InTouch SOCIAL ENTERPRISE EAST OF ENGLAND
July/August 2004 • Issue 5
centre pullout –
From the Editor
Regional strategy and procurement policy – are social enterprises being involved in the discussions?
Trading and sustainability
Trading is increasingly seen as an answer to diminishing funding, but there is a perceived lack of both skills and support.
Social and community enterprise programme
Six workshops address key issues faced by social enterprises.
Civic Champions in Three Counties
Want to make a real difference in Essex, Norfolk or Suffolk? Help is at hand to help you develop your goals.
STEnG – a lesson for us all
Nine organisations are setting an example of collaborative working for the benefit of adults with learning difficulties.
Focus on …
Andrew Saul takes the bus to look at five Bedfordshire social enterprises.
Networks unlimited …
News and upcoming events from the Region. Tell us what you’re doing.
NHS as a corporate citizen
NHS is a major economic player in the East of England. And they’re looking for sustainable development pilots.
Credit union first launched 12 at Harlow Foyer Financial responsibility and ownership start young in Harlow
New support for regional co-operative council
Cambridge CDA passes the regional secretariat baton to Harlow CDA
Social Enterprise, Italian Style In a special four-page feature, Sarah Charters reports on the final study visit of the three collaborative ESF Equal projects.
Procurement, Local Government and Social Enterprises
t is getting on for a year now since DTI Social Enterprise Unit published the Public Procurement: A Toolkit for Social Enterprises. In that time the buzz around procurement has been steadily developing; so much so that we are now seeing a plethora of activity which will, over time, see a positive shift within local government to further enable social enterprises to bid for contracts and deliver public services. I would like to present a picture of some of the activity going on at the moment in the procurement arena which is affecting the social enterprise sector. I have included website and publication references at the end of this article.
What is the Social Enterprise Unit doing on procurement?
Internet: SEEE’s Web partner services are at: http://www.nearbuyou.co.uk http://www.socialenterprise-east.org.uk
On 1st June I attended the Unit’s consultation meeting on their draft procurement strategy – Increasing Public Procurement Opportunities for Social Enterprises. Unfortunately only one social enterprise attended, the rest of the group was mainly from local and central
government. I would highly recommend anyone wanting to have their say on the procurement needs of the sector to contact the Social Enterprise Unit. The overall aims of the strategy are to: • increase evidence of social enterprise experience in procurement • influence procurement policies where there is particular potential for social enterprise • work with the Small Business Service to tackle barriers to procurement opportunities The key activities planned under these themes are to evaluate the [procurement] toolkit, capitalise on wider support for SMEs in procurement, increase skills, raise awareness and promote the business case (to local authorities), define broader outcomes in local authority specifications and measure added value, and open up the NHS market to social enterprise. Discussion focused around three points; primarily the need to educate legal and finance ➜ page 2
Procurement ➜ cover departments within local authorities as well as procurement departments as to how they can work with social enterprises. ‘Social clauses’ written into contracts could for example specify community benefit as part of the council core requirement. And, building markets; focusing on a particular sector, to facilitate the running of pilot projects to test the market and open up the opportunities to a more diverse range of suppliers. A representative from the Office of Government Commerce announced the publication of Think Smart….Think Voluntary Sector! Produced in collaboration with the Active Communities Unit at the Home Office, this guidance is aimed at opening up procurement opportunities, building relationships and removing barriers for VCOs (Voluntary and Community Organisations) which also includes social enterprise. Other interesting points raised included the fact that contracts cannot for example specify that contractors are local, or that they are social enterprises. There is a Society of Procurement Officers (SOPO) conference coming up soon which will feature social enterprise on the programme.
Provide and SSEER Guidance But the sector might have beaten the DTI to the post with news of a new guidance report being commissioned by Provide and SSEER. This guidance will be targeted at procurement and legal departments who provide advice to those in the local authority who procure and contract. It has come into being because of the government’s stated priorities, and because social enterprises and their advisors find that local authorities have a poor understanding of the SE sector, have poorly developed procurement strategies, departments do ➜ page 4
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Support from the SSEER Project The SSEER project covers the East of England in supporting the social economy and, through its network of partners, provides support to social enterprises and advice to organisations seeking to widen their procurement procedures to include social enterprises as potential providers. In particular it has a specialist organisation in each county via Business Links and, in Norfolk, The Guild. For further information about support in your county, contact one of the following: Bedfordshire: Anna Fajardo or Robin Lawrence on 0845 8508822 firstname.lastname@example.org Cambridgeshire: Chris Kubicki on 01480 846409. email@example.com Essex: Paul Henry on 0845 7171 615 firstname.lastname@example.org Hertfordshire: Helen Marini on 01727 813561 email@example.com Norfolk: Nicky Stevenson on 01603 615200 firstname.lastname@example.org Suffolk: Cynthia Schears on 01473 242500 email@example.com
David Lloyd is joint managing director of Business for People in Huntingdon. He is editor and contributor to various publications
Social Enterprise East of England July/August 2004 Issue 5 The SEEE network is co-ordinated by Business Link Hertfordshire InTouch is financed by SEEE (funded by the European Social Fund ) and published in its support by Business for People in partnership with Creative Touch, both of which are social enterprises 4 Archers Court Stukeley Road Huntingdon PE29 6XG Tel. 01480 455200 email: firstname.lastname@example.org SEEE Staff: Social sector manager: Jo Ransom Project manager: Elaine McCorriston Project executive: Kirsty Tanner Development manager: Peter See Web managers: Lin Evens Michael Waring Editorial Staff: Editor: David Lloyd Content editor: Peter Durrant Contributing editors: Sarah Charters Andrew Saul Advertising Sales: Joseph Law Creative/production editor: Austin Bambrook Please send PR and other information items to: Peter Durrant, e-mail: email@example.com Tel. 01223 262759
The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers or of Business Link Hertfordshire, Business for People Ltd or Creative Touch. 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. SSEER 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.
From the Editor A
number of new strategic publications from governmental organisations feature social enterprise quite prominently. Think smart…think voluntary sector! was published in June by the Office of Government Commerce. The fact that the introduction is by Fiona McTaggart, Minister for Race Equality, Community Policy and Civil Renewal, demonstrates that the voluntary sector and social enterprises are seen as key to greater social inclusion. She particularly addresses the challenge that our lead article also tackles: “… we need to understand and address the barriers which the voluntary and community sector can face in bidding for Government contracts. Difficulty in finding out about opportunities, too little notice of forthcoming procurements, disproportionate paperwork and expense in tendering, lack of recognition of the capabilities of voluntary organisations are just a few of the problems which have been identified … Finally, I believe the public sector must embrace the voluntary and community sector as a partner, not just in the procurement and delivery of services, but in the planning of required service outcomes and the development of effective procurement strategies.” EERA’s (East of England Regional Assembly’s) Regional Social Strategy also made its recent debut. Enlightened procurement practice is also in the EERA scheme of things. EERA’s first goal is “to tackle poverty and reduce income inequalities”. Here the desired outcome is “socially responsible employment and procurement practices across public sector organisations in the region”. The lead organisation for this is the NHS (also see article on page 12, NHS as a corporate citizen). The EERA strategy’s second goal is “to promote access to work, tackle low pay and improve conditions of work”. The first of the three actions under this goal is “support development of community and social enterprises across the region”. The desired outcome is “community and social enterprises able to access appropriate sources of finance and business support to help them develop and grow; enhanced employment opportunities for people facing barriers”. Yet there is no discussion in the main text of exactly how social enterprise fits into EERA’s larger social strategy and how it proposes to “support development”: a curious and disconcerting oversight. Finally, EEDA’s (East of England Development Agency’s) draft regional economic strategy Progressing to a shared vision is out for consultation. This also acknowledges a role for social enterprise – in the economy – and corporate social responsibility in its second goal of “growing competitiveness, productivity and entrepreneurship”. EEDA have been open in inviting comment on the strategy and this was the purpose of breakout groups at the annual conference of the Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership in late June. The group I was in considered Goal Five: “social inclusion and broad participation in the regional economy”. We noted words like “support”, “build” and “promote” in the strategy, but there was some concern that words such as “engage” and “involve” were absent. A small point, but perhaps indicative of a potential problem. It seems a trifle odd that organisations that are seen as part of the solution sometimes seem to be the last ones invited to the party – a point also obliquely noted by Michael Waring in our lead article. To be fair, EEDA do want social enterprises and voluntary organisations to have a say in the important Investing In Communities initiative they recently kicked off. Those organisations wanting involvement might start with their local authority’s economic development manager to discuss contributing to the local delivery partnership (LDP). [Also, government initiative such as Think Smart... Think Voluntary Sector! would be more effective if they were linked into regional strategies. ] In conclusion, I hope that more invitations and encouragement for bottom-up involvement will ensue from some promising strategies and action plans. So while there is some encouraging mention of social enterprises, there is still the impression that much more co-ordination is needed at the strategic level. More work needs to be done to move from intentions and words to the stage where social enterprises are involved and seeing some tangible benefits.
© SEEE 2004
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Procurement ➜ page 2 not work in a joined up fashion and there is poor quality of internal legal advice. Written by Mark Cook and Richard Macfarlane, co-authors of Achieving community benefits through contracts – Joseph Rowntree Foundation 2002, it will be a very practical ‘what you can and can not do’, and will set out; • How the EU procurement applies and flexibilities which can be beneficial to social enterprises • how to specify requirements that social enterprises can excel in; • how to build in "community benefits" clauses; • how to encourage contractors to use social enterprises as subcontractors; • barriers to social enterprise participation; • alternatives to procurement. The guidance will be distributed to Leaders of councils, Chief Executives and Heads of Procurement in each local authority, and disseminated to the Procurement Centres of Excellence through a series of seminars.
Procurement Centres of Excellence Supported by the Improvement and Development Agency (IdeA) these centres of excellence will drive innovative change in procurement by providing expertise to other councils and building on existing good practice. This will include how to work with social enterprises. They have, in part, been setup to facilitate the success of the National Procurement Strategy for Local Government published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, 2003, which says that by 2006 local authorities should be: “… confidently operating a mixed economy of service provision, with ready access to a diverse, competitive range of suppliers providing quality services, including small firms, social enterprises, minority businesses and voluntary community sector groups”. The centre for the East of England is Norfolk County Council. The Guild began a dialogue on procurement issues with them over a year ago, when initially researching Nearbuyou (see Useful Websites). Indeed Norfolk County Council has strongly expressed their willingness to engage with the sector, in particular we are talking to them about running ‘meet-thebuyer’ events aimed at bringing together purchasers and suppliers. These events will have social enterprises sitting in the same room as SME suppliers, indicating a real ‘levelling of the playing field’. I am hoping that the Social Enterprise Unit will
Useful Websites Society of Procurement Officers (SOPO) www.sopo.org
influence the centres of excellence to ensure social enterprises suppliers are given the same focus as SME suppliers in their work. It should also be noted that SEC, the policy advisory group for social enterprise, will shortly form a procurement working group, giving the regional social enterprise networks the opportunity to input government departments on the involvement of SEOs in public tendering and procurement.
Advice to social enterprises: build the market, find opportunities So these are the ‘top down’ pushes going on in government, but how does that affect you? What are the practical implications for your organisation? Well, it will bring local authorities up to speed and make for a more favourable procurement environment for social enterprises. What can you do now if you want to contract with your local authority? Find out what is going on in the market, find out who the competition is, find other SEOs who contract and ask them for their advice. Find out what contracts have been awarded in the past in your area of business – are those contracts coming up for tender again? Do you think you could win a contract but could do with some help? Use Nearbuyou as a tool; let buyers know you are there by signing up your organisation. Search for tenders, tell other SEOs if you deliver contracts by writing a case study for the site. If you know of a contract that you would like to go for, but do not think you would win it, tell us why. What are the barriers for your organisation? Are there organisations you could work with to win a contract?
Moving procurement practice forward Purchasers are generally aware of their responsibility for their tendering process to be as open, transparent and as fair as possible. There is still a long way to go in terms of practice. Social enterprises do not want any special favours, but they do want to know what contracts you have. As part of that transparency, we would invite you to post your tenders on Nearbuyou, and to search for social enterprise suppliers on Nearbuyou. We would also be interested in knowing what barriers you face in working with social enterprises. [We would also be interested in getting some real-life case studies – good or bad – regarding procurement and social enterprise in the Eastern region – Ed.] I said at the beginning of this article that we are facing a positive shift in attitudes and procurement methodologies within local government. This is true, I believe, but it will still be slow. The issue has been one of radical cultural shift within local government, and that was never going to be achieved over night. In other words, the light at the end of the tunnel is there and in view, but is still in the distance. We are however getting there faster. Michael Waring Network Organiser – The Guild www.the-guild.co.uk 01603 615200
ODPM Procurement Portal www.procurementportal.odpm.gov.uk
Improvement and Development Agency www.idea.gov.uk
Achieving community benefits through contracts Joseph Rowntree Foundation 2002, Richard MacFarlane + Mark Cook – available through booksellers
Nearbuyou : Online Trading Network www.nearbuyou.co.uk Office of Government Commerce www.ogc.gov.uk
Think Smart…Think Voluntary Sector! www.ogc.gov.uk/embedded_object.asp?docid=1001957
DTI Social Enterprise Unit www.dti.gov.uk/socialenterprise
National Procurement Strategy for Local Authorities, ODPM 2003 http://www.odpm.gov.uk/stellent/groups/odpm_localgov/ documents/downloadable/odpm_locgov_024923.pdf
Norfolk County Council suppliers area www.norfolk.gov.uk/suppliers
Public Procurement: A Toolkit for Social Enterprise www.dti.gov.uk/socialenterprise/pdfs/procure_text.pdf
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Trading and sustainability Strategy to strengthen the voluntary and community sector published By Nigel Boldero, Community Renewal
rading or ‘social enterprise’ activities should be one element of a broader approach to promoting sustainability in the voluntary and community sector. Trading is not an appropriate or relevant activity for all voluntary and community groups. These are two of the conclusions from the recently published results of the ‘Voluntrade East’ research carried out by COVER and partner organisations across the eastern region*. Striving for a more secure future is a key, ongoing issue in the voluntary and community sector (VCS). Declines in charitable giving and other forms of income have been reported nationally as key issues for the sector. National reviews of VCS support infrastructure, development of major investment in this and the capacity of VCS organisations, and the opening up public services to VCS delivery are being rolled out. Social enterprise is being promoted at all levels as a way forward for many VCS organisations. The opportunities for voluntary and community organisations are opening up – are they ready to grasp them?
Trading activity- how significant is it? The research – which was designed and delivered by six county partners – reveals that several VCS organisations already gain income from selling products or services, though it was not possible to be firm on the precise level of this. And it seems that in most cases income from charges, fees, contracts or other trading activity is a relatively small part of an organisation’s total income. It does not currently generate much by way of a surplus that can help to support other activities. However, the research shows that there is a lot of interest in the sector in finding out more, and possibly getting support to generate enterprising ideas and carrying them through. But it also makes clear that trading is not for every VCS organisation and several of those involved in the studies reported no plans to pursue this. Perceived legal constraints (especially charitable status), lack of skills, funding or capacity, or an incompatibility with the ethos and objectives are some of the main obstacles. The research involved questionnaire surveys, interviews and workshop activities with around 280 VCS organisations across the region. Though response rates varied – and taken by themselves some county studies are not statistically representative – the main findings were broadly consistent across the region and with other research (see box for main findings on trading activity).
Support Services – a place for both VCS and business sector providers? The research also found that VCS organisations’ use of support to develop trading activities is very variable. Some organisations have used and continue to use business advice agencies such as Business Link and Enterprise Agencies as well as specialist organisations in their sector – e.g. social firms and co-operative development agencies. Some use more generic VCS support services available through Councils of Voluntary Service, Rural Community Councils and their equivalent. Some of these agencies – e.g. Suffolk ACRE and Voluntary Action Luton – have developed their own social enterprise support services. A majority of those organisations involved in the research were either unaware of, did not fully understand, or felt the *’Beyond Grants- Sustainability for the voluntary and community sector in Eastern England’ – COVER, February 2004
Main findings – trading activity • A large number of VCS organisations are already involved in trading activity of some kind (possibly up to a third of the sector in some areas). • There is a wide range of trading activity, type and size of organisation involved – from small, local membership bodies meeting a common interest and trading in the products or services associated with this, through to organisations set up from the start to have a more businesslike structure and operating model; e.g. a furniture recycling service or horticultural project which includes training and employment for people with disabilities, long term unemployed people etc. • In most instances trading activity contributes a minor proportion of total income, the other, main sources being grants, donations and sponsorship. Volunteer time and ‘in kind’ income are also important. • There is interest in developing trading activities by a large number of those organisations not already involved. However there appears to be a lack of awareness and understanding among many VCS organisations of the language used to describe the different forms this trading activity can take and of the support available. • There are also a large number of VCS organisations for whom trading either has no potential interest or where obstacles such as legal constraints on charities are perceived as placing important constraints on their potential. A number of organisations also perceive trading as inconsistent with their values or ethos. • A number of other organisations report that even though interested in trading, other constraints make this difficult. Lack of time, skills, finance, perceived lack of market opportunities, ideas, or suitable support services as well as attitudes to risk, especially on the part of their governing body, are important obstacles. services of mainstream business support agencies were inappropriate for them. Also, many are not aware of the support available via the VCS itself, despite the promotion and publicising of these services. In addition the pattern of support available is varied across the region with different approaches to supporting social enterprise by county-based Business Links and different levels of involvement of the VCS itself in providing support. Approaches to securing finance, not surprisingly, appear to be rooted in a ‘grant culture’, there having been very little experience of new forms of funding through Community Development Finance Initiatives of various kinds.
The way forward – awareness, understanding, support and coordination The report recommends a strategy that aims to provide the conditions where VCS organisations of all kinds and sizes in the region are: • More aware, knowledgeable and receptive to the development of various approaches to improving their sustainability in their existing and developing context, including for some, trading activity.
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Initiatives • In a position to determine their own approach to sustainability. • Supported effectively in pursuing this. • Operating in an environment which is more open and receptive to their role in public and other service provision under contract. Four objectives for securing this are proposed and a number of possible actions and outcomes suggested: 1. To develop a VCS which is more aware and receptive to trading and other enterprising activity E.g. workshops and other opportunities to brief trustees and staff on what part social enterprise might play in their future; easily digestible ‘route maps’ to describe the range of support services already available locally; and possibly recruitment of local ‘Sustainability Development Workers’ who can play a wide role including practical support to VCS organisations, including development of earned income and ensuring greater links to other, existing enterprise support services. 2. To build a more effective range of support services focused on sustainable VCS organisations E.g. developing tools to assess existing support services and to help develop these in a co-ordinated way to plug gaps and improve quality; investing in new forms of funding which mix grant and loan; ensuring adequate specialist support to particular types of social enterprise; developing a pool of funded mentors able to provide close, practical support; and opportunities to boost the skills and knowledge for enterprise within the sector. 3. Developing a range of exemplar projects to improve cost
effectiveness within the sector and improve awareness and receptiveness of public and other bodies towards the contribution that the VCS makes or could make to public service provision E.g. development of joint initiatives within the sector to provide a range of ‘back office’ support services for VCS organisations which help to reduce costs and improve efficiency- e.g. community accountancy services; publicising existing VCS contributions to public service delivery; and focused support and partnership with public bodies on developing exemplar projects which demonstrate the full potential of some VCS organisations in public service delivery. 4. To strengthen regional and local coordination of support services and investment in social enterprise activity for the VCS E.g. ensuring a strong VCS participation in the newly established ‘Social Enterprise East of England’ (SEEE) partnership and developing this as a focus for strategic development and investment in social enterprise activity; development of strong local networks of VCS and associated support agencies focused on social enterprise and supporting these through ‘Sustainability Development Workers’ or similar posts. Further consultation and development of the strategy is planned in the coming months especially looking for ways in which the infrastructure review and other opportunities can help to take it forward at local and regional levels. If you would like to read the whole report this can be accessed on the COVER website: www.cover-east.org.
Social and community enterprise workshop programme B
usinesses in the social and community sectors will benefit from a series of six special workshops being held by Business Link for Cambridgeshire. Business Link is holding the workshops in partnership with the Cambridge Co-op Development Agency. The workshops have been tailored to the needs of the social sector to target specific issues where they could benefit from a more businesslike approach. Chris Kubicki, business adviser for social enterprises at Business Link for Cambridgeshire, explained. "We have identified a number of key issues that can affect social enterprises and where they can be helped to improve their performance. "The workshops will be presented by representatives of Cambridge CDA and our own specialist advisers. Where particular additional skills are needed experts will be brought in for the session. "The intention is to enable them, where appropriate, to adopt a more businesslike approach which can benefit their whole organisation." The workshops are: legal structure for social enterprises; finance and fund-raising; marketing; business planning; managing social and community enterprises and social accounting. The first focused on legal structures for social enterprises and was held on 6 July in Peterborough. The next three workshops, finance and fundraising, marketing and business planning will be held in Cambridge on 22 September, 27 October and 23 November respectively.
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LOW RES The remaining workshops will take place in 2005 in Huntingdon. They are managing a social enterprise (20 January) and social accounting (23 February). There is a charge of £20 plus VAT for each organisation attending and a discount if more than four workshops are booked. Organisations wishing to participate or to find out more about the workshops should telephone Business Link for Cambridgeshire on 01480 846415. [Also see advert on page 2.]
Summer 2004 • Transnational Report
Italian Social Enterprise defined Due to a lack of national rules IRIS’ Scientific Committee for Training (SCT) set about defining social enterprise, as shared by the partnership. Stipulating the terms under which an organisation can be considered a social enterprise, they came up with a list of the following criteria: • To not re-distribute profits or utilize assets or shares in any manner • To reinvest its assets and increase business activity • To produce goods or offer socially valuable services • To keep profit in proportion with the goods or services offered • To be economically viable and run the enterprise efficiently • To apply ethical principles to its procedures
InTouch SOCIAL ENTERPRISE EAST OF ENGLAND
4 Page Special Edition
Italian Style By Sarah Charters
What is EQUAL?
“Funded through the European Social Fund, Equal is an initiative which tests and promotes new means of combating all forms of discrimination and inequalities in the labour market, both for those in work and for those seeking work, through transnational co-operation.” From the Equal website: www.equal.ecotec.co.uk/ The latest (second) bidding round took place in June 2004. Successful Development Partnerships in the second round will operate from 20052007.
Internet: SEEE’s Web partner services are at: www.nearbuyou.co.uk www.socialenterprise-east.org.uk www.clipsequal.it (not available in English)
uring the last of three study visits of collaborative ESF EQUAL projects, the Portuguese, English and Italian partnerships were once again reunited. Following a similar format to the Braga, Portugal, and East of England visits, the compact agenda in Italy wasn’t just an exercise to complete the trilogy of study visits for its own sake. It was an occasion to discover how things are done in another culture, to observe social enterprises at work, to look at the type of systems they use and consider if they can be utilized or adapted elsewhere. The Italian experience was also a great opportunity to witness two independent EQUAL schemes, in two separate locations. Although based in the same region in southern Italy (see thumb nail map), the IRIS project (pronounced irris) based in Taranto and the CLIPS project in Foggia, operate as separately as IES in Portugal and SSEER in the UK (SSEER is the EQUAL project behind SEEE, Social Enterprise East of England, that publishes InTouch – Ed). Both running incubator units, the Italian projects provide a safe, structured environment where social enterprises are nurtured and supported through their infancy. Following the EQUAL philosophy of building and developing innovation, the IRIS and CLIPS projects work to similar Challenges the models. However they are not the same, IRIS project encounters as they both have their own methodology and constitution, tailored to each • Lack of cohesion within the not for project’s needs. profit sector • Lack of recognition of the benefits of the social enterprise sector (people The IRIS Project often don’t want to be a part of it) IRIS (Incubation and Research for • Poor access to consultancy services Social Enterprises) opened its doors in and finance January 2004 following, a competition to • Lack of regulation select a number of new enterprises
InTouch Summer 2004 • Transnational Report • Italy i
Transnational Report – Italy IRIS: SPES (which stands for Speranza meaning “Hope”) Social Co-operative, Martina Franca One of four kindergartens in Martina Franca, SPES caters for 45 children ranging from 0-3 years. Managed not by the municipality of Martina Franca but the social enterprises of the area, the project is part of a network of enterprises. Based on democratic principals SPES has a committee made up of the Kindergarten’s management, institutions, other social enterprises and parents. The community fully supports this project because they believe in a different way of promoting the social economy. SPES feel education is all about the welfare of the child and their enjoyment while learning. Promoting ‘free growth’ they allow children to move around at will without constraint. The decision as to when the kindergarten and its activities are open is a collective one between parents and staff. Childcare fees are paid according to the family’s income level and the kindergarten contributes towards the cost. This collaboration has created a very positive relationship. suitable for incubation. 28 ventures from across the province took part, of which 15 were successful and 12 are now up and running. Chosen on merit, each business was required to demonstrate that both women and young people would work within the business. With four employed operators and a network of advisors supporting the enterprises, each business represents a different field or industry. Offering services in guidance and professional training, integrated cultural tourism, the environment, international adoption, marketing and communication and electrical goods recycling; they also have schemes to improve the quality of life for a cross section of people, including disadvantaged groups. With several layers of support, a variety of services are provided to assist the (mainly young and/or female) entrepreneurs to develop and sustain their businesses. With a service centre for training, research, consultancy and information, IRIS supplies fully furnished and equipped office space, meeting rooms and internet access. Specialist advice is also on hand from experts covering legalities, marketing, communications and book keeping.
A virtual model Carrying out much of its work on line, with technical training and support provided via their website, IRIS is considered a ‘virtual’ model. The website was designed to be a central point of reference and information, covering finance options, business support, access to training, qualifications and affinity buying. Accessible to social enterprises and the general public alike, details can be found on www.irisinrete.it, and there is an English language facility. With so much concentrated support offered at the incubator it’s a wonder they have enough energy to consider additional schemes. Yet IRIS has implemented a network of 16 “social counters” to serve social enterprises across the province. Similar to the UK’s outreach offices, they act as information points which are linked to the incubator, providing first-hand assistance to existing social enterprises and people with an idea for one. They also help raise awareness about the social economy.
Finance is the main challenge The number one priority when it comes to enterprises’ survival is – money. As any business start-up knows, you need capital to start up or expand, but according to IRIS nearly all the
enterprises have chosen a formula which doesn’t involve the investment of money. Being in the early stages of their business lives, it was explained they wanted to wait and see if the enterprise was sustainable before digging into their pockets. Camilla Lazzoni Manager of the incubator acknowledged that “When an enterprise starts they need some money, so we [at the incubator] try to persuade them they need capital to invest by assisting them to find the money through credit with a bank or help via consultants”. While many are supported by the state, receiving contracts from public authorities, others have private partners. However financing is still a problem and for this reason IRIS has made it their mission to help the enterprises invest or persuade public authorities to use their services. With every enterprise receiving support to the value of 15,00020,000 euros p.a., a substantial sum of money is being invested in the IRIS project. But is this a risky concept? Nicky Stevenson from The Guild in Norwich reflected, “it is very intensive. It remains to be seen if it works”. But despite initial reservations, Nicky was quick to praise the IRIS project. “I find it a very
IRIS: ‘Amici’ social co-operative near T
In operation for 20 years, Amici is a social co-operative working in the field of agriculture, providing educational and social activities to people with (mainly) psychiatric difficulties. Founded by a physician when his healthy son was struck by a disease, losing the ability to walk, speak and understand, he decided to put together a programme of rehabilitation. The relationship with nature and stimulating environment proved such a success with his son, he decided to repeat the experience for the benefit of others like him. With similar ‘non-medical’ projects already up and running in other parts of Europe (in particular Belgium) he borrowed the concept and reproduced it in Italy. Since collaborating with the Town Hall Administration (THA) in 1996, the profile of projects in this social field has been raised significantly, with the recognition that they have a social function and a social purpose. In addition, Amici’s team of volunteers are now fully-employed staff paid by the THA and some of the co-operative’s expenses have also been reimbursed. Users of the centre come from all over the province to take part in a number of daily activities. Keeping things simple (even down to the furniture in the room) they learn the alphabet, paint, make crafts (which are sold on site) and create mosaics (the biggest of which they made as a gift for the Pope). They also observe nature, take regular trips out to visit other social projects, receive horse therapy (working with animals is known to be therapeutic) take weekly gym sessions and engage in basic forms of communication by reading and discussing newspaper articles. With pupil’s educational levels varying so much it’s impossible to
ii InTouch Summer 2004 • Transnational Report – Italy
Transnational Report – Italy a very interesting model and one I am interested in exploring in the UK. Because we tend to have a series of events of training courses and support which people access whenever they want on a drop in basis, recruiting a fixed number of projects to target, support and build on over a period of time, is something I’m interested in trying. I will be looking very closely at what happens with the Italian projects”.
The CLIPS Project The second leg of the trip was in the province of Foggia. Similar to the IRIS project, with its incubator unit and social counters, the main goal of CLIPS (Local Capital for Social Promotion) is to develop a competitive and sustainable local social economy. Aimed at fighting social exclusion and unemployment (notably among the young) and raising the standard of people’s lives, a network of support and assistance is provided. Paying particular attention to ventures which encourage and support the employment of disadvantaged people, businesses operate in fields such as social tourism, the environment, sport, entertainment, artistic expression, healthcare, civil protection, social services, and mass media. Where IRIS held a competition to admit enterprises to the Incubator, CLIPS followed an application and assessment process. Out of the 24 social enterprises who applied, 15 were retained and 8 are now established in the Incubator. Four of these enterprises provide social services, two are in the environmental sector, one in entertainment and one is a mix of diverse services. With such a strong emphasis on supporting young people, the CLIPS project is staffed by youthful business advisors. Despite
The Transnational Partners of England, Portugal and Italy
their age, the 18-strong team are a highly intelligent and welleducated in subjects covering economic education, legal structures, sociology and political sciences.
CLIPS themes The CLIPS project is based on four themes, namely: Business support Training and qualifications Raising awareness Access to credit Paying particular attention to the latter, the project has a strong focus on the financial elements of social enterprise and lends itself to a number of objectives and ‘products’. By supporting a network of enterprises, CLIPS aim to improve the qualitative level of the social economy, facilitate the set up of a Local Social Economy Network (and virtual economy) and disperse entrepreneurial culture. In doing so they believe the quality of products and services supplied by the social enterprises will improve and access to the financial market will be made easier. • • • •
Angelo with his paintings
programme activities for a whole year, so schedules are often created at short notice. However this doesn’t affect the pupils, as it was explained, “here they can concentrate the mind and find a sense of balance”. One such person who has achieved this, through artistic expression, is Angelo Claveri. Angelo has become an accomplished artist (and poet) holding a number of art exhibitions. The money he receives from sales he then puts toward buying more materials so he can create more paintings. Staff at Amici say he is a “source of courage for all the members of the Amici community” as the colours he uses “are inspirational and a demonstration of his love of life”.
Overcoming the access to credit challenge Social enterprises tend to lack capital and positive cash-flow which leads to little or no access to credit. Banca Etica (Ethical Bank), one of the financial partners of the CLIPS project, realized this obstacle and set about identifying practices to favour access to finance for social enterprises. Providing a guarantee fund supplying not-for-profit financial services, this provision of credit allows social enterprises time to establish themselves and to meet their financial commitments. Although CLIPS and Banca Etica work in partnership, social enterprises are not forced to use their services, as the project has its own financial advisory service. The need to explore the issues surrounding access to credit prompted CLIPS to research the field. Developing a research methodology and designing a questionnaire, partners could use this as a template for their own research, thus allowing all parties to collect the same information. Having completed this
Challenges the CLIPS project encounters • Social enterprises in the province are very young • Few models are of good practice • Business support and credit access do not exist
InTouch Summer 2004 • Transnational Report – Italy iii
Transnational Report – Italy CLIPS: ‘Silvana’ social co-operative in Lucera Established in 1999, the social co-operative Silvana, was born out of a will to prevent children with learning disabilities wasting their lives once they leave school. The founder, a father of a disabled child, realised parents of disabled children face many challenges and need support to encourage their children to do more and fulfil their potential. Producing hand made crafts such as dried flower arrangements, copper, glass and ceramic pieces, they also source clay (a local material) to make spice jars and tiles. Presenting at exhibitions, including Rome in 2001, the co-op sells through its on-site shop and via the internet. Together with 9 members and 4 social workers, 18 disabled workers currently make up the co-operative, with many travelling from outside the area. Recently initiating a disabled person’s scholarship, the co-op receives a weekly visit from schools who come to see how the pieces are made in the workshop. Website: www.coopsilvan.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org comparative study the results were fed back to us on the last day in Foggia. So while CLIPS actively promotes social enterprise, the project is 100% committed to the provision of best practice and transnational cooperation. This is proposed by: • Carrying out studies and research. • Identifying new professional figures useful to the development of local social economy and analysing the training needs of social enterprise managers and operators. • Re-engineering public/private services for local entrepreneurships. • Designing a web site for the virtual community. • Empowering the virtual community. Sponsored by five municipalities of the province of Foggia, plus two other cities in the region, institutions have also assisted CLIPS with best practice across the region. Support has also been received from the transnational partnership, SEE (Social Enterprise in Europe). As an embassy for peace and the capital of the province, Foggia is very proactive in supporting CLIPS and projects like it. However, as the Mayor of Foggia admits, “Italy is still divided into two visible territories, the strongest being the north, while the southern regions are working hard to catch up with the European train”. So with southern Italy needing to grow, much attention is being paid to innovation and what they call ‘human capital’ – enterprises with social purpose. With an on-going campaign to raise awareness, the CLIPS project has so far involved 60 operators, implementing 800 students, 20 social co-operatives, 50 workers and 15 volunteer associations. Since November 2003 their website has received 2,000 hits, with 11,000 pages visited. When CLIPS ends in autumn this year, an international document will be published (translated into English and Portuguese), disclosing the experiences of this transnational project, especially highlighting the best practices identified at local level. www.clipsequal.it (not available in English).
Benefits of the visit So what did the transnational partners take away from this third study visit? Camilla from IRIS felt a significant exchange of ideas had taken place. By witnessing another project go through the evolution phase, it allowed them to realise the similarities
iv InTouch Summer 2004 • Transnational Report – Italy
Group of Silvana workers making gifts for sale
between the projects. Dante de Lallo from the CLIPS project explained “it has been a useful experience to focus our attention on the best practices aimed at strengthening social economy. An integrated system of business support and access to credit services is the starting point to qualify social enterprises” and raising the standard “in providing services and products”. Miguel and Isabel from the Portuguese partnership explained that while the incubation concept isn’t new in Portugal, they did feel “we can enhance our systems mainly in incubation and access to credit matters”. They have already passed on details about the projects to institutions, and encouragingly a local university has voiced its interest in running a similar project. The voice of the British contingent, Nicky Stevenson from The Guild, referred to the difference it makes seeing an idea become a reality. Recalling the previous time the CLIPS project was visited, it was a different story. “We sat in an empty office with no furniture or electricity connected. Staff had just been recruited and they had no experience of working with social enterprises. Achieving a greater understanding of the nature of the projects and realising we have the same problems, i.e. with access to credit, has certainly made it all worthwhile”. So as the final chapter in this transnational partnership comes to an end, it would seem the exchange has been a resounding success. Not simply from an information and ideas point of view, but a cultural one too. I overheard some delegates say, “it’s the social interaction that bonds partnerships together”, and where better to do it than in Italy? Certainly the Portuguese are masters of singing and the dinner toasts, the British their wit and ability to drink, but the Italians can offer you ‘tante belle cose’ (many beautiful things). Editors’ note: Sarah is working toward a career as a journalist, writer and photographer. Her work on InTouch magazine is supported by the two partner social enterprises who produce it for the SEEE project, Business for People and Creative Touch. Together they provide incubator support for people wishing to work in publishing and multi-media via contracts with public, charitable and other organisations. Business for People also provides support into employment for disadvantaged and long-term unemployed people through the new Job Centre Plus Intermediate Labour Market project with partners that include Business Link for Cambridgeshire. Information: email@example.com, 01480 455200 or firstname.lastname@example.org, 01480 433302.
Civic Champions in Three Counties T
he Civic Champions programme offers a unique opportunity to people volunteering their time and energy to projects that make their local community a better place to live. Over a six month period, beginning next October, expert support and training will be available from the Civic Trust to those selected, giving local men and women all the skills they need to turn their ideas into reality. It is fully funded subject to approval of applications and expenses are covered. Elaine Otway, works for The Guild, which provides training and consultancy to voluntary and community organisations and is coordinating the Civic Champions programme across Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. She commented. “Many people feel sad about the loss of community spirit, but some want to do something about it. Community champions can transform the work of local community groups and dramatically improve the quality of life of local people. They can make neighbourhoods better places to live, work and play. It is not unusual for people to have brilliant ideas and boundless enthusiasm, but the problem is that they don’t know where to start. The Civic Champions programme aims to help people find a clear way of developing their ideas into achievable goals.” David Hill of Norwich is one of those who has already benefited. The community arts magazine, State of Mind, which he launched at the beginning of January 2004 is now going from strength to strength. “It was the first time I had ever done anything like this and it felt like a big step up. The course was challenging, but very rewarding,” he commented.
Sammie Kuhn had already set up SPIN (Single Parents in Norfolk), but the organisation was struggling, although she had searched high and low for advice. “I didn’t know how to structure the organisation or how I could develop it,” she said. “The Civic Champions course gave me exactly what I needed and a great deal of self-confidence.” SPIN is now going well with interest from single parents across the county and hopefully new groups about to set up in Dereham and North Norfolk. Even better, the skills she acquired on the course also gave Sammie the chance to escape from the cycle of poverty that traps many lone parents. She now has a rewarding job as a health information worker. Other projects that the Civic Champs programme has supported include village hall developments, recycling projects and many different types of support group. “We’re looking for people from all walks of life, just ordinary people who live in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex and have the motivation and enthusiasm to want to improve their skills and confidence and make a real difference to their local community. The first step is to pick Elaine Otway The Guild, Burlington Buildings, up a telephone and ask for an information pack. 11 Orford Place, Norwich. Tel. 01603 615200 It is very easy to apply,” email@example.com said Elaine.
STEnG – a lesson for us all S
TEnG – the Social Training Enterprises Group – is a partnership working in Cambridgeshire to create opportunities for adults with learning difficulties. That sounds bland until you start to look at the uniqueness of how nine separate groups are now committed to working together where there is common ground. According to a mission statement launched recently at the newly designed cafe and meeting place development off Sawston High Street, the operational commitment is to the unifying theme of empowerment, self-esteem and varied routes to employment. This radical and collective approach is made up of social firms and several independent registered charities, a health authority subsidiary and close connections with three regional colleges. Most members of STEnG offer programmes of work experience and accredited training that enable each person to maximise his or her own potential and gain some of the skills needed to take the first steps towards
open employment. For those for whom these initial steps may simply be too much, the STEnG partnership offers ongoing sheltered employment and skills maintenance packages, helping people to develop life and social skills based on raising levels of self esteem and self-confidence. The STEnG Partnership represents the interests of a very considerable group of people within Cambridgeshire by working with some 950 clients. They are therefore a significant force for change, hence the uniqueness of the venture, enabling disadvantaged people in the county to think about the way ahead in co-operation with the local authority’s social services and education departments, as well as health authorities, mainstream business. Remarkably these organisations have
also collectively and individually generated funding in the region of £2.5million per annum over the last five years from a variety of funders. These have included the European Social Fund, the Learning and Skills Council, The National Lottery, Local Authorities and a host of other sources. STEnG members also generate considerable income from, for instance, the letting out of premises, a print shop, high-quality artwork in wood, ceramics and painted glass, horticultural sales, accreditation and training. STEnG has set a interesting and imaginative example of organisations working together toward common objectives and is well worth a closer look as a model for other potential groupings elsewhere in the region.
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Focus on: Bedfordshire Articles by Andrew Saul
Moving the Furniture F
or many people experiencing hardship in their lives, essential items such as furniture and household goods can seem prohibitively expensive. Furniture Link is a registered charity which provides furniture, electrical goods and household items to people on benefits or low income in North and Mid Bedfordshire. Started by the borough council in 1997, Furniture Link has since become an independent charity. It collects around 5-6,000 donated items a year, including cookers, lamps, kettles, bedding and towels. These are repaired and refurbished by a team of 30-40 volunteers. The project is managed by four permanent staff who are funded through the National Lottery Community Fund. A small handling charge is made to the recipients of the items. Manager Kathy Lewis told me that Furniture Link made approximately £40,000 last year from handling charges and fees. Kathy is hoping to move the project to larger premises soon. The current warehouse is too small, forcing Furniture Link to turn away as many donations as it accepts. To comply with health and safety law it can only open 10-1 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and 10-2 on Wednesdays. The new premises will permit longer opening hours, and allow for the expansion of the electrical goods workshop.
Furniture Link bought a new van last year with funding from local charity, The Bedford Charity. Trustee Carol Ellis hands over the keys outside the Gadsby Street warehouse.
Furniture Link Tel: 01234 353578 www.flb.org.uk Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why not Recycle IT? Ride On
n today’s world, an increasing number of people need computers, but many find the costs prohibitive. Recycle IT is a Luton company which acquires computers from companies which are upgrading, and sells them to customers in the UK, Europe, and developing countries such as Kurdistan, Georgia and Ghana. Recycle IT has been running for about nine and a half years. The business was started after managing director Michele Rigby tried to obtain 12 computers for a community project. She became aware that others had similar needs, and the company grew from there. “We had no idea it would be going 10 years later,” Michelle told me. The company has recycled nearly 100,000 pieces of equipment. The company is not charged rent by its landlords, SKF (UK) Ltd, but is otherwise self-funding. It makes 100% of its income from sales, and employs seven paid staff, several more on work placements, and a number of permanent volunteers. The work consists of wiping existing data from computers, repairing equipment where necessary, and, for the UK market, installing any upgrades required by the customer. With very few exceptions, the only way
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T Awardwinning work in progress at Recycle IT
to get a job with Recycle IT is through a work placement. Because it cannot employ everybody who undertakes a work placement, the company helps in finding employment with other companies. “Before the term ‘social firm’ was thought of, we used to say that we had an un-equal opportunities policy” Michelle told me, “it got the point across to people”. The company’s success recently saw it recognised by the DTI with the London UK Trade and Investment Award for Service Company of the Year; it is the latest of several awards they have won. Social Firms UK is also interested in developing the concept as a franchise, so there could be branches throughout the UK one day.
Recycle IT Luton Tel: 0870 7743762 Norwich Tel: 01603 667525 www.recycle-it.ltd.uk
he Red Cross Rider is a community transport scheme, which operates throughout most of rural Bedfordshire. The project is just entering its third year since replacing the Red Cross Transport and Escort Service. The service arose from a local need for a low-cost transport scheme. In addition to using volunteers’ cars, the service operates a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) with wheelchair ramp access. The service user requests transport via the telephone and journeys can be taken for a number of purposes for a modest charge. The Rider is available 5 days a week, and occasionally at weekends. Service manager Dave Merry told me, “one of the things that makes us unique is that we also operate outside the county boundaries, for instance if people need respite care at Margate. We do quite a few of the longer trips, especially at this time of year. The Rider also links in nicely with other Red Cross services, like wheelchair loan”. There are a couple of similar schemes elsewhere in Bedfordshire, both of which require membership enrolment. The Rural Travel Club in North Bedfordshire
Focus on: Bedfordshire
Articles by Andrew Saul
Starting a Stampede E
ver fancy starting a career in television production? This is exactly the opportunity being offered to young people in Luton by Stampede, an ambitious social firm which makes programmes for Anglia TV, Channel 4 and RTE 1. I spoke to their head of production, Dave Allison. Stampede has been making documentaries since 1996. Originally based in London, it was encouraged to move to Luton by Screen East, which provided substantial funding. Its main income comes from commissions such as the New Voices series for Anglia TV, in which first-time film makers were given the opportunity to make a short film and have it broadcast. Ultimately Stampede would like to start a TV station, to be called Our Voice TV, on which young people can show their work. A website will provide a similar opportunity to broadcast work on the internet. Young people are given training in every aspect of TV production including writing, camera work, sound recording, editing, directing and producing. Much of the initial training is informal with Stampede helping each individual to learn the skills they need to realize a project. Since making New Voices, more formal training courses are being developed, including a 30 week night school. Stampede knows many talented filmmakers, who they can call on to share their skills with the trainees. After training, young people can then be given the opportunity to work for the company. Training is part funded by Business Link and Connexions with a large element coming from Stampede’s commercial activities.
Sakara learns camerawork at a Stampede workshop with Connexions in Luton
Lights, camera, action – Stampede’s workshop in Luton at work
When I asked Dave what motivated him, he told me he feels fortunate for the opportunities he has had, particularly the training and encouragement he received from Stampede’s managing director Mike Chamberlain. Most of all, though, Dave does it for the best Stampede reason in the world. Tel: 01582 727330 Fax: 01582 726910 He says, “Quite www.stampede.co.uk simply, I enjoy it”.
Rural Bedfordshire Fights Back R
One of several public transport schemes in Bedfordshire, a “Buzzer” mini-bus
operates an 11-seat mini-bus. A similar bus is operated in the Leighton Buzzard area, under the name “Another Buzzer”. Steven Sleight, the field officer for transport at Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity, told me that when a community transport route proves popular, commercial bus companies tend to re-open it. Steven reckons the region now has the biggest round of bus services for 10 years.
Red Cross Rider Tel: 01234 361050 Rural Travel Club Tel: 01234 212937 The Buzzer Tel: 01525 853566 email@example.com
ural communities have suffered in recent years. The closure of village shops combined with the axing of unprofitable bus routes creates a problem for those who don’t have their own transport. The Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity is an organisation helping local communities in a number of ways. It is based in the village hall in Cardington, right next door to one of the schemes it helps – a community shop, which was opened by the local people when their village store closed. The Community shop in Cardington is open 6 mornings a week between 10 and 12 and is run by volunteers. It is strictly non-profit-making; all funds are ploughed back into the business. Refreshments are served on the premises, and home deliveries are available by appointment. It is one of several similar community shop schemes in the area. The Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity also provides support for a number of community transport schemes
A mobile IT classroom provided by Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity
throughout Bedfordshire, which are particularly aimed at those who have difficulty using normal public transport. The charity is funded through membership fees, with additional funding provided by the Countryside Agency, local authorities, and grant making trusts and foundations.
Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity Tel: 01234 838771 www.bedsrcc.org.uk Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Networks unlimited This section of InTouch is for you to promote and report on the activities of your organisation. Send news of staff changes, business developments and examples of smart thinking to Peter Durrant on 01223 262759 or send an email to email@example.com
about through Rainbow Anglia Credit Union’s links with the Cambridge Housing Society and led to a successful bid with Equal for a feasibility study on credit union awareness, preparing the ground, it is intended, for a publicity campaign throughout the six counties. More details from development worker Keith Presence on 01223 713555.
Farewell to Adrian FutureBuilders – now open for business The FutureBuilders fund opened to applications on 5th July. FutureBuilders will make its first round of investments between July and October 2004, but the majority of its investments will be made in the second round, which will run between March and July 2005. Third and fourth rounds are being considered for Autumn 2005 and Spring 2006. The value of investments is expected to range from £30,000 to £10 million. monthly updates will appear on the new website: www.futurebuildersengland.org.uk and a programme of local outreach meetings will take place from September.
Social strategy launch East of England Regional Assembly has launched its first social strategy, aimed at tackling the difficulties caused by deprivation. The strategy is structured around eight objectives including tackling poverty and reducing income inequalities, promoting access to work, improving access to services and developing social networks and community assets. The EERA regional social strategy can be found on www.eelgc.gov.uk.
Developing consortiums to tender for public sector contracts Cambridge Co-operative Development Agency (CCDA) are looking to support the development of a consortium of local co-operatives and social enterprises to tender for,
and deliver, a number of public sector contracts. CCDA are also keen to talk to any other such consortiums. Reply to CCDA directly at firstname.lastname@example.org .uk, or go to (http://www.coopnet.coop) for a wider discussion about such initiatives.
Multiple disadvantage in the East of England Six categories of disadvantaged people are associated with the risk of nonemployment. These are people over 50, single families and others without partners, those with low qualifications and skills impairment, membership of certain ethnic groups, and living in areas of high employment. This study by the University of Essex points out that “most people in the East of England are in at least one of the potentially disadvantaging categories. One disadvantage is most common with 41% of the population. Whilst 13% have two and 2.9% have even three disadvantages”. A copy of the report is available by e-mail from email@example.com
Corporate credit union thinking? Ten different groups throughout the Eastern region recently met at the Cambridge Housing Society offices to discuss ways in which the proposed East of England Credit Union Forum might work co-operatively together – over a weekend too, to their credit. The meeting came
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Cambridge Co-operative Development Agency (CCDA) and the East of England will soon be saying goodbye to one of its staunchest advocates for the co-operative and wider social enterprise sector. Adrian Ashton, a director of CCDA, is moving to new pastures in the North West of England. Adrian joined CCDA as a part-time worker in early 2002 and has since re-invigorated the agency. Steven Emerson co-director of CCDA, says “Adrian has made an outstanding contribution to raising the CCDA’s profile amongst local, regional and national agencies and even gained public recognition for the work and value of the agency from the DTI. Adrian has a clear understanding of the challenges and opportunities present in the co-operative and wider social enterprise sector and how they may be employed to address many of the social issues prevalent in our society. He has worked tirelessly at CCDA to promote the sector on the local, regional, national and international stage. He will be sorely missed by all of his colleagues at CCDA as well as our members, partners and friends and we wish him, his wife Clare and son Edward good fortune in the future.”
The Phone Co-op tops the league in growth The Phone co-op has been recognised as one of the fastest growing consumer co-operatives in the country and has just reported increased turnover by more than £1m to £3.4m.
Adrian Ashton is leaving CCDA and moving to North West England. He has made a tireless contribution to the social sector in the East of England and will be sorely missed
£18,232 was allocated to the Phone Co-op’s Special Co-operative and Social Economy Development fund which is designed to help other co-operatives get started, or to develop and expand. The Phone Co-op purchases from “green” suppliers where possible and staff make as many journeys as possible by public transport. A minimum 1p call charge and a free 0845 number (if required) makes the service an attractive one for private individuals and small organisations. If you would like a brochure, then phone 01223 262759.
Social enterprise visit programme Following the launch of their new brochure, the Social Enterprise Visit Programme would like to make you a special offer on visits to “exemplar” social enterprises – all of which take place between July and September 2004. Areas of expertise include raising finance, marketing, business planning and development, partnership working and staff development. Book on any of these visits before 31st July 2004 and you will be able to take a colleague with you free – that’s two places for the price of one. Visits normally cost just £50 plus VAT per person – but if you book quickly you will get two places for £50 plus VAT. Places are limited, so first come, first served. For a copy of the brochure or for further information
Networks unlimited phone 0870 458 4147. Alternatively you can email sevisits@statuscommunications. co.uk or you can download a booking form from: www.socialenterprisevisits.com/ uploads/docs/booking_form_se.pdf
Esmée Fairburn loans programme Groups who need a loan rather than a grant might be interested in the Esmée Fairbairn Loans Programme. This is a £3 million fund offering loans to the UK voluntary sector, where grants are not appropriate. Set up in co-operation with Charity
Bank, the pilot programme will run for up to three years to test demand for loan finance in the sector. Loans of between £10,000 and £250,000 will be made in line with the Foundation's current funding priorities. For details call 020 7297 4700.
Social audit – local Co-op bares all Cambridge Co-operative Development Agency (CCDA) ‘bared all’ on 23rd June when it published the results of its first social audit as part of its annual report which is available via its website.
Events Diary Enterprise in voluntary and community support bodies During September the Development Trusts Association is providing a new programme for voluntary and community support bodies across the region wanting to develop their social enterprise activity. The project will provide a workshop to give infrastructure organisations an enjoyable and practical way to explore and develop their ideas and, for a select few with the most developed proposals, some practical, detailed assessment of these and production of a free ‘Enterprise Action Plan’ to help them move forward. Most of the costs of the project are covered by a grant under the voluntary and community infrastructure review, though there is a small charge for attending the initial workshop, which is likely to be held on 2nd September. For more information contact Nigel Boldero on 01603 754250.
Community Renewal Network East Learning Road Shows 2004-2005 Two days of interactive workshops for anyone involved in community-based regeneration with an interest in achieving (even) better partnership working and understanding evaluation. • Workshops will focus on drawing out and sharing experiences and providing practical information and ideas, including planning, funding, evaluation and partnerships. Essex: 21st – 22nd September at Latton Bush Centre, Harlow Norfolk: 11th – 12th October The Garage, Norwich Cambridgeshire: 3rd November at The Fleet, Peterborough, and 29th November 2004 at the Meadows, Cambridge Bedfordshire: 24th – 25th November at Dallow Community Learning Centre, Luton Suffolk: February 2005 (dates tbc) The Corn Exchange, Ipswich [Note: Hertfordshire events took place prior to InTouch being mailed out] To book your place / further information contact Ian on 01842 754101 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Essex in Boom in September Business Link for Essex has put social enterprise high on the agenda of their enterprise week, Essex in Boom! which will run from 20th to 24th September this year. Throughout the
Aware of the growing proliferation of social accounting tools currently available, CCDA has elected to use a set of indicators called ‘Key Social and Co-operative Performance Indicators’ (KSCPI) specifically developed for co-operatives by Co-operatives UK, the national federal body for the co-operative sector. The social audit report looks at the welfare of CCDA’s employees; its impact on the environment; levels of customer satisfaction from both the users of its services and its funders; and its
consideration of human rights and ethical issues. See www.colc.co.uk/ cambridge/ccda/
Excellent online information source at NCVO www.ncvo-sfp.org.uk is where you can get, free, masses of really useful information on planning tools and training, funding opportunities, up-todate information on regional and national opportunities around social enterprise developments, and what’s going on in local, central and European government.
week there will be a range of events that will help people wanting to start their own business, or looking for assistance in an existing business venture. A road show will tour the county, visiting a different site each day, offering free advice, workshops, and breakfasts and questions sessions. The culmination of the week, Essex in Boom! will be a dinner celebrating excellence in Essex. One of the awards to be presented on the night, sponsored by Thames Gateway, is ‘Giving Back’. This will go to a business with primarily social objectives, such as a local community enterprise, social firm or co-operative. Attending the awards ceremony will be former Olympic Gold Medallist, Sally Gunnell OBE, who is supporting the week. For more information on Essex in Boom! and the events that will be taking place during the week, visit www.essexinboom.co.uk or Business Link for Essex website, www.bl4e.co.uk or call 0845 717 16 15.
Advising Voluntary & Community Groups on Funding Issues The 4-day course is for funding advice workers, community development workers, external funding officers and community workers whose remit includes giving funding advice to voluntary / community groups. Leading to a level 2 or Level 3 credit with the Open College Network and it takes place in Huntingdon over 4 days: 18th – 19th November and 8th – 9th December. Cost per person: £255 statutory organisations, or £195 for charitable or voluntary organisations. Contact Chris Tews, Funding Officer, Community Action Hampshire. Phone 01962 857367, Fax 01962 841160 E: Chris.email@example.com
Researching the Voluntary Sector Annual Conference … … is in its tenth year this year. It will be held at Sheffield Hallam University on 1st-2nd September. The programme will include papers on a diverse range of subjects such as community development, capacity and sustainability, the relationship of the sector with the state, delivery of services and social enterprise. This will the largest research conference to date, and is specifically aimed at academics, researchers, students of research and policy makers. For more information or to be added to the mailing list contact Jayne Blackborow on or 020 7520 2484, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. [From NCVO Issue 21]
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NHS as a Corporate Citizen
major study has been published on the role of health and social care in sustainable development in the region, which has implications for the social economy. The East of England Public Health Group commissioned the study to quantify the present and future role of the health and social care economy (public, private and voluntary sectors) in relation to the regional economy and to identify the impact on, and contribution to, sustainable development. The study, Health and Social Care and Sustainable Development in the East of England, is now complete and can be viewed at www.erpho.org and at www.goeast.gov.uk/partnerships/ Public_Health_Group, or obtained from Cheryl France (details below). The NHS, local authorities and other health and social care providers are major employers, purchasers and landlords in the East of England. The way in which staff are employed, facilities are planned, goods and services are purchased and waste is managed, have a crucial impact on the pursuit of sustainable development and regeneration. The study has helped to quantify the impact within this region. The study is in line with both government and regional sustainable development objectives, and covers: employment, procurement, buying food, buying childcare, waste, travel, energy and capital development. Some of the key findings emerging from the document are that in the East of England:
• 140,594 jobs are through direct NHS employment in the public sector. • public sector expenditure on health and social care totalled £5.5 billion in 2000/01, including over £2 billion on the purchase of goods and services by the NHS and local authorities for health and social care services. • health and social care produced 39,712 tonnes of waste, costing £5.3 billion and produced more than 140,000 tonnes of CO2. • the NHS is a substantial consumer of energy: electricity (£10.1m), gas (£8.5m) and other fuel (£5.3m) in 2001/02. • Trusts and PCTs spent nearly £24 million on provision and kitchens, and £42 million on contract catering. In all these areas there are opportunities for social enterprises to play a key role. Based on the findings of the study, the NHS will be encouraged to work in partnership to consider how they may change practice to ensure they contribute to sustainable development in the East of England, as well as save money. The public health group are looking for pilots within the region as well as examples of good practice.
For more information about the study, to become a pilot or provide examples of good practice, contact Cheryl France email@example.com 01223 372817
Credit union first launched at Harlow Foyer A
new collection point for the Harlowsave Credit Union was launched at the Harlow Foyer in Occasio House on Tuesday, 2nd June, the first time a collection point has been established at a Foyer in the United Kingdom. The launch at Occasio House was attended by approximately 50 guests including Councillor Lorna Spenceley the Leader of the Harlow Council, senior members of the Harlowsave Credit Union, representatives of partnering organisations, and staff and residents of the Foyer. The new collection point was launched by Harlow Foyer residents Marie Mendoza and Herbert Kyazze, two of the volunteers who will operate the collection point. The collection point at the Harlow Foyer will be operated by Foyer residents. Jacqui Webb, a Project Worker at the Harlow Foyer, said it was important that the residents run the project. “We want the young people to run the
NO5 July/August 2004
collection point and to have ownership of it. The role of the Foyer staff will be to oversee the collection and banking of money,” Ms Webb said. Mr Ryszard Opasiak, President of Harlowsave Credit Union, welcomed the opportunity for the credit union to become involved with the Harlow Foyer. “Foyer residents are often in a vulnerable position, and we hope that by establishing this collection point we will be able to help the residents achieve some financial security. The volunteers go through a training programme and have the experience of working for the credit union which also improves their employment opportunities,” Mr Opasiak said. The collection point at Harlow Foyer, Occasio House will be open between 5.30 and 6.30pm every Tuesday.
Julie Stevenson, Harlowsave Credit Union and Harlow Cooperative Development Agency 01279 451 293
New support for regional co-operative council Harlow Co-operative Development Agency (Harlow CDA) has recently agreed to accept an invitation to become the new secretariat to the regional co-operative council to the east of England. Established in 1987, Harlow CDA’s main focus is encouraging, supporting and developing new cooperative enterprises in Essex. This new role will see it capitalising on new opportunities to further enhance its services and support. In this Sue Leech of Harlow CDA, elaborated: “Co-operative development is recognised as increasingly important within the new agenda for the wider social enterprise movement. This new role will enable us to both raise our profile and to formalise relationships with similar local agencies throughout the region to share best practice together and Sue Leech explore joint Harlow CDA initiatives.”