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May/June 2005 • Issue 10

The social enterprise challenge:

Inside: Editorial


The attitudes and support of government at all levels is still key to the future of social enterprise

Cambridge declared a Fairtrade city

two perspectives


Over 200 products and where to find them

Small business rate relief


You may be entitled to rate relief – now!

Voice 05 – a greater role for social enterprises?


A thumbs up from East of England delegates to a successful national Social Enterprise Coalition conference

Nearly new school uniform 7 shop aids Nicaraguan charity A Cambridge comprehensive cuts uniform costs and helps a charity in the process

Focus on ...


Andrew Saul and Jonathan Mitchell focus on the buoyant social enterprise arts scene

Networks unlimited


News and upcoming events in the region. Tell us what you’re doing



A social enterprise providing affordable insurance to other social enterprises

Trading hope for local entrepreneur


A heartening story of how a young man, critically injured in a car crash, was helped to start a promising business

In the last 6–9 months in the social enterprise development field, there has been rapid growth in some parts, near stagnation elsewhere. At last, after animated debate around definitions, appropriate support, and the vision that social enterprise might deliver, the muddy pond in the middle may be slowly starting to clear. Even so, many still feel confused and uninformed about this thing called ‘social enterprise’.

B Internet: SEEE’s Web partner services are at:

en Godliman of Borehamwood Social Enterprise Project raises the difficult issues that need to be considered around establishing, supporting and sustaining social enterprises. Resolution of some of these issues will require changes beyond the power of the social enterprises themselves. We at the Borehamwood Social Enterprise Project have been supporting local social enterprises for just over two years now. We have, like many others I am sure, seen mixed results in terms of success and failure. What are we to ➜ page 2


hris Lee, Raising the Ceiling’s (Hertfordshire) Project Manager, gives a personal response to some of those frequently asked questions.

Are we a social enterprise?

A commonly quoted definition of social enterprise comes from the Department of Trade and Industry ; it begins “A social enterprise is a business with primarily social objectives ...”. And many VCOs may be thinking this already excludes them from the social economy because they aren’t businesses. If however, like the NCVO’s (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) Sustainable Funding Project, ➜ page 2

Comment cover ➜ learn from this experience? How can we resolve the current problems and achieve the desired outcomes?

The motivation to establish a social enterprise

Many of the groups with whom we were or are involved, already existed in the form of a community project or therapeutic g governed, administered and operated by statutory bodies. We were brought in to advise on the benefits of becoming a social enterprise. These groups were very often people with issues, either mental or physical health issues, educational or other issues which have traditionally excluded them from worthwhile economic activity. The object of our project is to involve these people in setting up sustainable social enterprises. What are the problems restricting the successful development of many of the social enterprises which are running in our region at the moment? F the difficulty of one clear definition of a social enterprise being adopted by those involved in the sector, which causes misinformation and misunderstanding of the very concept at the outset. This tends to create a variety of messages which makes it more difficult to expand the sector and consolidate any social enterprises currently running. Many by their very nature are small enterprises developed along community project and charitable lines, with their stated goals at the outset not necessarily financial. Levels of revenue required to attain self-sufficiency are a long term goal for most enterprises and we must be sure to allocate a realistic amount of time and resources for them to succeed, as many are not so capital intensive and the outputs or “profits” may be social capital rather than hard cash.

The need to recognise and quantify “social capital”

The value of this social capital needs to be recognised in the light of its high preventative value, this means that people in work or pursuing useful economic activity, will be far less likely to need other forms of support: e.g. financial, medical or other forms of social support. Through this mechanism, a great deal of money can be saved. It is very difficult to find the right balance between financial and social capital and trying to blend the two into successful enterprises is going to be a long term undertaking. • Therefore, using this particular model to create a social enterprise could provide opportunities for access to the business sector, but, it is limited by a number of factors: A main issue is that social capital is rarely mentioned and no standard measuring or evaluation mechanism yet exists to assess its true value. To find the correct balance between hard cash profits and social profits is still a very difficult undertaking, and as yet the waters have not cleared in the sector to allow this to happen. • Scale of enterprise: In many cases groups involved in economic activity are very small scale and cannot hope to compete in a wider business environment unless they increase their capacity and efficiency by a considerable factor. • Nature of enterprise: It must be remembered that the idea for the proposed business or enterprise must be ➜ page 4

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cover ➜ you define social enterprise as an activity rather than an organisational form – as “trading with a social purpose” – the charges you make for your photocopying service or room hire could indeed locate you in the social enterprise sector. Ultimately, the term social enterprise may best be seen as a spectrum of organisation and activity with The Co-op Group at one end, a kitchen table community group at the other, and most of us somewhere in between.

Do we want to trade?

No one is suggesting you have to trade if you don’t want to, but it might be prudent to make an informed decision about it. There are many good reasons why you might consider trading, here are just three: • Unlike grant fund-raising, mission-related trading allows you to provide your service and raise funds at the same time • Earned income is independent – you can spend it how you choose (within your overall objectives) maybe to cover costs that grant-givers won’t • Turning service users into purchasers tends to raise their expectations and, with it, the quality of the service they use. Note that social enterprise is not about charging people who can’t afford to pay.

Could we even trade if we wanted to?

Charity law allows trading if it pursues the charity’s primary purpose. A choir registered as a charity can sell tickets for its concerts and wine in the interval. Ultimately it would depend on the level of trading income, relative to total income, as to whether a trading arm would be needed at a later stage. Charity law is changing, so consult the Charity Commission for advice.

Do we have skills?

Some people suggest there’s little difference between running a charity and a small business. While there is considerable overlap, certain new expertise (particularly around money matters – costing, pricing, cash-flow etc) may be needed. But these skills can be learned, and could benefit your ➜ page 4



From the Editor

Social Enterprise East of England May/June 2005 Issue 10 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

Tel. email:

4 Archers Court Stukeley Road Huntingdon PE29 6XG 01480 455200

SEEE Staff: Social sector manager: Jo Ransom Project manager: Elaine McCorriston Project executive: Donna Pollard Development manager: Peter See Web manager: Lin Evens Editorial Staff: Editor: David Lloyd Content editor: Peter Durrant Contributing editors: Jonathan Mitchell Andrew Saul Advertising Sales: Joseph Law Layout: Lorraine Peacock Michele Smith Creative/production editor: Austin Bambrook Please send PR and other information items to: Peter Durrant, e-mail: 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.

© SEEE 2005

David Lloyd is joint managing director of Business for People in Huntingdon. He is editor and contributor to various publications

Social enterprise: to be or not to be


wo landmarks concerning two different government departments (assuming Labour is still in power by the time you read this), are worth consideration for this May/June issue. First, in March Defra, (Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) issued Defra and Social Enterprise: a Position Statement. Defra are committed to rural sustainable development, communities and farming, while protecting the countryside and meeting the challenge of climate change. The April issue of Social Enterprise has an excellent supplement touching some of the main headings of rural and sustainability issues. Curiously, two of the four regions that are targeted for Defra rural grants are the North-West and North-East: I say “curious” not because these areas don’t have some rural parts, but because they’ve already received huge chunks of money ring-fenced for u areas that traditional farming regions like the East of England got not a sniff at for obvious reasons. Oh well, better go and compost the sour grapes instead. Nonetheless Defra are committed generally to supporting social enterprises, and those of a rural nature are well advised to download the PDF file from Defra’s website ( uk). One trusts that the various Eastern Region agencies and umbrella and support organisations are also on the case. Another landmark is the fast-approaching end of the three-year action plan period following the launch of Patricia Hewitt’s Social Enterprise: a strategy for success in June 2002 – now under the wing of the SBS Social Enterprise Unit (SEnU) – doesn’t time fly? Hewitt’s visionary strategy was followed just over a year later by a progress report and b of these documents are still available on the SBS website: ( php?page=/socialenterprise/default.php).

Patchy progress

Comparing the progress report with where we are today demonstrates that some of the goods have been delivered. Futurebuilders is functional and generally there’s more enterprise finance of various kinds than social enterprises can take advantage of. And the Community Interest Company model is just about up and running. But there is still much to be done at a deeper level. Are the voluntary and community sector and social enterprises delivering much more in the public service area than three years ago and how many have taken advantage of the public procurement toolkit? Is the environment more “enabling” than it was? Some government departments such as the Treasury still think mainly in terms of the voluntary and community sector – social enterprise is a small blip at the bottom left of the radar screen. Much will depend, it seems, on whether there is a more consistent understanding, support and enabling of social enterprise throughout the various tiers of national and local government. The East of England is better served than some others by a number of excellent support and umbrella organisations, and a great deal of effort and hard cash has been invested in the region. A well-informed friend of mine who was at the recent SEC conference kindly emailed me with positive comments about the impact of InTouch, and the further observation that “the East of England now seems light years ahead of other regions that I’m getting involved with”. Our two reflective lead articles, both by Hertfordshire support organisations, are also cautiously optimistic, but indicate that there is much work yet ahead.


No 10 May/June 2005


Comment page 2 ➜ sound and profitable in the first instance to stand any chance of succeeding. • Management of enterprise: As the function of many groups and projects is primarily therapeutic, they are frequently managed to maximise social rather than financial benefit, so the revenues and/or profits can be very small • Timescales: These are often too short to fulfil some of the expectations of funders and need to be reviewed in the light of the limited capacity of small social enterprises. • Barriers: safety and risk management can be too stringent a actually can prevent progress in some cases – all business will include some element of risk, and this cannot always be “managed” away. • I still find that there is aversion to risk taking by large (mostly statutory) organisations towards enabling and supporting social enterprises and this attitude is not changing fast enough. • Business skills and experience are generally in short supply in the community and voluntary sector. Many workers in this sector do not believe that business skills are a necessary component in the type of work in which they are currently engaged.

Hopes after a thorough consultation process

Those of us who have now been working in the Social Enterprise sector for several years, have seen many different p and operational issues arise. These have been thoroughly discussed through the regional forum mechanism via a multitude of events and other consultation processes. The regional and national strategy should now be properly informed by the users and those directly involved in the creation and sustaining of viable social enterprises. It was good to have an opportunity to have an input into the criteria by which we will be expected to deliver. Following on from the strategy consultation event at Over, which took place on 6th December, I am pleased to note that the draft strategy document takes on board many of the points raised from the grass roots at that consultation event. We now look forward to an opportunity to implement these guidelines, and to see if they really will drive the sector forward in the time allocated.

page 2 ➜ whole organisation, not just your trading operation.

Is it too risky?

Trustees are right to be cautious when spending public m and, as another report from The Guild concludes “being risk averse is rational”. However, risk is relative and what could be more risky that employing staff using a two year grant with no guarantee of renewal at the end of those two years?!

What changes would it involve?

Ideally, social enterprise grows out of existing activity and is mission-related. If so, change may be evolutionary rather than revolutionary, even with legal structures. It’s often mindsets that need the most change! In my experience, once there is an organisational commitment (at staff and trustee level) to develop new, well worked up ideas, obstacles become challenges to be overcome.

What would our beneficiaries think?

Ask them! But make sure you prepare in advance and explain your case carefully. If your beneficiaries have a choice between an affordably priced service or none at all, they might see the benefit of paying something. If they understand there’s no such thing as a free service (someone somewhere has to pay for it) they might be more willing to contribute. If their payments improve the service you provide, it might also seem a small price to pay. If they understand you won’t grow horns because you’re trading, they might be reassured!

What would be the impact on the rest of the organisation if we began trading?

Unless you’re talking about setting up a separate trading arm, trading activity is best integrated into the rest of the organisation as far as possible. This would allow you to share the benefits of good business practice - financial systems, costeffective marketing etc. If the trading activity also furthers your mission and raises independent income, its impact should be positive.

What does it say about the role of our volunteers?

The contribution of volunteers to our organisations is invaluable. Such ‘support in kind’ is vital, but it doesn’t pay all the bills! Trading puts a price on our services (a tangible measure of the value of the skills and expertise of paid and unpaid staff). I believe anything we can do to express our selfworth (above and beyond the inherent value of the ‘voluntary spirit’) is to be welcomed.

Might we lose our original social purpose?

Only if your original social purpose was never clear and rooted in the organisation. Chasing a pot of money is as likely to take an organisation ‘off course’ as is pursuing mission-related trading. Social enterprise is another tool in the box, not the complete toolkit!

Might we lose the diversity of people who want to work in the voluntary sector?

Clearly some people may be unwilling to adopt the more business-like approach to charity work. But it may also attract new people to the sector, increasing its diversity. But wholesale overnight change is not being proposed. Rather that we should consider new practices that allow us to provide a better service for our beneficiaries and give us a more secure future.

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Cambridge is a Fairtrade City C

ambridge was declared a Fairtrade City on 5th March when the Mayor, Councillor David White, arrived by punt with the Fairtrade message to meet the Cambridge Fairtrade Steering Group at the Oxfam Shop in Bridge Street. He was presented with a copy of the brand new Fairtrade Guide to Cambridge by Fabiola Blum of Cambridge World Development Movement (WDM), showing more than 50 outlets where Fairtrade goods can be bought in the city. F guarantees a better deal for Third World producers through: • Long-term guaranteed fair prices with direct trading relations, • A price that covers producers’ costs, • A premium for producers to invest in their communities – clean water, healthcare, education and the environment. Today there are over 200 products, such as tea, coffee, snacks, sugar, pasta and fruit that carry the Fairtrade Mark. For more details about Fairtrade, please see the Fairtrade Foundation website at: For a free, distributable PDF directory and map of Cambridge WDM Group’s Fairtrade Guide to Cambridge, go to The guide was financed via a grant from Cambridge Sustainable City, the city council’s environmental initiative. More details are available at Cambridge Environment Centre, open Tuesday to Friday 10am to 5pm at the Guildhall o n t e l 0 1 2 2 3 4 5 7 0 4 6 e m a i l : s u e. h t t p : / / w w w. c a m b r i d g e . g o v. u k / p u b l i c / sustainablecity/newsletters/sus_city_news_27.pdf

Small Business Rate Relief


rom April this year there will be a new scheme to help small businesses by offering significant rate relief. Social Enterprises will of course be eligible and many will be operating in premises that have a rateable value of less than £10,000. Local Government Minister – Nick Raynsford – explained that from the beginning of April this Year many small businesses will become eligible for a significant reduction in their rates bill.

Around 450,000 businesses are likely to qualify across the country. The rules are straightforward. To qualify a business must occupy only one premise with a rateable value of less than £10,000. Those businesses with a rateable value of £5,000 or less will get a reduction of 50% in their business rates. Those businesses with rateable values between £5,000-£10,000 will also qualify for a

rebate, but the amount of the rebate will reduce by 1% for every £100 rateable value above £5,000. So a business with a rateable value of £5,500 would qualify for a 45% rebate, a business with a rateable value of £7,000 would qualify for a 30% rebate, and a business with a rateable value of £9,000 would get a 10% rebate. Acknowledgement: posted by Steve Morphew on The Guild website:


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Voice 05 – A greater role for social enterprises? O n 25th February, a capacity crowd of more than 800 social enterprises and allied practitioners listened as Labour’s chief election strategist, the Rt Hon Alan Milburn MP, gave the Voice05 conference’s key-note speech in Manchester. “Social enterprises are a key part of any ambition to make Britain more prosperous with the potential to play an even bigger role in spreading opportunity and prosperity in our country”, he said. Highlighting the huge range of industries in which social enterprises are operating he continued: “social enterprises, of course, are astonishingly diverse. Thousands of businesses trading with a social purpose, ranging from the very well known – the Big Issue and Café Direct – to the less well known: care homes, housing associations, co-operatives, nurseries, bus services, leisure centres, fair trade businesses”.

Greater social enterprise involvement in mainstream service delivery?

Social Enterprise Coalition chief executive Jonathan Bland (above) and Rt Hon Alan Milburn MP

A theme running throughout the speech was an emphasis on the importance of greater public involvement in service delivery, and Mr Milburn set out a vision for a greater role for social enterprise in delivering mainstream public services. Responding to Alan Milburn’s speech, Social Enterprise Coalition chief executive Jonathan Bland said: “We welcome his commitment to deepening the role played by social enterprises in spreading opportunity and unleashing aspiration. His vision that social enterprise will be as integral to public service delivery as either the public or private sectors is a significant step forward”.

Some views from the East of England

We polled for reactions from some of the East of England support organisations that were present.

Equity and loan finance: the opportunity and the risks

Peter See, development manager of Social Enterprise East of England , attended the workshop, Raising Equity from Social Investors, and commented: Equity investment is becoming increasingly available to the social sector. Some advice to social enterprises choosing funding. While loans are typified by fixed interest and period, venture capital (equity) is more flexible, taking, e.g., a royalty on the expansion that results from investment. You have to know your business risks – will your idea work? And your finance risks – what will happen if it doesn’t work (will I lose my house)? The lower the business risk, the higher risk finance you can choose. Equity investment protects the social enterprise from the downside risk, but means that they share the upside. At the workshop Partnering and Joint Ventures with the Private Sector, a succession of speakers described seriously big partnerships between commercial organisations and the social sector. Sound bites of advice: • “Successful enterprises start small and grow big”. • “The VCS has for a long time had a personality cult; there is a

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perceptible move towards succession planning”. • “Risk aversion? Yes, the public sector is historically risk averse”. • On the relationship between the commercial and social sector: “It has to be for sound business reasons, not just Corporate Social Responsibility”. • And my favourite “I once tried playing the community benefit card when bidding for a large contract. Their response was “I don’t give a **** who you employ, can you do the job?”” A Brady of APU, representing the Social Enterprise Network for Essex, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock, was upbeat in his assessment: I really enjoyed the conference – it was a massive, slick event and indicated a lot of progress for the coalition, you can only hope that the visiting politicians came away more convinced than ever that social enterprise has a lot to offer. From the keynote speeches Alan Milburn stressed that social enterprise is key in giving communities some control across many government departments, e.g. ODPM, DEFRA, Home Office. It’s also central in achieving the government’s main aims on full employment, child poverty, childcare provision and public services choice.

A need to mainstream social enterprise into education

The best session I attended was on Developing the Talent of T where Mervyn Wilson of Co-operative College made the point that social enterprise is invisible in the school curriculum, even the ones which are specialist “business and enterprise” schools. If you’re lucky, co-ops get a mention in History classes! Can the movement get social enterprise (alongside enterprise) on the mainstream curriculum? Social enterprises can be formally linked to schools; Mervyn even floated the idea of the co-operative model providing a possible structure for new schools as LEA influence declines. R Young from the Skoll Centre in Oxford argued that there h been a lot of focus on governance and finance, and that people

Events More practitioners next year? If there is a similar event next year, I’d urge anyone from the East of England who gets the chance to attend. Sue Lawton, CEO of incredit, reinforced Andy’s point about attendance: “The significant contribution of this conference to the development of the social enterprise agenda is reflected in the enthusiasm of the statutory agencies in their participation. Next year it will be even better to see more practitioners!”

A view on Community Interest Companies (CICs)

not structures are the most in need of attention now. Like me, she believes that universities need to work closely with other providers to validate and accredit programmes, and bring new talent into their delivery, and that higher education business schools need to tailor their mainstream delivery, or change it completely, rather than offer social enterprise managers a corporate management programme.

Thoughts on the supply side of IT recycling

One interesting nugget concerned the supply side for firms involved in IT recycling. Apparently, with WEEE regulations imminent, corporates are looking at lease schemes more closely. With these schemes (80% of the market already in places like Italy) the providers usually collect the old PCs and have their own direct a to move them on to customers in China or Africa. I’d be interested to see how this is influencing businesses like Millrace IT or Recycle IT in our region.

Myles Cooper of Workskills Essex commented: I attended the session on the new Community Interest Company (CIC). This is to be up and running as a new legal form of incorporated entity from this summer. A lot of the legal stuff went over many of the delegates’ heads. The CIC introduces a couple of extra bits of paperwork (essentially a self serving statement about the community benefiting from the company’s activities), but no tax or other pecuniary advantage ( this may change with the final regulations). A present, it appears to be a “bolt-on” to existing legislation, and apart from the publicity “benefit” of adding CIC to your corporate notepaper, there seem little advantage in using the new company form. Existing legal structures (whether company limited by guarantee or otherwise) will be sufficient, and CIC status should be considered only if it is financially worthwhile. I got the distinct impression that there had been (or could be) an opportunity missed to ensure social enterprises of all kinds benefit from actual legislation, rather than the politicians simply add sound bites to the SE/new mutualism/third way/ydydy debate. I t o o a g re e t h a t t h e For further information conference was very well about the event, go to organised and attended (standing room only).

Nearly new school uniform shop aids Nicaraguan charity

By Geoff Bones


ur local comprehensive school, Comberton Village college near Cambridge, takes in children aged 11 to 16 from a wide area of surrounding villages. When the school introduced a new uniform – polo shirts and sweatshirts all embroidered with the school name – parents found themselves increasingly obliged to buy from the school shop. And the prices weren’t cheap. While most parents are reasonably well-off, there are a significant number who find this a burden.

Proceeds pay for Nicaraguan children’s uniforms

It was this situation that had led to Sue’s original idea to start a nearly-new uniform shop. I had thought the whole thing was slightly crazy until our local church started supporting an aid charity in Nicaragua. Now, to run a charity shop made sense to me, giving the enterprise

an identity that could engender goodwill and provide local help without any stigma attached. I also liked the idea that the money raised could in turn buy uniform for Nicaraguan children and so enable them to attend school. The question was how to run the operation so that it could fit it into a busy schedule? First, we decided to open only on occasional days in the year, starting on three Saturday mornings in the summer holidays. Secondly, we use a very simple pricing policy (e.g. all shirts £3) that avoids the need for labelling. We also asked for donations of clean clothes only. We readily gained approval to use the hall adjoining the church to run the shop, and we set up weatherproof collection b outside a couple of houses belonging to members of the congregation. In this way, the only work required is in setting up the shop and manning it on three or

four mornings a year, and the occasional sorting of donations.

Co-operation from the school

We were careful to gain the school’s blessing before going ahead with the scheme, and in return they have proved to be a great help. Their donations of unclaimed lost property were a boost in getting us started, particularly as other donations were initially thin on the g Since then donations have grown, and we can now afford to upgrade the quality of our stock. The school have also lent us their channels of communication to parents, but even with their help we have found it hard to get the message out: we still meet parents who are unaware about the shop, and we are currently l at ways of raising our profile. Even so, two and half years on, we have sold over £500 worth of uniforms – some 200 items.


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Focus on: The arts by Andrew Saul and Jonathan Mitchell

Breaking Out


scape Artists is an integrated arts and education company which works with marginalised groups in the creative sector. Director and co-founder, Matthew Taylor, echoed the company’s aim to “build a bridge from the social margins to the cultural mainstream.”

The company is making the transition from charity to a salescentred organisation, currently generating 10% of its £180,000 turnover through tradable services. With over eight years experience in the arts sector, the company sells its technical abilities and consultancy services to other organisations and projects. It also runs accredited courses and multimedia workshops aimed at equipping clients with the skills to work in the arts. The company will showcase its work at the Edge Festival in Cambridge this Autumn. It is the UK’s leading socially inclusive arts event, and brings together arts organisations from across Europe. Having worked with the RSC, and boasting Harold Pinter as a patron, the company continues to unlock potential and break down social barriers. By Jonathan Mitchell


Kollectiv Music

Look! No O


he Keystone Kollectiv held a workshop in Dereham on February 26th, during which young people spent the day with trained musicians from the JDT music school. The Kollectiv is part of Keystone Development Trust based in Thetford, Norfolk – one of the largest in England. The trust’s Keystone Children and Youth Foundation aims to develop opportunities for young people, and the Kollectiv is a membership based scheme which helps young musicians of all abilities to find rehearsal space, play gigs, raise funds for equipment Keystone Development Trust and identify training 10 White Hart Street opportunities. The Kollectiv Thetford, Norfolk. IP24 1AD has been running since 01842 754639 September 2003.


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Escape Artists 91 Cherry Hinton Road, Cambridge. CB1 7BS Tel: 01223 245345

ne of only two puppet theatres operating in England, the Norwich Puppet Theatre hosts visiting companies, stages its own productions, and delivers a variety of workshops and community outreach programmes. The theatre is built into a converted medieval church. The company tours beyond its Norwich base, both to other regions of the UK and abroad, (it recently spent three weeks in Madrid). General manager Ian Woods told us "for our school work, we feel it is more exciting for the children to see a show in the theatre rather than in their school dining hall.

Focus on: The arts by Andrew Saul

Bedford Creative Arts B

by professional artists, giving learners something to aspire to. T arts are used to increase confidence, develop skills, promote enjoyment and improve people’s quality of life. An example is a photography workshop for mothers, run with Spurgeons Child Care. The company recently became limited by guarantee. Robin Lawrence, who is responsible for developing social enterprise for Bedford Chamber of Business, helped with the company re g i s t r a t i o n a n d c to support t organisation as it prepares to become a registered charity later this year. The company’s t is £250,000, which is mostly in the form of grant funding. £150,000 of Photograph by Daniel Meadows

edford Creative Arts has been promoting the arts in Bedford for the past 20 years. It specialises in film, photography and animation, working with people who experience barriers to other creative opportunities and training. The BCA Gallery is a smaller part of the organisation, and hosts exhibitions

this is from the Bedford Borough Council and the Arts Council England, East. Contracts tend to be short term, and Chief Executive Laura Pottinger tells me they are working towards becoming less grant dependant. Why not go along and see an exhibition? You might be inspired to have a go yourself! The BCA Gallery will be exhibiting a series of six animations by Suky Best called “The Return of the Native”, which will run from 23rd. April until 4th. June.



Bedford Creative Arts Gallery 33 Castle Lane Bedford MK40 3XD 01234 273580

Bedford Creative Arts The Gatehouse Foster Hill Road Bedford MK41 7TD 01234 355870

strings The theatre was started in 1980 when Ray and Joan Da Silva wanted a permanent base for their touring company. Subsequent Artistic Directors were Barry Smith, and currently Luis Z Boy. It works with many forms of puppetry including glove puppets, marionettes, shadow puppets, rod puppets, rod marionettes and bunraku puppets. As well as putting on shows, the company hosts activities such as an evening class, talks and presentations for all sections of the community. A workshop in puppet making for both children and adults is a regular activity, held both at the theatre and off site. The theatre has worked with schools, adults with learning difficulties and recently delivered a ten w outreach programme sponsored by ACORN. Unemployed and disadvantaged people learned about shadow puppetry and made an animated short film on digital video. Martin Sercombe of Media Projects East, provided technical expertise with the video and sound. The theatre’s turnover for the financial year 2003/4 was £185,000, 44% of which is subsidies from the Arts Council England East, Norwich City Council and Norfolk County Council. Ticket income to the venue accounts for £30,000 for the same period, with the balance being made up from the company’s touring Norwich Puppet Theatre activities. It is good to St. James, Whitefriars see a healthy prospect Norwich, Norfolk, NR3 1TN for such an interesting 01603 629921 creative organisation.



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Focus on: The arts

by Andrew Saul

Behind the Mask Empowerment

through music C


tour ing theatre company based in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, Trestle Theatre Company was founded in 1981 and creates a variety of productions and workshops using theatre, mask and mime. Although traditionally a mask theatre, the company is introducing dialogue in some of its productions. It is also d writers for mask theatre, this year with Diane Samuels – the acclaimed writer of Kindertransport – on a script entitled Beyond Midnight which will tour the country in the autumn. In addition to its production activities, Trestle Theatre runs workshops and courses, both in the UK and abroad. A recent w allowed 60 local mixed ability adults and young people to work with professionals including Fenella Lee, Andrew Mclay and Mandy Colleran. A theatre skills training course for 16-20 year olds – funded by the ESF through the Learning and Skills Council – also included Skills for Life training. Tre s t l e A r t s Base, housed in a 100 year old chapel, is an a r t s re s o u rc e c e n t re w h i c h can be used for rehearsals, productions, workshops and c l a s s e s. It i s available to hire for meetings, seminars and corporate events, and has a licence to hold weddings. As well as workshops and facilities hire, sales of mask sets are an important source of income. Schools often become introduced to the theatre by buying a trestle mask set. The company is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee. The company receives funding from Arts Council England for touring but not Trestle Theatre Company for the upkeep of its building. Russet Drive, St. Albans, Hertfordshire. AL4 0JQ Only 40% of its income is 01797 850950 derived from funding, the rest from earned income, Trestle Arts Base a a turnover of £600K Russet Drive, St. Albans, per annum. Clearly, there is Hertfordshire, AL4 0JQ 01797 850150 a lot of talent and creativity going on behind the mask.



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reating music can be an empowering experience for people from all backgrounds, including the socially excluded; that is the philosophy of Sound Sense, a national development agency for community music which has a strong presence in the Eastern Region. Most of Sound Sense’s work is in the form of workshops. “It’s about empowerment, not skills or standards,” Abby Cheverst, the Eastern Region project officer, explains, “a good community musician can take a group of people who might say they can’t play drums or sing, for a 30 minute period and they will make beautiful music together. It gives them a sense of empowerment.” Sound Sense advocates community music at an individual level as well Case Study as to regional and national government and organisations, a n d e n c o u ra g e s the perception of community Addis (right) and musicians as Amigo Drummond professionals. One of the problems Addis Drummond is a rapper based in encountered is that Huntingdon who has been performing many musicians for some years with his crew No More have little business No Less. With the support of Sound expertise, so Sound Sense, he was able to secure a grant Sense helps them from Arts Council England to deliver a learn to support series of workshops in Huntingdon. t h e m s e l v e s The award enabled him to purchase financially. equipment to deliver sessions on The old question programming, synthesising and of what constitutes recording music. About 30 young a social enterprise people aged between 12 and 16 took came up in our part. Addis encourages young people discussion. Abby to write lyrics with a positive message sees the musicians and to think about the impact which as the true social negative lyrics can have. entrepreneurs, with Addis is recording a new album and Sound Sense giving continues his commitment to community them support. music.


Sound Sense 7 Tavern Street, Stowmarket. IP14 1PJ 01449 673990

Apology The article on Silver Fern Trust in our last issue contained a few inaccuracies. The company is actually called the Silver Fern Trust. It was already a charity when we ran the article in InTouch issue 1. We misspelt Manager Kelly Boutcher’s name and that of Dickersons the sponsor of their aggregates. The company offers construction courses, but the statement that these were NVQ qualifications was an error. Finally, the website address should have been Apologies to all concerned!

Focus on: The arts

by Andrew Saul

Designing opportunity


ess than two years old, Creative Touch is establishing itself as a professional design and publishing company in the social sector. Its mission to create training and employment o p p o r t u n i t i e s a c ro s s t h e c re a t i ve industries is well under way. The company is really setting the standard for design in community magazine and newsletter production. It publishes four regular newsletters – including InTouch – which create real-world opportunities for writers, photographers, designers and media sales e Another example is the Opportunities Newsletter. Creative Touch works with the Oxmoor Opportunities Partnership to train and support a team of local residents in the quarterly production of the full colour magazine. Two members of the community publishing team have progressed to employment by Creative Touch as assistant editors. In addition to design and publishing, Creative Touch works with artists, musicians and film-makers, finding ways for them to translate their talents into income. It has set up a small glassmaking studio, has professional video and photographic equipment, and delivers training courses in DTP, lowcost film-making and other multi-media disciplines. One of the intended outcomes i the opportunity for creative people from different disciplines to meet and inspire each other. A rap musician meeting a painter, a film-maker meeting a glass artist.

The company is limited by guarantee with profits being re-invested into the company. In practice this is done with day-to-day support of staff development, flexible working hours, and making time to talk when they need it. This approach has created exceptional staff loyalty and commitment to the project. It currently has a turnover of around £100,000, the majority of which comes from creative c o n t r a c t s. So m e funding is received for delivering training and some staff salaries are supported through Creative Touch is working with a glass-maker t Midpoint project in Cambridgeshire. As each staff member c the programme, Creative Touch hopes to offer them employment. The growth of the company has been rapid, but steady, and a move to new premises is imminent. The new premises will include an open space that can be used as a photographic and film studio, art gallery and general working space. It should also include a small sound studio for creating spoken word publications, audio for video, and simple music projects. Managing director, Austin Bambrook, says “We see on a daily basis that creating access t facilities and expertise can remove major barriers t creative success”.

Getting a bead on business


any people have a creative hobby, such as jewellery making, sewing, knitting, crocheting, painting or cooking, which they dream of turning into a business. Neomari is a company which aims to provide training and development to do this, generally for people from ethnic minorities, mainly women. The company offers a number of craftbased classes, primarily in beadcraft, from learning the basics to making pieces of jewellery, weaving and stitching; the history of beadcraft and how beads feature in culture. Neomari, also delivers Skills for Life and basic computing courses. The business was started by Ekky Archibong, an IT support analyst who wanted to work from home to be with her family. Turning her hobby into a business allowed her to do so. Ekky believes that what makes her service different from other craft work training courses is that she teaches business and marketing skills in addition to craft skills. Ekky realises that many unemployed people have a lack of confidence, and she aims to help people develop their abilities and project confidence and credibility when marketing them.


Neomari Training Services Unit 270b Wenta Business Centre Colne Way, Watford, WD24 7ND 0208 9501670

The Arthouse at St. Elizabeth’s


Rapper Richie-Mack worked with Creative Touch photographers to create this image for his forthcoming CD cover

he St. Elizabeth’s centre (featured in InTouch issue 3) opened the Arthouse in September 2003 to celebrate its 100th. anniversary. The Arthouse encourages all learners to gain a sense of importance within the community by the showing and selling of artworks. In the last year, the Arthouse has shown paintings and ceramics in various venues including the Royal Academy in London. If you would like to see their work yourself, they will be exhibiting at the Raw Arts Festival in London – 16-21 May.


Creative Touch 4 Archers Court, Stukeley Road Huntingdon, PE29 6XG Tel: 01480 433302

i InTouch

St Elizabeth's Centre The Art House 01279 843451

No 10 May/June 2005


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 Thirteen Big Lottery Fund Awards made in the Eastern Region as the BLF winds down The Big Lottery Fund recently announced 13 grants, totalling just over £780,000, for groups in the region. Among the lucky winners are: • The Samaritans of Basildon and Thurrock: awarded £119,000 for a project to improve and extend the centre. • Royston Volunteer Centre: awarded £72,500 to expand the Time Bank scheme (see: “Time Bank is one of ‘lucky 13’” below. • Community Connections in Great Yarmouth: awarded £207,500 to provide development support to adult, youth and ethnic minority-led community groups. • A g e C o n c e r n No r w i c h :

a w a rd e d £ 2 8 , 0 0 0 f o r a bicycle outreach project taking information out into the community. • Leighton Buzzard Methodist Church: awarded £36,000 to help with the purchase and installation of two lifts. • Felixstowe and Distr ict Citizens Advice Bureau: awarded £36,000 to continue to provide its advice and outreach services. Congratulations to all the winners. The BLF is winding down its current large, medium, international, strategic and research programmes and the final deadline for receipt of applications is 31st May 2005. To find out more call 0845 4102030 or go to their website:

Time Bank is one of ‘lucky 13’

The Royston Time Bank in North Hertfordshire (see

InTouch, March/April 2005) is one of just 13 East of England organisations to celebrate s u c c e s s i n t h e Fe b r u a r y 2005 round of grants from the Big Lotter y Fund. An award of nearly £72,500, the third highest of the round, will employ a part-time time bank coordinator for three years and allow the mutual volunteering scheme to double its membership. The Lottery grant follows earlier success with the Key Fund at Hertfordshire Community Foundation, with £7,000 to fund research and action to involve younger people in the time bank. For details about time banking across the UK, go to Thanks to Peter Milson of Hertsmere CVS for pointing this out.

Trainers offering their services free to charities Ta k e a l o o k a t : w w w.

Free help for social enterprises on highlevel projects Business Link Herts are working with Primetimers to make skilled consultants available to work on high-level projects in Hertfordshire free

of charge. More information on the web-site at: www. or call 07812 051990, Or contact Helen Marini of Business Link Herts on her direct line: 01727 813561.

Government funding Q&As There is a bulletin board for funding questions and answers at the Government Funding website hosted by the Directory for Social Change. You can register at http://www. cms/default.aspx

Get money to help generate your own funding through the Only Connect scheme Applications can now be submitted for the second round of the Only Connect s c h e m e, r u n by N C V O ’s Sustainable Funding Project and sponsored by Triodos Bank. Only Connect enables voluntary and community organisations to explore their ideas for generating income, through trading goods and services, in a fun and practical way. It pays up to £100 travel expenses for employees or volunteers of one organisation to visit another who are already trading, and also pays the host organisation £150 as a consultation fee for their time. All the visitors have to do to claim the cash is to complete a report to show what they learnt from the visit, which will be put on the web for others to learn from at . Application forms can be found at, or phone Michelle Edmundson on 020 7520 2519 for further information or an application pack.

Looking to buy your own premises?

Royston Time Bank members – see InTouch March/April 2005

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No 10 May/June 2005

T h e n t h e Re n t t o Bu y funding scheme from Unity Trust Bank may be of interest to you. The Rent to Buy funding scheme provides up to 100% of the finance required to purchase your property

Networks unlimited through a combination of a traditional mortgage topped up by the Bank’s equity stake. The Bank claims that “the scheme is simple to complete and straightforward to process”. It sees the benefits as: • A stable future - the security of owning your own property. • Protection against large rental increases. • An asset - your equity builds up month on month in property as the mortgage is repaid, and it could actually increase further with any rises in market values. You can also buy back the Bank’s equity stake at any stage. Fo r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n email rent2buy@unitygroup., or go to their website at: cfm?itemid=975.

Can social enterprises focus on social return and really be sustainable? An article by Shayla Walmsley of Charity Times asks this question. The need for social enterprises to be sustainable with an effective business model is also covered. You can read the article on pages/features/The%20notfor-profit%20principle.htm.

Firm Foundations and capacity building in the social enterprise arena? Firm Foundations is the Government’s framework for community capacity building that also has relevance for the social enterprise arena, as well as those interested in community development; local action planning; learning o p p o r t u n i t i e s, s k i l l s a n d social capital; asset transfer and community anchor organisations. From the Home Office Civil Renewal Unit, and a product of a two year review and consultation process, Firm Foundations sets out a broad framework for pursuing the government’s ambitions for civil renewal. There are no additional resources as part of this initiative, rather it is intended to make better use

of existing resources, promote common principles and consistent use of language in relation to capacity building across all sectors and tiers of government. The full report is available from the Community a n d Ra c e s e c t i o n o f t h e Home Office website: www.

Article: “Where social benefit meets business” An article exploring the different types of funding models as more projects with social goals are set up is featured in Third Sector Magazine of 19th January. Entitled ‘Enterprise Culture: where social benefit meets business’ the article explores different funding approaches and gives lists of funding options. Go to: http://www. news/full_news.cfm?ID=13279 ..

Investment in the social economy facilitated by investment readiness tool The Investment Readiness Tool, developed by Community Enterpr ise in Strathclyde (CEiS) includes a ‘capital growth matrix’ that enables organizations to chart their position on the path from grant based income to an investment base. Key elements of the tool are: • Developing an “investment readiness” tool • Using assets as a base for growth • Bringing funders and financiers together • Opening up procurement opportunities The tool can be used by the private sector to explore investing in the social economy to establish real rather than perceived risk. For more information see http:// projects/new_approaches_to_ funding_&_finance.htm.

in order to achieve lower prices for ethical office products and services, and focuses organisational spend within the social enterprise s e c t o r. V i a 3 ’s Ne a r b u yo u page is an excellent example of how you can make use of the site to promote what you do and what you sell. Go to the Via3 Co-purchasing page on Nearbuyou: http://www. system/ p?NodeID=89659&orgid=2917

Need help with training needs analysis or appraisals? If you need help with a training needs analysis or appraisals then guides by Sharon Bartram and Brenda Gibson are available to help you through the process. For a copy of the guide go to: www. and click on the “needs analysis and appraisal toolkit” url. The guides will cost £185.00 as a package, a £35.00 saving on individual prices. A sample document is available free of charge.

Find out more about procurement A collection of resources has been collated by the National Association of Councils for

Voluntary Service (NACVS) following their conference at resources/procurement. For an idea of the Governments attitude towards engaging the voluntary and community sector in delivering public ser vices see http://www. active/item.asp?ID=88&Newsl etterDate=10/11/04.

Procurement help for social enterprises Produced by Small Business Service’s Social Enterprise Unit with Social Enterprise Magazine, this supplement aimed at social enterprises and purchasers to help social enterprises win contracts. ‘Procurement - the Social Enterprise Solution’ highlights developments at national and regional levels to help open up procurement to the sector. Go to uk/content/socialenterprise/ procurement_suppl.pdf

Social Audit Network The Social Audit Network is an “e-network” of over 600 people in the UK and abroad who are interested in the theory and practice of social accounting and audit for voluntary and community organisations. The network

Via3 Co-purchasing Via3 pools the purchasing power of many organisations


No 10 May/June 2005


Networks unlimited not only sends out information but is also used as a way of contacting other people and spreading information about what network members are up to. For information and to sign up to their newsletter go to:

The Community Interest Company (CIC) This new company form is due to be available from this summer. For details of the Bill, see companies_audit_etc_bill/. For more general information on CICs see www.socialenterprise. or

St Albans Trestle turns the tables, needs staff Trestle Arts Base, in St Albans, Herts, is going from strength to strength. Developments this year include a new café f o r TA B ’s Hi g h f i e l d Pa rk neighbourhood. Operations

Manager,Natalie Richardson said: “The doors will be open to everyone, whether people are attending an event at the Arts Base or not, and I’m sure that local people will be glad there is somewhere nice to come for coffee without getting stuck in traffic. There are some lovely walks around Highfield Park too, so it is a great place to come for some fresh air and recharge with a cappuccino!” Trestle is looking for local people to work in the new café - please contact Natalie Richardson on 01727 850950 for details.

Cambridgeshire SE training group recycles mobile phones and ink cartridges Januar y saw the launch of mobile phone (and accessories) and ink/toner cartridge collections from Cambridgeshire County


Council’s household waste recycling centres. The contract was awarded to three local groups that belong to the Social Training Enterprise Group (STEnG): Opportunities Without Limits (OWL), Branching Out and Fenland Area Community Enterprise Trust (FACET). The collections will be carried out by trainees/ clients of the groups and then the items will be sorted and sold to reuse/recycling companies. All funds raised will support the organisation.

Cambridge University Giveaway Board Does your social enterprise, voluntary or community organisation need equipment or furniture? If so, try the Cambr idge University Giveaway Board. It’s a free service where you can place ‘wanted’ ads or see a list of University offerings. Departments and colleges at

the university use the Board to dispose of useable furniture and computers that they no longer need. You will have to collect any items you obtain. community/cgbb/sqltest1.php

Co-operative Development Agency changes address Co-operative Development Agency has changed premises. Their new address is: Suite 72, Greenway Business Centre, Harlow Business Park, Harlow, Essex, CM19 5QE. Phone: 01279 408269. Thanks to the following electronic publications and organisations for allowing us to use some of their material above: CCORNN, COVER, CRNE, Update, NCVO, Raiser (Hertsmere CVS), SEC and SEN

Phoenix Development Fund Project for Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex

Three Business Links connected to support social enterprise development

Managing a Social Enterprise

Rolling programme of OCN Accredited units designed to help you during startup

Go & See Bursaries

£300 max funding per visit to help you to learn from others’experiences

Civic Champions

much acclaimed personal and professional development programme (current course full)

Diagnostic Tool

development of a tool to help organisations refer SEOs to the right advisors (organisations wishing to be involved with this please contact your local Business Link)


Social Audit Tool. Research activity to establish a useful method to demonstrate social impacts


Feasibility Study. To establish the feasibility of an SEO incubator unit. BME grants Grants to develop SEO activity in the BME sector


Feasibility Studies. Grants for feasibility studies for SEOs to promote sustainability. BME grants. Grants to develop SEO activity in the BME sector

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No 10 May/June 2005

For more information and booking please go to


Diary Suffolk and Norfolk Co-operating through Young People Booking has now opened for a major conference that will be looking at “Co-operative Solutions” to a range of issues facing schools, educationalists and anyone working with young people in a wide range of settings. Topics include: • tackling anti-social behaviour and bullying, • conflict resolution, • Credit Unions, Fairtrade and models young people can use to set up their own co-operative and social enterprises. Conference organiser Pam Walker said: “In the co-operative movement, we believe passionately in the potential of people and how much we can achieve by working together for a common goal. This philosophy provides a powerful tool to address some of the most serious problems faced by society today and to give young people a real say over their own lives and the future of their communities. “At a time when many co-operative businesses are renewing their links with schools, colleges and young people, this is an excellent opportunity to learn from the experiences of practitioners who have been developing co-operative methods of learning and working for over 20 years.” The conference takes place from 5pm on Thursday 7th July until 4pm on Saturday 9th at Easton College near Norwich. For more details and booking forms contact: Pam Walker, Member Education Officer, Ipswich and Norwich Co-op on 01473 280316 or at

Please send details of your upcoming events to Peter Durrant on 01223 262759 or send an email to

Three Rs and a profit (That’s reuse, recycle and repair!) Are you a voluntary community group or social enterprise? Is your project based on recycling or dealing with second-hand goods, or are you thinking of getting involved in such a scheme? Do you get frustrated by bureaucracy? Date: 8th June 2005 Time: 9:30am to 4:00pm Venue: Ecotech, Swaffham, Norfolk Cost: £20 per delegate, £10 to members of the voluntary and community sector. Lunch and refreshments included. Come and share your experiences at an inaugural conference being hosted by The Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk. Aims: • Sharing of good practice • Problem solving • Sustainability • Working with statutory agencies. Workshop Sessions will be condcted by Business Link, NWES, Wastewise, West Norfolk, MIND. Who is it for? The conference will be of broad interest to voluntary and community groups and social enterprises and those local government, statutory, support and financial organisation that interface with them. Representatives from funding, training, and business advice agencies will also be present. For further details, or to book a place, please contact: Sue Payne, Community Development Officer, Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, Tel: 01553 616554, email:

Manage that enterprise There is still time to check out The Guild’s rolling programme on starting and developing a social enterprise. As a bonus the units that make up “managing a social enterprise” can contribute to the nationally recognised certificate, “running a small business”. For more details go to: training_course_detail.php?recordID=2 or e-mail

Free digital media and ICT upskilling For employed people in SMEs (smallmedium enterprises) with less than 250

employees, voluntary organizations and freelances/ self-employed people. ASOCN units at level 3 will be delivered in a wide range of digital media and ICT training, e.g: • Photoshop • Digital Photography • Managing E-Commerce • Computer Literacy for Art, Craft and Design • Web Design • Video Production For information go to: Media+Training/Media+Clubhouses.htm and select “Ipswich”. Or Phone Trevor, Silvia or Veronica on 01473 418024

Eastern Region Your next steps to earning success If you have an idea for generating income from trading goods and services but need ‘encouragement’ to make it happen 12th and 13th May are dates for your diaries. Join 15 other will-be social entrepreneurs from Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire for 30 hours of eating, sleeping and breathing income generation. Hinxton Hall, set in 55 acres of beautiful Cambridgeshire countryside is the venue and there are special rates for Hertfordshire organisations. For further details e-mail

A range of courses designed to guide participants through the processes required to start and sustain a social enterprise Offered by The Guild, consultants and trainers for the voluntary and social enterprise sector in the Eastern Region. The programme is fully funded to participants in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex; is accredited with the Open College Network (OCN) and contains units that can lead to a nationally recognised certificate. The Guild is happy to talk to organisations outside these areas to see how you can set up an accredited training programme for social enterprises. Read more at php?recordID=17; contact Keith Bendell on 01603 615200 or email


No 10 May/June 2005



Trading hope for local entrepreneur Suffolk Regeneration Trust and Princes Trust help crash victim start a business


ury St Edmunds, Suffolk. A young entrepreneur from Swaffham Prior who, following a critical car crash, found it difficult to raise start-up funds for a new business, recently received a loan from Suffolk Regeneration Trust (SRT), the notfor-profit provider of loans to social enterprises and businesses in Suffolk and surrounding counties. Thanks to this, and another loan from Prince’s Trust, he seems set to achieve his personal goal of owning and running a successful business by the time he is 30. Rory Sasse, a 25 year old man from Swaffham Prior in Cambridgeshire, has always been ambitious, so, when he found himself hospitalised following a car crash, he decided to treat his recovery time as an ‘opportunity’ to realise his personal goal of owning and running a successful business by the time he was 30. Knowing that he couldn’t return to his day job until he was able to drive he began to do some research and quickly identified a range of very competitively priced quality lifting gear and towing belts for the haulage industry, not yet available in the UK. Further research confirmed a demand for such products, catalysing Rory into setting up a business – Sasse Worldwide Trading.

to get started. While it is understandable that conventional finance needs rules and regulations in place to ensure risk is minimised, it can be very frustrating to people like me, who, due to unfortunate circumstances, can not ‘pass the test,” said Rory. “Thanks to SRT, who are able to treat individual applications on merit and see beyond the small print, I am on target to realise my life ambition. Such community finance initiatives have a very important role in our society and should be recognised and applauded,” he added. Rory has already made some advance sales of his lifting and towing equipment and has begun negotiating the exclusive rights to introduce another new product to the UK market – this time targeting the golfing market. With this kind of motivation, Rory could even achieve his ambition early.

High street banks unable to help

Unfortunately, things did not continue to run as smoothly. When Rory began to apply for bank loans he realised his time ‘between jobs’ was going to be a problem. “I had lost earnings since the accident, had no proof of income, and no money in the bank. I was unable to raise the 50 per cent personal contribution b require when making loans to new businesses,” he explained. Rory visited the Citizens Advice Bureau, who put him in touch with Suffolk Regeneration Trust (SRT), a Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) which lends money to small businesses, selfemployed people and social enterprises in Suffolk and neighbouring counties that are unable to get bank loans. Leanne Castle, a business development m with SRT, visited him and quickly established that he had a sound business proposition. “Rory had identified a great opportunity but due to unfortunate personal circumstances was unable to raise the funds he needed to get started. Having worked with Rory we were soon able to confirm that we could make him a loan to purchase a vehicle and fund some advertising and marketing,” she advised.

SRT and Prince’s Trust step in

“Without SRT and Prince’s Trust – who also awarded me a grant – I would never have been able

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No 10 May/June 2005

Suffolk Regeneration Trust 5 Honey Hill, Bury St Edmunds Suffolk IP33 1RT. 01284 731780.


Rory Sasse, Sasse Worldwide Trading, 14 Heath Rd, Swaffham Prior, Cambridgeshire, CB5 0LA. 0870 0668976.


InTouch Issue 10  
InTouch Issue 10  

June 2005. Social Enterprise East of England's Quarterly Magazine In Touch. Issue 10 covers the challenges of social enterprise from two pe...