This month, we are delighted to become a formal member of Social Enterprise UK, one of the world's largest social enterprise networks.
We owe our start as a social enterprise to the Social Enterprise West Midlands start-up programme - it helped shape both our purpose and connect us to other fabulous organisations that are committed to making a change. This membership lends credibility to our work as a community interest company and promotes our services to those looking to use social enterprises as suppliers. We are also proud to be a part of the recently released State of Social Enterprise UK report – where we contributed data and feedback on the difference we are making.
Recently, we onboarded with Ethical Angels, who are lending their expertise on three projects with us. One, which is nearing conclusion, revolves around our eBooks. We are also working closely with them to optimise other services across the business, allowing us to refine the customer experience and deliver the best possible service.
In Whitchurch, we have been busy behind the scenes preparing to deliver our 1:1 digital inclusion support and drop-ins which will begin in January. Offering support to individuals to get online and learn day to day digital skills will be through our team and some willing digital volunteers – if you think you can help, please get in touch with us.
On the eBooks front, I would love to shout out the Inclusion Toolkit for the South London Integration Hub (https://heyzine.com/flip-book/slp) that launched in October and the CITB West Midlands eBook ‘Building the Future Workforce’ (https://www.bizedprojects.com/product-page/citb-wmids-building-the-future-workforce) which launched in November, which has just been updated. These are available to download now for free, and we are working hard behind the scenes on new eBooks, and I'm very excited to share more information with you all in due time.
At Fordhall Organic Farm we held an inclusion networking event (pictured at the top of the article), which included a presentation from Charlotte Hollins, Manager of Fordhall Community Land Initiative, and an excellent workshop with Emily Edwards, Neurodiversity Coach and Trainer with Insight Coaching, who gave a fascinating insight into the work she does.
This event received great feedback, with one attendee saying:
“Emily facilitated a really thought-provoking morning which has created a whole bunch of ideas for me to work with.
“She stopped me dead in my tracks with one of her insightful questions and opened up a completely new vista for me to peruse.”
It’s really rewarding to hear feedback like this, and plans are already underway for the next event – we hope to welcome you there!
I met with some great tech start-ups at the Inclusive Innovation Event at the Royal Academy of Engineering this month, and one particular chat stuck with me when I was describing how it can feel that we talk about ‘green’ sustainability and community as two different groups, when for me they are all a part of the same thing. I was reminded that the Sustainable Development Goals are our umbrella for all of this work for people, planet and profit and this relationship with equity. It was great to also hear about the work that RAE are doing to embed a more inclusive culture in their workforce and opportunities for impact investment.
In November, we spoke with 13 local companies about what they would like from a community co-working space and will continue to develop our ideas in this area. We are actively seeking a space to set this up, so get in touch if you would like to collaborate!
On a broader national scale, the government have been making moves recently with regards to the procurement process, getting more community and voluntary sector organisations involved. It's been great to see a shift in this regard and hopefully it leads to greater community involvement across the board.
Finally, we are looking to recruit some new members for the CiC who will have a say in the direction of the organisation and we would like as diverse a voice as possible. If you would be able to meet once a quarter online or face to face to help us shape our services for the community, please get in touch.