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 enables you to do it online and for free.

With everybody having busy lives, working and living in different locations, 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 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 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.

See those beans grow!

fairPic2011The recent Christmas Fair was evidence that there are already a number of community enterprises – creative small businesses offering goods and services to the Marham community.

Part of SEC’s remit as a community charity is to foster ethical enterprise. Helping support people’s creativity and populate a local economy with new energy.

Maybe you have an idea, but are unsure about how to start, not clear about what to do to turn your creativity into a structured business?

Beans (our new idea name so far, although together we might change it) can be an informal network of like minded people in the Marham community, coming together to share their thoughts on what to do, marketing, money or anything else that helps support you.

What to do first? We need a volunteer, or volunteers, to help co-ordinate the group.

SEC can offer a no-cost platform for the activity, providing web pages, formal business advice, networking experience and professional support across a variety of creative themes. We’ll find a place to meet regularly, in a non-judgemental and supportive atmosphere, where you can talk to others about your ideas or problems.

If the community picks up the idea of a LETS scheme for the area, you could use the new alternative currency to dip your toe into the market place, with no risk.

We could start an online directory of beans members, featuring your goods or services – provide you with a web site if you don’t have one yet, help you think about counting your own beans (keeping the books really).

Practical, grounded advice – whether your aim is to make one cake or one hundred, to create and craft one piece of jewelry or a thousand – helping to get your idea started at just the level you want and no more.

If you would like to help use our contact us page on the SEC main web site and let us know. We’ll be in touch.

Image: Ready for customers at the Marham 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?

Racing in Oxborough

stJohnsOxboroughPicA number of members of the SEC team attended and sponsored, from their own resources, a race at the recent Oxborough Village Race Evening.

The funds from the night were being raised for the Fabric Fund of St. John’s Church in Oxborough.

It was a lively evening and the event contributed over £700 to the Fabric Fund. The Chair of SEC officiated at the microphone and there were some stunning Victorian moustaches and bowler hats in evidence from the village organising committee, much to the delight of the audience.

(None of the SEC team horses won by the way, so we all went home much lighter in the pocket…but it was great fun).

St. John’s Church image: Creative Commons licence – John Salmon

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.

Startup Britain – a new website for entrepreneurs

Building blocks of enterpriseEndorsed by government, but created by private enterprise, the new Startup Britain web site offers visitors a wide ranging set of resources and information to get your business idea off the ground.

There is debate on the web that the new site is just a rehash of existing offers from big business that can be had elsewhere. There is a length fairly negative article about the new site on the PostDesk news site here.

However, we think people in communities and emerging social businesses are wise enough to spot a pig in a poke when they see it or not, or to decide if spending money with Google or another private company is the right thing for them to do, whatever the offer.

We are not a cynical enterprise at the Sandringham Centre. Positive support and useful information from any source can be a profound help in achieving change.

Startup Britain shows site visitors a great set of resources to help get their idea formulated, information and advice on everything from business planning, managing cashflow, assessing risks in a new venture, getting the operational aspects right and getting started on the marketing.

Some of the links on the site that we thought were refreshing were Springwise – examples of new business and enterprise from around the world, the Brightideatrust – a charity to help young people get a business idea into the air and Smarta – a wide set of resources from mainstream business.

Whatever your community business idea, we think you’ll find something useful on the Startup Britain web site.