Pioneers Post
your blogs
On 16 June 2011 - 1:34pm

Thank you for all those members voting, we can now publish the results of the worker co-operative council elections 2011. The results are:

Candidate Organisation No of votes
Britta Werner Unicorn Grocery 237
Richard Crook Essential Trading Co-operative 203
Edward Russell Co-operative Web 175
Athene Ellana Richford GreenCity Wholefoods 121
Steven Glynn Sustainable Change Cooperative 114
M J Ray Turo Technology LLP 64

Voter turn-out was 21% and I would like to congratulate Britta and Ed for being re-elected and Richard and Athene who will be new members of the Council.  They will join members not up for election this year:
Alison Banton, DulasBob Cannell, Suma WholefoodsSion Whellens, Calverts
The next council meeting will take place on Friday 25th June at Congress in Birmingham. So if you would like to talk to your new and existing ...more

On 16 June 2011 - 11:15am

Nearly a quarter of charities in the UK are funded by the government, with 13% get over half their income from local authorities, and for some, this figure rises to more than 90%. According to a report by New Philanthropy Capital, the coalition Government cuts are expected to be 25%-40% from current totals which will result in a drop in income of between £3bn-5bn for civil society over the next three years. Coupled with this are falling donations and investment income.

The merger and charity relationship

In response to these cuts, mergers and different forms of collaboration are increasingly discussed as a means to maintain – and even grow – services within civil society. While mergers are no panacea they can improve financial stability which is an imperative given that many ...more

On 16 June 2011 - 10:35am

I talk a lot about Business Models in my training workshops.  I reject the Business Plan fetishism indulged so myopically by the likes of Business Link.  Business Plans have their place in some trades – but usually way down the list of ingredients for success.   Getting your Business Model right, however, is near the top.

Business Modeling is something you do in your imagination, and using few words.  A Business Model is a working mind-model of the key relationships you have inside and outside the business.  It's the fundamental story you tell yourself about what you do – and tell others if you only have a few sentences.

I usually illustrate this with the story of the British slide-rule manufacturer who thought they were in the business of making slide rules.  They weren't – and when the electronic pocket calculator came along it wiped out the slide-rule business almost overnight (because, people below a certain age need to know, a slide-rule is, in fact, ...more

Posted By Community Money
On 15 June 2011 - 4:42pm

We are delighted to announce our first foray outside of London, We are partnering with Somer Community Housing Trust, the leading social housing provider in Bath, to deliver our Community Money Advocates programme.

This programme gives local people the skills and confidence to help themselves and others in their communities to deal with money and debt issues and as such provide a grassroots solution to financial exclusion and poverty.                                                


Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 15 June 2011 - 4:19pm

I'm not sure the full impact of all the Future Forum reports are yet fully understood. This is partly the result of a rushed press conference where journalists only had a couple of hours to read 5 report and so coverage was impressionistic. And sometimes wrong. The coverage has mainly been " it's no to privatisation ".

Actually no one ever suggested this. It's a crazy idea. No one supports that. And it was not in the Bill. So it was always a bogey man to frighten the horses. What is needed is a proper debate about the role competition can play.

Competition can be a good thing. The key question is how we harness it properly – that is what our report set out to answer. It said “here’s how competition can work for the citizen” – not “no to privatisation”. So the Times editorial today was spot on.

And a few personal reflections.

I arrived at DH to take up this task full of suspicion that the civil servants would try to corral and control me. That I would ...more

Posted By Ed Mayo's blog
On 15 June 2011 - 1:50pm

It was great to see co-operatives featuring prominently in the Observer Ethical Awards this week (which have become known as the “green Oscars” by some), with three co-operatives winning their categories and one finishing runner up in a category which was won by a co-operative both this year and last.

The diversity of the co-operatives nominated showcases the enormous scope of the co-operative model – from a volunteer-run, community bicycle project that repairs, reuses and relocates unwanted bicycles in Bristol to the largest consumer co-operative in the world.

They share a common goal: as businesses owned and run by their members, co-operatives give people an equal say and share of the profits, whilst acting together to build a better world. They are an obvious fit for ...more

On 15 June 2011 - 11:40am

I wrote last week about our experience of Personalisation.  I talked you through the early stages of the self-directed support process, highlighting some issues that we’d come up against at each stage.  I’ll continue now with the next stages of the process, before considering what to do to change things for the better.  Again, your thoughts and experiences – in particular any examples of where things are working well  - would be much appreciated. ...more

  • Let’s look first of all at the support planning and brokerage stages.  
On 15 June 2011 - 10:54am

Brew On awarded the Social Enterprise Mark

Brew On CIC were presented with the Social Enterprise Mark by Herefordshire CAMRA Chair, Simon Crowther. Left to right: Simon Crowther, Nick Comley, MD Brew On CIC, Mark Haslam, CAMRA and Don Burgess, SIBA Technical Director

Brew On Community Interest Company based on the National Trust Brockhampton Estate in Herefordshire has recently been recognised for its work in reinvesting in the business and community.

Nick Comley, Managing Director at Brew On commented;
“We’re absolutely delighted to be the first, and only, social enterprise brewery to ...more

Posted By The BSSEC blog
On 15 June 2011 - 9:55am

I’ve just come across this Inside Housing article which highlights a number of housing associations actively involved in social enterprise, including Staffordshire-based Aspire’s PM Training and Indigo Training Solutions.

I’m also aware of others, for example having worked alongside Sarah at iSE to help Midland Heart set up the Frost and Snow cupcake bakery (very tasty cakes!)

It also links with the recent ResPublica ‘thinkpiece’ arguing that housing associations should have more active involvement in their local communities.

http://www. ...more

Posted By Ben Metz blog
On 15 June 2011 - 9:01am

I’m leading ImpactAssets‘ efforts to replicate their activities in Europe. Funded by NESTA we are incubating the only 100% impact investment focused donor advised fund and impact investing platform in the EU.

One of the reasons I am so excited by ImpactAssets is the fact that they adopt a thought leadership role across impact investing as well as actually providing a range of products and services to investors and investees.  ImpactAssets’ sector leadership took at step forward yesterday with the launch of the ImpactAssets 50, a listing of best in class impact investment funds the world over.  Below is edited text from the press release.  It’s a way off but we’ll be looking to duplicate this effort in Europe as we move towards a full launch.