Category Archives: News

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..


 

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…


HM Government Business Support – new web site

Developing our business idea…

Update: 25th Mar 2020 – Source: www.businesssupport.gov.uk  (Abstract of web page)

Coronavirus

‘The Government is supporting businesses and their employees through a package of measures during this period of unprecedented disruption. This website helps you find the right support, advice and information to help with the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) on your business. The Government is doing its best to stand behind businesses and is asking businesses to do their best to stand behind their workers.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): If you are looking for information on healthcare advice for employers and support for businesses please click here.’


Gov.uk now has a new Business Support cluster of web pages for the new or developing business. A basket of resources for new or just developing business across…

Although ostensibly for mainstream business development and entrepreneurship, there are still elements of the site which will have useful content for social business or community enterprise, we would argue.

Under the Finance tab are resources on business funding alternatives, dealing with payments and marketing.

The Leadership collection of resources has an interesting range of support links for women in business, both networking and geographically, women in rural business, for example.

if your business is both entrepreneurial and inventive, then the Intellectual Property cluster of links has useful links – from the always interesting British Library Business and IP Centre, to a useful On-line IP Health check.

You can also reach the Business Support Service on the phone, 0300 456 3565 – 9am to 6pm, or use the Chat Now service direct from their web pages.

Ideas image: Tirachard Kumtanom, Creative Commons, Pexels.com

Social Enterprise – the European context

A new edition of Social Enterprises and their Eco-systems in Europe is now available on the Europa web pages.

This cross-national look at social enterprise is a profoundly useful narrative for individuals, or community actors, who are interested in exploring, not only the deployment of governance forms, but also to understand the philosophical approach to social enterprise development, across time and geography.

Get your copy here…(pdf)

You can download the UK analysis here. It provides the diligent reader with definitions of a SocEnt, and the governance forms currently used by UK enterprises with a social mission.

The work is strong on the historical context of SocEnt development in the UK, as well as offering a critique of the fiscal, governance and research frameworks that do, and will, affect the development of community focused enterprise in the future.

The document also contains a useful set of appendices, that offer insights into stakeholders at national level, a governance form comparison and quick reference guide, as well as a set of references for the text that are an ideal for ‘more reading’.

This ‘Country Document’ from Europa.eu is written by Fergus Lyon, Bianca Stumbitz and Ian Vickers. It deserves to be in your SocEnt development tool kit, we think.


MRA Associates, in their freely available knowledge base, have an interesting and informing article about registered societies, which those exploring new governance forms for social business may find useful.

See more here: https://www.mrassociates.org/knowledge-base/specified-accommodation/cat-1-exempt-accommodation/tell-me-more-about-registered-societies


Forward to 2020

Looking for a bright future…

In our last post we reflected on time passed and have turned our attention to the future, thinking about organisational development in our social business for 2020.

We read a post on Medium recently, from an executive guru which decried, as a management technique, the announcing of your plans…lest you stumble and they all come to nought. (All business is risk, even a ‘social’ one!…Ed)

We have thought about this too, and have come to the decision, given the ubiquity of the internet and new media, that laying out plans, even those not fully ready for complex delivery yet, is a sound way to make contact with like-minded community actors and organisations. Our own motives and action plan are below…

Inspirational Beginnings

We have attended this year ((2019) a number of events organised by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), in both Liverpool and London. Designed to create awareness of, and engagement with, the Community Wealth Building (CWB) agenda. In this aim Neil McInroy and his highly skilled team, have been highly effective.

This engagement has started us thinking about how CWB can be energised to reach the micro and small community facing social businesses or organisations across our region.

It is clear from the recently published documents below, that this community mercantile sector is clearly woven into the multivariate practice, target segments and policy focus of the CWB change matrix.

Key Documents for Strategic Development

CLES have recently published both Community Wealth Building 2019 – theory practice and next steps, as well as a Manifesto for Local Economies.  you can view, print or download both these key documents below…

View, print or download

Community Wealth Building 2019 is a profoundly important document in contextualising local action, policy change and in illuminating the tried and tested, as well as emerging methodologies of change in CWB practice.

Whilst recognising that the new (CLES) Centre for Excellence, funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust, has a primary focus on Local Authority/governmental policy issues for securing the largest change and development ‘hit’ possible, we think that the same concepts of CWB and the intellectual change mechanisms involved can equally be applied to the small marginalised communities and, importantly, rural England.

 

View, print or download…

The Manifesto for Local Economies contains the building blocks of an exciting new CWB landscape. We do not see any of its elements as revolutionary, but rather see the policy and delivery skein exposed in the document as a progressive, moral and inclusive agenda for the individual, the company/charity, the region and government to embrace.

What The Manifesto calls for is an inclusive, fair and ownership diverting programme of change. It does not decry or deny capital, the market or the organisation – it refocuses them to broad community benefit.

We subscribe to the vision.

The action plan – the micro-contribution

  • To maintain and continue to consolidate activity with our clients for SocEntEastMids in the six counties region of its published focus – free delivery of support, advice and resources for the creation of  socially useful enterprise.

 

    • A new brand and energy for change
  • To create a new brand/web site of focus and delivery mechanism, based in Cambridge UK, to engage with rural communities in England around some key elements of the CWB agenda.

 

  • To scope and deliver this rural enterprise support across The Midlands, East Anglia, Lincolnshire etc., where rural enterprise is, arguably, remote from the national policy debate and one to one encouragement is thinly spread.

 

  • To develop a programme of work, addressing community facing organisations – developing focused CWB agenda items to the unique, particular and social landscapes of our chosen geography.

 

  • To develop a cost recovery mechanism for external speakers and critical advice, event attendance etc., whilst still delivering our core elements of free advice, web and communication services – with any surplus created directed to support our sister delivery at SocEntEastMids, as is normal for our Partnership. To help maintain the sustainability of the programme.

 

  • To focus our Muntjac energy initially on a Enterprise Change Hub, development of Community Banking networks, and Employee Ownership advice and change support. This latter may well spill over into help in creating partnerships, employee owned businesses, co-operatives, measuring impacts for baseline and business plans etc.

 

  • To make Cambridge a ‘go to’ place for CWB in the rural environment. (We have large car parks…Ed).
Spiky, yet endearing …excuse the pun!

The Muntjac is a persistent, pervasive and spiky creature in the rural environment. We like them.

Our strategy and delivery for the CWB programme, although modest, will hopefully develop the same profile.

If you would like to be part of a new CWB initiative in the rural East, do use our site contact facilities and have an opening conversation with Tim.