Yellow background with blue text: Why go back to normal when you can go back to better!

HISBE launch new campaign to engage people in better food and farming

Brighton’s rebel supermarket HISBE offers up some positive news in these challenging times. They’re announcing the opening of their second store and acknowledging that this is also a time of great opportunity to go “back to better” food and farming.

HISBE Food is a social enterprise supermarket based in Brighton, with a big focus on local suppliers, packaging free food, values-led brands and sustainable shopping options. HISBE’s purpose is to transform the British food industry, by reinventing the way supermarkets do business.

Photo of an empty store front with posters announcing a new HIBSE store opening in January 2021In January HISBE successfully raised £450,000  for expansion, through Triodos Bank’s crowdfunding platform and planned to open their second store, in Worthing, in May. The Coronavirus pandemic changed that, but post-lockdown, HISBE has announced a January 2021 opening date for the store and a new Back to Better campaign to engage people in better food and farming. The campaign is about showing more people what they do and inviting them to switch from their regular supermarket to HISBE.

There’s renewed hope, because public interest in good food has shifted due to Coronavirus, at a time when it’s more important than ever to tackle the issues in the food industry.

Ruth Anslow, who launched HISBE’s pilot store in Brighton in 2013 with her sister Amy and their friend Jack, expresses gratitude and optimism in the emergence from lockdown:

“It’s been a crazy six months since March when, like for everyone else, a virus-shaped spanner was thrown into our works… no sooner had we signed a lease on the Worthing premises and raised the money to refit it, when everything changed. Our Brighton shop was suddenly in survival mode. But we were committed to staying open, to keep good food flowing, keep our staff in their jobs and protect our suppliers’ livelihoods. We’re grateful that the business has made it through this difficult time and happy to find there’s a sort of new appreciation for good food and independent food businesses.”

“So, these are uncertain times, but there is also opportunity,” she continued. “HISBE is delighted to announce that we will open our second store, in Worthing, in January 2021. And we’ve launched a new campaign called “back to better” to show more people what we do and invite them to switch from their regular supermarket to ours. After all, why go back to normal, when you can go back to better?”

Partners for Possibility is now a Vanguard member of the Million Lives Club

Partners for Possibility recognised for far-reaching impact in South Africa

Symphonia for South Africa is celebrating the inclusion of its flagship programme, Partners for Possibility (PfP), in the the Vanguard cohort of the Million Lives Club (MLC), a global initiative which recognises innovators and social entrepreneurs who are making a significant impact in addressing global development challenges.

In reaching this milestone, PfP has successfully scaled their solutions to impact the lives of over 1 million people. PfP first joined the Million Lives Club initiative as a Voyager Member in October 2019.

PfP Founder and CEO of Symphonia for South Africa Louise van Rhyn said: “We are humbled by this validation of the PfP programme that continues to have a transformative impact on the lives of our participants and their respective communities. We are eager to leverage the benefits of greater visibility, shared learning and the funding opportunities that come with being a Vanguard member, but also understand that a recognition of this nature and its associated benefits comes with even greater responsibility.”

PfP partners business leaders with principals from under-resourced schools in a year-long, collaborative and practical journey. Since 2011, the programme has impacted education outcomes in over 1000 schools in every province of South Africa by strengthening the leadership of school principals whose influence on the quality of teaching and learning in the school is pivotal. To date, this process has transformed the lives of over 1 million learners.


Heidi Fisher

What’s stopping you scaling your social enterprise? Or what has stopped you?

Heidi Fisher of Make an Impact CIC is undertaking some research to look at the barriers to scaling social enterprises – with a view to identifying if the barriers that women face are different.

Heidi is keen to speak to social entrepreneurs that:

  • Have scaled their social enterprise;
  • Have considered scaling their social enterprise and decided not to; or
  • Are planning on scaling their social enterprise

You can participate in the research in two ways:

  1. By arranging an interview (via zoom or telephone and approximately 20-30 minutes long) – please email to arrange a convenient time
  2. By completing the online survey.

Heidi is aiming for the research to reflect the diverse nature of the social enterprise sector and would welcome the opportunity to hear about your experiences around scaling your social enterprise and any specific barriers you faced.

Charitable Travel Weekday Wellness

Free weekday wellness sessions for families this summer

New social enterprise travel agency Charitable Travel has launched a partnership with The Mintridge Foundation and Atlantic City USA to provide free, Olympic inspired, ‘Weekday Wellness’ sessions for families to help keep children active and learn about fitness and nutrition during the school holidays, with the opportunity to ask advice from world-class athletes.

Photo of a blonde woman in running gear running through a leafy avenue with her arms outspreadCharitable Travel Weekday Wellness is a series of live, online sessions, hosted by personal trainer and Charitable Travel Wellness Ambassador Jenny Tomei. The sessions will be held on Zoom at 8am every weekday from 13th July throughout the summer holidays.

Incorporating fun and flexible full bodyweight work outs and covering ideas and tips on diet and nutrition, the sessions will provide young people of all ages, abilities and physical capabilities with the chance to increase their fitness participation and create greater knowledge of health and wellbeing. The interactive sessions hosted by Jenny will also offer young people the opportunity to ask Olympic and Paralympic athletes’ advice.

The Mintridge Foundation is a registered charity dedicated to enhancing life skills in young people through sport, working with sporting role models from a wide range of disciplines to develop confidence, resilience and create awareness of the importance of mental and physical wellbeing. Over 40 team and individual athlete Mintridge Ambassadors will drop in to some sessions to answer questions from participants and parents can nominate children (aged between 9 – 18) for the chance to win a virtual Mintridge mentoring session with double Olympian Marilyn Okoro.

Charitable Travel is the first of its kind, social enterprise travel agency providing travellers with the unique opportunity to donate 5% of the cost of their holiday to a charity of their choice through a partnership with Just Giving. The sport empowerment charity The Mintridge Foundation has been selected as one of the travel company’s recommended charities for 2020 thanks to its fantastic work in engaging and mentoring young people across the UK, harnessing the power of positive sporting role models to improve lives. Atlantic City USA, a destination offering a wide range of sporting activities on the beach, water and boardwalk, is also partnering with the initiative to celebrate the importance of active lifestyles both at home and when on holiday.

Founder of Charitable Travel Melissa Tilling said:

Melissa Tilling“We have clear objectives to support local communities and are keen to embrace the need to keep talking about wellbeing, whether in fitness, mindfulness or nutrition. Charitable Travel’s Weekday Wellness will provide families with easy, free access to a daily session, Monday to Friday, covering a work-out, warm down, stretches and advice about the relationship we all have with food.

Whilst the sessions are free, we would love those taking part to make a small donation of £10 per week to The Mintridge Foundation through a special JustGiving link shared during sign-up”.

Alex Wallace, Managing Director & Founder of The Mintridge Foundation said:

Weekday Wellness is the perfect way to kickstart our partnership with Charitable Travel. Our mission is to promote greater physical and mental health through sport and this perfectly aligns. Having purpose and motivation over the past few months has been extremely difficult for so many and we are delighted to be joining the initiative to help so many build regular physical and mental wellbeing into their routines.”

To sign up to the free, Olympic inspired Charitable Travel Weekday Wellness sessions register at Participation is free, however, those joining will be invited to donate £10 to The Mintridge Foundation to help support their work in communities across the country.

Photo of a train running along a track next to a river with mountains on the other side

Making travel a force for good

Charitable Travel logoA new type of travel business has launched – Charitable Travel is a social enterprise with the clear aim of ensuring travel is a force for good, helping holidaymakers combine their travel planning with support for charities in the UK and around the world.

Charitable Travel has a unique business model; the first nationally available Community Interest Company (CIC) social enterprise in the travel industry, it is a not-for-private-profit travel agency, which provides customers with the opportunity to book a holiday to anywhere in the world and donate a proportion of the holiday price to a UK registered charity of their choice through a platform partnership with JustGiving.

The concept is simple, Charitable Travel sacrifices travel agency commission. Therefore, when customers book a cruise or a holiday, they convert 5% of the total price of their trip into a donation to a charity of their choice through the dedicated JustGiving webpage. Empowering customers to share the pleasure that a holiday brings by supporting local communities both at home and abroad.

Marshall Simmonds, JustGiving’s Director of Sales and Partnerships, said: “The combination of the travel industry, an underlying social and charitable purpose and an effective mechanism for fundraising through JustGiving makes Charitable Travel a powerful opportunity for travel consumers wanting to make a real difference in personal giving at no extra cost when they book holidays, flights cruises and hotels.”

As a social enterprise, supporting those in need and aiding fundraising is at the heart of everything that Charitable Travel does, so customers can rest assured that every penny of profit generated is invested in good causes and charity partners can benefit through raising brand and campaign awareness as well as fund-raising support and securing donations.

Melissa Tilling, founder and CEO of Charitable Travel, who has more than 33 years’ experience in managing travel companies, said: “I have always been a fervent believer in the good that travel and tourism can bring to local communities in the destinations served and although the industry is facing an incomparable crisis right now, we are resilient. UK travellers are passionate about their holidays and determined they will travel again once it is safe to do so.

During the current COVID crisis we have seen an inspiring show of unity from people across the country, a true community spirit has arisen as we realise the importance of appreciating and supporting one another. Charitable Travel wants to help encourage a continuation of this more thoughtful mindset by helping travellers combine philanthropy with their holiday planning, providing the opportunity to donate part of their holiday cost to a much-needed charitable causes.
When customers are ready to start booking holidays again, we offer a new way to book that will ensure travel will be a force for good, regardless of the destination and travel type, because every booking creates a positive outcome for a charitable cause.”

Through the Just Giving platform, customers can choose their preferred charity to be the recipient of their holiday fund donation, however Charitable Travel is also seeking to work with a variety of partners to help raise the profile of campaigns and fund-raising needs amongst customers. Charities that would like to register interest in working with Charitable Travel for joint PR/marketing opportunities to reach holidaymakers should email

Photo of a laptop and notepad on a rock on the Moors

Cosmic cuts 60,000 driving miles during Covid-19 lockdown

Cosmic logoDevon-based social enterprise Cosmic has cut 60,000 miles of driving during lockdown by transitioning to virtual skills training delivery. The company has a vision to inspire people to achieve success in the digital world, and has used the Covid-19 situation to alter the way they support communities in Devon and Somerset.

Over the course of 3 months since early March 2020, Cosmic has ceased all road travel. Ordinarily, the forty-strong team of Digital Skills Trainers, Technicians and Developers travel thousands of miles around the counties of the South West – helping businesses and communities to develop new digital skills.

Cosmic has become increasingly aware of the Carbon Footprint of this process, and has big ambitions to reduce their impact. In 2019, they planted 400 trees around Dartmoor to offset the unavoidable programme of travel, whilst accepting that offsetting alone would not be sufficient to minimise the harm to the environment.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, they have taken advantage of the lockdown, transitioning all face-to-face digital skills training and services to virtual sessions. The popularity has been enormous, with hundreds of small-business owners from the South West attending online courses over the ten weeks.

The result has been a saving of:

  • 60,000 miles of commuting and business travel – not driven
  • And 20 tonnes of CO2 – not released into the atmosphere
  • It would take 40 mature oak trees a year to capture this much carbon

The Covid-19 situation has accelerated Cosmic’s ambitions to become greener. Even if social distancing were fully removed, the Company aims to deliver more of its training remotely and significantly reduce staff-travel. Cosmic now wants to encourage all industries to rebuild themselves in a greener, more sustainable way.

The cost saving for Cosmic has been enormous. If other organisations could realise similar savings, the surplus funds could be utilised to enhance investment in digital resources and digital skills for staff, future-proofing businesses & organisations in our region.

Photo of the front entrance of the University of Winchester campus

University of Winchester set to welcome students back to campus in September

The University of Winchester is planning to welcome new and returning students onto its campus and into student accommodation at the start of the new academic year in September.

The University is putting in place a range of appropriate measures for a ‘Covid Safe Campus’ to ensure students and staff are safe. The plans were announced in a letter to staff, students and applicants.

For the whole of the next academic year (2020-2021), students will experience a combination of small group, on-campus sessions with large group teaching taking place online. Most courses at Winchester are already taught in small group settings, leaving the University well-placed to accommodate social distancing measures set out in national guidelines. Students required to continue shielding beyond the start of the academic year will receive additional online support to enable them to start their course.

The University is also setting up a new ‘Ask Winchester’ help desk for new and returning students, with a dedicated team in place to help make the transition to university as smooth as possible.

Professor Joy CarterVice-Chancellor Professor Joy Carter CBE DL said: “I am pleased to confirm that the University is planning to be open in September to welcome new and returning students. Our plans are guided by national advice alongside our own passion for giving students the best possible experience at Winchester.

“Over the coming weeks we will be developing our plans further and will continue communicating these to our students. As with many aspects of our life in lockdown, we have all become used to different ways of interacting. Our top priority is that our students have a thoroughly enjoyable and safe time here. We will be working with Winchester Student Union and others in the city to explore ways to help students safely enjoy life as a student in the beautiful city of Winchester.”

More detailed information about how Winchester is preparing for September 2020 can be found on the University website.

Photo of two adults with a group of schoolchildren with banner saying 'We are celebrating 10 years of impact'

Partners for Possibility: 10 years of far reaching impact across South Africa

Symphonia for South Africa is celebrating 10 years since the launch of its flagship programme, Partners for Possibility, which was launched with the aim of developing leadership capacity among school principals and business leaders, reducing inequality in education and ultimately creating a more just, equitable and joyful future for all South Africans.

Partners for Possibility logoPartners for Possibility (PfP) is a nation building programme that partners school principals with business leaders on a carefully designed, 12-month leadership development programme, in which much of the learning and development takes place while business leaders and school principals work together in partnership to address challenges in under-resourced schools. Both partners attend a number of leadership training courses and facilitated sessions with other principals and business leaders. Through this, principals are empowered to embed their schools at the centre of their communities and to improve the quality of education being offered to our youth.

While meeting this need for skills development is a mammoth task, it is not an insurmountable one if the private sector offers its expertise and support. Without skilled leadership, schools cannot provide the quality of education that gives young South African’s the prospect of a bright future as productive members of society and the future workforce of the country.

This year, PfP marks 10 years of sustainable impact and innovation. Co-founders Dr Louise van Rhyn and Principal Ridwan Samodien courageously spearheaded this programme which has gone on to impact over a million lives across South Africa.

To put this into perspective, PfP has now reached 1,000+ under-resourced schools, 30 000+ teachers, 500,000+ families and 1 000 000+ learners, all within a 10-year period. This is of particular significance as it means that PfP is on track to realising its goal of impacting 2,000 schools by 2022. By achieving this, the programme will have reached 10% of the estimated 20,000 under-resourced schools in South Africa.

This significant milestone has coincided with the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic. When schools closed due to the lockdown, nine million children normally fed through the government-funded National School Nutrition Programme were left hungry.

A group of people congregated into an open space with food parcelsMoved by the gravity of the situation, Louise initiated the Food 4 Hungry Children project, which sought to capture data on the food needs of learners and their families from a network of over 1,000 school principals part of the PfP programme. Through collaborations with Pick n Pay, FoodFoward SA, the Solidarity Fund and many more organisations, thousands of vulnerable learners and their families were able to receive food parcels.

For more information, visit

Roots HR CIC extends free HR advice line services for employers

Roots HR logoRoots HR CIC has extended its FREE HR advice line services for the smallest social sector employers, funded by its trading surpluses.

Social sector employers with a turnover of under £50k p.a. can now receive up to 1 hour of FREE advice PER MONTH for COVID-19 related employment law and people management support.

This will continue through the furlough grant period, currently lasting until 30/6/20, but may be extended.

This is a broadening of the usual one-off free 1 hour of HR advice, provided by Roots HR to all social sector employers. This additional resource is offered to support the Boards and leadership teams responsible for the sustainability of the smallest and most vulnerable not-for-personal profit organisations during this unprecedented time.

Qualifying organisations wishing to access free advice should email or call 01562 840060 Monday – Friday 8.30am – 5pm.

Partners for Possibility logo

Maximising the Leadership Lessons from COVID-19

South African leadership development programme Partners for Possibility is working tirelessly to help prepare their community for a post Covid-19 world, by building a body of knowledge around the leadership learnings from Covid-19 for business leaders , school principals , community stakeholders and funders.

They are releasing a series of opinion pieces, which aim to maximise the leadership lessons that can be learnt from the current crisis:

Partners for Possibility Maximising the Leadership Lessons from COVID-19

Charity Bank: a bank for good

Social Investors Respond to COVID-19

Social investors realise that this will be a challenging time for the charities and social enterprises they work with, many of whom work with the most vulnerable people

Along with other social investors, Charity Bank has issued a joint statement on the COVID-19 outbreak:

Social Investors Respond to COVID-19: our support & commitment

We want to reassure all of the organisations we invest in that we will support you and be as flexible as possible in the coming months. We are actively working together on how we can adapt existing schemes and funds. We are also working with government and other funders to establish new programmes that may provide additional help. We recognise that grants and business support will be at least as important as social investment.

The most important message is to get in touch with your social investor if that hasn’t happened already:

  • if you have investment from one of us and think you may need support or flexibility, please get in touch; we will do our best to help
  • if you might need investment to help you through difficult trading, please speak to us

We have created a dedicated page on Good Finance which will be updated regularly with any new information (including on any emergency funding sources) as well as via our social media channels.


Architectural Heritage Fund
Arts & Culture Finance by NESTA
Big Issue Invest
Big Society Capital
CAF Venturesome
Charity Bank
Esmee Fairbairn Foundation
Key Fund
NatWest Social & Community Capital
Northstar Ventures
Social and Sustainable Capital
Social Investment Business
Social Investment Scotland


RIO Future Make workshops

Future Make workshops for 7-11 year olds in Plymouth

Future Make, presented by Real Ideas Organisation, is a holiday club in Plymouth that features a series of groundbreaking programmes and projects for children aged 7 – 11 years old. Get a taste of the future: flying drones, designing tech, creating digital immersive experiences and engineering extreme structures. There will be plenty of opportunities to learn new skills, try out new ideas and – above all – have an awesome time.


  • Extreme Engineers Mon 30th March, 9:00am – 3:00pm – You will be an engineer, designing and building your own unique structures and landscapes of the future.
  • Remote Operators (Drones, RC Cars, Buggies) Tues 31st March, 9:00am – 3:00pm – What does it take to operate exciting remote technologies in order to capture footage of the future? (Involves plenty of drone flying and extreme fun!)
  • Ideas Designers Weds 1st April, 9:00am – 3:00pm – You will be a designer in the ‘ideas factory’, finding out about the creative potential of technology for good – and coming up with your own exciting ideas for the future.
  • Immersive Media Creators Thurs 2nd March, 9:00am – 3:00pm – Participants will become digital designers, creating unique immersive experiences through animation, digital mapping, sound design and projection.
  • Future Me* Fri 3rd March, 9:00am – 3:00pm – Participants will apply all they have learnt and explored in previous Future Make activity. They’ll then take on a challenge designed exclusively for them!

Children need to bring a packed lunch. Parents are welcome to come early for pick-up and watch some of the afternoon activity. This is a fully supervised activity with all the necessary safeguards in place. You can drop your child for a great day of learning and fun and enjoy the rest of the day!

The cost is £35 per child for one day or £150 per child for the whole week.

For more information and to book places, visit the Real Ideas Organisation website.

*Future Me” is dependent on having attended at least one Future Make holiday activity day or having been part of a 10-week Future Make club.

University of Winchester strategic vision

University of Winchester becomes member of UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network

The University of Winchester has become the newest member of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), underlining its commitment to tackling the significant global challenges the world now faces, including climate change.

The announcement follows the launch of the University’s new 10-year Strategic Vision 2030, which identifies its aim to help shape a better world and puts the climate emergency alongside its students’ success at its heart. The University’s Strategic Vision was developed to align with the UN’s Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Professor Joy CarterVice-Chancellor Professor Joy Carter CBE DL, said: “We are delighted to become a member of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. As global challenges that are evolving by the day grow in number and intensity – from the climate emergency to global health crisis – they will seriously impact how future generations live and work and take care for the planet and all life.

As a university, we must step up to play our part and our Strategic Vision 2030 sets out how we will make a difference. Guided and driven by our values and a commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, it is our roadmap for how we will strive to have impact, be the difference and make the world a better place. Founded in 1840 to train teachers to teach in poor communities, the University has a lot to build on. Our vision is to be a global beacon for sustainability and social justice – in every aspect of what we do, from excellent teaching and learning, to driving up environmental standards across the board and bold, ethical decision-making.” 

Watch a short video about the University of Winchester’s Strategic Vision below:

The team at HISBE supermarket

HISBE looking to expand with crowdfunding campaign

HISBE logoHISBE Food CIC, a social enterprise and sustainable supermarket in Brighton, is targeting a £450,000 bond raise through an investment crowdfunding campaign on the Triodos Crowdfunding platform.

HISBE’s mission is to transform the food industry, by reinventing the way supermarkets do business. HISBE does things differently. You can do your whole shop at HISBE but you won’t find any big global brands on their shelves; instead you will find more ethical and considered versions of everyday products.

Ruth Anslow, who launched HISBE’s first Store in Brighton in 2013 with her sister Amy and their friend Jack, says: “Much of the UK food industry is reliant on intensive industrialised food production and cheap food produced with little regard for the environmental or social costs which have to be paid by society as a whole. The result has created a wasteful food system that is unsustainable.”

HISBE’s first store in Brighton has been open since 2013 and now has turnover of £1.8 million. HISBE (which stands for How it Should Be) has secured a site for the new store in Worthing and plans for it to open for business this summer. The crowdfunding campaign will raise money to fund the fit-out of the shop, provide working capital and cover the anticipated first year trading loss for the Worthing store. With a second shop, HISBE can scale the operation and reach financial stability.

Ruth continued “We’re really excited by this opportunity, we have a great site secured in Worthing and expanding to our second shop is something we have been working hard on for more than two years. We created HISBE to transform the UK’s food industry, because right now it just isn’t sustainable. We think supermarkets can be part of the solution instead of part of the problem and we are on a mission to reinvent the way supermarkets do business. We want to show that it is possible to buck convention and break the mould.”

The minimum investment for the bond offer is £50. The bond will pay 5% gross interest per year for its seven-year term. As with all investments, capital is at risk and returns are not guaranteed.

As a community interest company (CIC) HISBE has impact embedded into its governance and financing structure as well as through its operations and activities.

  • HISBE does not make big pay-outs to shareholders or directors, instead it puts money back into making the prices fair for customers and paying suppliers fairly.
  • HISBE staff all get contracted hours, paid the real living wage and 20% discount off their shopping. HISBE does not do zero-hour contracts or unpaid breaks.
  • HISBE invests back into the local economy. For every £1 HISBE spends, 58 pence is spent locally (in Sussex) on stock, wages and services.

Dan Hird, Head of Corporate Finance at Triodos Bank UK said “Triodos is an ethical and sustainable bank and we offer a more conscious approach to finance and banking. HISBE is doing much the same, making it easier for people to consume in a more sustainable way. It’s great that HISBE is ready to expand and we are delighted to be raising the capital to support it.”

Click here to find out more.

Charity Bank State of the Sector report

Charity Bank launches its
State of the Sector report

The social sector is feeling the pressure of meeting an increase in demand for services, while dealing with widespread budget cuts, new research from Charity Bank reveals.

Charity Bank polled 182 social sector leaders for its State of the Sector report, which found that 85% of charities expect demand for their services to grow over the next two years. However, 86% are concerned about future grant funding and 82% don’t think they’ll be able to sustain donations over that period.

Government policy continues to pose a challenge for 63% of respondents, while the sector is split on what Brexit means for them. Almost half (49%) think it will present issues, while 46% are unclear and 13% think it could create opportunities.

Ed Siegel Charity BankEd Siegel, Chief Executive, Charity Bank said: “The social sector is entering this new decade under a cloud of uncertainty, and with the majority of organisations worried that funding will be more difficult to come by, many are looking at alternative ways to generate income and this can increasingly involve repayable finance.

When Charity Bank was founded, the very idea of social investment was controversial – charities and social enterprises were expected to survive on hand-outs from the Government and the public, but today that’s an unrealistic goal. Almost two-thirds (62%) of the organisations we spoke to see social investment as an opportunity for growth. With the recent launch of the Impact Investing Institute, we’re also hoping that social investment will increasingly be seen as a great opportunity for investors that care about the impact that their money can have.”

Download the full report from:

Professor Joy Carter

University of Winchester Vice-Chancellor appointed to UK Climate Commission

Professor Joy Carter DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winchester, has been appointed as the University and GuildHE representative on the council of the Climate Commission for UK Higher and Further Education Leaders, which was launched on 13th November at Ravensbourne University, London.

The commission aims to be a catalyst for real action and long term change. It will develop an action plan in response to the government’s stated climate and environment emergency, which was declared on 1st May 2019. This comes after the University’s climate emergency declaration during September’s Global Climate Strike. The Climate Commission’s emergency framework will be drawn together to initiate a strategic sector-wide approach to tackle the most pressing climate issues. This framework will guide and support all UK and Irish universities and colleges to be net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.

The University of Winchester’s work towards a sustainable future has earned the institution a place in the top 100 universities worldwide in the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings and Responsible Futures accreditation with the National Union of Students. Winchester student teachers are training to be among the world’s first United Nations accredited Climate Change Teachers.

“As a provider of higher education, it is the responsibility of the University to lead by example when it comes to tackling the climate agenda.” said Professor Carter. “We provide the tools for students to take charge of their futures. Together we are working to enhance climate change education, training, public awareness and access to information – recognising the importance of these factors is essential to preserving the natural world.”

The University is taking radical action to reduce its environmental impact – from pledging to eliminate the use of unnecessary single-use plastic by the end of 2020 and being carbon neutral by 2030, to opening a zero waste shop for staff, students and the local community early next year. All new developments across the estate meet the highest sustainability standards, no waste goes to landfill and all electricity comes from renewable sources. This includes the recently WELL Certified West Downs development, due to open in 2020. Additionally, all catering outlets across campus offer only Local, Independent, Fair and Ethical (LIFE) products and continue to encourage the use of reusable cups.

Professor Carter is joined on the Climate Commission council by:

  • Steve Frampton, AoC President, AoC representative;
  • Professor James Longhurst, Assistant Vice-Chancellor, University of the West of England and EAUC representative
  • Professor Judith Petts CBE, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, University of Plymouth and UUK representative

These education providers have been selected for their unique positions, in order to prepare their institution for, and act against, the climate crisis. A final report will be presented at COP26, the UN’s climate change summit, in Glasgow November 2020.

Partners for Possibility announced as Voyager Member of Million Lives Club

Symphonia for South Africa is pleased to announce that its flagship programme, Partners for Possibility (PfP), has been selected as an official member of the Million Lives Club (MLC), a global initiative that celebrates innovators and social entrepreneurs who are scaling impact in improving the lives of those living on less than $5 (approximately R74) a day.

Partners for Possibility logoPfP is an award-winning, internationally recognised initiative which partners business leaders with principals from under-resourced schools in a year-long, collaborative and very practical journey.

Since its inception in 2011, the programme has sustainably impacted education outcomes in over 1000 schools in every province of South Africa by strengthening the leadership capacity and boosting the confidence of school principals whose influence on the quality of teaching and learning in the school is pivotal. To date this process has positively transformed the lives of 1,035 principals and 1,035 business leaders, and approximately 28 375 teachers, 454 000 families and 908 000 learners.

In addition, Partners for Possibility is a Scale Leader, selected and recommended to the Million Lives Club by ReachScale, a global network that identifies and supports the most scalable solutions for social challenges.

Louise van Rhyn

Dr Louise van Rhyn

Upon receiving the news, PfP Founder and CEO of Symphonia for SA, Louise van Rhyn, said: “The PfP community is elated to learn of PfP’s inclusion in the Million Lives Club initiative. We are humbled by this latest validation of the PfP programme as an innovative, creative solution that has and continues to have a transformative impact on the lives of our participants and their respective communities.

Of course, we are excited about the many prospects and opportunities that come with being a Million Lives Club member. However, we realise that a recognition of this nature and its associated benefits come with great responsibility.

We are now more than ever determined to reach more of South Africa’s 20 000 under-resourced schools, thereby impacting more lives for the better.’’

Million Lives Club logo

The MLC comprises three cohorts of innovators and social entrepreneurs. These include the MLC Vanguard which celebrates those who have directly impacted 1,000,000+ clients with their innovations, MLC Voyager which recognises innovations expected to impact 1,000,000+ clients within 18 months and MLC Pioneer which highlights innovations that have scaled to meet the needs of 40%+ of their target populations.

As a one of the club’s first Voyager members, PfP is well on its way to reaching the 1,000,000 client mark within the next 18 months. As it stands, an impressive total of 938 455 lives have been impacted through the programme.

This announcement underscores a year of accelerated growth for the PfP programme. In April, PfP reached an important milestone when it launched its 1000th partnership. This is of particular significance as this means that PfP is on track to realising its goal of impacting 2000 schools by 2020. By achieving this, the programme will have reached 10% of the estimated 20 000 under-resourced schools in South Africa in just 10 years.

The MLC recognises the importance of a customer-centric focus in global development and believes that collectively highlighting social innovators that have reached transformative numbers of clients will act as a powerful platform to encourage the uptake and scaling of innovations for global good, everywhere.

The club seeks to nurture innovation ecosystems by recognising innovators and social entrepreneurs whose innovations have scaled to serve 1 million customers, or are rapidly approaching this milestone. It is an initiative inspired by members of the International Development Innovation Alliance (IDIA) and supported by a growing partnership of leading development organisations.

For more information on PfP progamme, please visit Learn more about the Million Lives Club by visiting

Aston Productivity through People 2020 programme

Aston Productivity through People Programme 2020

The Aston Business School Productivity through People programme is back for 2020 and is now accepting applications.

Productivity through People is a unique six-month national programme that has stemmed from research into the UK’s productivity level. It is the only productivity-focused programme of its kind for SME owners and members of senior management. This programme is grounded in practical application, influenced by productivity experts, involves an excellent peer-to-peer network and one-on-one mentoring from a Productivity Coach.

Programme Details:

In brief, Productivity through People:

  • Is dedicated to transforming leadership and management capability in order to develop modern, high-performance workplace practices in SMEs.
  • Gives a framework to improve the competitiveness and efficiency of businesses.
  • Provides an unparalleled opportunity to meet the people behind award-winning organisations where excellence in productivity lies at the heart of business. For example, previous applicants benefited from exclusive visits to businesses like Williams F1 Advanced Engineering, Rolls-Royce and EY.
  • Enables business leaders to work with leading experts and like-minded individuals in an exclusive peer network achieved through a collaboration of leading organisations and a world-class business school.
  • Emphasises on how businesses can improve their workplace strategies and employee engagement

For more information and to apply, visit the Aston Business School website.

Realise Futures #WhyNot campaign poster

Realise Futures asks #WhyNot employ disabled people?

Disability and learning skills specialist Realise Futures has launched a campaign aimed at boosting the number of people with disabilities into work in the East of England.

The #WhyNot – Why Not Employ Disabled People – campaign is calling for greater awareness of the real benefits of employing people with disabilities – including better staff retention, production and lower recruitment costs.

The Ipswich-based social enterprise has well-established expertise in helping employers in Suffolk and Essex recruit valued employees with disabilities and supporting individuals with disabilities into work. Employers include John Lewis, Tesco, Aldi, Sainsbury’s and Costa Coffee.

It also runs six commercial businesses in Suffolk, including cafes and plant centres and a wholefood shop, which provide real jobs for people with disabilities and/or disadvantages. More than 40% of its workforce have disabilities.

Realise Futures has created a video to promote what employers are missing out on and how the company can support them:

The unemployment rate for people with a disability (April – June 2019) was 7.3% , compared to an unemployment rate of 3.4% for people without disabilities, according to government figures.* A survey by the charity Leonard Cheshire** found a quarter of employers (24%) said they would be less likely to employ someone with a disability, with 66% citing the cost of workplace adjustments as a barrier.

But, Realise Futures says many employers do not realise they can access full funding to pay for adjustments required. There are many other benefits employers can gain and the company is keen for business owners to contact them to find out how they can boost productivity, cut costs and boost their reputation by employing disabled people.

Realise Futures Managing Director Sally ButcherManaging Director Sally Butcher said: “There is a lack of awareness of what’s involved in employing a person with a disability, such as autism or Asperger’s, but there’s plenty of evidence from employers we have supported who are delighted with their employees, and the great qualities they bring to their company.

“As a business, we have many years’ experience of matching disabled employees with jobs, either within our own social businesses or externally. What we are trying to do is to inform employers about the many benefits to be gained. For example, disabled people become your customers – the total spending power of families with at least one disabled person is estimated to be worth £249 billion*** a year.

“Our own experience shows that employees with a disability have less time off work, are dedicated and loyal. Employers we work with say their employees are hardworking and reliable. Employers looking to promote diversity in the workplace can also benefit and enhance their reputation with their commitment to equal opportunities.

“We can help employers right through the process and support them with any worries or issues they may have. They will see that the benefits far outweigh any perceived disadvantages. We welcome calls from employers considering employing someone with a disability.”

Employers are encouraged to contact Realise Futures on 01473 242500 or email

*People with disabilities in employment by Andrew Powell. Briefing Paper, 2 October 2019
** Leonard Cheshire disability facts and figures

(left to right): Angus Mackay (UNITAR); Professor Joy Carter CBE, DL (Vice-Chancellor, University of Winchester), Melanie Harwood (Harwood Education), and Dr Janice de Souza (Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Winchester).

World-first in climate change teaching for University of Winchester

University of Winchester teacher training students are set to be among the world’s first United Nations accredited Climate Change Teachers.

Winchester is the first university in the world to offer student teachers the opportunity to undertake the Climate Change Teacher course, which is designed to equip future educators across all age groups and disciplines with the knowledge and confidence to deliver lessons on climate change. Students will cover a range of topics including climate change science, gender and environment, children and climate change, cities and climate change, and human health.

Winchester is one of the most highly sought-after universities for teacher education in the country, with OFSTED rating its primary and secondary teaching training ‘outstanding’ and consistently high rankings in league tables.

Dr Louise PagdenDr Louise Pagden, Co-Director of the University’s Institute of Education, said: “One of the most important issues children face is climate change. So this is set to become a really important part of how we train primary and secondary teachers of the future here at the University of Winchester.

“By training teachers to educate children about the impact of climate change, we will enable them to be responsible citizens of the future. Completing the course will give teachers confidence in their own understanding of the issues and in their position as a UN accredited specialist, to teach children effectively.”

Professor Joy Carter CBE said: “As the university for sustainability and social justice, I am really proud Winchester is the world’s first university to partner with the creators of the eduCCate Global Climate Change Teacher Academy to offer every student on our teacher training degree courses the chance to become a UN accredited Climate Change Teacher.

“Winchester is already leading the way in climate change education, which is embedded across our courses, inspiring students and staff to learn about the wide range of issues generated by this pressing global issue. As we prepare to tackle the climate emergency, this is a fantastic opportunity for us to be the first university to support the UN Sustainable Development Goal of having an accredited Climate Change Teacher in every school across the UK.”

The Climate Change Teacher course will be rolled out at Winchester over the coming academic year, with an official launch in spring 2020. Alongside the course, the University is hosting a series of public lectures for students, teachers, parents and the general public, jointly with WinACC (Winchester Action on Climate Change). The lectures will cover the course topics, including cities and climate change and human health and sustainable diet.

Delegates at a training workshop

Aston Programme for Small Business Growth open for applications

Aston Centre for GrowthThe Aston University Programme for Small Business Growth aims to support SMEs to grow by increasing their turnover and creating jobs within Coventry and Warwickshire and Greater Birmingham and Solihull.

Don’t miss your opportunity to benefit from the unique tools and knowledge provided by experts in SME leadership and management, as well as network with like-minded ambitious early-stage business leaders.

  • Participants increased their turnover by an average of 37% one year after completing the programme*
  • 94% of participants are more confident in the growth of their business after completing the programme*
  • 18% higher turnover for businesses on the programme than counterparts who were not
  • 79% of participants improved their ability to use financial date more in decision making

The core of the fully-funded programme delivered across a six-month period includes:

  • Practical workshops which cover topics relevant to leaders of growing SMEs
  • One-to-one mentoring to tackle business issues and support with building a targeted growth strategy
  • Networking with other early-stage business owners

The programme has a competitive application process so don’t delay!

Email to refer a business or receive an application form. Interested businesses will receive a complete breakdown of workshop details and requirements via email.

*Statistics taken from the industry standard programme evaluation 2019 which was based on participants who completed the programme during 2017-2019.

People celebrating at PfP event

Annual celebrations to mark significant growth

Partners for Possibility logoPartnering organisations, funders, schools, business leaders and other interested parties will once again gather in Cape Town and Johannesburg this October to celebrate the continually expanding footprint of the Partners for Possibility (PfP) programme and to reflect upon the tremendous strides made by the PfP team in 2019.

Held annually, these celebratory events showcase stories about the transformational leadership growth experienced by principals and business leaders who have journeyed together for a year and beyond as partners for possibility.

This year, the Johannesburg leg of the celebration will feature a keynote address by Nolitha Fakude, the executive director of energy company Sasol. Crispin Sonn, executive director of the Gamiro Investment Group, will be the keynote speaker at the Cape Town event.

In April 2019, PfP reached a major milestone in the organisation’s nine-year existence with the launch of its 1000th partnership. Since its inception, the PfP programme has grown steadily, and its reach now extends to cities, towns, and in some cases remote areas, across all nine of South Africa’s provinces.

With these forthcoming events, PfP will celebrate another successful year and encourage more active citizens from all walks of life to connect, break down barriers, and inspire change in South Africa through the extraordinary PfP process.

Below are the details for the celebratory events taking place in Cape Town and Johannesburg.


Tuesday, 8 October 2019

FNB Conference Centre, 114 Grayston Drive, Sandton, Johannesburg


Cape Town

Monday, 17 October 2019

Sports Science Institute of South Africa Auditorium: Boundary Road, Newlands, Cape Town


Chocolate Films top ten tips to win at online video

Ten tips to win at online video

If you haven’t already, how do you get started with video marketing? If you do use online video, how do you make it most effective and achieve measurable results?

It really doesn’t have to be complicated, laborious or expensive. In this blog post and the below video, the Chocolate Films Glasgow team shares its ’10 Tips To Win At Online Video’.



Do you know your audience? Who do you want to reach: where are they – online and offline – what do they like, what are they looking for? You will have to translate your message into a different plot and a different tone depending on your audience.

Targeting your content in the right way is also incredibly important when making and publishing online video. If your audience’s favourite platform is Facebook and they visit pages about healthy living, you’ll want to make a video optimised for Facebook and boost it towards people with that interest.

Do research into your audience. This is your first step towards video success.



Now you know your audience, what would you like to achieve from them? And how quickly do you want to achieve it? A video to promote your business will likely be quite different from an explainer of your latest product. Thinking about goals is key to video production, as your goal will influence every part of the process – from what story you want to tell, to how you will tell it, how long the video will be and where, when and how it will be published and promoted.

In order to achieve measurable results, you first need to set a clear goal.



On social media, you have to stop people from scrolling!

Slow burn intros, that look great in cinema documentaries, can be death to social video. Front-load the key information and then develop the story once you’ve caught the audience’s attention.



Optimising for different platforms is something you want to keep in mind when making decisions about video content. Your film will need a different shape and duration to be effective on your website than when being used as part of an Instagram campaign. Based on our years of experience at making online video and measuring results, we recommend the following shapes and durations:

  • YouTube: landscape; up to 3 minutes
  • Facebook: vertical; up to 2 minutes
  • Twitter: square; less than 45 seconds
  • Instagram: square; less than 30 seconds

Are you ready for Vertical Video? Read more here.



The visuals tell the story. Online video needs to grab attention and to be understood just by looking at it. When someone is scrolling through the feed of their favourite social platform, you have got a great opportunity to reach them with a message that they are truly interested in. But your window of opportunity is short.

Be there, be quick, be attractive, be visual.


sound offWe know this is controversial, and we love to watch a great film with great sound too. But with online video, the use is different. Your audience is not watching from a cinema screen surrounded by an advanced sound system. They are much more likely to be watching your film on the Tube, without headphones and not wanting to disturb other passengers by playing sound from their phones. On Facebook 85% of video content is watched without sound!

So turn off the sound and let the visuals tell the story.


text 3

On-screen text is now arguably more important than interview audio.

It is a great way to get your message across with online video – keep in mind that commuter browsing his phone, it’s him you want to reach. Make the text short and memorable. 60 words per minute, in 10 sections is sensible for social video.


eye contactMoving away from television content where contributors usually look past the camera, talking directly to camera can build stronger engagement for online video content. It gives the audience the feeling that they are making eye contact with the person on their screens.

When you talk to someone in person you communicate better with eye contact. When you make a presentation, you try to make contact with your audience. When you vlog, talk on Skype or Facetime, you look directly to camera.

So make eye-contact and you’ll make more engaging online videos.



Films can go viral. We love those moments when we go online 1 day after a video has been released and we see it has been shared numerous times and has received 100s of organic – unpaid – views. But it is unsafe to rely on unpaid views. On Facebook for example, less than 1% of reach is organic (Squared Online by Google, 2017).

Do set a budget aside for promotion. How much this should be, depends on the platform you are boosting the video on, the size of the audience you want to reach and the popularity of your page. If you decide make a film with us, we can advise on budgets too.


testHere’s one of your greatest advantages working with digital content: you can measure the exact amount of impressions – this is how often your content has been seen – clicks, 10-second video views, full views, interactions and more. When using ‘classic’ advertising like a flyer to promote your upcoming event, you don’t know how many people have seen it, have glanced over it before stuffing it away in their bags, or have actually read it.

So measure and test.

If you see that a specific video format does well on a specific platform, you’ll want to create it again. If next to no-one has clicked the video thumbnail in your newsletter, you’ll want to try something different and not keep spending on what doesn’t work. Online platforms offer free and easy to access analytics. So TEST, TEST, TEST and you’ll find your holy video.

Book a free consultation about Online Video.

Beco soap bar packaging

Social enterprise soap brand wants you to steal their staff

BECO. logoBECO., the social enterprise soap brand, is taking a new approach to business, calling on competitors and UK employers to take a stand when it comes to recruitment.

1 in 5 people living in the UK are disabled and an estimated 48% are unemployed – that’s over one million job-seekers looking for opportunities and a disability unemployment gap of 30% (only 52% of disabled are employed vs 82% of the general working population). BECO. is on a mission to change that.

BECO. parent company CLARITY & Co. has supported the employment of people with disabilities for 165 years and today sees BECO. launch an employment drive calling on employers to #STEALOURSTAFF and help close the disability unemployment gap.

80% of BECO.’s workforce is visually impaired, disabled or disadvantaged – they want to show big corporations the value and skillset in every person by encouraging employers to follow suit and see workability, not disability.

The #STEALOURSTAFF campaign highlights their staff in the hope that those who want to, will go on to secure jobs outside of the organisation and free-up opportunities for new staff in need of employment. Staff profiles will take over BECO. packaging in key retailers Waitrose and Sainsbury’s and on the BECO. website, showing consumers and would-be employers the chance to get to know the talented workforce behind the brand.

Michael BECO employeeI wish other organisations would give people like us a chance. There are so many disabled people unemployed and I’m sure there are plenty of big companies that can do more to help.” says Michael, Team Leader at BECO.

“We want to give people who want to work, the opportunity to work. It’s as simple as that. Some of our staff have been at the organisation for more than 30 years, and as much as we love our team and their loyalty, we want to help them and others have opportunities and so that as a society we can close the disability unemployment gap. We need people to start acting and living their values, not just talking about it.” says Camilla Marcus-Dew, Head of Sustainable Growth at CLARITY & Co.

How you can help make a difference

  • Help BECO. share the suds – Keep buying BECO. soap for your homes and offices. Everyone can create real and sustainable change, just by washing their hands. Every bar of soap and bottle of handwash BECO. sell helps to provide real jobs for people with disabilities. If every person in the UK switched to BECO. soaps, the brand could create 45,000 new jobs for people with disabilities.
  • Make a new hire – Whoever you are looking for and whatever the skill, the BECO. team are some of the most passionate staff you’ll come across, many with decades of experience. Take a look at BECO.’s
    employees and their CVs on the BECO. website.


Execs Back 2 School event in South Africa

Executives schooled on South Africa’s education challenges

Top executives from some of South Africa’s most prominent companies traded their usual routine of boardroom meetings for classroom lessons when they participated in the one-of-a-kind Execs Back 2 School event in Cape Town and Johannesburg this month.

Symphonia for South AfricaThe event, organised by  Symphonia for South Africa (SSA), was created to expose business leaders to the working environment and challenges faced by school leaders in South Africa’s chronically under-resourced schools.

Each executive was given the opportunity to spend the day at a different government-run school, and accompanied the school principal as they performed their daily duties.

The business executives engaged with learners and parents, attended classes, and met with teachers and school management to understand the operational realities faced by the school. The day forged closer ties between school principals and top executives by providing a platform to share knowledge and leadership experiences, while exploring the potential for enduring, cross-sectoral collaboration between schools and the private sector.

According to Itumeleng Kgaboesele, CEO of black-owned investment holding company Sphere, which partnered with SSA to deliver the event, all South African businesses have an obligation to support disadvantaged schools:

“As business leaders we all have our schooling to thank for giving us access to further study and professional life. To succeed as a country, we need thriving communities built around successful institutions like schools that offer pupils hope and opportunity.”

“Over the last three years, working with two different principals, I have seen the positive impact that sharing management experiences with the principals can have on the school community and on learners’ achievements.”

Execs Back 2 School event in South AfricaThis year, much-loved role model, Lucas Radebe, participated in the programme, spending his morning at Soweto’s Nomzamo Madikizela Mandela Primary School speaking to learners, attending classes, and meeting with teachers and school management to understand the daily life of the school. Explaining his participation, Radebe said supporting education should be a national imperative:

“Schools are the centre of our communities and are an essential building block for the nation’s future. Effective schools equip the next generation with the values, skills and education they need to fulfil their individual potential at work and as active citizens contributing to sustainable communities.”

The Execs Back to School day is a spin-off of New York City’s successful ‘Principal for a Day’ initiative. SSA organised this event to complement their internationally recognised, award-winning Partners for Possibility programme, which pairs principals and executives on year-long leadership development journey.

Collaboration between the educators and the private sector contributes to social cohesion and strengthening the nation’s social fabric, believes Robyn Whittaker of SSA:

“Sometimes I think it’s the CEOs who learn from the principals when they step out of their comfort zones and become personally involved. Building direct relationships with a school and its principal makes support for schools more effective and teaches executives powerful management lessons,”

Execs Back 2 School will be repeated next year. Companies and executives interested in joining a Partners for Possibility programme or signing up for next year’s Execs Back 2 School day should contact Symphonia for South Africa on 011 259 4031, send an email to or visit

IC24 welcome box

Integrated Care 24 gives a Gold star welcome to new employees

Urgent care provider and Social Enterprise Gold Mark holder Integrated Care 24 (IC24) has rolled out a new starters’ gift box to give a warm welcome to its new recruits.

Contents of IC24 welcome boxAs part of a focus on the employee experience of working for IC24, the concept of a welcome box was devised, to present to new employees when they join the organisation to set them on their way in their new careers.

All of the items in the box help new employees to get started in their new role; a notepad and pen for making notes, a travel mug and water bottle to keep hydrated, and a pair of headphones to allow new-starters to listen to their essential learning packages at their workstations. As part of the roll out, IC24 has stopped selling single use plastic bottles in the tuck shop to play their part in the reduction of single use plastic.

James Pope, Learning and Experience Manager said: “We want to recruit great people, but it is just as important is to retain them. We see the employee experience of working for IC24 as really essential to our success, and the box contains a few small but practical gifts to welcome them to their new workplace.”

Charity Bank Road to Growth events banner

Charity Bank takes to the road with free regional events

Charity Bank logoThis September and October, Charity Bank is partnering with NCVO and other sector leaders to deliver a series of regional half day seminars.

Complimentary tickets are available for trustees, directors, CEOs and managers of charities, social enterprises and community organisations.

  • Hear the latest analysis on the state of the sector and on the issues that matter
  • Gain practical insight and guidance to help your organisation thrive in a changing world
  • Engage with leading social sector experts and hear inspiring stories of success
  • Receive details on some of the latest funding and grants available for social sector organisations

Panelists will share research and insights on the state of the sector, how political and Brexit uncertainty are impacting the sector, examples of how charities and social enterprises are responding, as well as the latest on funding, regulation, technology and governance.

You will also receive an overview of the funding environment and details on some of the latest funding and grants available to help social sector organisations grow, improve their sustainability and make a bigger difference.

Ed Siegel, Chief Executive, Charity Bank said: “We’re hosting these free events as part of our mission and commitment to support the social sector. Attendees will receive high quality and practical insights, knowledge and ideas from our expert panelists, which they can then implement in their own organisations. The events will also act as an opportunity for delegates to network with like-minded peers who have similar goals. We’re really looking forward to hosting the events and meeting individuals in each region who are at the forefront of social change.”

Secure your place at

Road to Growth events programme:

London, 18th September – register

Tunbridge Wells, 26th September – register

Leeds, 3rd October – register

Reading, 8th October – register

Derby, 16th October – register

Manchester, 17th October – register

Millfields Trust team celebrating their 20th anniversary

20 years of business where community profits!

Millfields Trust logoMillfields Trust chose the best day of the year, the Summer Solstice, to celebrate their 20th Anniversary.

With guests including Board Members and tenants past and present, stakeholders and friends of the Trust in attendance, they were treated to an evening of fine food and great entertainment, all hosted by the Stonehouse Barracks in Plymouth.

Over 140 guests were entertained by Dave Wright Saxophone, and a ‘surprise’ visit from the Silver Service Singing Waiters, followed by an awe inspiring close to the evening by the Marine Cadet Corps of Drums.

Roger Pipe, Chief Executive and Mandy Toze, Business Development Manager have been with the Trust from day one and were presented with gifts from the Board to say thank you for their long service.

Mandy Toze said: “I am so privileged to have worked for the Trust since the beginning, and we thought 20 years deserved a big celebration.  It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces and supporters of the Trust in one place.  The Barracks was a wonderful venue and they did us proud.”

Charity Bank logo

Boost for Charity Bank with £5million deposit from Power to Change

Charity Bank has announced a £5 million deposit injection from the independent charitable trust Power to Change. With seven in ten people agreeing that charities should invest their savings and investments ethically, Charity Bank is calling on other organisations to align their money and mission.1

Charity Bank and Power to Change

The deposit will increase Charity Bank’s lending capabilities, improving access to finance for charities and social enterprises. This is increasingly important, as 78% of those who borrowed money from Charity Bank say their project would not have gone ahead without it and 30% said it helped keep the organisation afloat.2

The organisations helped by Charity Bank include Imago, a social action charity supporting communities across the South of England which purchased a new premises with funding from Charity Bank, and Burton Street Foundation, a community benefit society in Sheffield which has also been supported in the past by Power to Change. Burton Street Foundation works with almost 250 adults and 50 children every week, with needs ranging from moderate learning difficulties, to profound and multiple learning disabilities.

Ed Siegel, Chief Executive at Charity Bank comments, “Responsible investment is an important and growing area of focus for many charities and social enterprises. This deposit from Power to Change will undoubtedly help us in our mission to provide social enterprises with the financial resources they need to help vulnerable people and communities across the UK, outcomes which, we understand, are supportive of the social objectives of Power to Change.”

Vidhya Alakeson, Chief Executive at Power to Change said: “Power to Change exists to create better places through community business and we know that by saving with Charity Bank, our cash is being used as a powerful tool for social change. The deposit we’ve made will support Charity Bank in tackling some of the most challenging societal issues facing the UK today, while still earning a good rate of interest, which is great news for our endowment and for improving lives.”

Charity Bank is encouraging charities to invest their savings and investments ethically and in support of their mission, through its Money on a Mission campaign.

Charity Bank #MoneyOnAMission


About the research:

An online survey of 4,000 nationally representative UK adults (aged 18+) carried out between 27th February and 6th March 2018 by Opinium on behalf of Charity Bank. The results have been weighed to nationally representative criteria.

Charity Bank Impact survey was conducted in February and March 2019. It was sent to 235 of Charity Bank’s current borrowers, with 105 completing the survey either online or via a telephone interview.

Plastic water bottles

University of Winchester announces pledge to eliminate single-use plastic

The University of Winchester has pledged to eliminate all unnecessary single-use plastic by December 2020 and calls on individuals and the higher education sector to stand up and take action to combat the climate crisis.

“We are facing a global crisis and it’s time we all did more,” said Professor Joy Carter CBE, DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winchester. “Eliminating unnecessary single-use plastic is just one of many initiatives here at the University to minimise our environmental impact and make a positive difference to the world.”

The University – which is recognised globally for its pioneering work in sustainability and social justice – is implementing the single-use plastic pledge across offices and teaching spaces, catering and sporting facilities, and halls of residence.

Single-use plastic will be replaced where there is a viable alternative, with the aim of significantly reducing their use as well as minimising plastic waste on campus. The University will also work with suppliers to identify items that are not made from recycled material and are not recyclable, and will consider the environmental footprint of potential replacement products to ensure they are as sustainable as possible.

The University is also set to open a new zero waste shop, as part of the West Downs development on Romsey Road in Winchester. From early 2020, staff, students and members of the local community will be welcome to do their grocery shopping on campus.

“As a University, we have a responsibility to ensure we actively engage in sustainable practices ourselves, but we are committed to ensure our impact goes far beyond this,” added Professor Carter. “Sustainability and social responsibility is embedded across our teaching and other activities, as demonstrated by achieving the National Union of Students’ (NUS) Responsible Futures accreditation last month. Through our Climate Change Education Strategy, we ensure our students graduate with an understanding of how climate change is relevant to their subject area and their everyday lives.

“As the University for sustainability and social justice, the climate emergency is at the forefront of our minds but the higher education sector as a whole must work together to make the climate emergency a higher priority than it is at present. Sustainability must be considered as part of every new strategy developed, course planned and contract signed. As big purchasers, we should be putting pressure on supply chains to see real behaviour change.

Earlier this year, the University of Winchester placed in the top 100 of the worldwide University Impact Rankings put together by Times Higher Education. It recognises universities for their social and economic impact on society, based on their success in delivering the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“I encourage every individual, organisation and sector to stand up and take action” said Professor Carter. “Be inspired and empowered by the Greta Thunberg’s of this world; take the lead from school children who are protesting for change. We need to be positive, peaceful activists to collectively combat the challenges faced as part of the climate emergency.”

Making a Mark competition

FamilyCarersNet named 2019 Making a Mark winners

Andy Lewis of FamilyCarersNet receiving the Making a Mark award from Besma WhayebFamilyCarersNet, a social enterprise providing vital support for unpaid carers, was announced as the winner of our 2019 Making a Mark competition at a special celebration at our conference in Birmingham earlier this week.

Besma Whayeb, a Year of Green Action Ambassador, presented the award to Andy Lewis of FamilyCarersNet during our annual awards reception. His colleague Simon had earlier spoken at a panel session looking at how social enterprises can achieve sustainable business growth without compromising their social mission.

Andy was presented with an award specially created for us by Social Enterprise Mark holder Start Creative *, a social enterprise which provides a range of high quality hand crafted products and services to public, private and social sectors, whilst providing positive commercial experiences to volunteers who are referred via mental health services.

Simon Brown, founder of FamilyCarersNet said: “It was quite a shock, there were many fantastic organisations shortlisted. It’s our first national award and really pleasing for everyone involved to gain recognition from others in our sector for the impact we have in supporting unpaid carers, both in Suffolk and across the UK.”

The annual Making a Mark competition celebrates how accredited social enterprises are creating considerable impact within their local communities and in wider society. This year, we asked Mark holders to submit their ‘Social Enterprise Story’, encapsulating who they are and the nature of the social impact they create – i.e. how they are ‘Making a Mark’.

We were really impressed with FamilyCarersNet’s video submission, which illustrated a sense of genuine stakeholder engagement in how their business is managed and delivered, and clearly demonstrated their purpose and explained how the help and benefits they deliver translate into social outcomes for beneficiaries.

Andy Lewis of FamilyCarersNet with the Social Enterprise Mark CIC team

Andy Lewis of FamilyCarersNet with the Social Enterprise Mark CIC team

FamilyCarersNet was shortlisted alongside five other organisations, including AUARA, who were Highly Commended. The shortlist was decided by the Social Enterprise Mark CIC team, which also voted on the final result. We were really impressed with the quality of submissions, and would like to extend our congratulations to all of the competition finalists:

  • Making a Mark competition finalistsAUARA
  • Brighter Futures
  • FamilyCarersNet
  • Hope Enterprises
  • Millfields Trust
  • University of Northampton
Lightbulb in thought bubble on blackboard

Tender opportunity for social economy research in Coventry

The City of Coventry has been invited to submit a proposal to the Local Access Programme, a new fund created by ACCESS – The Foundation for Social Investment and Big Society Capital, to take a place based approach to transforming the social economy through blended finance.

Coventry is one of only 12 places invited to take part in a competitive process, where 5 places will be offered a share of £33m of blended finance to develop a strong social economy.

Coventry Social Enterprise CityThe bid is being developed by Coventry Social Enterprise City Partnership; an informal body made up of Coventry City Council, Coventry University Social Enterprisesectoral support agencies, social enterprise and charity leaders and 2 universities, including Coventry University Social Enterprise. They are now inviting tenders for a research exercise into market opportunities for the social economy in Coventry where sustainable business models might be developed which build the sustainability of charities and social enterprises.

The Brief

The Partnership requires a specialist consultant with the expertise to identify social economy market opportunities. They expect this work will consist of:

  • Undertaking research and analysis of potential market opportunities in Coventry and surrounding areas which have the potential of being delivered by the social economy
  • Engage with relevant stakeholders to understand the local context and direction of travel
  • Presenting to the partnership conclusions in the form of presentation and report

Early discussions have highlighted the following areas may be useful areas to explore:

  • Private Sector (increasing the value of spend by the private sector with social economy organisations)
  • Homelessness & Housing Services
  • City of Culture 2021
  • Young People


A maximum of £10,000 inc expenses

Selection Criteria

  • Excellent track record in research
  • Strong end evidenced understanding of the Social Economy (ideally in Coventry)
  • Ability to identify, quantify and articulate local market opportunities for social economy organisations
  • Willingness to work and consult with key partners and stakeholders
  • Value for money

How to Quote

Please provide a fully costed proposal which sets out:

  • Your approach
  • An indicative work plan
  • Relevant experience
  • How you meet the criteria
  • 2 referees

Send your proposal to Keith Jeffrey, MD of CU Social Enterprise CIC by 5pm on Friday 28th June. You can contact Keith on 07557 425016.


June 28th              Submission Deadline

w/c July 8th          Interviews

Sept 20th               Submission of final report

Andy Ibbotson, student at University of Northampton, presenting at ‘Map the System’ competition

Northampton sport student maps his way to prestigious competition

A student at the University of Northampton used his personal interest in strokes and stroke rehabilitation to win a place at a prestigious competition and talk about his own research.

Andy Ibbott – who has just finished the second year of his foundation degree in Sport and Exercise Science at Northampton – suffered a near fatal stroke in 2011 during a hospital operation, which left him needing to re-learn how to walk. He was also left with the condition aphasia, which makes it difficult for him to understand or produce speech.

The ‘Map the System’ competition is an initiative of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford and other leading higher education institutions. Students and educators who take part are tasked with thinking differently about social and environmental change by researching an issue and communicating their findings to an audience.

Andy competed against the likes of Harvard University students as he explored aphasia. His research sees a possible benefit to the reclassification of this condition as a brain injury, potentially combining resources and making access to support easier. He was one of only four representatives from UK universities, out of 20 total entrants, and although he did not win, he has already started further research to compete again next year.

Andy said: “Presenting my research in front of guests from universities like Harvard was a bit daunting at first, but the experience as a whole was powerful and inspiring.

“I’ve fully embraced the Changemaker philosophy at University of Northampton but don’t see myself as ‘only’ a poster child for stroke recovery and I look very much toward the future. But if getting out on the road talking about aphasia helps push for better support, I’m more than happy to do it.”

Andy received one to one coaching from Julia Jolley – Community Engagement Adviser in University of Northampton’s Changemaker Hub – to support his application and was supported at the competition by Bruce Paterson, Credit Union Officer at the University. The Changemaker Hub works with students before, during and after their studies to develop and enhance employability. Map the System will be built into the University’s student offer next year.

Andy’s efforts getting back into full-time employment were featured in the BBC TV programme Employable Me in 2017, and he has gone on to give motivational speeches around the UK and Europe, which have assisted with his speech and communication rehab.


University of Winchester building

University of Winchester recognised by National Union of Students

University of WinchesterThe University of Winchester has been awarded the National Union of Students’ (NUS) Responsible Futures accreditation for its commitment to embedding sustainability and social responsibility in its teaching and other activities.

The award recognises the partnership between the University and Winchester Student Union to promote education for sustainable development, helping students at Winchester to understand the sustainability challenges facing society and preparing them to become globally responsible citizens.

Professor Joy Carter CBE DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “In partnership with the Student Union, we have been working hard to create an environment where education for sustainability and social justice can flourish and be a part of every Winchester student’s higher education experience. This accreditation highlights that we are very much on the right track.

“Our commitment to sustainability and social justice are at the heart of our determination to make a positive social and environmental impact and create a better world for the future.”

Winchester’s pioneering activities in sustainability education include the Climate Change Education Strategy, which commits the University to ensuring all students graduate with an understanding of how climate change is relevant to their subject area and their everyday lives and how they can address the challenges it presents.

Carole Parkes, Professor of Responsible Management, who led the University’s accreditation work, said: “The Responsible Futures accreditation underlines the strength of the partnership between the University and the Student Union in ensuring sustainability is embedded across the institution. Together we will be creating more opportunities for students to engage with real world issues as part of their time here.”

Tali Atvars, Winchester Student Union President, said: “Receiving the Responsible Futures accreditation is the result of the strong working partnership between the Student Union and the University. Our students and graduates have to step up to take on the challenges of the century ahead of us and this is a very positive step towards shaping the minds of our students to think about sustainability and how it applies to not only their education but to life after graduation.”

The accreditation follows the news that the University of Winchester’s work in sustainability and social responsibility has earned it a place in the top 100 of the first-ever global University Impact Rankings put together by Times Higher Education. In the ranking, Winchester was ranked second in the UK for Sustainable Development Goal 4 Quality Education.

PELC logo

PELC continues to improve CQC rating across its services

The Partnership of East London Co-operatives (PELC) has had its Out of Hours services rated as ‘good’ across the board by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). This builds on its exceptional 6-month turn-around of the Emergency Urgent Care Centre (EUCC) at the King George Hospital, Ilford.

PELC’s Out of Hours care operates from a number of sites in East London, including Queens Hospital (Romford), King George Hospital (Ilford) and Gray’s Court (Dagenham). Its service, which runs from 6.30pm to 8am on weekdays and all day at weekends and on bank holidays, includes GPs and healthcare professionals working in primary care centres, minor injury units and urgent care centres.

The CQC has given an individual and overall rating ‘good’ across its five key areas; safety, effectiveness, care, responsiveness and leadership. Good shows that the service is performing well and meeting the CQC’s expectations.

The Partnership of East London Co-operatives (PELC) is a not-for-profit social enterprise that serves more than 2million people across East London and West Essex. It delivers NHS integrated urgent care services (Clinical Assessment, GP Out of Hours, Prison healthcare and Urgent Care Centres).

“This is another great achievement for our organisation” said Brian Jones, Chief Executive of PELC. “Our team continues to go above and beyond to ensure that our patients receive the best care possible, which has, once again, been recognised and reflected by our industry’s regulatory body.

“We continue to work to our vision, providing a patient-focused health system that delivers clinically excellent and cost-effective care with highly exceptional outcomes and patient satisfaction.”

IC24 logo

IC24 publishes first social impact report

Integrated Care 24 (IC24) has recently published it’s first ever social impact report, which is designed to showcase the breadth of contribution that the organisation makes to the healthcare economy, wider society and the people it serves.

IC24 provides urgent unscheduled primary care services across the south and east of England, and as a social enterprise ensures that any surpluses are reinvested into the service and good causes. Throughout the year, it has raised thousands of pounds for charity, and invested in new technology and development opportunities for staff to make sure that it is a sustainable organisation, which continues to provide great care to patients.

Social Enterprise Gold Mark

The concept for the report came following feedback from the full review of their Social Enterprise Gold Mark accreditation last year, which IC24 has held since 2014. This process emphasised the importance of not just being a good social enterprise, but evidencing it too, and prompted IC24 to develop their own impact measurement and reporting systems.

IC24 Chief Executive Yvonne Taylor said: “Our recent Gold Mark re-accreditation process highlighted the importance of not just saying we are a good social enterprise, but also demonstrating that too, which is why we have produced this report.

“Each month we receive lots of feedback from our patients thanking us for the care they have received. We continue to improve the quality of our services through the investment of any surplus into our services and our people so we remain an innovative sustainable organisation for years to come.”

Richard Cobbett, Assessment and Compliance Manager at Social Enterprise Mark CIC, who was responsible for the review assessment, said: “IC24 have been a Social Enterprise Gold Mark for over six years now. Their recent social impact report is a testament to how working with such standards is as much about informing their development as a business committed to maintaining social enterprise excellence, as it is about recognising such practice through holding the accreditation.

The report is a direct response to how they have responded to different criteria requirements and assessment feedback, using this to reflect upon their operational practices and outputs, so that they can better focus and report upon what distinguishes them as an excellent social enterprise, working in a very challenging sector.”

Click here to download the social impact report.

PELC logo

PELC delivers top-notch employee satisfaction in six month transformation

Following a significant turnaround of the Emergency Urgent Care Centre (EUCC) at the King George Hospital in Ilford by the Partnership of East London Cooperatives (PELC), a recent staff survey has shown that 100% of participants now believe that they are able to give the care they aspire to give.

100% of respondents also stated that they felt trusted to do their jobs, are satisfied with work flexibility and felt encouraged to report errors, near misses or incidents. 97% said that training and development has led to better patient care.

PELC has implemented new initiatives and benefits for employees, including providing its junior members of staff with access to apprenticeships and its middle managers with access to independent company mentors. Senior staff also benefit from external mentoring opportunities. These initiatives form part of PELC’s drive to help staff reach their career aspirations.

93% of participating staff said they would recommend PELC as an employer – an improvement from 87% last year.

Paul, Clinician, stated: “I am able to work at PELC because of their family-friendly working arrangements that allow me to contribute around my personal responsibilities as a carer. All of my line managers are available, listen and work with me to develop services that are based upon patient needs.”

This staff satisfaction survey follows an exceptional turnaround by PELC in the CQC rating of the EUCC at King George Hospital.

Brian Jones, PELCBrian Jones, Chief Executive of PELC, commented: “Our focus over the past few months has been an all-consuming endeavour to improve the facilities and resources at the EUCC, including our staff support and training. We are only as strong as the sum of our parts and our individual staff members are the very backbone of the EUCC, essential to delivering results in caring for the local area.

“I am thrilled at the outcome of our staff survey and we will continue to build upon our infrastructure to allow each and every individual to achieve their potential and give the very best in patient care.

“By successfully bringing our CQC rating up by two grades, we are showing our commitment to our patients so they know they can put their trust in us, and to our staff, so they have the support and resources with which to do their job to the very highest standard.”

Making a Mark competition

Celebrating the impact of accredited social enterprises

Our Making a Mark competition is back for another year!

This annual competition for Social Enterprise Mark/Gold Mark holders celebrates and promotes the vast impact that accredited social enterprises make through their diverse activities, illustrating how social enterprises are creating considerable impact within their local communities and in wider society.

This year, we invited Mark holders to submit their #SocEntStory, using a medium of their choice, which helps encapsulate who they are and the nature of the social impact they create – i.e. how they are ‘Making a Mark’. We were overwhelmed with the quality and variety of responses, and were left with a difficult job in shortlisting entries.

We are now delighted to announce the below shortlist:

  • Making a Mark competition finalistsAUARA
  • Brighter Futures
  • FamilyCarersNet
  • Hope Enterprises
  • Millfields Trust
  • University of Northampton

Entries were judged according to how engaging they were in describing what it means to be a genuine social enterprise, trading to deliver social benefit above that of personal profit.

Click here to view the entries from each of the finalists.

The winner will be announced at a special reception at our annual conference (in Birmingham) on 19th June.



Chocolate Films e-book

How To Effectively Use Video For Your Business – free ebook

Chocolate Films logoAre you unsure how to make a first corporate video? Or have you done video marketing before, but are you looking for new ways that drive better results?

Learn how to effectively leverage video for your business – Chocolate Films has released a free e-book sharing tips from over 17 years of experience in video production for the arts, heritage, corporate, medical, education, charity and public sectors.

The e-book offers 5 techniques to create great video content:

  • HERO content to drive Brand Awareness and for Product or Service Promotion
  • HELP films to answer your audiences’ questions and drive Online Traffic
  • Case Study Videos
  • Animated Explainers
  • Social Media Videos

Click here to download the free e-book.



PELC logo

PELC improves CQC rating in outstanding 6 month turnaround

Emergency Urgent Care Centre (EUCC) at the King George Hospital in IlfordFollowing a full inspection of the Emergency Urgent Care Centre (EUCC) at the King George Hospital in Ilford, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has, in an exceptional move, upgraded its rating across all its services up by two positions, just six months after being placed into ‘special measures’.

The EUCC is run by the Partnership of East London Co-operatives (PELC), a not-for-profit social enterprise delivering NHS integrated urgent care services (NHS 111, Clinical Assessment, GP Out of Hours and Urgent Care Centres), to more than 2million people across East London and West Essex.

In August 2018, the EUCC was placed into special measures by CQC following a rating of ‘inadequate’. In the six-month period that followed, PELC has raised its overall rating by two grades to ‘good’, improving in all of the individual five key areas assessed by the CQC; safety, effectiveness, care, responsiveness and leadership.

Immediately after the previous inspection, the team made important improvements that had a major impact to how the overall service was delivered. The new report recognised significant improvements made to the quality of care provided by the EUCC, including:

  • A strong focus on continuous learning and improvement at all levels of the organisation
  • Leadership and governance arrangements to support the delivery of high-quality and person-centred care
  • Monthly governance meetings to learn and improve from safety incidents
  • A staff bulletin to share learning and development
  • New protocols and training to support how clinicians assessed patients
  • Improvements to the physical layout to make it more conducive to maintaining patients’ privacy

Brian Jones, who took over as chief executive of PELC following the previous report, said:

Brian Jones, PELC“This is fantastic news for the King George’s EUCC and the communities we serve there. We are incredibly proud of our staff and the services we provide and the CQC findings are testament to the continued determination to provide the best possible care for patients.

“This is an incredible turnaround by the team achieved within the space of six short months. We are one of a very small number of organisations in England that have jumped from ‘Special Measures’ to an overall of ‘Good’ in such a short space of time.”

The EUCC is a walk-in NHS service based at the King George Hospital in Goodmays, Ilford, for patients whose condition is urgent enough that they cannot wait for the next GP appointment but who do not need emergency treatment at the emergency department (A&E).

Brian continued: “Our vision is to provide a patient-focused health system that delivers clinically excellent and cost-effective care with highly exceptional outcomes and patient satisfaction.

“This announcement highlights the considerable progress we have made at the King George Hospital. However, we will not rest here – we continue to work hard across all our services to provide high quality, responsive and personalised care for our patients.”

Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings

Winchester listed in top universities for environmental and social impact

The University of Winchester’s pioneering work in sustainability and social responsibility has earned the institution a place in the top 100 of the first-ever global University Impact Rankings put together by Times Higher Education.

The new ranking recognises universities across the world for their social and economic impact on society, based on their success in delivering the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Winchester is tied at 76th in the overall impact rankings, out of 500 institutions from 75 countries. Its ranking is based on its performance on SDG 17 – Partnership for the Goals – and three other SDGs:

  • Reduced Inequalities (SDG 10)
  • Quality Education (SDG 4)
  • Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (SDG 16)

Professor Joy CarterProfessor Joy Carter CBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winchester, said: “It’s a huge achievement for Winchester to be placed us among the world’s top universities for social impact in these new rankings. It also demonstrates how our commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals translate into groundbreaking work helping to transform the world we live in. We are a community committed to making a difference and our values – compassion, individuals matter and spirituality – inform why we do this and how we achieve it.”

The University’s pioneering activities in promoting the SDGs include:

  • The Climate Change Education Strategy commits the University to ensuring students graduate with an understanding of how climate change is relevant to their subject area and their everyday lives and how they can address the challenges it presents.
  • The University’s Sustainability Statement, launched in 2018, sets out what sustainability means to the institution and how it will be achieved in practice.
  • The University has saved over 72,000 disposable cups from being used on campus through the introduction of a surcharge and free reusable cups for students and staff. An average of 33 drinks in 100 are now served in a reusable cup, up from just three in 100 in 2015/16. All new students are given a reusable cups, which are Gum-tec Americano mugs – made of 20 per cent recycled chewing gum (around 42 pieces per cup).
  • The University aims to make a positive environmental impact through the management of its estate. It has the sixth most carbon efficient estate in the higher education sector relative to floor area. All electricity comes from renewable sources. None of its waste goes to landfill, with a recycling rate of 60 per cent, up from 14 per cent in January 2009. A two-bin system operates across campus and in halls of residence for dry mixed recycling and general waste. Food waste from catering outlets and office kitchens is sent for anaerobic digestion and waste cooking oil is converted into biodiesel.
Goodbye Europe movie nights

Goodbye Europe, Hello Londoners

1000 Londoners, a Chocolate Films project, has had the first two screenings of its brand new series of Movie Nights Goodbye Europe, an anthology of new short films featuring Londoners from the 28 nations of the EU. These micro-documentaries tell the unique tales of people living across the capital, from all different backgrounds and walks of life.

Last Friday, they were at the National Portrait Gallery, as part of the popular Friday Lates programme. There was a completely packed out screening, with an excitable buzz of anticipation in the air. From meeting young Arthur, a baby from Ireland, to Jewish refugees and couple Bob and Ann who were brought to the UK on the Kindertransport, the audience laughed, smiled and reflected upon the different stories they were hearing.

Chocolate Films Goodbye Europe film screeningAfterwards, a panel discussion gave people the chance to meet Isabelle from France, a pioneer in mobility, Roland from Italy who has a music studio in Ealing, Diana from Romania who enjoys the Romanian music scene available in London and Lina from Lithuania, whose demanding job as a social worker doesn’t dampen her spirit. Led by Creative Director of 1000 Londoners Rachel Wang, the audience got the chance to ask questions to the contributors as well as the independent filmmaker Christine Lutzu.

On Monday, the screening took place at the Museum of London, as part of their Brexit Talks event, where museum team members were on hand to gather oral histories and views on Brexit from attendees. After the screening, there was the chance for people to discuss 1000 Londoners further, as well as meet some of the contributors, all the while viewing objects from the Museum of London’s collections.

There are more screenings on the way, and more chances to watch this fascinating project on the big screen! Join Chocolate Films at:

See below for a trailer of Goodbye Europe.

Wheelchair access sign

L&Q sets out disability inclusion commitment

Leading housing association and developer L&Q has partnered with two leading not-for-profit organisations to ensure it is offering the best service to its disabled staff and residents.

EvenbreakAs part of their disability inclusion initiative, L&Q will work with Evenbreak, a not-for-profit social enterprise that helps inclusive employers attract and retain more talented disabled people.

L&Q is also working with disability charity Scope to develop housing advice content for their website and advice line. The two organisations have worked together for the last 18 months to upskill L&Q’s employability service, so that they can better engage and support their disabled residents in securing sustainable employment.

Disabled people are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people. To reduce the barriers facing disabled people, L&Q will advertise all its jobs on Evenbreak’s website, a specialist job board run by and for disabled people.

L&Q’s other disability inclusion initiatives for 2019 include:

  • Improving physical access for disabled staff, residents and visitors over and above legal compliance
  • Organising disability awareness training by Enhance UK
  • Upskilling staff so they can give great customer service to disabled residents
  • Reporting on the disability pay gap from 2019 as part of L&Q’s annual Fair Pay report
  • Offering flexible working for all its roles, including in its contact centre, which will break down barriers for disabled staff or carers
  • Becoming a Disability Confident committed employer, which means that candidates are guaranteed an interview if they meet the job criteria
  • Working with Genius Within to help staff understand ‘neurodiverse’ cUonditions such as autism

Jan Gale, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at L&Q, said: “By partnering with Evenbreak, we are investing in our people. We want our workforce to reflect the diverse make-up of our residents, and we also want to attract people with a wide range of different skills and expertise.

“If we can harness the creativity and innovation that comes from diverse teams, it will help us play our part in solving the housing crisis. There is a huge array of talent out there that organisations can’t afford to ignore as we seek to deliver quality services to our residents whilst building new homes to tackle the supply gap.

“It’s important that there are no barriers to disabled people working at L&Q, and that includes at the very start of their journey as a prospective L&Q employee.”

Jane HattonJane Hatton, Founder and Director at Evenbreak, said: “We are delighted that L & Q are leading the way on disability inclusion for housing associations. The benefits of employing disabled people can have an enormous positive impact on all aspects of social housing, including having a more diverse workforce that residents can relate to. Advertising all of their vacancies on Evenbreak will support L&Q in being the type of organisation that excels.”

Stephanie Coulshed, Programme Lead at Scope said: “Based on our in-depth research into the information that disabled people need about housing, Scope’s content designers will collaborate with subject experts at L&Q to develop accessible advice that helps people solve problems. We believe that L&Q’s knowledge of housing issues and commitment to tackling them, combined with Scope’s expertise in content design, will result in an outstanding partnership that has real impact.”

Goodbye Europe

Goodbye Europe; 1000 Londoners Movie Nights

In the days that the UK leaves the EU, 1000 Londoners (a Chocolate Films project) invites the people of London to join ‘Goodbye Europe’ – a unique film screening created specifically for this historic moment in the capital.

‘Goodbye Europe’ is an anthology of new short films about the London lives of people from each of the 28 nations in the EU. It will show parts of the city that you may never have seen – profiling the rich and poor, the young and old, the integrated and the outsiders, from the West End all the way to the ends of the Tube lines. This will be a documentary experience like no other – a journey through the lives of European London, shot in the final months of the UK’s time in the EU.

Included in these 28 micro-documentaries are the stories of:

  • A German man and woman who came to the UK on the Kindertransport in the World War II era and met and married in later life.
  • A Czech man who by chance discovered he was fluent in Russian at the age of 12.
  • A Dutch stay-at-home Dad who offered his spare room to a Syrian refugee.

The films will take you inside a cage fight, an evangelical church and a rehearsal room at the Royal Ballet. They will show you the perspectives of a Bulgarian abseiler, a Swedish economist, a Spanish Big Issue vendor, a Finnish hairdresser and many many more.

The films will be edited along BFI footage from the 50s to today, curated by the archivists from London’s Screen Archives. Following each screening, we offer a panel discussion with filmmakers and contributors.

1000 Londoners‘Goodbye Europe’ is the 15th and most ambitious 1000 Londoners Movie Night to date. 1000 Londoners was launched in 2014 to tell the epic social story of our city today through 1000 documentary portraits of Londoners.

See ‘Goodbye Europe’ at the National Portrait Gallery on 15th March, the Museum of London on 18th March, Ritzy Cinema on 27th March, Curzon Soho on 28 March and Hackney Picturehouse on 29th March.

Roots HR logo

Unlock your potential with Roots HR coaching package

Roots HR coaching package

Challenging work goals for 2019? But not sure where to start?

Do you know what success looks like? But unsure how to achieve it?

Personal changes to make in 2019?  But too many options and no time?

Take time to think about 1-1 coaching for you, your whole team or individual team members, to get your 2019 moving in the right direction…and let Roots Human Resources help.

They are offering 3 personal or business coaching sessions for just £445 + VAT for a limited time only.

This offer is available until midday on 11th February 2019. Contact Roots HR to order your coaching package.

Sanitary items donation

IC24 donates sanitary items to those in need in Ashford

Staff at Integrated Care 24 (IC24)’s head office have got in the festive spirit this year, by donating hundreds of sanitary items to The Hygiene Bank charity.

For the last two months, staff at the integrated urgent care provider, which provides the NHS 111 and out of hours GP led service in East Kent, have been donating items such as soaps, razors, toothpaste and other sanitary items to pass to The Hygiene Bank for distribution.

The Hygiene Bank is a charity that was set up to tackle ‘hygiene poverty’ and make sure that those who are living in poverty have access to basic hygiene products such as deodorants and shampoo. In the UK 37% of people have had to go without basic hygiene products, or cut down on them, due to lack of funds*.

The collection, which took place at IC24’s head office on the Orbital Business Park in Ashford, was organised by Data Protection Officer Claire Walker (pictured below) supported by Helen Meyler and Terri Richards from the Learning and Experience team.

Claire Walker and Stephen ElliottClaire said: “I had heard about the great work of The Hygiene Bank and wanted to help. At IC24 we try to raise money for a lot of good causes so I knew that everyone would get on board by buying items to donate. In total we donated two boxes and three bags full of items, weighing over 25 kg.”

The items have now been collected by The Hygiene Bank and are already being distributed across Ashford.


*Source: Kind Direct, 2017

Evenbreak wins UnLtd award for driving social change

Evenbreak, a pioneer in disability specific recruitment, has secured support from UnLtd, the UK’s foundation for social entrepreneurs. The funding and tailored support package will help the organisation continue to drive lasting social change at a time when the UK is beginning to wake up to the value of the purple pound.

UnLtd award

Evenbreak is a multi-award winning and values led social enterprise, founded by Jane Hatton in 2011. A strong believer in ‘nothing about us, without us’, Jane created the UK’s first and only jobs board to connect inclusive employers with an untapped pool of talented disabled candidates. Evenbreak’s entire team is disabled, providing unique insight and valuable expertise to both the candidates and employers that they serve.

Savvy organisations seeking to address the looming skills shortage, are well aware of the benefits that employing a diverse workforce has to their bottom line. Once an employer commits to employing disabled people, they open the doors to a wider talent pool, a more loyal, engaged and productive workforce and an increase in revenue, profits and market share.

However, taking that step can be daunting for some, so Evenbreak also supplies employers with a best practice portal to guide them through their disability confident journey. The portal is packed with resources and advice from disabled people themselves and leading disability employers and clients, such as Channel 4.

Jane HattonJane Hatton, Evenbreak, said: “We know that our specialist job board allows talented disabled candidates find opportunities with inclusive employers who will value their skills. But we can only help the disabled candidates who know we exist! The grant from UnLtd will enable us to reach out to far more disabled people so that they have the opportunity to find jobs with inclusive employers of choice too!”

Nas Morley, UnLtd Director of Partnerships & Influence, underlined the importance of the expertise and support on offer and said: “Enterprising people are at the heart of so much positive change across the UK, so it’s wonderful for UnLtd to be able to provide support for this social venture. We hope that our tailored package of support will help to develop many more sustainable businesses that will deliver lasting social impact. We’re living in particularly challenging times, so some of these ideas and innovations are urgently needed.”

UnLtd is working hard with partners from both the public and private sectors to help deliver social impact by harnessing the huge potential of social entrepreneurs to solve society’s biggest challenges. The organisation is focused on three big impact areas; resilient communities, employability and solutions for an ageing society.

More information on UnLtd’s latest funding opportunities is available online.

Ed Siegel Charity Bank

Charity Bank responds as ‘inadequate’ UK care homes make £113m profit

Charity Bank Chief Executive Edward Siegel has commented on a recent Guardian investigation which found that some of the country’s worst care homes are owned by companies that are turning over large profits:

“It is shocking to hear a Guardian investigation reveal that some of the country’s worst care home operators have made £113m in profits despite their residents receiving ‘inadequate’ care.

“This highlights yet another example where non-profit-maximising social businesses offer a more appropriate and effective means for providing such critical public services. 

“Charity Bank provides significant financial support to the health and social care sector, with £22.9m currently lent out to 47 different providers, and Care Quality Commission ratings are a key criteria in our credit assessments.

“We know from experience that charity and social enterprise operators, because they are not beholden to shareholders seeking to maximise investment returns, are able to reinvest their surpluses to improve care quality for the benefit of their residents and their families. They are inherently driven to deliver the highest quality care.”

The Soap Co. stocked in John Lewis

John Lewis & Partners to sell
The Soap Co. products

The Soap Co. logoIn a major achievement for CLARITY-The Soap Co., the social enterprise announces that in time for the busy Christmas period, high-end department store, John Lewis & Partners, is to sell its luxury, ethical, eco and bee friendly collection across various of its stores nationwide.

Camilla Marcus-Dew, Co-Founder of The Soap Co. said: “The fact that John Lewis & Partners have selected The Soap Co.’s Eco & Bee Friendly collection to sit on their shelves alongside well-established luxury brands (with big budgets) is a huge endorsement, with confidence that their consumers will love our products and values. It firmly positions us in the high-end retail sector and clearly illustrates that luxury, ethical beauty with measurable social impact has hit the mainstream. It’s been quite the journey to get here, but big retailers are now giving a voice to ‘disruptor’ brands like ours and we are proud to be leading the charge with the support of one of the most respected names on the high street globally. We will also be turning our attention to the luxury hotels sector in 2019.

Created with eco-certified ingredients that are not harmful to aquatic life all products from The Soap Co. are crafted by a workforce, 80% of whom are blind, disabled or otherwise disadvantaged.

Soap Co. employeesAs Camilla explains, “Our goal is to create meaningful employment that changes people’s lives for the better, and to create ripple effects through the beauty industry and beyond. I would like to thank you John Lewis & Partners for joining the movement to address disability unemployment and underemployment in the UK, as we craft products with purpose and challenge consumers to expect more from their soap.

The Soap Co. collection will available on John Lewis online, where 50% of total John Lewis sales are achieved and will be in store at their Cambridge, Welwyn Garden City, Reading and Southampton sites, with an ambition for a wider national rollout in 2019.

Charlotte West, Assistant Buyer at John Lewis & Partners: “We are pleased to be launching The Soap Co. into our assortment. The products and unique placement of The Soap Co. in both the blend of scents and being made locally is one we excited to show our customer base.” 

The Soap Co.’s eco and bee friendly collection is vegan and biodegradable, and available in 3 British inspired fragrances: Geranium & Rhubarb, Wild Nettle & Sage and Mulberry & Amber, as a hand wash (300ml), hand lotion (300ml) or cold processed bar soap (125g). In addition, The Soap Co.’s luxurious 100% natural Rose, Uplift and Detox bath oils (100ml) with antioxidants, jojoba seed and evening primrose oils are also included, alongside three stunning gift sets priced under £40 RSP:

  • Rose Oil Duo
  • Geranium & Rhubarb Hand Gift Duo
  • Mixed Body Gift Trio, exclusively for John Lewis & Partners, which comprises Geranium & Rhubarb body lotion, Wild Nettle & Sage bar soap and an exfoliating soap pebble.

The Soap Co. stocked in John Lewis

START Common Room workshops

Common Room creative workshops in Salford

START is excited to announce our new Common Room creative workshops, open to everyone.

The Common Room is a programme of public workshops at The Make Space, START’s studio in Walkden. The workshops are all taught by professional artists and offer a friendly place to learn new skills and meet others.

Sessions include:

All sessions take place from 1.30-5.30pm.

Workshops start at £25 and the proceeds will support START’s projects that deliver creative arts sessions for people experiencing mental ill health, which promote emotional wellbeing and recovery for people across Salford.

Tickets can be bought at

Windrush Generations from 1000 Londoners

1000 Londoners presents:
Windrush Generations

1000 Londoners

In a brand new series of 15 short films, the multi award-winning documentary series 1000 Londoners , the flagship project of Chocolate Films, discovers the lives of 4 generations of Londoners with Caribbean heritage.

Each of the films portrays the experiences of a single Londoner, including:

  • Dame Jocelyn Barrow, knighted for her achievements in race-relations, who recalls persuading the shop owners in Oxford Street to employ Black women on the shop floor;
  • Teacher Sara Burke who led the 2018 protest about the treatment of the Windrush Generation;
  • Ground-breaking BBC journalist Alex Pascall who reminisces about interviews with Bob Marley, Mohammed Ali;

and many more.

Alongside the short documentaries, you will see new edits of rarely-seen Super 8 footage from Brixton during the 1960s to 1980s, from former pentecostal Minister Clovis Salmon aka ‘Sam The Wheels’ who came to London from Jamaica in the 1950s; and of BFI archive from Notting Hill Carnival.

‘Windrush Generations’ has been curated by 1000 Londoners Creative Director Rachel Wang, whose mother moved to London from Jamaica during the Windrush era. Rachel will host a panel discussion on the Legacy of the Windrush Generations with some of the Londoners featured in the films after each screening.

‘Windrush Generations’ is the 14th 1000 Londoners Movie Night. Previous movie nights have looked at themes as varied as food in London, women and London’s dog owners.

There are a series of screenings in London in November:

Both screenings will be followed by a short panel discussion about the legacy of the Windrush Generations, with Rachel Wang from Chocolate Films and several of the featured Londoners.

Dementia Friends

Campaign to make Bristol first Dementia Friendly City

BS3 Community Development logoBristol based social enterprise BS3 Community Development has started an ambitious campaign to make Bristol the first Dementia Friendly City in the UK.

Friday 21st September is World Alzheimer’s Day and BS3 Community has been working with Bristol Dementia Alliance to support local retailers in the city to understand dementia and how it effects people in order to make their shops and cafes dementia friendly.

They are offering training sessions to retail and hospitality staff, after which attendees are awarded lapel badges as an acknowledgment and a sign that they are a ‘Dementia Friend’. Outlets receive a ‘We are a Dementia Friendly store’ award to display in their window, which demonstrates to those living with dementia and/or their carers, that they are very welcome to shop in those stores and can feel at ease doing so.

Ruth Green, Community Development Manager says “ The training sessions are short but informative and retailers are responding really positively to the small but significant changes that can be made to a shop or café environment to improve the shopping experience of people with dementia. Bristol is a friendly and inclusive place and we hope that this campaign will mean that more of the 850,000 people living in the UK who have dementia will be able to have healthy social lives for longer.”

BS3 Community Development is offering a Dementia training session and talk this Thursday (20th September) 1pm-3pm at the Southville Centre. If you’re a Bristol resident or retailer and would like to know more, please pop in Thursday, or for more information contact Ruth Green.

#FollowTheMoney – move your savings to an ethical provider

Charity Bank logoLeading ethical bank, Charity Bank, has launched a campaign to encourage charities, businesses and individuals to move some of their savings or reserves to an ethical provider.

The Follow the Money campaign is supported by social sector heavyweights including NCVO, NAVCA, Social Enterprise Mark CIC, Social Enterprise UK, Locality, Responsible Finance, Big Society Capital, Barrow Cadbury Trust, ShareAction, CAN, Clinks, the Finance Innovation Lab, Good With Money, The Ethical Company Organisation and Ethical Consumer.

The campaign, launched a decade after the global financial crisis, will see 38 of the charities and social enterprises supported by Charity Bank loans open their doors to showcase how money saved with an ethical provider can have a positive impact on society.

It comes as research*, published by Charity Bank, revealed that 7 in 10 people agree that charities should invest their savings and investments ethically. And more than half (57%) said they prefer to buy from businesses that act ethically.

Charity Bank is now calling on charities, businesses and individuals to question how their savings are currently used. It’s asking them to consider whether that money could go beyond simply earning a fair return and be channelled into the social sector to help make a positive contribution on society.

Edward Siegel, Charity Bank’s Chief Executive, said: “It’s easy to dismiss the possibility of achieving a social return as well as a financial return on your investments but saving ethically offers the chance to do both.

“By channelling money into charities, social enterprises and social businesses, your money is used as a force for good. It empowers these organisations to grow, innovate and build upon the services and support they provide to their beneficiaries.”

Follow the Money, now in its 10th year, takes Charity Bank savers to see for themselves how their money is being used to support charities and social enterprises. This year’s 38-stop tour, which corresponds with Good Money Week (29th September – 5th October), started at the beginning of September and will run until October 5th.

To keep up to date with the Follow the Money tour and support the campaign, visit

Follow the Money has received widespread support from the social sector community, including Lucy Findlay, Managing Director of Social Enterprise Mark CIC: “We are delighted to support the Follow the Money campaign. We encourage fellow social enterprises, as well as charities, other businesses and individuals to question how their savings are currently being used and to consider ethical alternatives, such as those offered by Charity Bank.”

Follow the Money campaign



*An online survey of 4,000 nationally representative UK adults (aged 18+) carried out between 27th February and 6th March 2018 by Opinium on behalf of Charity Bank. The results have been weighed to nationally representative criteria.

Epic Mini Marathon Trials

Mini Marathon Trials bring together talented young runners

At the Mini Marathon Trials, organised by Epic CIC, young people will compete to represent the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea at the 2019 London Youth Games and London Mini Marathon.

Mini Marathon is a trials event for young people aged between 10 and 17 in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. This event has been running in Holland Park for over 10 years and will be taking place again on Tuesday 9th October. Over 300 young athletes will be competing at the trials for a chance to represent the borough along with some of the country’s best athletes at the following events:

  • LYG Cross Country; part of Europe’s largest Annual Youth Sports Event London Youth Games – November 17th 2018
  • London Mini Marathon; part of the World Marathon Majors – 28th April 2019

Epic CIC’s Youth Sport Development Officer Alishia Williams-Gayle reflected on the importance of this event:

“The Mini Marathon Trials is so important to the young athletes of RBKC as it can propel them to events that could really make a difference in their athletic development and progression. Running in one of the borough’s most prestigious parks (Holland Park) against the best in the borough is exciting yet nerve wracking for the young people. This is why the Epic Sport Team continue to put so much into giving them the best trials experience possible. We are really looking forward to hosting all 300+ athletes, their teachers, parents, coaches and of course the RBKC Mayor.”

Anyone between 10-17 can enter the trials for a chance to compete at London Youth Games or London Mini Marathon as long as they live or go to school in RBKC. Entry packs are now available via email or by contacting Alishia Williams-Gayle on 020 7351 2346. The closing date for applications is 1st October.

For more information visit the Epic CIC website.

Unbelievable recruitment offers from Roots HR

recruitment offers from Roots HR

Roots HR CIC has launched its best ever recruitment offers, available for September only.

The above offers are available on all orders placed by 5pm on Friday 28th September 2018.

Roots HR offers a full range of recruitment, selection and onboarding services including:

  • developing job descriptions
  • designing interviews and assessment tests
  • administering psychometric testing
  • being a member of the selection panel
  • supporting decision making
  • writing contracts of employment
  • taking up references and conducting pre-employment checks
  • liaising with unsuccessful candidates
  • undertaking induction planning


Strong Young Minds

New Mental Health Support Programme Challenges Social Isolation

Epic CIC has introduced Strong Young Minds; a programme which provides a one to one outreach service that is led by the child or young person to help access the support they want.

The service aims to help children and young people increase their resilience, reduce social isolation and build on their coping skills to develop strong young minds. By giving young people a sense of control over their use of the service, they are shown that even in difficult times they can find their own strengths to get through tough times in life.

This service offers:

  • Emotional support and advocacy
  • Helps to learn about ways to build mental strength and coping techniques
  • Brings children and young people into social groups helping them feel less isolated
  • Aims to increase awareness and reduce stigma.

To sign up to the course, please contact one of Epic’s Specialist Social Workers for Mental Health; Imogen Keay 07714 563 253 or Renae Boswell 07739 314 573, or via email.

For more information visit the Epic CIC website.

Epic Strong Young Minds programme

Cardiff Metropolitan University in HEFCW report

Cardiff Metropolitan University showcased in HEFCW report

Cardiff Metropolitan University, which was the first university in Wales to be awarded the Social Enterprise Mark, features in a recent report published by HEFCW (Higher Education Funding Council for Wales).

HEFCW Innovation Nation reportThe Innovation Nation: on common ground report showcases how higher education providers in Wales have been pursuing their civic mission in recent years, and how they act as good corporate citizens both locally and globally. It contains a number of case studies, which demonstrate how higher education providers create considerable impact on local, national and international communities.

Four examples from Cardiff Metropolitan University are included in the report, including a case study on how they are leading on social enterprise, which references their unique status as the only university in Wales to have been awarded the Social Enterprise Mark.

Please click here to view the report.

BECỌ logo

BECỌ – good, clean, fun

A brand new hand-care range that puts real change in people’s hands

How to Share With Just Friends

How to share with just friends.

Posted by Facebook on Friday, December 5, 2014

Social enterprise CLARITY has announced the launch of BECỌ, a sister brand to The Soap Cọ.

There has never been more demand for products which are better for society, better for the environment, and are just better for the people who buy them. BECỌ ticks all three boxes, meaning more consumers than ever before will be able to purchase without compromise. BECỌ hits supermarket shelves across the UK from July onwards. Just think: If every household in the UK used BECỌ in their bathrooms, BECỌ would create nearly 45,000 new jobs for people with disabilities.

CLARITY, the charity behind BECỌ creates over 10,000 days of employment every year for its staff – 80% of whom are visually impaired, disabled or disadvantaged. Its ambition, with the launch of this feel good and playful brand, is to generate 2,000 days of employment in 2018, enabling ever more people to have a positive impact on the world around them through their consumer choices.

The new BECỌ products consist of a 250ml vegan, eco-foaming hand wash, which saves 88 litres of water per bottle compared to liquid hand wash; and a 97% organic, vegan, 100g triple-milled bar soap in three planet-friendly and eco-certified fragrances: Honey Blossom, Spring Meadow and Wild Berries. The eco benefits go far beyond this. Each bottle of foaming hand wash lasts 2.5 times longer than a liquid hand wash, meaning less plastic waste. The organic bar soap is also made with ingredients that have not been produced with herbicides, chemical fertilizers, or pesticides.

Every product bears the names of three different team members involved in BECỌ’s creation – from product development through to customer services. Like Abhi, whose name appears on the Wild Berries foaming hand wash. Blind at the age of 14 following an accident, he manually feeds BECỌ bottles onto the production line, ensuring there are no dents or scratches on its surface. Or Nic in the customer services team, who has learning difficulties and Noonan Syndrome. He says: “I’m thrilled to be recognised and to show that I don’t have to hide myself and my disability.”

Camilla Marcus-Dew, co-founder of The Soap Cọ, said: “BECỌ stands for Better Considered, and is a movement that puts meaningful change for disabled and disadvantaged people in the hands of everyday shoppers. It’s a bold new idea that will appeal to those who want more transparency, sustainability and great design from the products they buy. Through the launch of The Soap Cọ we learnt a lot about introducing an ethical heart to the world of premium body and bath products – and have left no stone unturned in setting a whole new standard in eco and sustainability credentials for supermarket shoppers.

“Every single sale provides real work and training for visually impaired, disabled or disadvantaged staff at our semi-automated factory in East London. We launched BECỌ to empower people across the UK to not just challenge the status quo but to change it for the better.”

BECỌ has secured listings in Waitrose and Sainsbury’s and will be in store from the start of July – with selected Co-op stores following in late summer.  More exciting news to come!

To find out more about BECỌ please:

Visit www.betterconsidered.orgFacebook and Instagram

Please also visit for super awesome eco products coming soon from The Soap Cọ.

Dose of Digital workshops

Dose of Digital workshops for social enterprises

Cosmic is running a number of free half-day workshops across the South West to  help social and community enterprises make the most of their digital marketing

A Dose of Digital is a bitesize workshop series, each one 3 hours long, exploring a particular issue around digital skills and digital strategy.  And they are free to organisations engaged in the Enhance SE programme.

The morning workshop “Digital Marketing made Easy!”  is designed help participants develop a marketing strategy to make sure their online efforts are getting the right messages out to the right audiences. It covers the ground that Cosmic would cover if they worked with each organisation on a 1:1 basis, but it also gives participants the chance to discuss their own organisation and get the input of other organisations who may be grappling with the same issues, and have fresh insights to share with one another.

The afternoon workshop “Does your website need an MOT?” will help participants review their website with a fresh pair of eyes, and explore the do’s and don’ts of successful web design and content, and unpack the whole area of SEO, i.e. how to set up your site to attract the right customers to engage with. Cosmic will also run a diagnostic report on participants’ current website prior to the workshop, which they can then use through the workshop to plan any updates. This workshop is also suitable for those setting up their first website.

Both workshops are designed to be informal, with plenty of opportunities for questions.

The workshops are available in three locations:

Cullompton Hayridge Centre: Wednesday 4th July

Bridgwater – Victoria Park Community Centre: Friday 27th July.

Plymouth– Genesis, Millfields: Thursday 30th August

Details and booking for each workshop can be found on Cosmic’s Enhance SE Eventbrite page.

Professor Joy Carter University of Winchester

University of Winchester contributes £266m economic value

The University of Winchester contributes over £266 million a year to the regional business community, according to a new report launched this week.

The Economic Value of the University of Winchester shows that more than £203 million a year added income is created by its alumni – the impact of the skills acquired by students remaining in the region – £20 million a year by student expenditure and £42 million a year by university expenditure. The University also contributes nearly 10,000 jobs a year into the regional economy.

The report was unveiled at an event held at the University on Wednesday 13th June featuring speeches from the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joy Carter CBE, DL; George McFarlane, CBI (Confederation of Business and Industry) Sector Development Director, on regional development and the role of universities; and Tali Atvars, Winchester Student Union President, on the positive impact made by students.

Professor Carter said: “As a key pillar in the city and county, the University of Winchester creates value in many ways, economically, culturally and socially. We put our students on the path to success, helping them increase their employability and go on to make a difference in the world. We support a range of employment sectors in our region, and supply employers with the skilled workers they need to make their businesses more productive.

The expenditure of the University, along with the spending of its staff and students, further supports the regional economy through the output and employment generated by regional suppliers. The fact that learning makes a difference on the regional economy is well known, but this report quantifies the monetary values of our impacts.”

Clean Air Day 21st June 2018

Join Global Action Plan for Clean Air Day webinar

How to influence your senior management in addressing air quality

Join Global Action Plan on Clean Air Day 2018 (21st June) for a lunchtime webinar (12.30-1.30pm) that will focus on practical ways to successfully encourage your leadership teams to address air quality as an issue and to lend their support to staff engagement activities.

You will be armed with all the information you need to convince your organisation about the importance of action on air quality. And you will hear tips from those who have run successful staff engagement programs on air quality.

The air quality guru, Professor Stephen Holgate, will tell attendees about the latest research showing the impacts of indoor and outdoor air pollution on our health, and he will be available to take live questions.

Click here to register.

Global Action Plan Clean Air Day webinar

Phil Hope presenting Louise van Rhyn of Partners for Possibility with Making a Mark competition award

Partners for Possibility named
Making a Mark competition winners

Making a Mark competitionPartners for Possibility (PfP), the flagship programme of Symphonia for South Africa, was named as the winner of the 2018 Social Enterprise Mark CIC ‘Making a Mark’ competition at a celebration at our conference in York on 6th June.

We invited former MP Phil Hope to present the award as part of our annual awards ceremony, which was accepted by Louise van Rhyn , founder of Partners for Possibility/Symphonia for South Africa, who also delivered the opening keynote speech at the conference.

On accepting the award, Louise said:

“It is fantastic for the work of PfP to be recognised in this way. Our innovative programme provides much-needed support and capacity building for school principals who have received little or no preparation for the challenging task of managing a complex organisation with very limited funds amidst crippling social challenges, such as poverty, child-headed households, drug abuse and gangsterism.

It was a pleasure to deliver the opening keynote today, and to share our experiences of how reciprocal learning partnerships between business and community can be a powerful force for positive change.”

Making a Mark competition awardLouise was presented with a special award, created for us by Social Enterprise Mark holder Start Creative *, a social enterprise which provides a range of high quality hand crafted products and services to public, private and social sectors, whilst providing positive commercial experiences to volunteers who are referred via mental health services.

This is the third year of the Making a Mark competition; a celebration of the vast and diverse social benefits created by Social Enterprise Mark holders, which highlights interesting examples of how accredited social enterprises are creating considerable social impact within their local communities and in wider society.

Lucy Findlay, Managing Director of Social Enterprise Mark CIC, said, “We are delighted to announce our first African Social Enterprise Mark holder Partners for Possibility as the 2018 ‘Making a Mark’ competition winners. They won because of their clear commitment to tackling a major social need in new innovative ways, by mobilising business, government and civil society to work collaboratively towards addressing the educational challenges facing South Africa. 

As delegates had heard Louise’s inspiring and rousing story at the start of the conference, everyone in attendance was in no doubt of the well deserved winner! Well done to Louise and the whole PfP team.”

PfP was shortlisted alongside five other organisations, including Cosmic and Ealing Community Transport, which were both named as runners up. The competition shortlist was subject to a public vote and a separate vote by the Social Enterprise Mark CIC team, both of which accounted for 50% of the final result.

We would like to extend our congratulations to all of the competition finalists:

  • Making a Mark competition shortlistCosmic
  • Ealing Community Transport
  • East Lancashire Medical Services
  • Live Active
  • Midlands Psychology CIC
  • Partners for Possibility

Start Creative logo*Start Creative is  the commercial arm of Start in Salford, which provides positive commercial experiences to volunteers,  who are referred via primary and secondary mental health services in Salford.

Their volunteers are highly trained individuals at risk of or suffering from mental ill health, all of whom benefit in some way from the creative process that goes into making high quality hand crafted products. Start Creative continually develops in response to the needs of the volunteers that engage in the work to provide a vibrant and supportive working environment and retail opportunities for their work.

Charity Bank: a bank for good

Charity Bank Impact Awards

Social Enterprise Mark holders are invited to attend Charity Bank’s Impact Awards in London (N7 6PA) on Tuesday 26th June 2018.

This is an opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary work of social enterprises and the social sector. The reception will run from 6.00pm to 8.00pm, with awards at 7.00pm. There will be drinks and canapés.

For full details and to register your attendance (for free as a guest of Charity Bank) visit

Ed Siegel Charity Bank

Charity Bank appoints new chief executive

Charity Bank logoCharity Bank has appointed Edward Siegel as its new Chief Executive. He replaces Patrick Crawford, who will retire and step down as Chief Executive after almost six years.

Ed, who will take up his post with the bank at the end of July, joins from Big Issue Invest (BII), the social investment arm of The Big Issue Group, where he has been Managing Director since 2008. During that time, BII has grown from a book of social enterprise loans of around £2 million to a diverse array of social funds under management of over £65 million.

Last month, Charity Bank announced it had lent over £15.2 million to the social sector in the first three months of 2018; more than any previous quarter in its history. This follows three consecutive years of record lending to charities and social enterprises, with drawn loans growing from £52 million at the start of 2015 to over £120 million today.

Ed will lead the delivery of Charity Bank’s strategy to continue to grow its loan book and to present an ethical savings choice to a wider audience, building on the strong foundations that have been laid.

George Blunden, Charity Bank’s Chairman, said: “Under Patrick’s leadership we have provided loans and support to hundreds of charities and social enterprises, touching the lives of more than one million people from across the UK. As we move towards sustained profit, we are taking steps to extend our support and impact further.

“We believe Ed is the right person to lead Charity Bank as we enter this new phase and take action to address how we can best meet the future expectations and needs of the social sector.

“Ed is an exceptional choice for Charity Bank because of his experience and deep understanding of the social sector. Charities and social enterprises are dealing with many pressing problems and our goal remains to increase the financial options available to them, so they can make a bigger difference to the people and communities they serve.”

Ed Siegel said: “I am delighted to be taking on this role during such an exciting phase of growth for the bank. Charity Bank has a well-earned reputation and one of the strongest brands in our sector. Its mission to use money for good was a key factor in my decision to pursue this opportunity. The bank’s community of borrowers, savers, investors and its team are all working towards one goal – to help strengthen charities and social enterprises so that they can create lasting social change.”

Ed has over 30 years of corporate banking, social investment and business consulting experience. He spent the early part of his career in commercial banking, mainly with Credit Suisse. Before joining BII in 2008, Ed was head of the Small Business Banking practice of ShoreBank International (now known as Enclude) where he oversaw the implementation of SME finance programmes and advised financial institutions throughout the developing world.

George Blunden, added: “Patrick has led Charity Bank with great aptitude and passion. He has taken Charity Bank to the point where it is close to achieving a sustained profit and leaves behind a bank that is achieving record loan and deposit growth and social impacts, for which he should take great credit. Patrick has cemented Charity Bank’s position as the bank of, and for, the social sector.

“I join with my fellow directors and Charity Bank staff to express sincere gratitude and to wish him all the best in his retirement.”

Ed Siegel Charity Bank

Rachel Wang receives honorary doctorate

Chocolate Films Director receives Honorary Doctorate

Chocolate Films Director Rachel Wang recently received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Law as part of a Graduation Ceremony held for more than 900 students at the Barbican Centre in London.

Rachel accepted her Honorary Doctorate from Dame Fiona Woolf, Chancellor of The University of Law, alongside world-leading solicitor James Libson. Also present were Chairman and Speaker, The Right Honourable Professor, the Lord David Blunkett and Pro-Vice Chancellor Bill Bruce.

Rachel is an alumna of The University of Law who, after completing her LPC and working in corporate finance for four years, decided to set up her own video production company, which she has grown into a highly-successful business.

Rachel Wang accepting Honorary DoctorateOn receiving the Doctorate she said: “I’m extremely proud to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate by The University of Law. It’s such an honour.”

Rachel said she was working on many ongoing projects including creating AV for new exhibitions at the National Maritime Museum and the British Library, working on a longterm documentary project with New Covent Garden Market.

“We are about to shoot a documentary in Germany, Thailand, India and Poland. On the education side of the business, we’re creating series of online training films for a client in Germany. We’re also producing animations about security robots in Scotland, and the effects of skunk cannabis in London.” said Rachel.

Rachel told the new graduates to be brave and confident; “Your degree will open many doors, or if, like me, you want to start your own business, it will be a vital tool for the rest of your career.”

Charity Bank logo

Charity Bank launches ‘Bank On Us’ campaign

Charity Bank, the loan and savings bank owned by charities and social purpose organisations, today announced it has lent over £15.2 million to the social sector in the first three months of 2018; more than any previous quarter in its history. Its loan book has now grown by over 120% since the start of 2015.

Charity Bank 'Bank On Us'As part of its pledge to do more to support the social sector, Charity Bank has launched its ‘Bank On Us’ campaign to reduce the costs associated with taking on a new loan and refinancing an existing loan. This follows an announcement in February that it has increased the interest rate paid on its Ethical Easy Access Account.

Patrick Crawford, Chief Executive of Charity Bank, said: “Despite the challenging and uncertain outlook, charities and social enterprises have continued to take on new projects to address social needs. The resulting loan demand from the social sector has continued and shows no sign of slowing.

“Our Bank On Us campaign is part of our pledge to continue to work side-by-side with social sector organisations seeking to use loan finance to make a bigger difference.

“By reducing the costs associated with taking on a new loan and refinancing an existing loan, we aim to give a little extra back to the charities and social enterprises we have the privilege to work with every day as they help the disadvantaged, enrich lives and improve communities.”

Charity Bank’s record growth in the first quarter of 2018 follows three consecutive years of record lending to the social sector. In 2017 Charity Bank lent £34.1 million to organisations within the sector (2016: £27.9m; 2015: £24.7m).

Charity Bank offers loans to small and large charities and social enterprises. Since 2002, it has lent over £215 million to over 650 social sector organisations. It has a social mission which is protected by its charitable objects and its social sector ownership.

One organisation that is benefiting from a Charity Bank loan is the YMCA Downslink Group, a registered charity working across Sussex and Surrey to provide a variety of services and projects to the local communities, with a focus on helping young people who exist on the margins of society to access opportunities.

Chas Walker, CEO of YMCA Downslink Group, explains how its decision to borrow from Charity Bank was influenced by a desire to work with a likeminded organisation with aligned values:

“Over the last year, we’ve reached over 16,000 young people through supported housing, learning and employability projects, counselling services, and more. We refreshed our business plan at the start of 2016 and knew we needed to increase borrowing to implement our overall investment plan for growth. 

“Mainstream banks aren’t always familiar with charity business models whereas the team at Charity Bank were knowledgeable, understanding and supportive of our plans. They not only offered competitive rates but also the knowledge that any interest we paid to them would go towards a wider social mission. It was an easy decision for our board to make.”

Loans offers

If you make a loan enquiry with Charity Bank by 31st August 2018 and sign a loan agreement with Charity Bank on or before 31st December 2018 for a loan of at least £250k, Charity Bank will:

  • charge no arrangement fee (if you are refinancing from another provider); or
  • make a contribution towards legal and professional fees (for new loans)

For full details of Charity Bank’s loan offer, visit

Chocolate Films All-Female Film for International Women's Day

All-Female Film for International Women’s Day

To mark International Women’s Day earlier this month, 1000 Londoners (a project of Chocolate Films) released a women-only produced film. Twelve girls and women with no previous experience in filmmaking, guided by two professional female filmmakers, created a three-minute documentary about BAFTA Award-winning producer-director and activist, Yvette Vanson on a Chocolate Films Workshop, produced by Rachel Wang and Sinéad Loftus.

“When I started I expected it to be working with cameras, but I didn’t expect making such an interesting documentary,” says new filmmaker Marla Kellard-Jones. “I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed working with other women, it being kind of a female environment, which you don’t often get in filmmaking.”

The film was made on a filmmaking workshop at the St John’s Hill Community Centre in Wandsworth. Supported by Chocolate Films filmmakers, Ruth Gardiner and Emily Rimmer, the girls and women aged 12 to 50 set out to make a short film about a local woman. Contributor Yvette Vanson was totally up for it and she became much more than the subject of the film, getting involved in the project from sharing her experience during the filming to speaking at the closing event.

Over 5 days, the girls and women researched, shot and edited their very own short documentary. ‘Yvette Vanson, Londoner #280’ is part of 1000 Londoners, the most in-depth and expansive documentary series ever produced about the city.

The Big Issue Shop

Social Enterprises needed for The Big Issue Shop

The Big Issue ShopThe Big Issue has launched a new online shop, to provide a retail platform for organisations that create social impact through the products they sell.

The organisation, famed for its magazine with the hand up not a hand out ideal, is selling products with a ‘social echo’. It focuses on brands that are produced by social enterprises and those that use trade to help people improve their lives.

Products sold in the shop include eye-catching kitchenware from Studio 306 designed and developed by people recovering from mental health issues; there are striking up-cycled accessories by Fikay Fashion that use cement bags and help fuel sustainable work in developing countries like Cambodia; and luxury bodycare products from The Soap Co. – an ethical luxury soap brand that supports blind and disabled people in the UK.

If you are interested in selling your products via The Big Issue Shop, get in touch with Charmaine Crisp to discuss the opportunity.

Roots HR logo

Free salary review from Roots HR CIC

Roots HR salary review offer

Make sure that you are paying your staff an appropriate salary by taking advantage of Roots HR’s offer of free salary benchmarking.

Receive free salary benchmarking for 1 role when you have 4 roles benchmarked, saving £175; Roots HR CIC’s best ever salary benchmarking offer!

Salary benchmarking is a way to determine the market value of a given role.  Having this information informs annual pay reviews, aids recruitment, assists with employee retention and minimises the risk of equal pay claims.

The salary benchmarking package includes:

  • Salary benchmarking research and report for 5 roles *
  • Benchmarking is based on Croners Salary Search and other relevant sector data and includes parameters for organisation’s income, staff numbers and location etc
  • Pay range and recommended pay band for the role provided with explanatory commentary.

*Roles must be benchmarked by 31 May 2018. Standard T’s & C’s apply

Click here for further information.

Interested? Speak to Roots HR on 01562 840060 or email

Offer available until 5pm on 28th February 2018.

Hope Food Club

Help Hope Enterprises to reduce food poverty in Northampton

Hope Enterprises CIC logoHope Enterprises CIC has launched a Crowdfunding appeal to raise money for its innovative new Food Club project.

This project is a food club, not a foodbank; it’s based on membership, a bit like a food co-operative. People on low incomes will be able to join the food club and through membership can  get access to subsidised food, delivered through pop-up shops in community projects, on deprived estates where they live.  The project will make a real and lasting difference to food poverty in Northampton, which is increasing, and marks an exciting new departure for Hope alongside their continuing homelessness work.

Food is central to Hope’s mission: it’s the one thing people can’t do without. They believe everyone should have access to affordable, healthy food.  Hope currently supplies food through a day centre to people on low incomes, often destitute or homeless, and they also train people in catering and tool repair as a step out of unemployment.

The Food Club project will grow healthy veg and salad, and supply this alongside tinned and packaged food, plus toiletries, at 1/3 shop prices to a new and wider group of people on low incomes.

All the money raised through the appeal will be directed to the project. All ‘profit’ from sales from the club will be recycled into training clients and running the project or our wider charity. No individual will receive any financial benefit from the crowdfunding appeal.

To find out more, watch the short video below:

Social Lab workshop

Introducing Social Lab

Business Launchpad logoIn 2018 Business Launchpad will be running a new series of events, which will showcase social enterprises across a number of industries.

Social Lab is a great way to learn from experienced entrepreneurs, meet peers, potential partners, mentors, supporters, and have fun! The first event will be held on 24th January at the Museum of Happiness, with a focus on social enterprises in the Mind, Body and Fitness space.

For more information, and to book your place, visit the Business Launchpad website.

The Soap Co. win PwC Award

CLARITY-The Soap Co. wins PwC Building Public Trust Award


The Soap Co. logoCLARITY-The Soap Co. was named winner of the Environmental Impact Category in the PwC Social Entrepreneurs Club Awards, which were announced at the annual PwC Building Public Trust Awards lunch on 30th November.

These awards recognise PwC Social Entrepreneurs Club members who are implementing innovative and impactful solutions to society’s challenges. The winner is selected by a panel of judges and awarded a trophy and a £5,000 prize.

As part of its submission, CLARITY-The Soap Co. detailed how it recently become proud holders of The Planet Mark™, an internationally-recognised and trusted sustainability certification programme in partnership with the Eden Project. It has also committed to reducing its carbon footprint annually by 5% and to improving accountability in how and from where materials are sourced. Ingredients, bottles and labels wherever possible come from UK suppliers and they are either recycled, compostable or recyclable. CLARITY-The Soap Co. manufactures its products by using 100% green energy – a clear statement of its commitment to the environment.

In addition, the organisation has just formulated a new eco range for both of its brands. The CLARITYECO+ range – with an eco-foaming, biodegradable hand wash made with 100% eco certified ingredients – and The Soap Co.’s new Eco & Bee Friendly collection.

Anja Batista Sonksen, one of CLARITY-The Soap Co.’s Trustees, and Camilla Marcus Dew, Head of Commercial at CLARITY–The Soap Co., received the award from ITN’s Mary Nightingale.

Camilla commented: “It is so gratifying be recognised by the PwC judges as a leading eco-friendly social enterprise that is establishing best practice in how to manufacture great products without ever compromising on our environmental ethos.

“This demonstrates we are on the right track in both delivering and communicating our vision for the future. We pride ourselves on having a no compromise approach; our vision is to make environmentally friendly and socially responsible products mainstream. We have worked hard to better articulate how our social enterprise ethos is integrated into our business practices and to sharpen our proposal both from a marketing and sales perspective.

“We are currently making real headway with our new CLARITYECO+ range and we have already gained the attention of a number of supermarkets. In addition, we have launched our brand new The Soap Co. luxury Eco & Bee Friendly collection that is doing well in what is a hugely competitive market.”

CLARITY–The Soap Co. was also ‘highly commended’ for the second year running in the prestigious, One to Watch award category at the 2017 Social Enterprise UK Awards in November. The award is given ‘for a social enterprise that can clearly articulate their future vision and how they are going to achieve it.’ CLARITY – The Soap Co. was also shortlisted in the Consumer Facing Social Enterprise category, ‘for a social enterprise that produced or delivers a retail product or service to the general public.’

BS3 Community Development Chessel Centre

New public art unveiled to mark completion of Bristol community centre

BS3 Community Development logoA new piece of public art has been unveiled in Bristol to mark completion of a new community centre and nursery, the Chessel Centre, run by social enterprise BS3 Community Development.

Work started on the Chessel Centre, the latest venture by the local charity, formerly known as the Southville Community Development Association (SCDA), late last year and comprises a 54-place nursery, a meeting room for use by local community groups/activities such as after-school clubs for children and social clubs for older people, as well as large outdoor play spaces for the nursery.

Earlier this year a call went out to local artists to produce a piece of work inspired by the local community, working with local primary school children to come up with the creative design. Local artist, character designer and graduate of Bristol School of Animation, Nila Murali was selected to fulfil the brief. Nila has worked with three local primary schools with pupils creating artworks to inspire the final design.

Dr Simon Hankins, Chief Executive Officer at BS3 Community Development commented: “The Chessel Centre has been an ambitious but much needed project for the area, especially to help meet the demand for quality childcare provision in the area. It’s important to us that this is a place where members of the local community can learn, grow, have fun and get together with friends and family.

“Most importantly, we want this to be a place where people can feel proud about being part of the BS3 community and having this art project, created by the community, above the entranceway is a big part of that.”

Nila Murali, commissioned artist, commented: “Bristol has such a terrific reputation for creativity and it was a pleasure to be a part of this project.

“The Chessel Centre is a place for families and particularly young children, so I thought that having young children come up with the concepts and creative ideas really tied in nicely. That element of community spirit was the main reason why I wanted to be part of this project.”

Following the grand unveiling, an exhibition containing all of the artwork created by the local schoolchildren will open in the new community hall at the Chessel Centre in due course. The facilities at the Chessel Centre will open over the coming months, with the new 54 place nursery now open, and the community room opening in the New Year.

For more information please visit

For more information on artist Nila Murali visit

Chocolate Films logo

Chocolate Films release Kew animation Love Bug

Chocolate Films Love Bug animationThis summer Chocolate Films Workshops were in residence at the Royal Botanics Gardens Kew, to produce an animation about pollination and pollinators called Love Bug. The film broke the record for the most individual contributions to an animation film, with 2,753 participants all taking part in most aspects of making the Love Bug film, whether that was to cut, model, stick animation props to be filmed.

The film hit the big screen from 1st December at the Richmond ODEON Studios on Red Lion Street (TW9 6RE), and will be shown before the following feature films: Frozen, The Nut Job 2, Despicable 3 and The Man who Invented Christmas.

Take your friends and family, it is a beautiful film made by the general public (all 2,753 of them) and produced by Chocolate Films.

You can view the trailer below:



Create #ElflessActs this Christmas

Every year 1 in 4 parents go into debt at Christmas trying to buy the perfect presents. Crazily, only 1% of the materials that go into making the stuff we buy are actually still in use 6 months on – that’s a lot of waste stress, resources and money.

This year, Global Action Plan is running an innovative Christmas campaign called Elfless Acts. It’s all about giving your time to friends and loved ones instead of stuff they don’t want or need.

Join the fun at to design amazing gifts in minutes that create memories not receipts. Use it for your team’s Secret Santa, family gifts and more, there are loads of great ideas.

Let’s create more fun and less stuff this Christmas – and focus on what really matters. Check out the hashtag #elflessacts and get giving!

Elfless Acts

Rachel Wang celebrating with Actor, Michael Sheen at the Social Enterprise Awards 2017

Chocolate Films’ Rachel Wang wins UK Social Enterprise Award

Rachel Wang, the Founder and Director of South London social enterprise Chocolate Films, has won the Women in Social Enterprise Award at the UK Social Enterprise Awards 2017, which were held on 23rd November at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London.

The national awards, organised by Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) recognise excellence and outstanding achievements by social enterprises, businesses set up to for a social purpose that reinvest or donate the majority of their profits to meet their mission. There are now nearly 80,000 social enterprises in the UK, contributing £24 billion to the economy each year.

Rachel’s company Chocolate Films was founded with a unique business model for the video production industry. It employs a large full-time team of talented filmmakers who split their time between making films for high profile clients and running creative workshops for children and young people.

Chocolate Films logoChocolate Films has grown organically since it was founded in 2001 and now has offices in London and Glasgow. In 2017, Chocolate Films worked with over 5000 people on workshop projects and shot films in London, LA and Singapore for clients as diverse as Big Issue, Jeep, National Autistic Society, National Gallery, The Royal Society, St Mungo’s and Divine Chocolate.

Chocolate Films is committed to community cohesion and is the production company behind documentary project 1000 Londoners.

“I am thrilled to have won the ‘Women in Social Enterprise’ Award and so proud of my team at Chocolate Films,” says Rachel . “I am passionate about reaching out to diverse community groups and deprived backgrounds. Over the past year we have focused on running empowering projects for young women. We devised an all-female filmmaking project with Peabody Estates and celebrated strong and unique women in London in a special season of 1000 Londoners. The UK Social Enterprise Award is such an amazing recognition of our work.”

The annual celebration of British social enterprises was hosted by comedian Aisling Bea who was joined onstage by SEUK patrons, actor Michael Sheen and director/comedian Chris Addison.

Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK said: “The UK Social Enterprise Awards are a real testament to the dynamism and diversity of the UK social enterprise sector. This year’s winners have included a social enterprise employing IT consultants who bring together the unique talents of people living with autism, coffee carts transforming the lives of those without a home, a film company opening up the creative industries to young people and even a social enterprise dental service working in some of the UK’s most challenging neighbourhoods. 

“Social enterprises are continuing to prove that they’re a force to be reckoned with, they’re creating solutions to some of the biggest challenges we face and showing how business can and should be done.”

Social enterprise supply chain

Rachel Wang and the other winners were presented with bespoke trophies made by the social enterprise, Designs in Mind, which employs people with mental health issues. Social enterprises also supplied all the goods and services on the night, including the catering, rigging, drinks, flower displays and goody bags.

Sponsors of the Awards are the British Council, Big Society Capital, Cordant Group GLL, Good Finance, Here, Landmarc, Natwest, Nominet Trust, PwC, Power to Change, the Co-op, Santander, Wates, Social Investment Scotland and Unity Trust Bank.

1000 Londoners

1000 Londoners Youth Takeover

London’s largest documentary web series 1000 Londoners is handing the reins to young people in the capital for the next 5 months, during which it will release short films made by young filmmakers, aged 11 to 19 as part of this year’s 1000 Londoners ‘Youth Takeover’. All the films have been created by first time young filmmakers that have been trained on Chocolate Films workshops.

Watch the first film, Victoria – Londoner #243:

In the summer, Chocolate Films Workshops returned to Wimbledon Bookfest to train and mentor young people in how to make strong documentaries and discover interesting stories. Participants used cameras and editing software to make these films themselves, supported by filmmaking professionals. The enthusiasm of creative young people as well as passionate facilitators resulted in 10 gripping films, showing Londoners’ lives across 10 different decades.

Heathrow Community Fund also enabled Chocolate Films to run a rich filmmaking programme at West Thames College in Hounslow. Over the course of an academic year, 40 students supported by 6 filmmakers made films about themselves. Working together as peers and being the makers as well as the subjects of the films was a challenge, but the outcome are great stories reflecting young urban life to the limit.

In Islington, 4 films were made at Summerversity , the borough’s free activities and opportunities for young people during the summer holidays. Chocolate Films inspired young people to create fascinating documentaries about healthy living and the people they know in the borough. At Uxbridge College students supported by their Media Teacher created 4 1000 Londoners films as part of their GCSE Media course.


About 1000 Londoners

Chocolate Films’ current flagship project 1000 Londoners is the most in-depth and expansive documentary series ever produced about the city. Each week at, viewers are able to watch a three-minute film about a new Londoner. The range of stories is as diverse as the city itself. The series includes stories such as Leni whose flat burned down in London’s 2011 riots, David who captains the Woolwich Ferry, political mural artist Brian Barnes OBE, transgender magician Victoria and Samson an ex-gang member now born again Christian. 1000 Londoners is produced by South London based film production company and social enterprise, Chocolate Films. The filmmakers from Chocolate Films both produce the films and provide opportunities to young people and community groups to make their own short documentaries, which will contribute to the 1000 films.

Art4Space mosaic class

Mosaic and tile-making classes

Art4Space is continuing their popular mosaic and tile making classes in Stockwell, London on Tuesday evenings in January. You decide what you want to create… for example – mosaic mirrors, panels, frames or table tops, it is up to you!

The classes are run by artists with over 18-years experience who have a real passion for their art forms. The artists will inspire you to explore your creativity in a relaxed learning environment. These classes cover the basics as well as more advanced techniques – dive in at whatever level suits you!

You will be introduced to the fundamentals of mosaic and tile-making which will allow you to progress onto further projects, e.g a mosaic art piece, plant pot, mirror frame, table top etc. Create handmade ceramic tiles using your own design.

“I enjoyed my course so much! Eli and Julie are great tutors with lots of experience!” – Previous participant

This class runs every Tuesday as a drop-in class, and Art4Space also run a 5 week course for £120 or a 10 week course for £230. All materials included in the cost. Refreshments provided (Including a glass of vino if desired!). We also do vouchers, which makes the perfect gift for Christmas.

All classes will run from 6.30pm – 9pm on Tuesdays.


Art4Space Community Art Centre, Unit 1, 31 Jeffreys Road, London, SW4 6QU

5 mins from Stockwell tube, free parking.


  • 10 week course – £230
  • 5 week course – £120
  • Drop in (per class) – £25

To book a place email Julie Norburn, or call 07816 386270.

Big Issue Invest supports local co-working space with a social purpose

Big Issue Invest logoThe Big Issue’s social investment arm, Big Issue Invest, has teamed up with Connection Crew to launch Canvas in Brixton – a co-working space with a social purpose.

The space offers creative and social ventures a spacious and aspiring base to grow from for a fair price. Any profit generated goes toward helping people out of homelessness and into training and employment.

Connection Crew, the organisation behind Canvas, is a social enterprise providing manpower to the events industry; 25% of its workforce is from a homeless background. Canvas, which benefited from a £45K investment, is based on the whole first floor of its HQ and training centre on Lyham Road, by HMP Brixton.

Director of Connection Crew, Charlie Dorman, commented: “When we moved here in February we thought we’d let our additional space to one commercial tenant. No fuss. Any profit would be used to maintain our training facilities.”

“But then we realised we could make a more inspiring contribution to the local economy by accommodating a range of ambitious, creative and socially responsible businesses instead.”

“It’s more fitting with the culture of diversity and collaboration that thrives here in Brixton. With the support of Big Issue Invest we’re in a position to help build on that.”

Alan Tudhope, Regional Investment Manager at Big Issue Invest said: “A lot of great organisations struggle to access small and medium-sized loans, so we want to provide support for those exciting social enterprises and charities.”

“We are so pleased that we have been able to provide support to Connection Crew in order for them to continue to keep doing the incredible work they do.”

Big Issue Invest launched Impact Loans England, a £5 million lending scheme aimed at enabling social enterprises to access loan funding of between £20,000 and £150,000 in 2016. The programme is funded by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment, with finance being provided by its partners Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital.

Canvas will open early next year and is currently open for viewings, visit for further information.

IC24’s Clinical Lead Debbie Pullinger (left) and Nurse Prescriber Sarah Birch (right)

Care provider helps with flu vaccinations for Eastbourne’s homeless population

Clinical staff from care provider Integrated Care 24 (IC24) administered vaccinations to homeless people in Eastbourne this week as part of a flu prevention initiative.

IC24 Clinical Lead Debbie Pullinger administering flu vaccination

IC24 Clinical Lead Debbie Pullinger administering the flu vaccination

On the evening of 17th October, clinical staff visited the Salvation Army centre in Langney Road to provide flu jabs to some of the homeless population within Eastbourne. The session was held after Public Health England (PHE) invited IC24 to support a flu vaccination initiative amongst the homeless population in the area. The vaccinations were given at the Salvation Army centre, whilst a hot meal evening was being held.

Clinical staff from IC24’s walk in centre, based at Eastbourne Station, offered to support the initiative and a total of 19 people had the vaccination. IC24 will be working closely with the local Salvation Army to identify other ways in which further support can be provided.

Integrated Care 24 is a not for profit social enterprise, accredited with the Social Enterprise Gold Mark, delivering unscheduled primary care services. In Sussex, IC24 run services including the GP led health centres in Eastbourne and Hastings, and the out of hours GP service across East Sussex.

Debbie Pullinger, Clinical Lead at Eastbourne walk in centre for Integrated Care 24 said: “We are aware that homeless people will not always have the best access to healthcare. They are at high risk of developing flu due to the amount of time spent exposed to the elements, and providing this service will hopefully help reduce the risk of them falling ill during the winter months. There’s a concerted effort nationally to prevent a flu epidemic this winter and reduce the number of admissions to hospital; when we were approached by Public Health England and asked if we would help deliver this programme in Eastbourne we were only too happy to support.”

Dr Max Kammerling, Screening and Immunisations Lead for the PHE in Sussex and Surrey, said: “It is vital at this time of year that we all do as much as we can to help the people most at risk take better care of their health in winter, and avoid becoming so ill that they have to go to a GP or be admitted to hospital. This includes people with chronic diseases, or other health conditions which cause a weakened immune system, and we urge them to get their flu vaccination as they are at much greater risk of the serious complications of flu. People living on the streets or in temporary accommodation are particularly vulnerable when the weather turns cold, and the consequences can be potentially life threatening. Offering flu vaccinations before the flu virus circulates and providing health assessments can make a real difference to protecting them in this difficult time – and we fully support initiatives such as these and encourage all those who are able to do the same.”

intergenerational friendship between older care home residents and nursery children

Intergenerational friendship between the elderly and nursery children

Every Friday a group of excited pre-school children from Bristol don their hi-vis waistcoats ready to take their walking bus down to see their friends at the Amerind Grove residential home for older people.

Last month, children from the Southville Centre nursery featured on the Channel 4 programme The Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds. Emma Morris, Lead Practitioner at the nursery, who also appeared on the programme, said that whilst the emphasis of the production team was on the beneficial outcomes for the older adults, she saw clear benefits for the children too. “After the filming finished I was keen to continue this ground-breaking community development and introduce more of our children to local older adults”.

The Southville Centre, managed by the Southville Community Development Association (SCDA), contacted Bupa Amerind Grove Care Home on Raleigh Road to discuss the idea. As a result of the really positive reaction from the staff at Amerind Grove, 12 children from the nursery now visit the care home every week. Aimee Francis, Early Years Practitioner who leads on the project along with Emma, says that the children’s social skills have definitely improved and they are becoming more confident in their interactions and more comfortable with a wider variety of sensory experiences.

The visiting project is a great example of SCDA’s ethos, as they are passionate about increasing the opportunities for interaction between all members of their community. Based on the latest research about building social confidence and self esteem in both young and older people, games and activities are co-ordinated by the Southville Centre and Amerind Grove staff.

Tim Clark, Head of Family Services at SCDA said: “At the Southville Centre we have always worked hard to ensure we provide support to local groups and the community in wide and diverse ways through running our older people’s clubs as well as our nursery provision.  This project demonstrates the incredible benefits of integrating different generations and the children and older adults alike really look forward to the weekly visits.”

SCDA currently operates the award-winning Southville Centre on Beauley Road in Southville and is developing a second site on Chessel Street in Bedminster, which is due to open this November.

Steve Hawkins, CEO of Pluss

Pluss Work and Health Programme Announcement

The Pluss Organisation CIC is delighted to have been awarded the Work and Health Programme contract for Southern England by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). This result will allow Pluss to support an even greater number of people with health conditions and disabilities into sustainable work.

Pluss has a proud heritage of supporting people with health and disability needs and has developed a new model called ‘Opportunities Unlimited’ that will deliver a truly personalised service for job seekers. The key principle to their solution is that with the right support, most people can find work and build a career. They want to ensure that no-one is left behind.

Pluss expects that at least 85% of participants on the programme will have a health condition or disability. They have therefore developed a locally integrated supply chain of specialist providers who will deliver innovative services to jobseekers across the entire Southern region.

The Southern Contract Package Area (CPA) covers the following Jobcentre Plus districts:

  • Devon, Cornwall and Somerset
  • Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Wiltshire and Dorset
  • Avon, Severn and Thames (excluding Milton Keynes and Aylesbury)
  • Berkshire, Surrey, Brighton and West Sussex

The needs of customers will be diverse and our delivery is designed to reach isolated coastal towns, dispersed rural communities and urban hubs.

Pluss will also continue to raise the profile of the DWP’s Disability Confident campaign to help employers fill vacancies through a diverse workforce.

Steve Hawkins, Chief Executive at Pluss, said “Pluss is proud that our health and disability expertise and performance has been recognised by the Department for Work and Pensions. We are delighted to have secured this contract which enables us to work with individuals, stakeholders and employers across the Southern region. We believe people of all abilities should be inspired to achieve a career and this has underpinned our vision for over 45 years.”

Pluss will begin delivery of the Work and Health Programme in January 2018. The contract will help over 35,000 people across the Southern CPA into sustainable employment over the next seven years.

Charity Bank logo

New ethical easy access account for charities and businesses

Good Money WeekTo mark Good Money Week (8th to 14th October) Charity Bank, the savings and loans bank with a mission to use money for good, is challenging charities and businesses to consider what their current bank is doing with their money and whether this is aligned with their organisation’s values.

Research commissioned by Charity Bank earlier this year into the attitudes of the public towards various aspects of banking found that 74% of the British public don’t know how their bank is using or investing their savings, whilst 71% would like their bank to make it clearer where their money is invested. In Charity Bank’s experience, there is a growing number of charities and socially-responsible businesses that are concerned about the social and environmental impact of where their savings are invested.

Launched this week, Charity Bank’s Ethical Easy Access Account offers a competitive rate of interest (of 0.50% gross/AER) to organisations looking for same-day access to their deposits. Money saved with Charity Bank is used to provide loans to support the work of charities and social enterprises across the UK. Eligible deposits up to £85,000 are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, the UK’s deposit guarantee scheme.

Justin Hort, Head of Deposit Strategy at Charity Bank, comments: “Moving savings can feel like a big task. However, it’s good practice to regularly review your savings accounts. Whilst the rate of interest often drives savings decisions we also encourage those managing charity or business finances to consider what their current bank is doing with their money.

“Our new Ethical Easy Access Account enables organisations to apply swiftly online, as well as receive personal support from members of our savings team if they wish. Because we are using our savers’ money to fund loans to charities and social enterprises, organisations can ensure their reserves are working for good whilst obtaining a competitive rate of interest.”

Annette Uttley from Voluntary Action Rotherham, a long-standing savings customer, said: “Our aim is to support groups and charities within the Rotherham borough and it’s important to us that every aspect of our work remains in line with our charitable mission. Charity Bank’s reputation and ethos encouraged us to open a deposit account with them in 2010, and its continued positive impact and fantastic customer support have kept us with them ever since.”

Workers at Sandford HydroAt Charity Bank, savers are provided with details of where their money is lent. Sandford Hydro is just one of the places that Charity Bank is helping have an impact. Upon completion, Sandford Hydro will be the largest hydro-electric plant on the Thames, generating approximately 1.6 GWh of clean electricity each year — enough to power around 500 households. Sandford Hydro is the brainchild of local community members, who saw an opportunity to do something good for the environment and to show what can be achieved when a community comes together in this way.

Adriano Figueiredo, Operations Director at Low Carbon Hub, comments: “We approached several banks for funding to help secure the future of Sandford Hydro, but what became clear very quickly was that Charity Bank really cared about our project and wanted to be a part of making it happen. Most commercial banks were singularly focused on the financial side of it, whereas Charity Bank was also interested in the social and environmental impact that our project would create. There was a clear alignment of objectives and we’ve had nothing but support and invaluable help.”

Since 2002, Charity Bank has provided over £195 million of loan finance to support organisations working to enrich and improve society. These loans have facilitated social impact across the UK covering a wide range of sectors. Charity Bank is one of the world’s most ethical companies, according to research carried out by The Good Shopping Guide. It is owned by charitable foundations, trusts and social purpose organisations; its staff do not receive discretionary bonuses. Charity Bank is also the only bank in the UK with the Social Enterprise Mark, recognising its social purpose and social sector ownership.

For more information on Charity Bank’s new Ethical Easy Access Account visit or call 01732 441944.

Charity Bank staff celebrate being named among Best for the World in global business honours

Charity Bank named among Best for the World in global business honours

Charity Bank logoCharity Bank, an ethical bank with a mission to use money for good, has been named among companies that are Best for the World in 2017, selected from more than 2,200 Certified B Corporations.

B Corporations are companies that meet the highest standards of verified overall social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability, and aspire to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.

Charity Bank is recognised as being in the top 10 per cent for two categories: Best for Customers for creating the most positive impact on its customers, and Best for the Long Term for creating an innovative governance structure to protect its mission for the long term. B Corporations scoring in the top 10 per cent set a gold standard for businesses wanting to make a positive difference to the world around them.

Charity Bank made the list thanks to its exceptional practices, social sector ownership and social purpose. When you save with Charity Bank, your money is lent to charities and social enterprises working to create lasting social change in communities across the UK. Charity Bank is entirely owned by charitable foundations, trusts and social purpose organisations and its staff do not receive discretionary bonuses.

Charity Bank is a Social Enterprise Mark holder and became the first bank in Europe and sixth organisation in the UK to become a Certified B Corporation in January 2015. Today, there is a growing community of 150 Certified UK B Corporations committed to redefining success in business.

Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B Lab, said: “Companies like Charity Bank are proving that business can be a force for good for all stakeholders. We’re proud to share their achievement in a meaningful way. Best for the World is the only list of businesses making the greatest positive impact that uses comprehensive, comparable, third-party-validated data about a company’s social and environmental performance.”    

Patrick Crawford, Chief Executive of Charity Bank, said: “We are proud to be recognised as an organisation that seeks to maximise its social impact. These honours evidence how we put our social purpose and customer interests at the heart of our governance and decision- making. We stand with other organisations using business as a tool to build a better world.”

These honours are based on an independent, comprehensive assessment carried out by B Lab, the non-profit governing body of the standards. The full assessment measures a company’s impact on its workers, community, customers and environment. B Lab simultaneously released separate lists recognising Certified B Corporations as Best for the World (overall impact), Best for Customers, Best for the Environment, Best for Community, Best for the Long Term, Best for Workers and Best for the World: Changemakers.

Mosaic and tile-making classes

Art4SpaceArt4Space has launched a new programme of mosaic and tile-making classes, to run in Stockwell, London on Tuesday evenings from 12th September.

The classes are run by artists with over 15 years mosaic and ceramic experience who have a real passion for their art forms. The artists will inspire you to explore your creativity in a relaxed learning environment. These classes covers the basics as well as more advanced techniques – dive in at whatever level suits you! You will be introduced to the fundamentals of mosaics and ceramic which will allow you to progress onto further projects, e.g a mosaic art piece, plant pot, mirror frame, table top etc

  • We have a studio packed full of amazing materials for you to use and create your own art piece
  • All materials included in the cost.
  • Refreshments provided (that includes a glass of vino if desired!)
  • 10 week and 5 week courses available.
  • 20% discount at the Art4Space mosaic shop when you book a 10 week course.

All classes will run from 6.30pm – 9pm, starting on Tuesday 12th September.


Art4Space Community Art Centre, Unit 1, 31 Jeffreys Road, London, SW4 6QU

5 mins from Stockwell tube, free parking.


  • 10 week course – £230
  • 5 week course – £120
  • Drop in (per class) – £25

To book a place email Julie Norburn, or call 07816 386270.

#EnhanceSE programme

Enhance Social Enterprise programme of free workshops

As part of the Enhance Social Enterprise (#EnhanceSE) programme, Cosmic is delighted to be delivering two series of free workshops, focussing on Leadership in Social Enterprises, and Getting to Grips with Digital.

#EnhanceSE  is an European Regional Development Fund project, delivering support to social enterprises and social entrepreneurs across Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay, through to December 2019.  Cosmic is an Enhance SE partner, providing up to 12 hours of free support across three areas of business development; digital, leadership and growth, through a mix of workshops and mentoring.

See below for the Autumn Schedule of workshops:

You can view a fuller explanation of each of the workshop series, content, likely audiences and booking process in the below documents:

Bookings can be made online via Eventbrite.

Charity Bank’s loan book exceeds £100 million

Social Enterprise Mark holder Charity Bank, the ethical bank that uses savings to make loans to charities and social enterprises, today announced that its book of drawn loans has exceeded £100 million for the first time. The bank also shared details of its five most recent loans that helped it to reach this milestone.

Since 2002, Charity Bank has provided over £185 million of loan finance to support more than 850 organisations working to enrich and improve society. These loans have facilitated social impact across the UK covering a wide range of sectors, including arts, community, education, environment, faith, health, housing, regeneration, social care and sports.

Patrick Crawford, Chief Executive of Charity Bank, said: “At the start of 2015 we had a loan book of £52.2 million; two and half years later our loan book has almost doubled. Our growth provides further evidence of how more charities and social enterprises are using loan finance to help them deliver their missions.”

“We continue to be inspired by the charities and social enterprises we have the privilege to work with every day as they help the disadvantaged, enrich lives and improve communities. These organisations are the real heroes and it is our role and privilege to be here to support what they do.” 

The five loans that most recently helped Charity Bank grow its loan book to £100 million:

Elderpark Housing Association

Operating in the Govan area of Glasgow that has experienced significant challenges since the decline of its shipbuilding industry, Elderpark Housing Association is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to improve the quality of social housing available for local people. Currently providing 1,265 rental units, a loan from Charity Bank will enable Elderpark to refurbish 29 more units.

Glossopdale Furniture Project

Since 1997, Glossopdale Furniture Project has been providing good-quality household items at affordable prices to local people on low incomes. All furniture is donated with some being restored or built out of reclaimed material on site, so the project also contributes to recycling and reducing waste locally. A Charity Bank loan will assist with the purchase of a new shop in Glossop.

Hudswell Community Charity

With property and rental prices increasing in the Yorkshire Dales village of Hudswell, many local people with low income can no longer afford to live there. Hudswell Community Charity currently manages three houses in the village. With the help of a Charity Bank loan, the charity is building three more affordable homes, which will be rented to those most in need in the community.

YMCA Black Country Group

From accommodation and childcare provision to employment and health services, the YMCA Black Country Group provides a whole range of opportunities and support networks to help young people from across the Black Country build strong foundations for a better life. A loan from Charity Bank allowed the charity to consolidate its loans on terms that were better suited to its plans for the future.

Stretham & Wilburton Community Land Trust

The two East Cambridge parishes of Stretham and Wilburton came together in 2012 both to address the affordable housing crisis in the area that was resulting in local people and workers having to move away, and to give local people a voice in the development of their community. A Charity Bank loan has enabled the purchase of eight housing units, which will offer housing for 16 persons at below market rent.

Charity Bank’s Loan Portfolio Report for 2017/18 provides many more examples of social sector organisations using loan finance to help them deliver their missions.

University of Northampton logo

University of Northampton given Gold rating for teaching excellence

New Social Enterprise Gold Mark holder The University of Northampton has recently achieved a second Gold – it was given the Gold Award in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework – the highest rating possible, which places it among the elite of the UK’s higher education institutions.

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) has been introduced as the only official table which recognises high-quality teaching that better meets the needs of employers, business, industry and the professions, in addition to guiding students on the best places to study.

The official judgement by the Government’s review states: “Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Northampton delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.”

The Government looked at official data and details of what the University provides to its students, and found the following to be “outstanding”:

  • Levels of employment or further study for our graduates;
  • Assessment and feedback;
  • A personalised student experience;
  • Academic support;
  • Our approach to involving students in research, scholarship and professional practice – particularly research in the community and sector-leading work focused on social enterprise.

University of Northampton Vice Chancellor Professor Nick Petford, pictured, said:

“This rating by the Government is confirmation that the University of Northampton is one of the finest teaching institutions in the UK, offering our students an experience that many promise but few can deliver. Our staff and the students who have studied with us – both in the UK and overseas – can take pride today in this outstanding achievement. We may be one of the youngest universities in the UK – but are officially one of the best.”

“It is particularly pleasing to be recognised as a sector leader in social enterprise, something we have been building on strategically since 2010.  Our promise now is to build on this recognition of teaching excellence and continue to deliver our mission to transform lives and inspire change.”

The Government asked the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to implement the 2017 TEF exercise. Madeleine Atkins, Chief Executive of HEFCE, said: “Students invest significant amounts of time and money in their higher education. They rightly expect a high-quality learning experience and outcomes that reflect their potential. The UK already has a high bar for quality and standards, which all universities and colleges must meet. But the TEF judges excellence above and beyond this, clearly showing the highest levels across the sector.”

“The TEF measures the things that students themselves say they care about: high-quality, engaged teaching and a supportive, stimulating learning environment which equips them with the knowledge and skills they need to achieve their potential, and then to progress to a good job or further study.”

The TEF results and the evidence used in the assessment can be found at  The TEF awards will also be published on Unistats and the UCAS website, alongside other information, to help inform prospective students’ choices.

You can find out more about The University of Northampton’s Gold Award on its dedicated webpage.


Social enterprise launches new eco-foaming hand wash

New Honey Blossom Eco Foaming Hand Wash from Social Enterprise Mark holder CLARITY, is launched into large organisations and the government to support the employment of blind, disabled and otherwise disadvantaged people.

Developed in co-operation with the Cabinet Office and Interserve, the product, and the fact that CLARITY now holds The Planet MarkTM, emphasises their endeavour to improve environmental credentials.

The hand wash, made with 100% eco certified ingredients, is vegan, biodegradable and allergen, gluten and GMO free.  In addition, it is free from SLS, sulphates and parabens making it efficient and environmentally friendly for CLARITY’s customers. Care has gone into the selection of each and every ingredient.

The foaming hand wash uses just 20% of the dosage compared to the liquid alternative so will last five times as long.  Studies1 have found that foaming technology reduces the amount of water used by almost 10% whilst increasing the likelihood that individuals will wash their hands; promoting good hand hygiene.

The hand wash has been developed as a Buy Social Corporate Challenge product, an initiative from Social Enterprise UK, which Interserve is a partner of and the Cabinet Office supports. It aims to get businesses to spend £1 billion with social enterprises, such as CLARITY, by 2020. This hand wash makes it easy to switch your soap for social good.

Large corporations and Buy Social Corporate Challenge partners are planning to support the initiative by purchasing the hand wash, whilst several government departments are also set to switch to the new CLARITY range.

The hand wash is the first in CLARITY’s new environmentally friendly range – CLARITYeco. All the products in this range are being created with the environment at the forefront of the design process and will use natural, cruelty and paraben/SLS free ingredients.

Camilla Marcus-Dew, Head of Commercial at CLARITY said: “We are delighted to launch our new eco foaming hand wash with the support of our Buy Social Corporate Challenge partners. The result is an environmentally friendly product which will be loved by all employees, customers and visitors. It has secured employment for our staff, creating social value in many communities across the UK. We look forward to rolling it out to other Government departments and corporations.”

Richard Beattie, Director of Procurement at Interserve said: “At Interserve, we take our sustainability responsibilities very seriously – both from an environmental and social capital perspective. So, we are really pleased to be working with the CLARITY team to bring the first Buy Social Corporate Challenge product to market. This new product strengthens CLARITY’s offering by combining social impact and eco-friendly credentials – it’s a great product which I’m sure our clients will love.”

Peter Holbrook CBE, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK said: “This is a fantastic example of what’s possible when the public, private and social enterprise sectors collaborate to bring a commercial solution to market that will change the lives of disabled people. The Cabinet Office were a founding strategic partner of the Buy Social Corporate Challenge, so it’s great to see them “walking the walk” through buying from social enterprises themselves. We’d like to now see other government departments, as well as more businesses, follow in their footsteps.”


Recognising social enterprise excellence in Higher Education

Three UK Higher Education Institutions have become the latest organisations to be awarded the prestigious Social Enterprise Gold Mark, in recognition of their social enterprise excellence.

Plymouth College of Art, The University of Northampton and the University of Winchester join a growing network of gold standard social enterprises, which have proven their commitment to creating lasting positive impact on people and planet, through their trading operations.

Following a rigorous assessment process, the Social Enterprise Gold Mark awards were presented at our annual conference in Winchester on Monday 5th June. The awards were presented by James Evans, who is a member of the independent Certification Panel, which upholds the rigour of the assessment process and oversees the process of applications and assessments. The panel has the final decision on all applications for the Social Enterprise Gold Mark.

The Social Enterprise Gold Mark offers enhanced accreditation to social enterprises wishing to demonstrate their excellence, assessing three essential areas of business operations:

  • Governance – stakeholder representation in strategy and operation
  • Business ethics – complaints handling, diversi