providing expert services in vocational guiding and rehabilitation, specialising in enabling those disadvantaged from employment and training. From their editing and publishing services, BfP innovatively provides opportunities for its clients with writing and creative talents.

Trevor Lockwood (Felixstowe Radio) Trevor has been helping writers publish their own work for 25 years. Currently a volunteer at Felixstowe Radio and Ipswich Community Radio he is also on the steering group of Radio Fish, which intends to expand community media activities throughout the region. A determined campaigner, Trevor joins SEEE as one of its three new directors. He regards SEEE as key to providing a public platform to promote and assist the work of many organisations who may feel isolated without support.

Garth McKenzie (Bedfordshire and Luton Social Enterprise Network) Garth is a Senior Economic Development Officer at Bedfordshire County Council, working in a strategic role within the Economic Growth Department to support neighbourhood renewal and community regeneration. He also manages other economic development projects and the developing enterprise and entrepreneurship agenda. But besides this professional role, he has also contributed to

Membership services the voluntary and community sector for more than ten years in a personal capacity. His current role further supports his personal interest in developing people’s opportunities to achieve success through sport development and to build a platform of trust, commitment and participation amongst the parents and the local community.

Elaine McCorriston (Hertset) Elaine has worked in the social enterprise sector for several years. She managed the ESF EQUAL programme SSEER, the predecessor to SEEE. This developed innovative products and services for social enterprises whilst building the capacity of support agencies in the region. Following on from this, Elaine has actively sought and won further funding for business support, workforce development and networking for social enterprises at a local and regional level. She leads the Social Enterprise Network in Hertfordshire, “Hertset” and has been involved in SEEE from the beginning.

Jo Ransom (Business Link in the East of England) Jo was the main author of the SSEER application and her team led on the project that is acknowledged as the basis and forerunner of SEEE. She is a founding director on the SEEE board and represents social enterprise on the regional Business Strategy board. Jo is Diversity and Social Sector manager at Exemplas, overseeing a range of both EU and central government funded projects including ESF Equal, ESF Objective 3, Investing in Communities and Phoenix Development funded projects. She is an experienced partnership manager and many of these joint ventures have led to successful applications - gaining upwards of £5million of EU funds coming into the region.

Sachdev Singh Seyan Sachdev has spent most of his working life with FT100 listed companies. He has a strong background in implementing strategic training development initiatives in the private and voluntary business sectors; and contributing to business development, training, project management, managing relationships, and working as an internal consultant on strategy formulation and implementation. He is a highly skilled change management consultant with in-depth knowledge of training and people development. He is experienced in training design, delivery & evaluation, compliance & competency framework & monitoring, training consultancy & human resource development, project management and voluntary sector development and governance.

Cynthia Schears (Social Enterprise Network Suffolk) Cynthia is a Director at Diss Community Partnership CIC, with lead responsibility for their European Cittaslow LEADER+ programme. She is also the Social Enterprise Network Suffolk (SENS) Secretary and volunteer Director of two credit unions. Cynthia has worked in the social enterprise sector for over ten years and is a specialist in rural social enterprise and marketing. She has a wide experience of project management of contracts with, e.g., ESF, IiC, LSC and Business Link. Cynthia’s previous commercial experience includes working for a variety of blue chip companies.

Nicky Stevenson (The Guild) Nicky has worked in the social enterprise sector for 20 years. She is a partner in The Guild, a Norwich based social economy consultancy, and has been both director and company secretary of SEEE since its inception. She worked for a community co-operative in the mid 1980s and then joined Norfolk and Norwich Co-operative Development Agency. After the CDA closed in 1991, she and Sally Kelly set up The Guild. Nicky is particularly active in social enterprise research and policy development, especially relating to business development issues.

Neil Stott (Keystone Development Trust) Neil is Chief Executive of Keystone Development Trust, one of the largest development trusts in the country delivering children/youth services, community development, social enterprises, property development and vocational training. Previously Neil was Head of Community Development at Canterbury City Council, Principal Officer (Community) at Cambridge City Council and a youth and community worker for a number of well-known children’s charities. Neil is Eastern Region Chair of the Development Trust Association, Director of Social Firms East and Member of the Institute of Economic Development.

Jane Taylor (Norfolk Social Enterprise Network) Jane ran her own award winning business in rural Norfolk for many years before becoming a founding director of East Anglian Brewers, where she spearheaded their acclaimed marketing campaign “Drink in the View”. Jane is founder of Produced In Norfolk, a cooperative whose overall aim is to revitalize the rural economy through a community development model led by members of rural communities, rather than imposed upon them. Jane is volunteer coordinator of the Norfolk Social Enterprise Network and is keen to see the interests of very small social enterprises represented on the SEEE Board.

Pam Walker (Co-operatives East) Pam has been Education Development Officer for the East of England Co-operative Society for six years and was previously involved with the Society in both a professional and personal capacity for ten years. Pam is one of three new SEEE directors. She is a secondary teacher by profession and also a qualified youth worker. Pam worked as area manager and as manager of The Suffolk Education Business Partnership for 11 years, linking schools and companies together in support of the curriculum for students and teachers. She is one of the co-operators across the region who have brought together, formed and launched Co-operatives East, and is Chair of that network. for more information, visit InTouch

No 19 Summer 2007


Focus on… Business Link East

Pat Smith, CEO of the new Business Link in the East of England speaks about the transformation of Business Link DL: The transformation from a county-based to regional Business Link has been a major change. What are the reasons behind this? PS: EEDA wanted to have a consistent service across the region. So, whether you’re starting a business or running an existing business you can be guaranteed access to the same range of quality-assured services. Equally, they wanted to secure significant cost-savings by way of reduced back-office costs that would then be fed back into securing more front-end, impartial advisors. We’re in the process of employing an extra 30 people over and above the 60 front-line people we started out with on 1 April. One of the issues with old Business Links was inconsistency: not just with the range but with the type of activities that were supported. Under the new model it’s much clearer. DL What elements in the new offering are of interest to social enterprises and those who work with them? PS: I’ll answer in two parts. The overarching aims are to increase the number of sustainable new businesses and to significantly increase the take-up of business support by existing enterprises. This has shaped our plans for provision because what we want is to be relevant to, and engaged with, the whole range of enterprises. This has implications for the Third Sector as a whole, and social enterprises in particular. We’ve structured our startup support so that our clients get one-to-one help when they need it, with a workshop based approach at the front-end. So someone who is anticipating, for example, starting up a social enterprise can access a range of support to cover the basics of running a business. Then they work through to the point where they have a business-planning workshop, and after that they can get very tailored one-to-one help with an expert of their own choice. And in terms of helping established businesses by employing more specialist advisors we will have two specialists majoring on social enterprise. DL: What is the remit of these two social enterprise advisors? PS: A generalist advisor can diagnose the issues and needs of any business, but we have to recognise that there are issues that are going to be particular to a given sector and social enterprises are a good case in point. There is a range of issues that will be specific to starting a social enterprise or running one where technical know-how is needed. In my dealings with people in the Third Sector and social enterprises, I’ve noted how enterprising they are, and in this sense not so different from other businesses. A lot of the terminology is different, but the underlying thinking is the same. One of the things I’m particularly pleased about – built into our tender and structure – was, “yes” we’re about information and “yes”, we’re about advice, but this will only work if we’re bedded in with and integrated with key organisations both regionally and nationally. So our relationship with SEEE is very important to us and Paul [Henry] is building on the work he has already done in the past in Essex, but now across the region. He

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No 19 Summer 2007

is complemented by nine other partnership managers who are working with the Voluntary and Community Sector, the Public Sector and so on. For me, one of the telling things about pre-April was feedback about Business Links not working in partnership, almost perceived as simply ticking boxes. I’ll be disappointed if that’s the perception of Business Link East after a year of operation, because we’re working hard to get the links in place to be genuinely working in partnership with other organisations. What we’re about is getting a balance between mainstreaming and specialists. If you look at the nature of our start-up support, I think there are material benefits for any business to rub shoulders with other, different kinds of businesses. I’m not sure it’s healthy to start laying on workshops for individual sectors. But this should then be filled in with the one-to-one work when the stage is reached where this is appropriate, when the voucher system clicks in. And subsequently, when established, they have access to specialist social enterprise advisors and that way – in our thinking – they get the best of both worlds. DL: Your website has obviously been developed with quite a number of features and tools. What part does it play in your objectives? PS: It’s central to what we’re about. I get nothing but positive feedback about the website. It’s been developed nationally but we’re continually tailoring it locally, finessing it to make it more regional. But there’s a vast array of information on it and in today’s world we’re trying to make sure all our clients can be helped by us from day one. Like any other consumer, we can now go on the web to seek out what we need rather than, say getting in the car and driving 30 or 40 miles. The information and intelligence team here include online advisors, so we can help through web or phone. We’re getting some key messages about how clients want to work, and increasingly that’s through e-communications. Business Link East’s future also depends on our ability to evidence and put in place structures that enable younger people to engage with us, though it’s not just an age thing of course. DL: There’s been a perception among social enterprises, in the past at least, that Business Link or its advisors really didn’t understand how they were different or where they were coming from. I understand your comment that they’re businesses like other businesses, but I’ve heard it said on several occasions that SEs felt they were being bundled into a one-size-fits-all SME category. How will that be different under the new working arrangements? PS: I know that’s been a past perception and perception is reality. But this is certainly not the mindset of our advisors. There’s a key role for Paul to ensure our advisors understand the terminology, but also what social enterprises are from a structural and business market angle. This is the whole purpose of employing the specialists, and through the nature of their work they will be informing the generalist advisors and plugging gaps in their knowledge.

Focus on… Business Link East DL: Put another way, if I were to stand up and explain to someone running one of your seminars that I was a social enterprise, and explained that I was in it for a social purpose rather than to make money, would that person look at me as though I’d landed from Mars? PS: I’d like to think that all our front-end presenters are sufficiently au fait with the different kinds of businesses so that they would be able to relate. Clearly social enterprises have to make a margin; it’s just a question of what they do with it, for instance ploughing it back. They have to be efficient, get customers and so on, all the issues that face a normal private-sector, for-profit business. So they have to be equally entrepreneurial in their behaviour. The only worry is that blockages can form around terminology. This is where the work of Paul again comes in, to ensure people are familiar with the world of social enterprise. DL: Is there anything you wish I’d asked you but didn’t? PS: Not really but I would like to make a couple of general points. It’s really important to us to see a strong Third Sector as a whole, and social enterprises in particular. It’s imperative to the Business Link East service that it’s seen to be relevant and engaged with the full range of people who are running businesses – including social enterprises – I and the organisation I lead are committed to that. I would also put out an appeal that more people from the social enterprise side put themselves forward as part of our supply network. Also we’re an organisation in a hurry. We have a three-year contract that may be extended to five years if we do the job well. We’re up for feedback; whether good, bad or indifferent. I make

David Lloyd discusses the new Business Link East with CEO Pat Smith

my own email address public and I’m more than happy to get feedback personally. We’re not aloof, we’re not hiding, we’re open for business and want to provide an effective service for social enterprises. Interviewer: David Lloyd


Pat Smith, CEO: E: Paul Henry, Partnership Manager: E: T: 08457 17 16 15 W: (national) W: E:

Sub-Regional Networks If you’re looking for others interested in social enterprise to network with and more opportunities, please contact your local sub-regional network.


Cambridge & Peterborough Social Enterprise Network


Norfolk Social Enterprise Network


Bedfordshire & Luton Social Enterprise Network


Hertfordshire Social Enterprise Network


Social Enterprise Network for Suffolk


Social Enterprise Network for Essex, Southend and Thurrock


No 19 Summer 2007


Focus on... Business Link East

Articles by Howard Tait

Flying start for Business Link East T

Paul Henry, Partner Relationship Manager, Business Link East

here were good, solid reasons why things had to change, and it was change for all the right reasons. This is about meeting clients’ needs, not just giving them what we had to offer”, said Paul Henry – now Partner Relationship Manager for Business Link East – in response to the recent changes at Business Link East.

Local presence not lost

While all back-office work is being concentrated at the Hatfield office, advisors will be based at 13 locations across the region as compared to the original six, so no client will be more than 20 miles from a Business Link office. To maximise local presence, savings from rationalisation and economies of scale will finance an increase in the number of front-line staff. Whereas the six county-based organisations had 60 advisors, Business Link East intends to increase this to 90 brokers, of which 28 will be specialists, including two experts in social enterprise. Most advisors will work in teams across local authority districts, keeping them close to their client-base and local resources. They will attend local events as well as running drop-in surgeries, seminars and workshops in key locations. A further 40 advisors will offer an Information and Enquiry Service and a Business Intelligence Service from Hatfield. They will also provide subscribers with news and an Information Alert Service on topical subjects. All advice will be free, as will many of the tailored services.

Social enterprise seen as crucial

As well as business advisers, Business Link East have a team of enterprise awareness managers. “We need to get out into communities,” he said, “to show people that enterprise, including social enterprise, is a real option”. Economic development plays

a crucial part in overcoming exclusion, and the success that social enterprises have had in this is something that Business Link East is particularly keen to build on. The social enterprise sector contributes an estimated three billion pounds to the region’s economy, although – as Paul emphasised – “what it contributes to the region’s well-being is inestimable”. Business Link East greatly values and plans to build on its relationship with SEEE, the regional social enterprise champion. As Paul commented: “we share many common objectives and it can only be to our mutual advantage to work closely together”.

Building the relationships with SEEE and local networks

Business Link East also believes that its relationships with the six sub-regional networks (SRNs) that work in collaboration with SEEE are vital if they are to maintain the crucial local element in their service. Because they deal with all businesses, not just social ones, they are also planning events where social enterprises can network with private businesses, to the advantage of both groups, and to further knit together economic activity across the region. Business Link East has set itself some exceptionally high targets for the service as a result of research. In its first year of operation its contracted headline targets include: • 95,000 customers served • 93% customer satisfaction rate • 28,000+ advice sessions to 12,500+ customers, • 5,000+ in-depth relationships where impact on the regional economy will be measured • 35,000 delegates expected to attend Business Link workshops and seminars • 17,000 delegates expected to attend start up workshops and seminars. Paul is confident that not only will the targets be met or even exceeded, but that their clients will also see a tangible improvement in business support across the region.

Welcome to Myles Cooper –

new Social Enterprise Business Advisor


yles Cooper j o i n e d Business Link East as Specialist Myles Cooper, Specialist Social Enterprise Social Enterprise Business Business Advisor Advisor, Business Link East covering the eastern part of the region on 1st August. Myles’ extensive experience of the social enterprise sector made him an obvious candidate.

A background in social enterprise

His first experience of the sector came as manager of a social firm specialising in the recycling and reuse of IT equipment, while training people with mental health and learning difficulties as well as building up the business side of the enterprise. Myles then joined Anglia Ruskin University where he lectured on social enterprise, delivering the Working In Social Enterprise ( WISE ) programme. Subsequently, he worked for Workskills Essex where his remit was to develop social enterprises in the area., Myles

10 InTouch

No 19 Summer 2007

was also involved in the creation and development of the Social Enterprise Network for Essex, Southend and Thurrock (SENEST ). It was this experience that gave him a much broader understanding of the needs of social enterprises and the issues they face. Myles had numerous contacts with the previous Business Link service, and came to see that understanding of the specific needs of social enterprises was at best patchy. Although there were “centres of enlightenment”, as he described it, this tended to be down to a few individuals. In particular, the different legal forms, specific needs and the importance of the social remit were most frequently not understood. This lack of understanding was often compounded by an equal lack of understanding about the exigencies of a viable business by the social entrepreneurs. This mutual lack of understanding often left social entrepreneurs believing that Business Link had nothing to offer them.

A cultural change at Business Link East Social enterprise is now a vital element in Business Link East,s activity, and steps are being taken to ensure the mainstream business advisors now know enough to be able to offer initial help to social enterprises. They also know under what circumstances to call in a specialist advisor like Myles. He believes that this is a very important time in the evolution of the social enterprise sector in the region. There is a steady stream of new start-ups, more organisations recognising that they are already social enterprises, and a number of Statutor y Organisations moving towards Social Enterprise model (e.g. The DoH Pathfinder scheme). Myles feels that the recent changes to the Business Link service are very timely and that his role at Business Link East will allow him to play an important part in the regional growth of the social enterprise sector at this exciting time in its development.

Focus on... Business Link East

Case study: The Lewsey Farm Learning Centre Trust helped by Business Link


hen Vauxhall ceased car production in Luton, the loss was a severe blow to the local economy. As badly as the whole town was affected by the loss of its largest employer, this loss had an even greater impact, however, on those parts of the town that were already suffering from deprivation: and one of the most deprived areas was the Lewsey Farm estate.

Regeneration and Business Link’s role

After consultations with the community living on the estate, a major regeneration project began there and, as part of that, the Lewsey Farm Learning Centre Trust (LFLCT) opened for business in February 2003. Business Link Bedfordshire was one of the partners in the regeneration project. Martha Haruna, the Centre’s manager, and Allen Mwangi, who managed the project, described how the relationship had worked in the past, what they thought of the recent changes to the Business Link service, and how this might affect their future relationship. They worked very closely with Business Link from the very beginning. They were given help and advice to assist them in getting the Centre going and to use their assets to build firm financial foundations. When the SRB (Single Regeneration Budget) funding ended in 2005, the big question facing the Trust was how to sustain itself. Once again Business Link was there with advice and help, which set the Trust on the road to eventually becoming self-financing, the “Holy Grail” for social enterprises.

Martha and Allen commented that as well as the help it had given the Centre, Business Link had been pro-active in reaching out into the community to stimulate economic activity with a special emphasis on social enterprise. Regular advice sessions were held at the Centre, which acted as a further reminder to the community that help and support were available. As a result of Business Link activity on the estate, a number of businesses have started up in the community, many of them social businesses. This is an ongoing situation as new businesses are still in the process of starting up.

New model, but continuity of support

What did they think about the recent changes to the business Link service in what has obviously been a good and productive relationship? They commented that they had been aware for a while that there were limits to what the former Business Link model could offer them and, although it is still early days, the new model should give them access to any help or specialist advice they might need. Allen added that they had continuity of service which gave them confidence that the new model would work in their favour. Martha mentioned that along with the advice and the support, one of the most important things they have got from Business Link was understanding – and that is one thing that Martha is confident will not change.


No 19 Summer 2007



InTouch Readership Survey – Results and Analysis T

hank you to all those readers who took the time to complete our on-line survey and let us know what you thought about InTouch. Congratulations to those readers who won prizes after being selected at random from the responses. The majority of readers (42%) were introduced to InTouch by a copy sent to their organisation. 16% were introduced to InTouch at a conference or exhibition, making it clear that these are excellent places to showcase which reinforces the need to take the publication to events and conferences. 22% of respondents were introduced by a friend or colleague, reinforcing the high passon rate each copy has. Most respondents (48%) said that they spend an average of 1-10 minutes reading InTouch and it is encouraging to see 11% of respondents say 6-10 other people read their copy of InTouch and 26% by at least one other person. Respondents were asked to rate InTouch overall, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest. 46% of respondents rated InTouch a four

and 34% rated it a three. There is potential to move these readers perception toward rating InTouch a four and five. One respondent commented “I always enjoy reading enterprise “profiles” – how they started, what they do, how they operate and plans for the future” and this attitude was reflected in other responses. The editorial group and Marketing Sub-committee of SEEE have been discussing ways to increase the value of InTouch and reflect these type of suggestions and others from the survey. Over the coming issues you will be able to see newest member profiles in the magazine and a regular report or information from each SRN (Sub-Regional Network). Letters to the editor will also be invited and published in line with the survey responses asking for more opinion and debate. We are proud to say that responses indicate that InTouch is very successful at increasing the readers understanding of social enterprise and the sector, a strength that we hope will continue in future issues, particularly with the changes made in response to your comments. Look out for the next issue of InTouch where more changes will be evident...

“I always enjoy reading enterprise profiles…”

Inspiring Rural Communities

28th-29th November, 2007 at Hinxton Hall, Cambridge


he East of England has more than 80% of its land classified as rural and 40% of the region’s population live within these areas so it is an obvious choice for the location of the seventh Plunkett Foundation Rural Social Enterprise Conference (RSE7). The conference will look at Inspiring Rural Communities by using social enterprise approaches to rural development. There are many examples of rural social enterprises that have acted as an inspiration to other communities such as the first Village Retail Services Association (ViRSA) community-owned shop in Halstock, Dorset and the first community supported agriculture projects in Germany, Switzerland and Japan in the 1960s. How can these examples be used along with developing community skills and assets to provide self-sustaining rural communities? How does local leadership act as a catalyst to rural social enterprises? What can rural practitioners and participants learn from best practice in urban areas and abroad?

12 InTouch

No 19 Summer 2007

The conference is an annual two-day forum for news, presentations, debate, workshops and networking for all of those involved with rural social enterprise. Participants have remarked that this is the only national event which unites

the disparate components of the rural social enterprise sector, ranging from community-owned village shops, to development trusts and agricultural cooperatives. This year the conference is being held in association with Social Enterprise East of England (SEEE), the voice for social enterprise in the region. With the

conference taking place in the east, the opportunity will be taken to flagship several regional enterprises and initiatives to a national audience, whilst also bringing national policy makers to the region to disseminate information and ideas to the sector. Keynote speakers so far include: • Hazel Blears MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government • Chris Huhne MP, Liberal Democrat S h a d ow S e c r e t a r y o f St a t e f o r Environment, Food and Rural Affairs • Richard Ellis, Chair of the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) and lead Regional Development Agency Chair for Rural and Sustainable Development Issues • Sue Huggins, Head of Network Change at the Post Office For further information on RSE7 or how to participate as a delegate, exhibitor or sponsor, please contact Mike Perry at the Plunkett Foundation. E - T - 01993 810730


Policy > Opportunity > Delivery: creating a model for business development By Ben Higham in the social enterprise sector SEEE adopts a practical strategy to raise the game for social enterprise in the East of England


EEE has the vision to develop a model of business development for the sector which draws on the expertise within its membership, and from which members stand to benefit in terms of increased opportunities for sustainability and growth. This process will also identify the capacity that needs to be built and developed by the sector to respond successfully to the opportunities and challenges it faces. The context for this intention is provided by the current political commitment to a strong, self-sufficient and vibrant social enterprise sector. Though this may be a sincere aspiration, SEEE needs to develop the dialogue between social enterprises and the support infrastructures in order to inform policymaking with clear and practical ideas about how to make it happen. If social enterprises can explain more clearly how they can deliver a range of services, products and benefits, SEEE will better able to identify what business support is required for the sector to fulfil these opportunities. If SEEE can do that, it will also resolve the political challenge of turning the aspiration into a reality.


In order to address these challenges, SEEE has adopted a strategic approach to social enterprise business development by embracing three integrated elements. 1. The first is an intense and continuing dialogue across the sector that explores the potentially different needs, attitudes, and expectations of national and regional policymakers and the real experiences and expectations of social enterprises. This will be approached through a combination of research into the nature of policies and the views of policymakers and a series of interactive group events involving informed participants active in the sector. 2. The second is a series of events bringing together SEEE members and other stakeholders to critically review the findings of the formative process, and identify practical ways forward. These events will focus on exploring the business development opportunities;

“Fulfilling Our Potential” – a consultation to inform the business development model

outlining the steps policymakers will need to take to facilitate greater social enterprise involvement in service delivery; and specifying the business support needed by the sector to fulfil the new opportunities. 3. The third strand is the design and delivery of fit–for-purpose business support to the sector. SEEE believes that targeted and appropriate (i.e. non-generic) support will be needed to ensure social enterprises are wellequipped to fulfil the challenges and opportunities government is starting to articulate for them. There is already a commitment in the region to equipping social enterprises with the skills and capacity to undertake an increased role in service development and delivery, and SEEE is well-placed to seek the resources to develop such services in the near future. SEEE believes that the ongoing formative activity and the more structured consultations should inform the model of business support delivery over the next three years in order to function as a mechanism for continuing learning and practice improvement for all concerned and to act as a measure of SEEE’s unique role and impact in this area. An example of this strategy in practice was a recent consultative event held in Bury St. Edmunds in March, 2007. “Fulfilling Our Potential” invited twelve people involved in running, representing, and researching social enterprises in the Eastern Region to a creative residential workshop to stimulate a range of responses to the business development challenge. On the face of it, social enterprises are clearly keen to respond to this opportunity to

increase the scope and value of what they do, but this discussion uncovered many challenging obstacles to fulfilling this mutually desirable end. Immediate priorities were identified as being: • to engage policymakers in the process of translating the policy aspiration into practice at national and regional levels • to identify clearly the role of social enterprises in articulating need, and responding with robust trading and service delivery propositions • to address the challenges for social enterprises in terms of capacity and capability (often associated with a lack of structural continuity) • to explore the relationship between motivation, productivity, and quality in social enterprises, and to understand how social benefit, or return on social investment can be promoted as distinctive sectoral advantages • to address psychological/ideological barriers to a ‘business’ ethos • to develop a sensitive and bespoke model of business support for SEs.

Fulfilling Our Potential

This initial step (in an ongoing process) has clearly identified issues and challenges that will inform the other parallel aspects of SEEE’s “Policy>Opportunity>Delivery” strategy. The particular success of winning the recent contract to support microorganisations in the region, reported elsewhere, is yet another example of the influence of this coherent approach. SEEE identifies a bright future for social enterprise and expects to involve many of the businesses – and the people who make them work – in achieving this vision. So, watch this space ...


No 19 Summer 2007


SE Support

IiC support for social enterprises This research was carried out by The Guild on behalf of SEEE in spring 2007


he aim was to identify to what extent social enterprise development is being suppor ted by sub-regional partnerships to which EEDA has devolved responsibility for allocating IiC (Investing in Communities) budgets. The local specialist support will increasingly be required in the light of the new regional model of Business Link services. The IiC funding is currently allocated by EEDA to be delivered through nine subregional partnerships. The aim of this research was to ask a series of questions: • Is social enterprise support specifically identified in the subregional business plans? • Is there a representative of the social enterprise sector on the local decision making body? • Is the IiC funding social enterprise support? • What proportion of the overall allocation of funding to the sub-region does this represent?

social enterprise network is extremely limited and provision is further fragmented. • In some areas there is little transparency in the procedures for allocating funding. Some social enterprise support bodies felt that they had little influence over the content of the business plans or the priorities for funding. Partnership



Bedfordshire and Luton Partnership



Greater Cambridge Partnership



Hertfordshire Partnership



Mid and West Essex Partnership



Norfolk Partnership



Key issues

Peterborough Partnership



• In some cases different partnerships are funding very similar activities – for example both Greater Cambridge and the two Essex partnerships are supporting procurement related activities. In Suffolk IiC funding for enterprise support has been matched funded by Suffolk County Council for social enterprise procurement activities. There is no route for these projects to be linked up or to be disseminated to other areas. • Where there are strong local agencies, such as Norfolk and Cambridge, there are strong delivery projects. This is reinforcing the gaps between these areas and those where support has traditionally been weaker. • As described above, there is very little direct delivery of business support available to all types of social enterprises. • In some cases, notably Hertfordshire, IiC is being spent in very small, priority areas. As such, the potential for developing a

Suffolk Partnership



Thames Gateway Partnership



Haven Gateway Partnership

(partnership dissolved and we were not able to identify figures)

Total amount and percentage of £496,000 sub-regional IiC funding ring-fenced 3.21%* for social enterprise projects* **

£746,000 3.33%*

* This percentage excludes social enterprise support which is integrated into wider enterprise support, as we were unable to disaggregate it from the total amount. ** Excluding the Haven Gateway Partnership The full report can be found on SEEE’s website

Social Enterprise Business Support in the East of England T

he Guild undertook a piece of research for SEEE in the spring of 2007 to identify what business support is available to social enterprises. This study was undertaken at a specific point in time when Business Link was being re-organised from six local organisations to one regional body. The new model will provide Information, Diagnostic and Brokerage, but will not directly provide business advice. It is therefore vital at this time to identify the range of organisations to which social enterprises can be brokered to receive more in-depth business advice. As we conducted interviews with the agencies, many of them were about to run out of the funding they had received to fund their social enterprise support work, so a number of these specific initiatives are no longer running. However, all but one still retain their capacity to provide social enterprise support even if they are not currently funded to do so. In a number of cases, organisations were awaiting decisions from sub-regional IiC partnerships as to whether or not funding would be available from this source. In total, there are 24 organisations claiming to provide social enterprise support in the region. Eight organisations deliver in more than one sub-region, most frequently private sector

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No 19 Summer 2007

providers. Between them, these organisations have 40 specialist social enterprise advisers. The key issues to emerge from the study were: • There is very little secure funding available for social enterprise business support. This is an area of major concern if organisations lose the expertise they currently have as personnel move out of the sector in the absence of continuing funding. • The majority of organisations offer ‘generic’ business support in areas such as business planning, marketing, legal structures and finance. A smaller number of organisations offer specialist support in areas such as HR, social accounting and public sector procurement. • It is not clear to what extent any of these organisations would continue to offer support to social enterprises if / when there is no longer public funding to pay for their work. Some would be able to charge social enterprises, if they were able to pay. Others would probably stop delivering altogether without public sector funding. A list of organisations and the support available to social enterprises is available on the SEEE website.

Resources unlimited For this section, we appreciate items of interest and resources of value to those working in the social enterprise field. Also, if you have any interesting news about your organisation, such as successes or new employees, let us know. Contact Rachel Cranham: E: Rachel.cranham@seee., T: 01234 834549. Destination Growth ‘07: 6th November 07 Exclusively for senior decision makers from the region’s fastest growing small-tomedium sized businesses, Destination Growth ‘07 has the people, inspiration and tools to accelerate the growth of your business. Hosted by East of England Development Agency (EEDA), Destination Growth ‘07 will focus on the key issues of innovation, sales and marketing, leadership and accessing finance. Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream, is just one of the key speakers at the event. Visit W: destinationgrowth for more information or to register your place.

Train to Gain – a new government initiative that can help put the right skills in your business Tr a i n t o G a i n h a s b e e n launched across England by the Learning and Skills Council. It can help businesses improve their productivity and competitiveness by ensuring that staff have the right skills to do the best job.

What is Train to Gain?

Research shows that 1.3 million people go to work every day without the skills they require to do their job proficiently. If your business is to be successful you need to compete, and to compete you need to give appropriate training to your employees. Train to Gain helps you to do this by using experienced Skills Brokers who can: • Offer free impartial and independent advice to businesses



• Match any training needs identified with training providers • Ensure that training is delivered to meet business needs. To f i n d o u t h ow y o u r organisation can benefit from Train to Gain contact T: 0800 387 326 to book a broker appointment.

stimulate the market to continue to offer risk capital to the sector. Source: W: New Start: http://

The Cream of business advice?

Ipswich Community Radio

There is a new programme running to provide business advice for people having disadvantage in the labour markets. It is called CREAM, a n d p rov i d e s s u p p o r t t o new-start enterprises and social enterprises in Fenland, Huntingdon’s Oxmoor and Cambridge’s Arbury, King’s Hedges and Abbey districts. To refer to the service contact Fenland Enterprise Agency on T: 01354-660900.

On 15th August, Ipswich Community Radio started broadcasting on 105.7 FM in the Ipswich area (still available online at W: This is a community radio station and Trevor Lockwood has a morning show every Wednesday morning from 710am – and he wants to hear from you. Tell him about your events, news, plans for the future – anything that you believe will interest Ipswich folk. T h e y w i l l re c o rd y o u r contribution so that it can also be broadcast on W: www. – a new online station that will cover the Suffolk Coastal District and Haven Gateway areas through a number of web sites. Community radio is a local resource about local people and not-for-profit organisations. Use it, enjoy it. Contact: Trevor Lockwood on W: www.felixstoweradio.

Social enterprises go for growth backed by £20m risk fund A £20m fund to help social enterprises grow and mature into financially independent businesses has been launched by ministers. The government will plough £10m into a risk capital scheme and will encourage the private sector to add a further £10m. The overall fund could be split into a number of smaller funds. A Cabinet Office consultation on the fund explained that the government would only invest where it was offered a similar or better return than would have been available to independent investors. The intention is to demonstrate to private lenders that subsidised funding is not necessary and thereby

14 bottles make one pair of trousers Nothing is off limits in the recycling world now that you can buy men’s trousers made out of recycled plastic bottles, from Marks & Spencer. The store was the first to declare that they would introduce a school uniform

range made out of recycled material, now the fathers of those children can purchase their recycled trousers from the store. It takes just 14 recycled plastic bottles to make one pair of trousers and they cost £19.50. They will not burn under an iron and they have an innovative ‘coin catcher’ pocket, which prevents coins from dropping out of the pockets when the wearer sits down. Trousers are made from recycled polyester which is made by chopping up used plastic bottles into flakes, melting them and then squeezing them into tiny holes to make a polyester yarn which is then woven into fabric. Marks & Spencer director of menswear and boyswear Julian Kilmartin said: “We’re constantly looking at ways to give our customers the most innovative, best value and highest quality product on the high street. Using recycled polyester is another way that we’re doing this. What is great about this range is that you are getting the same quality that you would find on our products and also doing your bit for the environment.” (From CCORNN e-newsletter) Acknowledgements to organisations whose e-zines and websites we have accessed to bring Resources Unlimited to you. In particular: ABCUL, CCORNN, Cooperatives UK, COVER, Plunkett Foundation, Raiser, SEC, SEN, Update.


No 19 Summer 2007


Virtual Coffee Mornings SEEE Virtual Coffee Mornings are getting quite a head of steam. Using the text chat function of the free skype program, which requires no special equipment to use, our members can meet up online each Friday at 11am to discuss relevant issues in real time, and make useful connections too. For more information, visit the Virtual Coffee Mornings Section of our interactive site via http://snipurl. com/vg0g

Let me check my diary... With the launch of SEEE’s new website at you can look into our events calendar and see the most relevant events for you. Events can be seen on a location map for ease. If you have an event you would like posted on the site, please e-mail the information/flyer to Rachel.cranham@seee. New events are added on a daily basis so make sure you keep coming back and don’t miss those all important conferences! Visit the all new website at and tell us what you think by completing our online survey. We’d really appreciate knowing what you think about the site.

Discussion topics thus far have included Social Accounting, how to find the strengths of your staff, EEDA, Tax, CICs, Young Enterprise funding challenges for social enterprises and communications between SEs. If you have any ideas for topics for future discussion, please contact our CEO, Michele Rigby, at We hope to see you there next Friday morning!


‘Roots to Success’ Wednesday 17 October 2007, Fielder Centre, Hatfield, Herts Whether your group is looking for just a hundred pounds or thousands of pounds, the Hertfordshire Funding Fair is the right place to start looking. This free information and training day is open to all Hertfordshire based organisations and will include: • information stands, advice sessions and workshops - giving you the chance to brush up on your fundraising skills • practical and easy to apply knowledge about how to ensure your organisation is competitive and successful in gaining funding • opportunities to meet with funders to find out about their priorities and how your project/organisation might fit them • information on new and emerging funding opportunities • advice about alternative resource opportunities • opportunities to meet, network and share good practice with other groups

Can you afford to miss this day? Further information about this year’s Funding Fair along with arrangements for booking will be posted on Untitled-1.indd 16 InTouch


19 Summer 2007

5/9/07 09:29:28

InTouch Issue 19  

Summer 2007. Social Enterprise East of England's Quarterly Magazine In Touch. Issue 19 covers SEEE's first year in business, with a detaile...