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.

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…

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?

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.

Formalising your group – for free

The SEC team are always on hand to offer their expertise in helping create good governance practices for community groups or associations, whatever their location. The web resource at oneclickorgs.com enables you to do it online and for free.

With everybody having busy lives, working and living in different locations, Oneclickorgs.com offers a great way to formally constitute a new or existing group.

Once formed online, members then have ready access to the web details of the constitution and a means to vote remotely via their computers or mobile devices. This short film shows you how…

We think the online voting processes of Oneclickorgs.com offer community groups a great way to reduce time and energy on administration and meetings, improving democratic decision making in associations – with a record of decision making clearly available for members to track.

A formal constitution allows community groups to own property, have bank accounts and can be the start of more formal processes to become companies limited by guarantee or even, eventually community charities in their own right.

(We see from the Oneclickorgs.com web pages they have recently been awarded a grant by UnLtd to develop a company by limited by guarantee online creation tool).

Even online so simply, the language of choosing options for governance may not be a natural technique for everyone – Ask SEC, we’re happy to help for free if we can.

Beans are about!

beansTogetherPicWe have just posted the web pages for beans – the new enterprise support network we will work hard to keep active in the Marham community.

beans is intended to be a useful resource for those residents who have started, or are thinking of starting, a new enterprise in our rural community.

If you would like to volunteer to help us organise our network meetings, or contribute to our resources list – or write articles for our web site or secBLOG – you can subscribe with your email address here.

We’ll let you know when our network meetings take place and occasionally send you updates and news from the beans team.

You can subscribe to the beansBLOG for free updates too. You can see articles on new start-ups, paying your tax and why ethical enterprise is such a good contributor to community health.

We are also establishing a beansDIRECTORY, where you can advertise your business to others. In the future, we will publish the directory in other formats and places, thereby spreading the word about Marham enterprise.

See you at our next network meeting?

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