Nat West SE100 Awards 2022

NatWest SE100 Index & Social Business Awards 2022 – Open for Applications!

Pioneers Post and NatWest are once again seeking entries for the NatWest SE100 Index & Social Business Awards.

This is your #socent chance to be counted among the UK’s top #socialenterprises for 2022.

There is also a new Equality Award is being launched for this year’s NatWest SE100 Awards. The new category will recognise social enterprises that are leading by example and inspiring others to embed equity, equality, diversity and inclusion into their organisations and their work in communities across the UK.

Nat West SE100 Awards 2022

WiSE100 2022 list announced

WiSE100 Announced…. Our Congratulations to All

Exciting announcements this afternoon as the NatWest WiSE100 top women in social enterprise list is revealed!

Pioneers Post has now shared the incredible 100 women in the UK who are leading the way across the social enterprise sector…. and we are delighted that our own Lucy Findlay MBE is featured for the third consecutive year….

I am absolutely delighted to be named again this year in this prestigious list of amazing women.  It’s important to recognise the leadership of women, many often do not identify with the term ‘leader’.  Now more than ever we need a diversity in perspective that can help bring about a better world.

Lucy Findlay MBE, Founder & Managing Director, Social Enterprise Mark CIC

Also in the 2022 list of Women in Social Enterprise 100, we extend our warmest congratulations to Mark Holders who are brilliant ambassadors for the social enterprise sector: Devi Clark and Emma Lange of Impact Hub Kings Cross, Emma Lower of Lendology CIC, Julie Hawker CEO of Cosmic IT, Jacqueline Hollows of Beyond Recovery and Shannon Gorman of Resonance.

Next week, Pioneers Post will reveal the finalists in each of the four awards categories: Social Business Leader, Star of the Future, Environmental Champion and Social Business Champion. This will be followed on 18th March 2022 with a daytime celebration of the final Awards and winners of each category kindly hosted by NatWest Social & Community Capital. Book here to secure your free place (tickets numbers are restricted but still available).

Read more and explore the full #WiSE100 list here.

Roots HR

Success of Free HR Toolkits for the Social Sector

Roots HR CIC launched the first of a series of FREE HR Toolkits in July 2021, releasing 1 Toolkit per month, jam-packed full of useful guidance, templates, tools and training webinars to enable effective people management within small to medium social sector organisations.

To date over 1,000 Toolkits have been provided to organisations on Recruitment, Selection, Pre Employment Checks, Induction, Probation and Agile Appraisal. These free Toolkits have enabled social sector organisations to feel confident and fully equipped to recruit, onboard and manage people effectively saving time and funds to allow them to focus on service delivery for their beneficiaries.

Recipients of the free Toolkits have said:

“We are about to onboard staff for the first time and feel much more confident in doing so now”.

“The templates are super helpful and it’s the right level of information”.

“The templates are really helpful and having the webinars to share with colleagues has been great too”.

Over the next 6 months, Roots HR CIC is looking forward to launching 6 further free HR Toolkits on topics such as Wellbeing at Work, Pay and Benefits, Personnel Files, Leavers, Sickness Absence and Under Performance.

To request the free Toolkits please visit: Roots HR CIC can be contacted on 01562 840060, at or at

Free agile appraisal toolkit for social sector organisations

Roots HR logoRoots HR CIC is giving away an Agile Appraisal Toolkit worth £349, which is jam-packed full of useful guidance, templates, tools and a training webinar to support your social sector organisation.

This Toolkit is aimed at helping small social sector organisations to:

  • Design and deliver effective agile appraisal systems, processes and practices tailored to individual organisations
  • Guide managers in delivering effective agile appraisal to maximise the potential and success of their teams
  • Keep records of employee performance and appraisal
  • Understand and meet minimum legislative requirements during employment
  • Treat all employees fairly and consistently, in line with equality of opportunity, the principles of diversity and inclusion and with transparency and accountability
  • Evaluate agile appraisal processes once implemented and use this information to improve recruitment, selection, induction and probation outcomes in the future
  • Maintain the minimum possible cost and administrative burden balanced against the direct and indirect financial costs of failing to manage performance effectively.

The toolkit includes a training webinar to train your colleagues on the use of the toolkit in your organisation and a voucher for one hour of free HR consultancy support from Roots HR in implementing this Toolkit in your organisation.

Visit the Roots HR website to order your free toolkit.

Help to Grow: Management banner

Apply now for January start of new Government business support course

Businesses in the UK are encouraged to register before Christmas to confirm their place on the latest cohort of an industry-leading national management training course, which is being delivered by Aston Business School.

The Help to Grow: Management course is designed to provide the management tools needed to help talented business leaders innovate and grow their business, driving our economic recovery from coronavirus (COVID-19).

Designed to be manageable alongside full-time work, modules cover financial management, strategies for growth and innovation, leading a high-performance workplace and digital adoption. By the end of the programme, business leaders will develop a tailored business growth plan to help lead your business to its full potential with access to mentoring and an alumni network.

Courses at Aston Business School are open for applications – apply and find out more here.

Current programme participant Karla Batchelor, Agilysys Ltd, said: “As a Finance Director, I expected this programme to be formally structured with clear homework and assessment points – that’s how accountancy qualifications work.

“What I have had to realise over the weeks, is that the learning I’m gaining is not necessarily about discovering new areas of knowledge. It is about having the time to re-cap on tools and models that we already have in our portfolio and taking them back into the business.

 “It’s gone beyond my expectations, and the mentor sessions alone are worth the cost. I’d really recommend it.” 

Paula Whitehouse, Curriculum Director for Help to Grow: Management and Associate Dean Enterprise of the College of Business and Social Sciences at Aston University, said: “As a small business leader, you have to know about all the key business functions and how to optimise them to drive high performance in your business. 

“Help to Grow: Management will combine this essential business education with the creation of a like-minded business network and support for the practical application of the learning to ensure businesses get immediate results.

“I am excited to be working with Small Business Charter business school colleagues all over the country to roll out the Help to Grow: Management curriculum and ultimately to be introducing many more business leaders from the West Midlands into Aston’s vibrant entrepreneurial community.”

Aston Business School’s Centre for Growth will deliver a special online information session on Tuesday 7th December for business leaders to find out more about the course and have their questions answered.

A group of multi-coloured people icons with a hand holding a magnifying glass in front

Free probation toolkit for social sector organisations

Roots HR logoRoots HR CIC is giving away a Probation Toolkit, worth £399, which is jam-packed full of useful guidance, templates, tools and a training webinar to support your social sector organisation.

This Toolkit is aimed at helping small social sector organisations to:

  • Design and deliver effective probation procedures and practices tailored to individual organisations
  • Guide managers in delivering effective probation processes to maximise the potential and success of new employees in their roles
  • Keep records of probation reviews
  • Understand and meet minimum legislative requirements at the start of employment and beyond
  • Treat new employees fairly, in line with equality of opportunity, the principles of diversity and inclusion and with transparency and accountability
  • Evaluate probation procedures that have taken place and use this information to improve recruitment, selection, induction and probation outcomes in the future
  • Maintain the minimum possible cost and administrative burden balanced against the direct and indirect financial costs of failing to use probation effectively.

Visit the Roots HR website to order your free Probation Toolkit.

Photo montage of Charity Bank borrowers

£4m investment boost to fuel growth in new lending

Charity Bank logoCharity Bank, the loans and savings bank for positive social change, today announced £4m in new equity investments from six new investors as well as an approved investment from its existing shareholder, Big Society Capital.

By leveraging these investments with deposits, the bank will be able to make more than £32m in new loans to UK charities and social enterprises at a time when the social sector is in acute need of sustainable financing solutions.

The Garfield Weston Foundation (£1m investment), The Clothworker’s Foundation (£1m), Bank Workers Charity (£250k), Places for People (£250k), Drapers’ Company (£250k)1and Alternative Bank Switzerland (£250k) become new shareholders in Charity Bank, while Big Society Capital has approved an additional £1m. These follow investments from Barrow Cadbury Trust (£500k) and The Samworth Foundation (£500k) in March 2021, and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation (£230k) in late 2020.

These investments evidence the growing appetite amongst trusts, foundations and other impact first organisations to make social investments as an alternative to grant-making to meet their social impact objectives.

Ed Siegel Charity BankEd Siegel, Chief Executive, Charity Bank, said: “Having such a diverse group of impact investors joining as shareholders in Charity Bank is a positive reflection of our success in reaching impact-driven organisations in the UK with specialist financing and support.  With this additional investment, we will be able to expand and broaden our support, helping more charities and social enterprises access the funding they need to sustain and grow their services.”

“UK charities and social enterprises are responding to an array of urgent social issues, but following an extended period of public budget austerity, many have struggled to secure sufficient funding. The effects of the Coronavirus pandemic have only made this situation worse. In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, when many lenders moved to the sidelines, Charity Bank approved a record level of new loans. The new equity investments we have secured will enable us to continue to grow our lending and to offer the bespoke financing solutions that will be needed by many organisations as they rebound from the effects of the pandemic.”


Carer Friendly Award badge - making a difference

Applications open for Carer Friendly Business Awards

Applications are open for this year’s Carer Friendly Business Awards.

These awards, run by Forward Carers, celebrate businesses and organisations in the West Midlands that have taken steps to  support unpaid Carers in the community or workplace. Whether you’re an employer with great support for your staff who are also in a caring role, an organisation that has made positive changes for your customers or an unpaid Carer who wants to celebrate a local business, you can apply/ nominate here.

There are six awards in total, which includes two new categories for 2021. These are;

  • Carer Friendly Customer Care
  • Carer Friendly Employer
  • The Carers Champion
  • Carer Friendly Dementia
  • Carer Friendly Autism
  • Making A Difference

It’s been a trying period over the last 12 months yet so many organisations have gone above and beyond to make life easier for the unpaid Carers in our communities. Celebrate your good work and apply for an award today.


Roots HR free induction toolkit banner

Free induction toolkit worth £349

Roots HR logoRoots HR CIC is giving away an Induction Toolkit, worth £349, which is jam-packed full of useful guidance, templates, tools and a training webinar to support your social sector organisation.

This Toolkit is aimed at helping small social sector organisations to:

  • Design and deliver an effective induction programme that will welcome your employees and enable them to perform effectively as quickly as reasonably possible
  • Understand and meet minimum legislative requirements at the start of employment and beyond
  • Treat new employees fairly, in line with equality of opportunity, the principles of diversity and inclusion and with transparency and accountability
  • Identify the topic areas to be covered in induction for all roles in your organisation
  • Plan who to deliver induction and to design its delivery using a range of techniques to maximise engagement
  • Keep records of induction training
  • Evaluate inductions that have taken place and use this information to improve induction outcomes in the future
  • Maintain the minimum possible cost and administrative burden balanced against the direct and indirect financial costs of failing to use induction effectively.

Visit the Roots HR website to download your free toolkit.

Front cover of Key Fund social impact report

Key Fund unveils £447million impact

Key Fund, a pioneering social investor, has achieved an economic impact of £447million over two decades across the North of England and the Midlands.

The figure has been unveiled to mark the Sheffield-based organisation’s 21-years of investing in community and social enterprises. In that time, Key Fund has safeguarded 2,291 jobs and created 1,442 new jobs, alongside creating 533 businesses, helping to sustain 2,229 businesses.

These figures were released in its annual Social Impact report, which tells the stories of some of Key Fund investees, including a community theatre in Manchester, a domestic abuse charity in Rotherham, and counselling services in Birmingham.

Sam Keighley, Chair of Key Fund, said: “Social enterprise has become integral in delivering key services to society, as well as generating thousands of jobs and contributing to local economies. These figures show how investing the right money, in the right way, into the right hands can support enduring and sustainable social enterprises in poor neighbourhoods, which go on to improve individual lives in innumerable ways.”

Key Fund was created in Sheffield in response to the collapse of the coal and steel industries in South Yorkshire. As a financial intermediary, it helped local communities access EU funding for regeneration projects.

Today, Key Fund provides flexible loans and grants to community and social enterprises traditionally excluded by mainstream finance. It shaped the early development of funding models for community-owned and managed assets, such as renewable energy schemes and community pubs.

The UK’s 100,000 social enterprises have been at the heart of community survival and recovery during the crisis, from making PPE for health workers, to providing food and connection in their neighbourhoods.

Matt Smith speaking behind a lectern branded with the Key Fund logoMatt Smith, CEO of Key Fund, said: “Many Key Fund clients operate at the heart of their communities, focussed on supporting local people. As such, they became frontline responders in the pandemic. Our approach is to support these organisations with finance, giving them the tools to develop, grow and deliver even more. Social investment has never been so vital or needed in supporting these enterprises, who offer hope, regeneration and recovery, especially to those even more at risk of falling through the cracks in society with the fall-out of the pandemic.”

Key Fund actively targets the main causes and impacts of poverty, with 80% of its investments in organisations that are in the top 30% most deprived communities; 20% of the awards were in the 10% of most deprived areas on the indices of multiple deprivation.

In response to the pandemic, Key Fund worked with partners to secure and deliver the £18.7m Social Enterprise Support Fund, made possible by The National Lottery Community Fund. As part of this and other funding streams, in just three months, it delivered £9m of emergency grants to social enterprises hit hard by lockdowns.

A person holding a pen over paper on a clipboard

Free Pre-Employment Checks Toolkit for social sector organisations

Roots HR CIC is giving away a Pre-Employment Checks Toolkit, worth £349, jam-packed full of useful guidance, templates, tools and a training webinar to support your social sector organisation.

This Toolkit is aimed at helping small social sector organisations to:

  • Understand and meet minimum legislative requirements in carrying out pre-employment checks
  • Identify the pre-employment checks relevant and proportionate to roles in your organisation
  • Carry out the most common types of pre-employment checks for roles in the social sector, applying good practice and appropriate flexibility
  • Review and record the outcome of pre-employment checks, determine whether the information received is satisfactory and know what to do when it is unsatisfactory
  • Treat new employees fairly in line with equality of opportunity, the principles of diversity and inclusion and with transparency and accountability
  • Maintain the minimum possible cost and administrative burden balanced against the direct and indirect financial costs of failing to use pre-employment checking effectively.

Order your free Pre-Employment Checks Toolkit here.

Power Up Scotland

Big Issue Invest Power Up Scottish social ventures with £500,000 of investment

Applications are now open for a lending scheme offering £500,000 worth of investment and support to 12 early-stage social ventures across Scotland.

Big Issue Invest logoBig Issue Invest’s Power Up Scotland programme was first launched in November 2017 and has supported 19 social business to date with a total of close to £500,000. The programme is funded by abrdn, University of Edinburgh, Experian, Places for People and the Scottish Government with legal support from Brodies LLP.

Danyal Sattar, CEO of Big Issue Invest, said: “We are really excited about this year’s Power Up Scotland programme. A lot of fantastic early-stage social ventures across Scotland struggle to access small to medium-sized loans, so we are so pleased, working with our brilliant partners, to be able to support those organisations with the investment and business development expertise that they need in order to make an even greater difference within their communities in a post-Covid world.”

The Power Up programme is open to organisations across Scotland. The funding available is to enable organisations to build on the good work they currently do within their communities. Whether it’s buying equipment, hiring new talent, or progressing with business development plans. Successful applicants will also receive mentoring and business development support to social ventures for the two-year period.

The programme has been designed for early-stage social ventures, regardless of company structure – social enterprises, charities, and private enterprises are all welcome, with social value creation being the key criterion. The expectation is that many applicants will be accessing finance for the first time.

Applications for this year’s Power Up Scotland programme are open until 17th September 2021. To apply, visit the Big Issue Invest website to apply.

Image of a winding mountain road with text overlay: 'Discover your impact score. Take the quiz'

Are you making the impact you want?

Good Will Studios logoDiscover your Social Impact Score in just 2 minutes with a new interactive quiz that Will Saunders at Good Will Studios has designed especially for Social Enterprises.

Based on hundreds over conversations with social entrepreneurs and ethical businesses, the algorithm quickly generates your customised score to help you measure and improve the impact you make.

Take the quiz now to see discover your impact score.

Social Enterprise Gold Mark Outstanding Practice

Recognising outstanding practice in social enterprise

The Social Enterprise Gold Mark was introduced almost seven years ago, providing a framework to encourage and recognise excellence in social enterprise, that encapsulated and built upon the standards established by the criteria of the original Social Enterprise Mark.

A few years ago, we completed a review and revision of these standards and the assessment process, which now serves to distinguish organisations that have demonstrated an exceptional level of consistency and depth of compliance across all the Gold Mark criteria. Having completed the re-assessment of all existing Social Enterprise Gold Mark Holders, any organisation that now engages with a Gold Mark assessment can now be awarded one of two levels of accreditation, as follows:

  • Social Enterprise Excellence – where an organisation has demonstrated a range of best practice across all five of the additional Gold Mark criteria as whole, even if they are stronger in some criteria, and less so in others.
  • Social Enterprise Outstanding Practice – where an organisation has demonstrated the highest levels of excellence and has clearly and unequivocally shown robust best practice across all the Gold Mark criteria.

Organisations that demonstrate the highest levels of excellent practice may be awarded the distinction of Social Enterprise Outstanding Practice. This standard is meant to be demanding, and whilst it possible to attain this recognition immediately, it may sometimes only be possible through closely engaging with all the requirements of the framework, which is best achieved through the Social Enterprise Gold Mark assessment and first demonstrating Social Enterprise Excellence. The assessment process helps inform where an organisation stands in relation to the Gold Mark framework, in order to better understand what specific development may be required to achieve Outstanding Practice.

University of WinchesterWe are delighted to announce that the University of Winchester has become the first organisation to be awarded the Social Enterprise Outstanding Practice status.

Assessment and Compliance Manager Richard Cobbett, who was responsible for assessing the University, said: “The Social Enterprise Gold Mark sets standards of social enterprise excellence, which an organisation can work with to help raise their performance and achieve recognition for the highest levels of best practice in what it means to be an excellent social enterprise.

The University of Winchester have held the Gold Mark for several years now, and in the intervening period between assessments, have continued to build upon the levels of excellence they originally reached, particularly in the criteria of stakeholder engagement and reporting social impact. Their progress and achievements in these areas reinforce their award for Social Enterprise Gold Mark Outstanding Practice, the first organisation to have achieved this, and the evidence suggests there is much to come from them as a result of these efforts.”

Our accreditation portfolio provides a pathway for development for all social enterprises, from those just establishing themselves to those who are beacons of a broad range of best practice. Any social enterprise committed to continuous improvement and external scrutiny can engage with the framework to help develop and reinforce recognition of their good practice against clear and robust standards.

If you have any questions about the Social Enterprise Gold Mark and assessment framework please get in touch.

Photo of a woman sat at a desk in front of a laptop showing free recruitment toolkit

Free recruitment toolkit for social sector organisations

Roots HR logoRoots HR CIC is giving away a Recruitment Toolkit, worth £399, jam-packed full of useful guidance, templates, tools and a training webinar to support your social sector organisation.

The Toolkit is aimed at helping small social sector organisations to:

  • Understand and meet minimum legislative requirements in recruiting employees
  • Apply good practice whilst enabling an appropriate level of flexibility in their approach to recruitment
  • Respond effectively, strategically and operationally, to internal and external change
  • Attract and appoint the best possible candidates
  • Treat applicants fairly in line with equality of opportunity and with transparency and accountability
  • Maintain the minimum possible cost and administrative burden balanced against the direct and indirect financial costs of getting the recruitment process wrong.

What’s included in the Toolkit?

  • Toolkit documents:
    • Introduction
    • Contents
    • Guidance notes – direction on implementing the Toolkit
    • Example recruitment process – provides the steps in a typical recruitment process
    • Recruitment toolkit training presentation
    • Roots HR 1 hour free voucher
  • Template documents – These are the main templates you will need to implement this process. They are provided in Microsoft Word and Excel so they can be edited and formatted to the way you wish to use them:
    • Job description and person specification
    • Application form
    • Applicant tracking template
    • Advert template
    • Shortlisting template
    • Example wording for Out of Office Message on recruitment email inbox
    • Unsuccessful at shortlisting letter or email
  • Training webinar – use this yourself and to train your colleagues on the use of the Toolkit in your organisation
  • 1 hour free voucher – free HR consultancy support from Roots HR in implementing this Toolkit in your organisation, should you require us.

Click here to order your FREE Recruitment Toolkit.


Forward Carers awards and accolades - collection of awards' badges

Recent awards success for West Midlands carer support service

Forward Carers logoForward Carers, a West Midlands based Carer and family support organisation, has recently had their good work recognised with several awards and accolades.

As well as being Highly Commended by the judges in our Making a Mark competion, Forward Carers also scooped two awards in recent weeks and were named a runner-up in another:

  • Winner of Best Innovation Award at the Working Families Best Practice Awards for the development of the UK’s first 3-in-1 Carers Card
  • Winner of Third Sector of the Year Award at the Birmingham Post Business Awards, in recognition of the extra efforts they went to during the Covid pandemic
  • Runner-up for Best Community Campaign in the SMK National Campaigner Awards in recognition of their Carers’ Voice Unsung Heroes Campaign

To find out more, visit the Forward Carers website.

Making a Mark competition winner badge

2021 Making a Mark competition winner

Today, we are excited to reveal the final winner of our 2021 Making a Mark competition, which celebrates and recognises the incredible impact created by social enterprises during the Covid-19 pandemic.

We usually announce the competition winner at a special awards reception at our annual conference, but, like many events over the last year, this celebration has been moved online. This year, we are excited to be working with our media partner Pioneers Post to showcase the fantastic stories of impact that characterise the social enterprise sector.

Beyond Recovery logoWe are delighted to announce the winner of the 2021 Making a Mark competition is… Beyond Recovery!

The judges were really impressed with Beyond Recovery’s entry (video below), especially as a fairly new social enterprise, which had to adapt quickly when the Covid restrictions meant they weren’t able to deliver their offender rehabilitation programmes in prisons.

On being notified of their success, Beyond Recovery founder Jacqueline Hollows said: “We are delighted to be the winner of the Making a Mark competition. This award means so much to us all after a year of hard work and dedication to supporting our beneficiaries in new and innovative ways. We were also very impressed with the other finalists and wish them all the best in their endeavours and acknowledge the amazing work they are doing.”

You can find out more about Beyond Recovery in a special competition showcase in Pioneers Post.

Forward Carers logoIn addition to Beyond Recovery, the judges also wanted to recognise Forward Carers as a very close contender and have awarded them Highly Commended status.

As Pauline Gannon, Co-Founder of Social Impact Ireland and one of the judges, explained: “I loved how the Foward Carers video gave a voice to so many. They brought you to the heart of their social enterprise and the work they do. It was a very well laid out story and explanation, which showed how they rose to all challenges and showed great adaptability and resilience.”

Beyond Recovery were shortlisted as finalists alongside four other organisations, and we would like to extend our congratulations to the other finalists:

  • Montage of company logosHope Enterprises
  • Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise
  • University of Winchester

Our thanks go to our external judging panel for their time and support:

Celebrating the social enterprise response to Covid-19

After a break last year due to the Covid-19 outbreak, we are excited that our annual Making a Mark competition has returned for 2021.

Earlier this year, we invited our social enterprise community to share their ‘Story of 2020’, which illustrates how they have responded to the demands and challenges created by Covid-19 – i.e. how they are ‘Making a Mark’.

We were really impressed with the quality and variety of submissions, which were scored by an external judging panel, made up of representatives from across the social business sector, including Tim West from Pioneers Post and Ali Ward of Social Enterprise Yorkshire & Humber (SEYH).

We are now delighted to announce the below shortlist:

  • Montage of company logosBeyond Recovery
  • Forward Carers
  • Hope Enterprises
  • Peninsula Dental Social Enterprises
  • University of Winchester

Entries were judged according to how engaging they were in describing the key role of social enterprises in the fight against Covid-19.

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

The winner will be announced in June, with a special competition showcase feature in the Pioneers Post online magazine.

The State of Us 2021

The State of Us; Powerful Communities and Economic Democracy

Real Ideas logoA ground-breaking group of social enterprises, co-ops, think tanks, networks and funders, including Real Ideas, ask you to join them for four focused online sessions exploring The State of Us, which will look at how people are building power and economic democracy in different contexts: our work, in our public spaces and in environmental action.

The State of Us is for anyone working on social, environmental, racial and economic justice, democracy and power at a local level across the UK, whether through local enterprise, community organising, activism, third sector, or local government. The conference will consider big questions, such as:

  • What role do community-focused, economic actors have in building powerful communities?
  • What is best practice?
  • Who are our allies and who shares our values?
  • How can we organise better?
  • What does democracy look like in everyday areas of our economy such as work, public spaces and the production of the goods we consume?
  • How do communities actively create power, within and beyond authority?

The conference is split across four sessions, starting on 20th April. At each of the three lead up sessions, participants will hear from four different activist practitioners, presenting their case studies linked to the session theme and exploring different approaches for discussion. The presentations will be followed by a Q&A and break-out sessions. There will be final discussion to share what has been learnt and decide on next steps.

Click here to find out more and to book your place.

Photos of groups benefitting from Charity Bank loans

Charity Bank secures new investment to fund surge in loan approvals

Charity Bank logoCharity Bank, the loans and savings bank for positive social change, has secured £1m in new equity investments from two investors.

The Samworth Foundation has become the newest shareholder of Charity Bank with an investment of £500k.  In addition, existing Charity Bank shareholder, Barrow Cadbury Trust, has increased their total investment in the bank by £500k to £750k.

The new investments are timely, coming as Charity Bank announces record new lending commitments in H2 2020, approving £49m of loans, the highest amount of new loan approvals over a six-month period in the history of the bank.  Demand for Charity Bank loans is high and continues to grow; with an additional £23m of loans approved in the first quarter of 2021.  Charity Bank has now made over £350m in loans to charities and social enterprises since it was founded in 2002.

To meet the growing demand for repayable finance, including the significant unmet demand for unsecured funding, Charity Bank aims to raise at least £3m in ordinary share capital from new and existing social investors by 2022.  For every £1m invested, Charity Bank can raise around £7m of deposits and thereby make around £8m of social loans.  When these loans are repaid, these funds can be recycled again and again, generating even greater multiples of social impact.

Ed Siegel Charity BankEd Siegel, Chief Executive, Charity Bank, said: “Since we emerged from the first lockdown in mid-2020, we have seen a sustained surge in loan applications from charities and social enterprises looking for support on projects, in part due to a reduced appetite for lending to the sector from mainstream lenders.  

As we emerge from the current crisis, the specialist financing and support that Charity Bank is able to deliver is going to be needed more than ever.  The attraction of new equity investment remains a top priority for Charity Bank as this is an essential component that will determine our ability to continue to meet the financing needs of the social sector into the future.”

There is growing interest in social investment from trusts and foundations in the use of repayable finance alongside grant finance.  The recent Association of Charitable Foundations report, ‘Investment: The Pillars of Stronger Foundation Practice’ suggests that a strong foundation ‘considers how investments can be used to advance the foundation’s mission over and above finance for grant-making’.

Charity Bank’s 2020 social impact study illustrates its influence on its charity and social enterprise borrowers: 69% reported that their Charity Bank loan enabled growth in their service, 81% said their project could not have gone ahead without the loan, while 42% said that the financing actually helped to keep their organisation afloat.

Tessa Durham, Grants Manager, Samworth Foundation, said: “We recognise the importance of blended finance solutions to support charities to flourish.  We see Charity Bank as a strategic partner as we work together to support organisations become more resilient, manage risks and be better positioned to meet the future needs of their communities.” 

Erica Cadbury, Chair, Barrow Cadbury Trust, said: “We see this investment as a means to promote social justice and further develop the social investment market as an additional and vital resource for the social sector.  Charity Bank has proven that its model of lending to charities and social enterprises is a highly effective way to strengthen and grow impact-led organisations, leaving these organisations better placed to address the many pressing social issues facing people and society today.” 

Enterprise Development Programme logo

Enterprise Development Programme supports social enterprise to gain accreditation

Second Shot Coffee logoSecond Shot Coffee, a social enterprise that trains, employs, and supports people affected by homelessness, has met recognised standards of good practice to be awarded the Social Enterprise Mark.

The Social Enterprise Mark is an externally assessed accreditation, which provides an independent guarantee that an organisation has met sector-agreed criteria and is operating as a genuine social enterprise, committed to creating positive social change.

Second Shot Coffee was supported to apply for accreditation through the Enterprise Development Programme, which aims to support charities and social enterprises to become more financially resilient by developing new enterprise models, or by growing existing ones.

The Enterprise Development Programme (EDP) is funded by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment and delivered by a coalition of national partners, including Homeless Link, which is the delivery partner for the homelessness sector. As part of the programme, Homeless Link worked with Julius Ibrahim, founder of Second Shot Coffee, to identify which support could help them grow their enterprise activity to become more financially sustainable.

Murphy Hopkins-Hubbard, Enterprise Development Manager at Homeless Link, suggested to Julius that accreditation may be beneficial for Second Shot Coffee and the EDP grant supported him to apply for the Social Enterprise Mark. After an independent assessment process to ensure the organisation met the sector-agreed criteria, which defines what it means to be a social enterprise, Second Shot Coffee was awarded the Social Enterprise Mark in early February 2021.

Murphy Hopkins-HubbardMurphy said: “We have worked with 20 homelessness organisations this year as part of the Enterprise Development Programme and each of them has undergone diagnostic consultations to understand what support would be most valuable. It’s so exciting to see Julius’s work with developing Second Shot Coffee recognised through the Social Enterprise Mark. We hope to find this accreditation boosts the credibility of the organisation as well as boost opportunities for partnerships.”

Second Shot Coffee was set up to tackle negative misconceptions and lack of understanding around homelessness. By providing employment and training to individuals that have been failed by society, it aims to eliminate these perceptions and bring people closer together, and in doing so improve the long-term life outcomes and wellbeing of people experiencing homelessness.

Julius IbrahimOn being awarded the Social Enterprise Mark, Julius Ibrahim said “Creating meaningful impact has been at the core of Second Shot Coffee since we opened in 2016. It’s amazing to now have the Social Enterprise Mark to underpin that dedication and to highlight the work we do. Going forward we’re excited to grow within the community and work with new partners to shout about the importance of social businesses as we progress on to the next phase of the Second Shot story.”

To find out more about Second Shot Coffee click here.

To find out more about Homeless Link and the Enterprise Development Programme click here.

Picture of bags of produce with text: grow your sustainable food business

Support for sustainable food businesses to grow

Are you a sustainable food business eager to grow?

Impact Hub King’s Cross is seeking ethical food businesses to join Feeding the City: Accelerate, a 6-month programme to help your social or environmental-driven food enterprise reach the next stage of growth and scale your impact. 

The programme brings together thought leaders in food sustainability, large-scale buyers, enterprise support providers and investors with the shared goal of supporting social or environmental impact-driven food enterprises with B2B revenue streams to grow and flourish.

Access expert business analysis, mentoring and support from experienced coaches and industry heavyweights, and the Impact Hub global network of 16.5k members. You’ll have the opportunity to meet and network with buyers, including supermarket chains, restaurants and major contract catering companies.

Application deadline: 2nd April 2021.

Visit the Impact Hub King’s Cross website to find out more and apply.

Image of people sat at desks in a co-working space

Looking for an inspiring co-working space in London?

Have you planned your workspace for 2021?

Impact Hub King's Cross co-working spaceImpact Hub King’s Cross brings social entrepreneurs together through an inspiring coworking office. They are part of one of the largest impact-driven networks, with 100+ Hubs across 50+ countries. After almost a year of  Zoom struggles and WFH isolation, they want to help you return to a motivating and supportive workspace once out of lockdown.

They’re offering fellow accredited social enterprises an exclusive offer of:

  • 10% discount on all co-working and fixed desk memberships for the first 6 months
  • FREE 3-month virtual Connect membership

As well as joining a thriving impact-led community, you can take advantage of outstanding business support, meeting room discounts, and smart perks, and direct access to 16.5k+ Impact Hub global members.

Are you part of a team? Fixed desks are an affordable solution to office rent, where you can have a dedicated seat for each team member, or rotate to keep things flexible.

The best part is, while times are still uncertain you can schedule and delay your start date at the Hub.

Curious to discover if an impact-driven workspace is right for you? Just get in touch with their Community Manager Sally. You can also find out more on the Impact Hub King’s Cross website.

Millfields Trust logo on a floral background

How Millfields Trust has supported tenants through the pandemic

Social landlord Millfields Trust has commended their business tenants on their commitment, business acumen, diversity and bravery throughout this pandemic. A situation we all hope not to see again in our lifetime for many reasons, but for business an incredibly difficult time for many.

With a wide range of businesses residing at the Millfields Trust premises, some have been hit harder than others. During this time of uncertainty, Millfields Trust itself has had to adjust and adopt working practices to ensure business continuity. Their priority remains their community of Stonehouse in Plymouth, their tenants and many other stakeholders.

Throughout this time, they have provided support to tenants and changed the way they do things through the following actions:

  • Regular contact from all staff members, ensuring tenants know the support available from the Government regarding available financial support. Many have welcomed a friendly chat as well
  • A competition for a free office makeover
  • Given the buildings and grounds a makeover
  • Each tenant  received a “welcome back” gift after the first lockdown
  • In partnership with Nudge, provided Genesis as a base to increase Wi-Fi for the local Stonehouse community, thanks to Pete at Outersight
  • Table and chairs in a garden covered by a sun awningCreated a new outside meeting space for anybody to use
  • Financially supported tenants where possible
  • Froze rental prices this financial year to continue financial support to tenants
  • Supported tenants who have made the choice to reduce overheads and make the decision to work from home
  • Flexible office spaces have enabled them to accommodate tenants wishing to downsize or expand to meet business growth
  • Office space with a sign on the wall saying 'The Plant Room'Created additional co-working space to meet demand and social distancing guidelines with the added introduction of fixed desks
  • Launched a new website and created regular blogs to keep their audience informed and up to date with latest news
  • Contributed to the `Small Business Toolkit` in partnership with the Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce
  • Produced a Millfields Trust Business Start-up guide for people wishing to start their own business
  • All buildings are Covid Secure, including Conferencing facilities.

Millfields Trust has been working hard behind the scenes to ensure their business premises continue to work for all tenants and they very much look forward to the days when the buildings are once again bustling with activity.

Renaisi logo

Outsourced, ethical finance and back office services for the VCSE sector

Renaisi can make your back office and finance processes more efficient, by streamlining processes and taking day-to-day tasks off your hands, resulting in time and cost savings for your organisation.

Finance and Back Office Support Services

Renaisi understands the world you operate in and the challenge of managing finance or administrative tasks with small teams that focused on your social purpose.

Their finance and back office support is designed to suit impact businesses, charities and other VCSE organisations so you focus on your mission.

What you get

  • Review and design your finance functions and processes
  • Set up cloud-accounting software and relevant automation add-ons
  • Provide relevant training and ongoing support
  • Virtual CFO, bookkeeping and month-end accountancy
  • Accounts payable, receivable and cash flow management
  • Business planning, strategy and operational advisory
  • Back office support, payroll and pension management

Why choose social?

It matters not just what you buy, but also where and who you buy from!

As a social enterprise, Renaisi is driven by impact and 100% of our profit is reinvested back into our work. They are an accredited social enterprise and a Living Wage employer and can help you to procure ethically and sustainably.

Visit the Renaisi website to find out more.

Start something badge

How RIO is helping businesses determined to Start Something great

Life-changing technology, seaweed farming, transforming old plastic waste and a twist on artisan gin are just some of the brilliant new business ideas which are getting much needed expert help to flourish during the Covid-19 pandemic in Devon and Cornwall.

RIO logoOver the next twelve months, twenty-five new and fledgling projects will take part in the Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) Start Something initiative – a new business incubator that provides support for brilliant new enterprises, side hustles and pet projects with potential.

When the shout went out for people to take part, the plan was to help ten emerging entrepreneurs. But the quality and breadth of ideas that poured in changed that. With such a high calibre of entries to the programme, RIO made the decision to take 25 businesses onto the programme.

These new projects, some run by people with no previous business experience, will now get access to specialist facilities, co-working spaces, expert business support mentors, events, workshops, webinars and one-to-one coaching. They’ll also have the opportunity to connect with partners, including Crowdfunder to test ideas with the public and raise investment. All this, plus the support the 25 businesses taking part will give each other.

As well as £3,000 pounds’ worth of business support from RIO, they will also get a three-monthly introductory membership of the Devon and Plymouth Chamber of Commerce.

Lindsey Hall, CEO of RIO, reflected that when Lockdown One hit, action was needed: “The pandemic has changed our lives, the way we work and what matters most. Back in March, we shut our buildings. Challenging as it was, it gave us time to think and ask some difficult questions. Could we share the facilities we have? Did other people need them? Should we stop doing some things ourselves? Yes! was the answer and Start Something the solution.”

The 25 businesses being helped are hugely varied. They include Chameleon Gin, a Cornish artisan gin where you can create bespoke drinks by adding a sachet of hand-pressed botanicals. Precious Plastics Plymouth and Tavistock, which uses technology to transform unwanted plastic into new, useful objects, and Bake Away, combatting social isolation through baking.

Gin being poured into a highball glass with a fire in the backgroundGeorgina Moss, founder of Cornish-based Chameleon Gin, is thrilled with the support: “During lockdown/not lockdown/lockdown, it’s been really difficult to behave like an ordinary business and go and meet other people. Real Ideas has provided an awesome platform for this which everyone on the course has been grateful for. Being able to talk to other start-ups and find support and encouragement really helps – as working from home can be so isolating.”

Visit the RIO website to find out more about these innovative new businesses.

Photo a dental team around a dental chair

Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise recognised in NHS Parliamentary Awards

Peninsula Dental Social EnterprisePeninsula Dental Social Enterprise (PDSE) has been recognised as the South West Regional Winner in The Health Equalities Award category of the NHS Parliamentary Awards 2020 for its successful Community Clinic, which supports vulnerable patients who are experiencing homelessness in Plymouth.

The award, which can only be nominated through a Member of Parliament, recognises the work that the clinic, run by a small team of professionals from Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise and local agencies and associations, is providing a number of patients who are currently experiencing homelessness within the city with urgent and routine dental care.

Luke Pollard MP, who nominated PDSE for the award, says: “I’m delighted that Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise’s good work is being recognised on a national stage. We have a real national success story in Plymouth and I want us to tell the whole country that Plymouth not only has one of the best dental schools in the land but that it lives its values on access, innovation and equality.”

Robert Witton, CEO of PDSE and Director of Social Engagement and Community-based Dentistry in the University of Plymouth’s Peninsula Dental School says: “On behalf of PDSE I would like to thank Luke Pollard MP for nominating us for this award. We are absolutely committed to addressing oral health inequalities in local communities and helping those who need it most through the Community Clinic. I am grateful to all of our partners for making this initiative so successful.”

PDSE are now shortlisted for the national award, which will be announced at a ceremony at the Palace of Westminster in July 2021.

The Community Clinic began in January 2018 initially by treating people experiencing homelessness, expanding within the last year to include individuals using drug and alcohol services, as well as vulnerable women who are at risk of having multiple children removed from their care.

As a committed social enterprise, PDSE currently provides this service as a pro bono contribution to the local community as part of its mission to ensure access to dental care for groups who may feel excluded from mainstream dentistry.

Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise is committed to improving dental health in the South West through treatment, education, community and training. Created by the University of Plymouth in 2013, PDSE runs the University’s four Dental Education Facilities throughout Devon and Cornwall and is a NHS training clinic for its dental profession students, including dentists, dental nurses and hygiene therapists, and postgraduate students on specialist courses such as restorative dentistry. The social enterprise was recognised in the 2020 NatWest SE100 Social Business Top 100 Index.

University of Westminster launches first industry-backed Social Enterprise MSc

To coincide with Social Enterprise Day (19th November), the University of Westminster has launched a new Social Enterprise MSc, which is the first course of its kind to gain official endorsement from the social enterprise sector.

We have been involved in the development of the course and facilitated a number of focus group sessions with sector representatives to inform the course content and structure. We are proud to endorse this course, which we believe will equip students with a practical toolset combining the theory, knowledge and skills to make a positive difference through social enterprise.

The course, which can be studied full-time over one year or part-time over two, is designed for people with an interest in or already working within existing social enterprises, as well as social entrepreneurs, advisors, officials, and sector representatives. It offers an opportunity to gain a formal qualification, learning from other participants working in the sector and interacting with established social enterprises and their advocates.

Talking about the course, Course Director Dr Joy Tweed said:

Dr Joy TweedIf the pandemic has taught us anything it is that businesses need to adapt to the new normal. Consumers are looking for brands and organisations which are acting ethically, sustainably and empathetically in today’s unsettling world. And, whilst social enterprise isn’t a new concept, it’s certainly gathered momentum in recent years. Given its disruptive nature, it is an approach to business that is well-equipped to support the enormous challenges now facing our society. 

“Social enterprises have the power to deliver the changes now being demanded by society. Here at the University, we’re committed to supporting a wide range of Sustainable Development Goals. We are also committed to empowering people from disadvantaged backgrounds or minorities. Our Masters course is purposefully practical and ‘of the moment’. We don’t just teach you the theory and concepts surrounding social enterprise, but you’ll also develop the essential skills and abilities needed to lead, support or create sustainable social enterprises that not only deliver value to their customers and stakeholders, but also create a positive impact in the communities they seek to serve.”

Lucy Findlay MBE, Managing Director of Social Enterprise Mark CIC, said: “We are delighted to provide endorsement for Westminster Business School’s MSc Social Enterprise. During our 10-year track record in social enterprise accreditation, we have often been frustrated at the lack of clearly- focused social enterprise education. It’s great to see a Master’s course that combines academic rigour and practicality within a very engaging format. I hope that it will encourage a diversity of applications from people in all walks of life to develop the breadth of their knowledge in both setting up and working in an existing social enterprise.”

Click here to learn more about social enterprise at the University of Westminster.

Photo of children and teachers in a classroom

Launch of Thriving Lives toolkit to boost support for Service children

A self-reflection tool for schools to consider their support for children in Armed Forces families has been launched today (Tuesday 20 October 2020) by the Service Children’s Progression Alliance (SCiP Alliance), which is hosted by the University of Winchester.

Underpinned by rigorous research and thoroughly tested in schools, the Thriving Lives Toolkit provides schools with a framework of seven principles through which to reflect on their practice and a three-tier set of Continuing Professional Development resources.

The resources in the toolkit have been developed in collaboration with a range of partners across the UK and consist of:

  • an introductory animation;
  • a detailed resource introducing the evidence base, what schools can do to support their Service children and who can help and;
  • school case studies.

The toolkit launched at an online event on Tuesday 20th October, where the audience of policymakers, researchers, charities and school, college and university practitioners heard from the researchers and from schools and other stakeholders involved in the pilot. There was also a policy panel and an opportunity to learn more about the context for Service children’s lives and to hear from partnerships working directly with Service children.

University of Winchester research found that ‘it is in the realm of up to four out of 10 children who, if in the general population would go to university, do not go if they are from a military family’ (McCullouch and Hall, 2016).

Phil Dent“Service children have unique contributions and challenges. These young people are underrepresented in higher education and the University, through its access and outreach activities and its leadership of the SCiP Alliance’s national work, is seeking to change that,” said Phil Dent, Director of the SCiP Alliance.

“Discontinuity in learning, relationships and opportunities due to the complex and highly individual interplay of school transition and separation from parents can have a negative effect on Service children’s achievement, progression, and mental health and wellbeing.

“The SCiP Alliance and its partners understand the importance of ensuring Service children’s voices are at the heart of our work and have been sharing their approaches in this year-long project. Our vision is for policymaking and practice to be informed by evidence, at the heart of which are the voices of Service children.”

Click here to access the Thriving Lives Toolkit.

Photo of Louise van Rhyn announcing she has been named Influencer of Influencers™ by The Africa Brand Summit

Dr Louise van Rhyn named Influencer of Influencers™ for 2020

The Africa Brand Summit has named Dr Louise van Rhyn, CEO of leadership and education non-profit, Symphonia for South Africa and founder of its flagship programme Partners for Possibility (PfP), as its Influencer of Influencers™ for 2020.

Since the Africa Brand Summit’s inauguration in 2018, this prestigious accolade has been awarded by the summit’s convener at his or her discretion to individuals, corporations, non-profits and other organisations that truly stand out and play a remarkable role in society by, amongst others, building bridges between troubled communities, speaking truth to power in order to push back against actions that hurt the global reputation of countries on the African continent and coming up with extraordinary approaches to solving Africa’s challenges. The purpose of the Africa Brand Summit is to establish an Africa-based global destination image ‘research and advisory service’ to provide globally applicable best practice in destination rebranding, positioning and destination reputation management.

As the 2020 recipient of the Influencer of Influencers™ award, Louise is among the likes of South Africa’s Chief Justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng, and former Public Protector, Professor Thuli Madonsela, who both received the award in 2018.

‘‘We applaud Louise’s tenacity and tireless dedication to creating and building the Partners for Possibility programme over the past 10 years. This is great opportunity to publicly acknowledge celebrate and amplify her invaluable contribution towards a more just, equitable and socially cohesive, South Africa,.’ says Dorcas Dube, Marketing and Communication Manager for Symphonia for South Africa.

Partners for Possibility logoPfP brings together skilled business leaders and school principals of under resourced schools in 12-month programme of leadership development for both partners. Together, the partnership receives world class leadership training and the support of similar partnerships, while they apply their new skills and existing abilities and tap into their networks to tackle the unique challenges faced by schools in South Africa. To date, over 1 million learners are attending over 1,300 schools across South Africa in which the leadership has been strengthened through PfP.

The multi-award winning programme was founded in 2010 when Louise became the first business leader to partner with a principal in an effort to improve a school’s education outcomes. Her partnership with Ridwan Samodien, principal of Kannemeyer Primary School in Grassy Park, Cape Town, led to positive change at the school and the community at large.

The school’s success, and the success of this first partnership, has been the model for the PfP programme that exists today, and the lessons learnt along the way have been applied to subsequent partnerships, as school principals and business leaders continue strive to improve education in South Africa together.

For more information about the PfP programme, visit


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Community businesses in Plymouth receive funding to grow green

Several Devonport and Stonehouse community businesses have been awarded a share of €50,000 to help restore nature and connect communities with Plymouth’s green spaces, as part of the Green Minds project.

Grant winners will each receive up to €10,000 and will work with project partners, Real Ideas Organisation, to deliver their business proposals and bring long term benefits to people and environment.

Led by Plymouth City Council, Green Minds is a €4million project funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the Urban Innovations Actions programme, that is  building a city wide movement to finding innovative solutions to rewilding our urban landscape, bringing people closer to nature, and a better quality of life for us all.

Councillor Sue Dann, Cabinet member for Street Scene and the Environment, said: “I’m really pleased that these well-valued community businesses will receive funding as part of this great scheme. It will be fantastic to see what they can achieve in order to bring green space and nature closer to residents in Devonport and Stonehouse.”

This latest financial boost follows other successful schemes such as Empowering Places funded by Power to Change, and the ongoing Future Parks Accelerator, that have both been instrumental in nurturing a growing ecosystem of community businesses across the city. Providing social, environmental, and financial value, these organisations are collectively leading the way in building a fairer economy that is naturally regenerative.

Award winners include Stiltskin’s Soapbox Children’s Theatre in Devonport Park, which hope to create a nature rich Community Art Garden to run theatre productions; and Pollenize CIC, which will be bringing live video of bees inside high-tech hives to public spaces. A full list of grant winners can be found here.

Snapdragons CIC, one  of the grant winners based in Victoria Park, said “We’re so excited to have been successful in our Green Minds Bid – this money is a real game changer for us as it allows us to buy in the rest of the soil we need…. and allow us to buy in our polytunnel and sheds… We are so looking forward to reviving the site, improving the biodiversity in the area and bringing communities together through nature.”

Photo of two beekeepers in protective clothing looking in a beehivePollenize CIC said “We are really proud to have been awarded funding for our project. We will be lifting the lid on the hive, revealing the world of the honey bee, and making nature more visible.”

Tom Butt from Real Ideas said “A new wave of businesses are emerging in Plymouth that are leading the way to build back better, regenerating our environment and communities. Not content with the ‘old normal’, these social entrepreneurs are caring for and restoring nature for us all, whilst providing livelihoods and economically benefiting the city. We are excited to work with them at Real Ideas.”

If you want to know more about the grant winners or to get involved in building a green movement in Plymouth then please get in touch at or attend the upcoming webinar ‘Eco Biz – Meeting Plymouth’s Green Minds’.


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:

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.”

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.”

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