SEC AGM 2013

We are planing to hold our next AGM on WednesballoonsPic3day, May 15th at Swaffham Community Centre.

You can find the Centre just past the library on The Camping Ground, Swaffham, PE37 7RB. The cafe will be open for great refreshments served by the Iceni Partnership staff.

From 2.00pm to 5.00pm we are featuring displays of our current projects, including Marham Voices, our Heritage Lottery funded oral history activity. You can also talk to us about the start of our new project, Enterprise Arts, designed to deliver a new gallery and arts space, teaching space and community ICT service from a new building in the town.

We would be delighted to see anyone who wished to volunteer to support our projects, or who might be happy to consider joining the SEC board. Our AGM formally starts at 5.00pm on the 15th.

You can find detaiils of all our activities on our home page here.

Check our Marham Voices here.

We are planning to run a community bus service betweeen Marham and Swaffham on the day, to make our event easier to get to from the village. Watch this space for further details…

Getting information about charities…

Reporting on new developmentsThe Charity Commission has recently extended the range of information available to charities seek out and review additional or extended support for trustees and charitable organisations.

The Commission has created new web pages offer access to a variety of ‘lists’ of information sources using the key words ‘umbrella bodies’, ‘capacity building’ and ‘other support bodies’. Ideal for existing trustees, or those who are thinking of taking the plunge.

The charity bulletin boards are often critical of the Commission in its understanding of the needs of charities, particularly small charities, or those operating in particularly specialist or challenging areas.

On reflection, at the start of the New Year, the Commission has done a very reasonable job in expanding its offer trustees, particularly in the last five years.

If you trawl the Internet Archive, Way Back Machine even only to 2008 – you can see that although the basic structure of the site remains remarkably similar, the diversity and richness of content available at the start of 2013 is very significant indeed.

The Sandringham Enterprise team are always happy to freely offer advice and information to community groups, small charities and organisations seeking to become social businesses. Just ask us here.

Happy New Year and good luck with your charity research project in 2013.

Listening Post – a new blog

listeningPic445We are delighted to have just completed the first draft of our new blog for the Marham Voices project.

Listening Post – which you can visit here, will track the development of our Marham Voices project and allow you, as always to freely subscribe to our news and project updates.

We are, as part of the project, beginning to create an online audio archive, YouTube channel and FaceBook pages. All of these developments and their content will be freely available on our blog – Listening Post.

If you would like to know more about the Marham Voices project, to either volunteer to help or to donate your story to the archive, you can read more about the project here at www.marhamvoices.org

Visit the blog, keep up to date and let us know if you have a story to tell, we’ll be happy to listen. Thank you.

Project in a Box – new edition

planningImage5We have long been admirers of the Community Edition of Project in a Box.

This great, free resource is one we always recommend to our charity clients – being a great way think about, plan and deliver projects using the bones of the recognised Prince 2 methodology.

PIAB have just released a new version of the free Community Edition which offers more project planning templates for those less demanding, less layered projects.

You can use the three step template (or the five step for more detailed project planning) in the new system to clearly map your thinking about project formulation, inception and delivery.

If your Third Sector organisation has previously felt rather pale when reviewing project planning methodologies or software like MsProject, then this new Community Edition is just for you.

The new version is also bundled with Planner, another great free resource from PIAB. Check out the PIAB web site for more details.

If you can get, as a beginner, past some of the language – then this free download is a great resource for helping you think clearly about projects, how they are delivered and how they are reported about when finished. If you are expert, this is still a great resource too.

PIAB – we recommend it.

(Planning symbol: Marine Institute Ireland – Creative Commons)

Marham Voices – listening to stories

listeningimage2-mSandringham Enterprise is delighted to have been generously awarded a substantial sum of money from the Heritage Lottery Fund – with the generous support of Cambridge University and its Cambridge Community Heritage team – to undertake an oral history and historic record project for Marham and its surrounding area.

Marham Voices project will last about a year and we will create a web based oral archive of people’s stories about our area, as well as producing a history of the community, concentrating on the changes in our landscape across the 19th and 20th Centuries.

We will, in the coming Spring of 2013, be holding open public events to encourage you to tell your story and get involved in our project. Our volunteers, trained in the collection of oral history, will be able to support you through the process.

When we receive permission from our generous funder, the Heritage Lottery Fund, we will be building out and launching a Marham Voices web site – here you will find all the details about the project, how to join in and the programme of activities we’ll plan with you.

In the meantime, if you wish to express an interest in taking part in Marham Voices you can email the team at mystory (@) marhamvoices.org – or use the contact us form on the Sandringham Enterprise web pages here.

We’d love to hear from you and hear your voice too!

Open Learning – online education

learningPic555We are quietly persevering with the coding of our secLEARNING web pages, which when we release them, will offer a range of information and advice about learning in West Norfolk in all its shades and colours.

As we labour in the background the world of open online learning proceeds to change and develop – with some astounding free learning opportunities available for everyone.

Limited only by your imagination, the websites below offer you access to the thinking and training opportunities of some great institutions. If a member of our community wants to study art, robotics, electronics or just brush up on Microsoft Office Suite skills then you can find an opportunity to learn here…

Coursera.org

The pages of this web site offer a collection of supported web learning that we think is frankly outstanding. Although heavily U.S. biased, the subjects and their content on offer provide a first class education, without the need to travel.

Alison.com

This Irish based initiative is more skills and training based – offering access to online courses and information that are designed to help those who subscribe to increase their employability.

Set the imagination free – sign up for a course and see how it works for you.

You can use our contact us page to tell us about your experiences. We’d love to hear about them.

The Guardian Voluntary Sector Network?

guardianNetworkPicThe Guardian Voluntary Sector Network is a great, free way to keep up with news, views and development in the UK Third Sector.

You can subscribe to this free service by using The Guardian web page link here.

What can you expect to get from this interaction with this national newspaper…

Guardian Voluntary Sector Network members can benefit from:

News and features, on the site and in our weekly newsletter
Live Q&As, expert analysis and topical comment
VIP networking events at the Guardian HQ
Career enhancing training
20% discount on professional seminars

All absolutely free of charge…

A great way to keep up to date with changes in our sector – with helpful regular emails to supplement your membership too. Read more about the network here…

Power Search with Google

magnifyingLensPic

A community course of six, fifty minute lessons is being offered by Google online in July 2012. You can register from June 26th to July 16th.

See more here…

Freely accessible after registration, your group can improve its Google search skills by undertaking the free courses, with your certificate arriving by email when you have completed the course.

Finding information on the internet is a key skill for a community organisation these days, whether looking for informaton about funding, local charities or local history, for example.

These tutorials, complete with interactive examples to work with, can help you become a power searcher. Get more from the web for your community.

You can find the Google power searching tutorial access page here.

The SEC home page of our main website is here.

Big Society capital launches…

bscLOGO2A new investor in the social sector has just launched – Big Society Capital. “We enable organisations tackling social issues to grow by encouraging investments made for social as well as financial return”.

As a body the organisation is purposed with only lending capital to social investment finance intermediaries (SIFI’s). This is a range of UK organisations who offer social investment to, and seek ethical and financial returns from, frontline Thirdsector organisations.

The Big Society Capital organisation will invest a minimum of £500,000 and a maximum of £15 million, dedicating their funding across a broad aspect portfolio of projects.

There is no doubt that, if this is new money, then intermediary organisations who seek to lend to and develop infrastructure projects with the Third Sector now have an exciting new source of funds to deploy. If theIr applications and business plans are rigorous enough.

For smaller charities and social enterprises one interesting aspect of the Big Society Capital web site, although excluded from BSC funding, is that smaller organisations can access a database of advice, guidance and finance providers to the sector.

This resource can be searched whether looking for grants, business advice or investment. You can find the BSC database here. A really useful, one stop tool we think for smaller charities or social organisations.

Free to use too.

Charity, business and community

networkDiagramPic34‘Businesses should act as ‘community hubs’, helping promote social interaction amongst their customers and developing local action plans to create happier, more resilient communities’.

This is a quote from a new report from the RSA, The Community Footprint: Shared Value for Business and Communities, outlining how local business, social business, can become hubs or focal points for community interaction and development.

Charities and social enterprises in particular, can have a role to play in this ‘combination’ role. A community charity, like SEC, can provide a focus, a tunnelling of ideas to engage community business in this sort of network activity, particularly in a remote rural area.

A charity could, for example, through its social enterprise network or community development activity co-ordinate and contribute to the strategies and focus of ethical business support to that community.
Helping businesses to answer the ‘how can we help’ question?

You can see the RSA report here…

The Community Footprint: shared value for business and communities

The RSA report looks at a a case study of a B & Q store and how it’s instore activity and engagement with customers and staff, were able to affect and effect change in community projects.

Big business, with financial and operational clout, can clearly be players in this role – but we would argue that there is a place for small, local economic groups and networks to use the same model – generating change using their very specific local knowledge too.

Our secBEANS network can fill this role too – acting as a focus point for community enterprise and using the charitable aims of SEC to make a strong community impression – adding new value to community projects.

Food for thought?