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.

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!

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?

Measuring the quality of your committee?

We were recently at a Social Enterprise business advisors meeting in The Midlands. We were fortunate to have a presentation from The Guild, a Norwich based social business/community advice organisation.

The booklet beng discussed was Social Impact Measurement. An often complex piece of work to determine what the outcomes of your organisation are in terms of the beneficial impact you have on the community.

However, part of the booklet was an analysis of ‘quality measurers’. Schemes of analysis or reflection which groups can use in committee and with their supporters to determine how good their governance is, or how the delivery of their work matches against expected recognised standards.

Yes, there are some very expensive and time consuming examples in the booklet, but there are also some very cost effective and elegantly simple ones too. Helping committees or boards of governance determine their strengths, weaknesses and the need for change, if any.

You can download the booklet here.

AT SEC we have experts on governance, committee support and enterprise/social organisation management. Our support is free. If we can help you with a ‘quality project’ for your group or committee just ASK SEC! 

Poverty reporting: The Smith Institute

poorLawWelfarePic-mThe independent think tank The Smith Institute have recently published a new report on poverty in society.

The organisation, dedicated to the fairer society, tracks in the document a century of welfare reform, social initiatives and government policy on poverty and inequality.

The report suggests a number of measures that could be developed to combat the ever widening economic gap. The Institute sees these new interventions as being aimed at, what it calls the ‘pre-distribution’ agenda.

Essentially a refreshing of older ideas on tax levels, workplace structures and, importantly, mantaining pressure on the development of skills as basis for social and economic change.

The report stresses how important the role of civil society organisations can be, especially where they interact with skills development projects and the general labour market.

Community charities can have a strong role to play at the local grassroots level in this framework of ideas.

You can download, view or print the full report here. (.pdf file/ 2.8Mb)

secBEANS bookshop now online

booksandbusinessPicThe secBEANS network have just published the pages of their online bookshop – beansBOOKS.

This is a great resource for getting information, ideas and seeing how others run their enterprise ideas. Every purchase you make from the bookshop sends a small amount to support SEC as a community charity too.

Have a look at the beansBOOKS pages. There are sections for the female entrepreneur, marketing and social media for all sorts of enterprises, as well as a section on how social business can change communities.

Buy with confidence from a book distributor you can trust – Amazon, and help your local community charity SEC…and get your enterprise idea in gear too!