Managing faith charities as trustees – Commission guidance revised

The Charity Commission for England and Wales have just published revised guidance for trustees of faith charities.

Image in black and white of a church on a hill
Church on a hill – image by Kamil Zubrzyci, Creative Commons, Pexels.com
View, print or download a copy here (.pdf)

The guidance tells us that ‘…places of worship such as churches, gurdwaras, mandirs, mosques, synagogues, temples and viharas are normally charities’. They normally exist with purposes that are entirely charitable. This includes…

  • advancement of religion
  • prevention or relief of poverty
  • advancement of education

The Commission also notes that there are ancillary organisations of faith that are also charitable in their endeavours, namely

  • religious supplementary schools
  • religious choirs
  • missionary organisations

You must register your organisation as a charity if it has charitable purposes for the public benefit and (both of the following)…

  • it’s based in England or Wales
  • it has income over £5,000 (from all sources)

There are, however, some churches that are exempt from charitable registration. You can find advice and information about this here…

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/excepted-charities/excepted-charities–2#church-charities

You can find broader, more general advice on charitable purposes and rule here…

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/charity-purposes-and-rules

Faith community members, who are already trustees, or community members who are considering becoming trustees, will find this guidance, detailed, timely and helpful in making your full contribution to the work of your charity.

A full copy of this guidance can be found on the web pages of Gov.uk here…

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/faith-based-charities/managing-faith-charities-as-trustees


Re-imagining the village as a socio-economic rural powerhouse?

The Reimagined Village cover image...
Get your copy here (.pdf)

The architects BroadwayMalyan have just published a new report, which looks at the historical context, and future, of the UK village.

It views the village in its historic landscape and looks forward to how the village might develop given the ‘right’ or ‘necessary’ infrastructure support.

View, print or download a copy of The Reimagined Village here (.pdf)

In the sixties the economist J.K. Galbraith came to see suburbs as a sort of camp, or island,  for the affluent. There is something of this perception in the BroadwayMalyan analysis.

‘However, existing villages do have their drawbacks. Villages are the most expensive places to live in the UK outside London…’

The report attempts to map existing constraints on village life, and overlay new opportunities, or issues, that might be grasped. For example…

• Rural villages, as bases of multi-faceted active economic output, have diminished capacity historically.

• UK villages tend to have an older, affluent demographic and this affects the utility of local village schools, for instance.

• As costs rise, and services need to adapt to new consumer demand, the village needs to be flexible and opportunist to take advantage of new markets. Many are not able without creative development thinking.

• The internet plays a key role in community and economic development, particularly post-Covid. The slow spread and lack of investment in high speed broadband hampers village development economically.

• Low density of population mitigates away from the delivery of core direct health and well- being support. Another factor hampered by the reach of the internet, as above.

• With older age cohorts in villages, the use of the car is a necessity to many, which contributes to poor distribution of joined up community transport and environmental harm, for example.

This document, The Reimagined Village from BroadwayMalyan, offers a number of new perceptions and objectives for a creative and effective socio-economic housing cluster – the UK village. Their view ahead is not all pessimistic…

‘If new villages are to become an effective antidote to
the housing crisis, they need to be reimagined to better accommodate the needs of modern society – both now and into the future – all while retaining the identity and charm that makes them an attractive prospect, and an integral part of Britain’s cultural fabric.’

Within the pages of the report lies an acknowledgement of difference and a recognition that each community, wherever it lies in the rural landscape, has a unique and particular tradition, and perhaps, a different view on the thorny political questions of economic development and new infrastructure.

It was comforting to see. Discover the work of BroadwayMalyan at their London office here.


Update: 19th May 2021

We subscribe to the Strong Towns Movement news-feed in the USA – they are currently publishing a set of articles on strategies and structures necessary for community development in the widest sense.

It is interesting, we think, how in the final analysis from the U.S./capitalist point of view, that public funding should be seen as the key catalyst for sustainable development in communities, of whatever size.

See the article The Modern Approach to Development Doesn’t Work for Local Communities

The Journal provides it’s readers with an eclectic mix of localism, community wealth building and enterprise creation that will not be unfamiliar to UK social enterprise readers.

Discover Strong Towns here..


 

The social entrepreneur skill landscape ahead?

The future, post-Covid and all the economic and social change that lies ahead, will need to bring with it a commitment to both training and re-skill for many, but also a distinct, hardy and tenacious set of practical and soft skills for the enduring entrepreneur.

Image, looking to the future
Looking to the future: Image by Benjamin Davies, Creative Commons, Unsplash

This is the message contained in a useful and perceptive series of articles to come from Pioneers Post. It is a landscape of compassion, certainly, given the context of the work, but also a landscape of uncertainty that will be managed through endurance, creativity and a survival ethos.

List of skills updated: 6th June 2021 – see below…

A heady cocktail of needs for the social entrepreneur looking to the future.

See the original article here: https://www.pioneerspost.com/business-school/20210331/how-no-regrets-skillset-can-arm-social-entrepreneurs-uncertain-future

‘Experts have warned that half the world’s employees will need to be reskilled by 2025. But with which skills? In our new series, Emerald Works’ Kevin Dunne and Social Enterprise Academy’s Claire Wilson set out seven critical, “no regrets” skills that social enterprise leaders will need to flourish in the post-Covid-19 landscape.’

The seven key skills, promoted by the authors of this thinking are sound and relevant  – especially if you are on the brink of leading your new SocEnt project up the enterprise foothills to sustainability.

We were worried, diving into the article, that this was a promotional pivot for a hardened, corporatist lean-into enterprise for good. We should not have worried. Vigorous commitment to the seven principles espoused can, we see, develop individuals with strong technical skills.

Skills that allied with the compassion that got them into the sector in the first place, may well be the key to all our survival.

Read the Pioneers Post article and see if you agree with the position? We do!


Update: 06.06.2021

Resilience, the first skill in the survival argument – see more https://www.pioneerspost.com/business-school/20210331/survival-skill-no-1-resilience

Adaptability – the second skill for survival – see more https://www.pioneerspost.com/business-school/20210512/survival-skill-no-2-adaptability

Creativity – the third skill for survival  – see more

https://www.pioneerspost.com/business-school/20210604/survival-skill-no-3-creativity


Social Enterprise and the UN SDG’s 2030

This brief article provides information about a University of Derby free event for Social Enterprise organisations, which provides a detailed and reflective focus on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

SocEntEastMids is a proud supporter of the event, and we are completely aligned with the aims of the day – and in supporting participants and partners beyond the confines of this single event too.

Creating a more sustainable, compassionate world.

 

Date and time
Thursday, 17 June 2021
10.00 – 13.00

Location Virtual online event

You can find full details, speakers list and book your place herehttps://www.derby.ac.uk/events/latest-events/social-enterprises-and-their-contribution-to-the-sustainable-development-goals-2030/#d.en.133377

‘This free event is aimed at social enterprises, to engage them with the sustainable development goals (SDGs), the targets identified by the United Nations to achieve global peace and prosperity.

The event includes a series of talks from academics, policy experts and social enterprises in the field. It will also feature a learning activity, where social enterprises can learn about mapping their social impact and identifying untapped future potential using the SDGs, by reflecting on how these link to forms of wealth that a social enterprise can generate.’

Source: University of Derby


Some key web links to inform your decision to attend:

What are the sustainable development goals?

See https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

What is the Fair Share model?

See https://fairsharemodel.com/the-fairshare-model-launches-a-movement-to-reimagine-capitalism/

 

Globe: Image by Kyle Glenn, Creative Commons, Unsplash

We have moved home…

We are relocating our business base to rural Norfolk.

Our commitment to the support of SocEnt seedbed development, with individuals and partners across the UK, remains undimmed and unfaltering.

All our usual webmail, phone numbers and e-contacts remain as before.

We are now situated on the outskirts of Swaffham, Norfolk UK. We are two minutes away from the the local Waitrose store and the town wind turbine blades cast a shadow across our access road. (Easy to spot…Ed).

Swaffham is an ancient market town, and from the 14thC was a centre for the wool trade in Norfolk. Now the town has a wealth of local entrepreneurship and businesses to support the rural hinterland.

Location map for Swaffham UK...
Find us here on the edge of town…

PE37 7XD

EcoTech Business Centre, Offices of SmithMartin LLP, Unit 27d, Turbine Way, Swaffham, Norfolk, UK.

All you need to know about submitting a successful CIC application

From the Office of the Regulator of Community Interest Companies

Sign up to our “All you need to know about submitting a successful application ” webinar taking place on 25th February 11am-12pm here

webinar attendee at the keyboard...image
Preparing for my webinar!

‘This is your chance to get some tips on how to complete a successful application of incorporation or conversion to a community interest company, and to acquire further information on what the Regulator looks at when considering an application and solutions to the common errors that we see.’

 

 

You can sign up for this helpful event here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/5109013132460694030

Webinar image: Austin Distel, Creative Commons, Unsplash

 

New: Social Impact Measurement Toolbox

Our friends at Social Enterprise East of England have just launched a new social impact measurement tool. We like it.

SIMbox image and web link
Discover more here…

The SEEE toolkit has six distinct sections, designed to help smaller organisations to understand their impact. By methodically gathering evidence, reflecting on it and transposing the information into useful data presentations.

Giving the information and responses, which we all collect in the social business sector, an organised and accessible face.

Using the toolkit you will work through themes around information collection, engagement, conversations, outcomes, data processing and organised planning and dissemination.

The toolkit is not free, but your licence enables up to five people in the organisation to collaborate and contribute to process. As well have access to all the worksheets you create on the toolbox system to move your information project forward.

You can discover more here: https://seeeimpactbox.co.uk/

Helping you to present your impact in an organised, clear way – the SEEE SIM Toolbox.


You can discover more development tool kits on our web pages here

SocEntEasMids logo image and web link

Rural Economy Toolkit

Rural economy Toolkit - cover image
View, print or download a copy here…

Poverty and economic and social exclusion can often be invisible in rural areas, we would argue. The trees are no less green, the landscape no less bucolic, if the individual residents or communities are economically and socially disenfranchised.

During 2020 and our following of the thrashing dragon’s tail that is Covid, the media is full of economic data, socio-economic opinion and, perhaps the newest media feature, the ubiquitous graph.

How many of us, we wonder, fully understand the context of the data we are being asked to support or accept. How many of our communities can use data to successfully mount the argument that their’s is the community that needs to be refreshed and supported too?

There is a new toolkit on the block in 2020.

The Institute of Economic Development (IED) and the Rural Services Network (RSN) have devised a new practitioner-focused toolkit which is intended as a guide for “anyone seeking to raise rural relevance in the economic agenda”.

  • This pivotal report looks at the current policy drivers and meta-trends governing the development of the rural economy.
  • There is a strong section on the collection and analysis of data to establish the needs and desired outcomes for a given community of interest.
  • Finally, the document looks at best practice in the rural environment, ranging across coping with ageing in communities, wealth creation and digital expansion, or the need for it.

There is nothing in the toolkit that will be radical for the dedicated, urban social entrepreneur. What the toolkit does is to translate ambitions into a rural context, helping the players in communities to shape and define their developmental argument.

The toolkit also offers, we think, very sound thinking in its data analysis sections on how deep to drill for data, how to manage and structure what you find and finally, what the output should look like.

All skills and limitations that any or all researched arguments for economic development can use. Be they rural or devoutly urbanist in approach.

You can discover more here – https://ied.co.uk/insights/the_rural_economy_toolkit/

We wish all our readers, clients and new friends in 2021 the very best of everything and a brighter, busier, more convivial context for their projects…


Social Innovation Strategy in UK Social Enterprises

Our partnership was pleased to make a contribution to a research project recently, which sought to define what and how Social Innovation practices improve the social innovation culture of UK Social Enterprises.

The research project, was realised through the joint intellectual energy of Dr. Maria Granados, a senior lecturer in Innovation in the School of Management & Marketing at the University of Westminster and Iraci João-Roland, an Assistant Professor at the Federal University of Sao Paulo in Brazil.

Discover more here…

You can discover the interim findings, Social Innovation Strategy in UK Social Enterprises, ahead of the full publication of an academic report, here.

The core assumptive definition of Social Innovation for the project was that of ”...a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than existing solutions and for which the value created accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than private individuals”. (Source: Phills et al., 2008, p. 36)

Some of the key findings of interest to us clearly reflected our experience of SocEnt development and community business/community development processes in the past.

 

  • Community is the source of the innovative process…

 

  • Design thinking stimulates the search for solutions through experimentation and quick action, is iterative, is based on collaborative work and facilitate the involvement of users (beneficiaries), who are the centre of the innovative process.

 

  • The agile method facilitates the communication and integration between several actors involved in the innovation process by dividing the project into stages.

 

  • Using the knowledge, competency, partners and relationships that already exist in the SE is a viable option to encourage innovative activities.

(This latter implication is in fact the basis of our project delivery at SocEntEastMids – we share the knowledge and expertise for free at the point of engagement…Ed.)

  • Alignment between employees’ personal interest / belief and social enterprise mission and dual role of client and employee are a powerful booster for intra-preneurship.

(For us, again, culture and mission are irrevocably intertwined…Ed).

Finally, we were both delighted and surprised to see the modest size of the innovatory organisations included and the durability of their projects. Fourteen years of age was the average.

We understand the research team are still open to engagement from the UK SocEnt sector regarding the process of social innovation. (See contact details in the report above.)

Long, may the innovation last!

How to speak? We all know that…!

Update 15th November 2020

We really liked this analysis of Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 rule for business pitches. The original article, published by Amardeep Parmar in the Entrepreneurs Handbook, nicely captures a 10 point plan for pitching your business idea.

Originally framed for corporate tech entrepreneurs, don’t be put off. The concepts can also hold good for social enterprises thinking of pivoting all or part of their business to reflect new circumstances.  New community businesses responding to the request ‘…come and tell us about your project/business idea‘ will find the simple brevity useful, we would argue. Particularly if you are having a ‘where do we start’ moment!

Discover your convincing ten point plan here.


Original skills development content:

This is a film about the art of the presentation. It can help you to acquire the skill in assembling your knowledge, the making of a telling argument to convince your audience about your community project, your funding renewal or your pending impact investment, amongst many possible goals.

Delivered last year (2019) by the late Professor Patrick Winston at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT), it is ostensibly for would be academic scientists. But there is much to discover about your own existing skill set, your preconceived ideas about your audience and it also delivers challenging ways to maximise your effectiveness.

We watched it in the office, as part of an exercise to think about refreshing the ways we use to pitch, for a new project we have coming up.

We winced as we realised we had delivered ‘death by PowerPoint’ sessions in the past, and some of us had allowed our purple prose to even cross the whiteboard, cross the meeting room and exit out into the car park.

Professor Winston was sharing a life time of thought. We think everyone will find something in it…

Source: Originally published as part of the MIT OpenCourseWare programme.


How to write well and effectively?

This filmed lecture, from the University of Chicago by Larry McEnerney, is about writing for the real world. It is delivered in accessible language and the key ideas have real relevance for writing in the Social Enterprise/Social Impact sector.

 

For McEnerney ‘writing in the real world’ can involve the use of jargon, being able to identify your readers, clarity of purpose and the use of the written word ‘to change the world’. He also has some interesting takes on the process of being paid to write.

Practical examples of the techniques and the understanding of your text start at around the 20 minute mark.

Speak well, write well, pitch well – improve the reach of your project, your idea or your community ambitions.

Source: First publ. 2015, as part of the UChicago Social Sciences Leadership Lab programme