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)

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.

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.

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!

Getting to grips with your cash?

graphPic4Community Accountancy Self Help is a Lottery funded charity which works to develop best practice and good management for community groups and small charities.

They are based in London, but thanks to the power of the ‘inter-web thing’ you can read and review their very useful Cash Facts information sheets online.

Covering everything from having a policy about reserves for your organisation, basic book-keeping, risk and quality systems, as well as finance reporting to your governing body.

The Cash Facts page is a great resource for small community organisations. You can read more here.

Alongside the Cash Facts documents is a Cash Words page  – full of useful explanations for those new terms you come across when growing your community finances. A real jargon-buster.

(If you do use these fact sheets to improve or train members of your organisation – honour the copyright request from CASH and drop them an email to let them know…) 

We liked the pages! A great online resource for your Treasurer.

Christmas Fair – cold outside, warm welcome within

As we were unpacking our bits and pieces for the stalls at the Marham Christmas Fair the temperature only rose above zero very grudgingly.

The Marham Infant School, Mrs. Webb, the Head and her team offered everyone a great, warm welcome and a wonderful space to hold the event. Smiles all round. In the end the sun shone, Santa arrived and the ice-rink was fully booked all day.

There was a great range of goods on offer, from jewelry, fabrics, children’s books, handbags and a myriad supply of other seasonal items. The raffle table was groaning with donated prizes and tickets sold briskly from their vantage point near the entrance.

The young people of the airplay team served up fantastic pork rolls, with all the seasonal trimmings. They also played some very lively, contemporary music in the ‘jammin’ space too.

The school tea and coffee crew worked flat out all day – with everyone very appreciative of a hot drink on such a cold day.

By the time darkness fell some 250 people had strapped on their skates and glided, slithered and tumbled around the ice rink. Thank you to everyone who booked their sessions and contributed to SEC.

A special thank you to Lloyd and Charlotte for braving the cold all day rink-side and for their energy in organising such a popular attraction.

Roll on the Summer Fair…I wonder if we could get surfing into the playground?

Image: Anonymised picture of skaters at the Christmas Fair 

The GrandParent factor

grandparentsPicSome of out team were at a conference recently, listening to a very lively speaker from The Grandparents Association.

This UK charity specifically supports the older members of family groups and their concerns, offering information and advice across a number of themes – childcare, finance and benefits and the role of the grandparent in general.

This set us thinking about the work of grandparents and the care of children, in even the most well organised and supported communities.

In these days of community outreach by many organisations, SureStart, the local authority and welfare support in general – the grandparent can often, as a group in society, still provide front line care for young children, advice to younger parents and siblings – as well as coping with their own pressures around housing, health and finance.

We really like the web site for the Grandparents Association and you can find more information and support from it here.

Next time you see them, thank the grandparents – they do a lot we know – why not get them a membership subscription for Christmas too?

Enterprise Christmas Fair?

christmasDecoration66We are planning to hold a Christmas Fair this coming season.

Do you have talents as a card maker, jewellery maker, or with cakes or knitting?

Do you spend time in the autumn in the kitchen making pickles, chutneys or jam?

Why not sell them at the Community Enterprise Christmas Fair? Whatever your idea or items we can find space for you. Sell the things you have made, talk to other people who make things and who knows?

Maybe a new community service might emerge from your chat. Get enterprising and have some seasonal fun too.

To find out more contact Rita Broomfield on her usual number (ext. 7884) or send Rita a message from the contact us page on our main website here.

From the SEC team – making enterprise an all year season.

Making a splash on Families Day

waterSplashPicDon’t forget to drop by the SEC tent on Families Day – we’ll be Zorbing next door – can you keep dry?

Come along and see if the children can keep their balance on the water? You can pop in to see us then, have a look at volunteering opportunities, talk to someone about your group or community business idea.

We’ll also tell you where the Centre building is at too!

We’ll be happy to see you on the day.

(Our Zorbing installation is created for SEC by the same professional team as last year. The profit we make from our small entrance fee to the pool all goes to your local charity…)

Families Day is at RAF Marham on August 11th, 2011.

A Sustainable Funding Guide

Sustainable funding in Norfolk

Ideas for developing your group or organisation

Voluntary Norfolk, in partnership with other organisations like NCVO and The Lottery, have just published a useful sustainable funding guide.

This useful booklet can help your organisation, group or club think about its finances, how you are governed and what you might be able to do in terms of fund raising or developing income streams from your existing activities.

The booklet has a number of useful tools and templates that can help your committee plan or to develop some recommendations for ideas for your group to consider.

At the end of the short, clearly laid out booklet is a list of useful web links and other resources and organisations that might be useful.

Don’t forget – if you have an idea for developing how your committee works, or a social enterprise or community business idea then The Sandringham Enterprise Centre team are here to help too. We can share our knowledge and expertise for free with you – helping change happen and income develop.

You can contact us here: help@sandringhamcentre.com

Download a pdf copy of this Voluntary Norfolk booklet here.