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your blogs
Posted By The BSSEC blog
On 14 December 2011 - 1:45pm

Leading social enterprise Enta has become one of the first information, advice and guidance services in the UK to achieve a new national quality standard.

Birmingham-based Enta was awarded the prestigious matrix standard accreditation following an intense two-day assessment.

Enta’s customers, partner organisations and staff were all quizzed during the inspection, which looked at the quality of the careers support and advisory services it offers.

As a social enterprise training centre, Enta’s guidance services are available to its learners and members of the public ...more

Posted By Community Money
On 14 December 2011 - 1:17pm

When times are tough, poorer families suffer most from public sector cuts. A recent Guardian article spoke of a triple whammy. But in every obstacle there is opportunity. We give power back to local people as our Community Money Advocates training empowers local people with skills and knowledge to help themselves and their communities deal with money and debt and counteract the impact of the cuts. ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 14 December 2011 - 12:09pm

Loans are an important new tool in supporting and expanding our sector's work. And needed more.

You are wrong to assert in your recent Third Sector article that we must avoid debt as a sector . ( Article, this weeks' Third Sector by Debra Allcock Tyler).

You are right however to urge caution.

A loan will not fit or suit many third sector organisations. It won't help campaigning charities. A loan must be repaid and so no organisation should go into a loan unless they are absolutely clear on the obligations and responsibilities that a loan brings. You should have weighed up the different options. But in some cases a loan makes financial sense and is a good option.

It is also the job of social lenders like the Social Investment Business ( who now have 7 years experience of loans to over 300 organisations) venturesome or Charity Bank. In fact they are very careful to only lend to charities or social enterprises that have a clear business plan that ...more

On 14 December 2011 - 10:27am

We've all heard a lot about public sector mutuals: the government's vision of millions of public sector workers setting up shop as employee mutuals and selling their services back to the state.

In truth, progress has been slow. The Mutual Support Fund, launched at the beginning of December, has been a long time coming. Councils in particular have had other things on their mind over the past year. Overall, it is probably fair to say that public service mutuals have not, as yet, set the world on fire.

Is this about to change? Possibly. At a structural level, it is clear to that the public sector's days as a provider of services are numbered. Selby council, in north Yorkshire, now employs just 14 people. The rest are with external providers. This is the direction of travel and the new localism bill will make challenge to direct public provision a lot easier.

The question now, therefore, is who is going to take on services, update them and bring down their costs ...more

On 14 December 2011 - 1:06am

In recent weeks, I’ve been reading some of the Third Sector Research Centre(TSRC)’s work on Below the Radar organisations.  As TSRC’s researchers explain here, “‘Below the radar’ has become a short-hand term for small community groups who are either not registered with the Charity Commission or other regulatory bodies and/or lack a regular, substantial annual income.

As noted in Angus McCabe’s paper Below the Radar in a Big Society, published in December last year, it’s difficult to work out how many of these organisations there are: “ ...more

Posted By Ed Mayo's blog
On 13 December 2011 - 10:07pm

Good for Mary Portas. She was given a tough task, to explore how to revive Britain’s high streets. Her review is full of energy, life and creativity. In my words, not hers, the call is for all the parties involved – small business and big, local authorities and residents – to co-operate.

I like her stress that if we can create convivial spaces, we can then create sustainable habitats for local shopping and local enterprise.

The challenge is that we often have neither the structures nor the cultures at the local level to co-operate, so that all the best ideas remain just that – ideas. If we want to renew our high streets, we have to value them. But we also need the economic, business and planning models that are about reinvestment and sharing the benefits. Without that, I fear, the review may end up being interpreted as one more call for voluntarism. Let’s hope there is enough practice ...more

On 13 December 2011 - 6:00pm

“Though I sit down now, the time will come when you will hear me.” – Benjamin Disraeli

Benjamin Disraeli would be heard.

An author and prime minister of the United Kingdom in the 19th century, his first speech in the House of Commons was not received well. Yet he ended firmly with: “though I sit down now, the time will come when you will hear me.”

May we all have the humble confidence to stay firm and unyielding in discouragement. Let’s continue on with our unique, beautiful vision of how we can serve, and be heard.

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) served in the British government for over three decades, twice as prime minister. He was instrumental in the creation of the modern Conservative Party. He is known also for his political rivalry with William Gladstone, and his friendship with Queen Victoria. Disraeli wrote a number of novels, including Sybil and Vivian Grey, and served two terms as Rector of the University ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 13 December 2011 - 1:21pm

Kevin Curley says Bubb is, " in a sense the sector's Jeremy Clarkson". How very dare he! I have never ever suggested anyone should be taken out and shot in front of their family......yet. ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 13 December 2011 - 1:01pm

A rather poignant story in Third Sector magazine. The Charity Environmental Protection UK went under last week as local councils pulled their funding. It has a fabulous history. Started in 1898 as the Coal Smoke Abatement Society it campaigned against air pollution. It was largely responsible for the clean air legislation. Its Treasurer coined the very phrase smog ( smoke plus fog! )

This demonstrates the long and honourable history of our great sector and its proud history of campaigning and advocacy. I suspect that in its day there were plenty of backwoodsmen MPs frothing at the mouth about this charity- much as today we get MPs on the backbenches ( and even in the Public Administration Committee ) fulminating about campaigning charities. The " charities should be seen but not heard" view has also a long and dishonourable history. But whenever there is injustice or wrong , there will be people and communities who will campaign to put it right. So we salute them. And ...more

On 13 December 2011 - 11:35am

A guest blog by the Wales Co-operative Centre: As the second series of
Baker Boys draws to a close on BBC Wales it seems like a good time to reflect on
the need to consider employee ownership and worker co-operatives as tools to
help address some of the economic issues that so many of us are facing on a day
to day basis.

But, first a quick
recap.

For those of you
unlucky enough to not live in Wales, Baker Boys is a fictionalised account of
the creation of a worker co-operative in a South Wales Valleys town.

The original series
followed the trials and tribulations of the bakery staff ...more