Worms squirming on a plate where spaghetti should be; the school lunch queue scattering in horror, the awfulness of the whole thing etched on pupils’ faces, possibly leading to a need for counselling in later life.

As a child about to leave the relative security of junior school to the unknown realms of ‘big’ school, this was a scene from children’s TV series Grange Hill which weighed heavily on my mind and, shall we say, caused me a certain amount of apprehension in the summer holidays between the two. This despite the fact that I actually took a packed lunch instead of school dinners.

All of this is a very roundabout way of me getting on to a can of worms, which is perhaps what the shadow social enterprise minister Chi Onwurah has opened up in her recent announcement that Labour would introduce a legally binding definition of “social enterprise”. Now, don’t get me wrong – as a solicitor I love a good definition, and having a neat phrase that we could roll out and apply would, I’m sure, put a spring in to my step. The difficulty is that I think getting everyone to agree on a legally binding definition would be very tricky indeed. After all, the sector (at the very least) encompasses a wide range of people and bodies including sole traders, some charities, and CICs. I have also seen the topic widely debated in places such as blogs and LinkedIn and know the passions that this topic can enflame.

The early drafts of the Public Services (Social Value) Act gave defining social enterprise a go before it was negotiated out as the Bill progressed through parliament. That included the key elements of (a) a business, (b) designed to improve the social or environmental well-being of the UK (or part of it), and (c) the majority of the profits available for distribution are reinvested for achievement of that purpose.

SEUK considers that the key features of a social enterprise are: (a) have clear social and / or environmental mission in the governing documents, (b) generate the majority of income through trade, (c) reinvesting the majority of profits made, (d) be autonomous of the state, (e) be majority controlled in the interests of social mission, and (f) be accountable and transparent.  The Social Enterprise Mark has some similar features but also includes a variation  – that on dissolution all residual assets are redistributed for the purposes.

Now, you’ll see that I’m deliberately not trying to put forward my own definition here. My view is that it’s a bit like trying to close the stable door after the horse has bolted. After all, whilst the phrase ‘social enterprise’ is relatively new, the sector really has its roots in the Rochdale Pioneers Society of 1844 and to try to bring together everything that has happened since in one easy-to-use definition is not going to be a stroll in the park.

However, if you look at property law the courts are able consider the heart of an arrangement to see what it really is, ignoring the label given to it in the process: is it a lease or a licence? The same is true in employment law – in what might be labelled a secondment arrangement, is a person really a secondee or an employee?

I wonder if the answer is to seek to do the same here, as surely it is what a social enterprise actually does that counts rather than what it is called. This in turn links to a challenge for organisations to be able to clearly demonstrate their social value – something which is at the heart of the Public Services (Social Value) Act.

I appreciate that how you actually go on to demonstrate social value is a different can of worms altogether and, frankly, one can of worms is quite enough for me.


Simon Lee, Hempsons Solicitors

Simon has provided legal advice to social enterprises, charities, and other community and voluntary sector bodies for over 10 years. He is passionate about the sector and is able to advise on a wide range of matters affecting such organisations including legal structures, contracts, funding and governance issues.

Contact Simon >>>>

Business Leaders are being sought to help inform and lead a key component of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Strategic Economic Plan.

The North East LEP is looking for passionate, well-connected businesspeople from across the North East to join its Business Support Board. The Business Support Board will lead the formation of the new North East ‘Growth Hub’ which aims to transform access to business support in the North East.

Please click here for the full article >>>>

The deadline to apply for the unpaid Business Support Board positions is Friday October 10. Those interested should download the applicant brief >>>>

For further information, please contact Dinah Jackson, Strategic Economic Plan Policy and Programme Lead at the North East LEP, on Dinah.Jackson@nelep.co.uk.

Social investment is finance that generates social, or social as well as economic, returns. The government is working to help the social investment market. For information click here >>>>

The Cabinet Office teamed up with Matter&Co to create this brilliant film. It features animated versions of several social enterprise pioneers, including the North East’s own Gill Walker and Marj Newman.

CDFA calls for North East businesses to look to alternative finance sector for growth

Over £40m pot available to SMEs, micro sized businesses, and social enterprises in England through Regional Growth Fund

The Community Development Finance Association (CDFA) is calling on North East based businesses to apply to community development finance institutions (CDFIs) to gain access to much needed finance from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF). CDFIs provide vital fair-cost loans to businesses otherwise unable to secure mainstream finance.

CDFIs across England have £40m to lend to local business and social enterprises as part of the Government backed RGF scheme. As many SMEs and social enterprises struggle to access high street bank lending, they are being encouraged to apply for alternative finance lending.

Teesside based CDFI Five Lamps has been lending to local businesses including SMEs and micro-enterprises in the North East for over 10 years. After successfully applying for RGF funding through the CDFA, Five Lamps has issued nine RGF loans with a total value of £256,950 in 2013/14 and a further three loans with a total value of £65,000 in 2014/15 thus far.

Bill Erskine, Director of Economic Development & Finance at Five Lamps, said: “As an organisation we are committed to stimulating employment and growth through access to loan funding and encourage local businesses in the North East to access the money available through the Regional Growth Fund.”

CDFIs in the North East have so far lent £772,690 from the RGF funding, providing 75 loans to local, small businesses, creating and safeguarding 100 jobs.

Ben Hughes, Chief Executive of the CDFA, said:

SMEs together with micro and social enterprises are the lifeblood of Britain’s economy and are an entrepreneurial force working hard to create fertile economic landscapes in their local communities. CDFIs are important lenders stepping up to fill this gap in available finance. We urge small, micro and social enterprises across the country to enquire about loan facilities through our CDFI members. We know there is an appetite for support and we want to ensure a strong capital position for small, micro and social enterprises that are aiding local economic development.

With small businesses creating 60% of jobs and 50% of GDP in the UK, micro enterprises and SMEs are vital to local and regional economies. The funding provided by the alternative finance sector has already secured 2,600 jobs in England, benefitting 699 businesses.

An example of how banks can work together with alternative finance providers, this fund received further contributions of £15 million by both The Co-operative Bank and Unity Trust Bank, to match £30 million from the Government.

Peter Kelly, Business Development and Marketing Director at Unity Trust Bank, said:

Unity is proud to be the leading provider of commercial funding to the CDFI sector. The social economy is a powerful engine for growth and is driving positive social change through enterprise and job creation. Important programmes such as the RGF have enabled CDFIs to provide improved access to affordable finance and Unity is delighted to be playing its part in this success story.

Paul Martin, National Manager of Charities and Social Enterprise Banking at The Co-operative Bank, said:

As a Bank with values and ethics at the heart of our business, we fully understand the important role small businesses and community based organisations play in ensuring our communities survive and thrive. We are pleased that through our continued involvement in the Regional Growth Fund, we can further extend our support to these dynamic sectors through wholesale lending to enterprise CDFIs.

Almost half of loans, by value, are in the West Midlands region, 16% are in the North West, with the remainder disbursed throughout the rest of England.

Businesses can find out more here >>>>

Northern Futures is a new initiative from the Deputy Prime Minister. The project sets out to answer the question:

How do we build on the strengths in the North to create an economic core in the heart of the region that can compete with the biggest cities in the world?

This is a crowdsourcing project that aims to gather ideas about how to build on the strengths in the north of England to create an economic hub to balance that of London. Ideas will be collected through an online call for ideas, and at eight Open Ideas Days in cities across the north of England.

Click here for details of open days. The Newcastle open day will take place on Thursday 16 October >>>>

Centre for Cities is convening a Northern Futures Summit in Leeds on 6 November 2014. The event will discuss a new vision for the North of England, bringing together participants who include those charged with leading Northern cities, businesses driving their economies, and the young people who will shape them in the future.

You can join the debate online, here. The authors of the best ideas submitted online will be invited to pitch their ideas to the audience at the November event. If you want to have the chance to pitch your idea you need to post it online by 17 October.

Follow @North_Futures on Twitter for info and updates.

  • Organisation: Fixers
  • Salary: £22,000 – £28,000
  • Salary info: Permanent
  • Job Type: Full time
  • Closing date: 29 September 2014
  • Location: Yorkshire, Home based, travelling throughout the region

Responsible to: Project Team Lead

To recruit young people (16-25) from all backgrounds, encourage them to
undertake Fixers’ projects and guide them throughout their entire Fixers’

Organisation profile:

Fixers is a charity that supports young people aged 16-25 to tackle any issue that matters to them.

Website: www.fixers.org.uk

Application notes:

Please see attached Job Description for further information
or visit www.fixers.org.uk/jobs

Apply by sending your CV, with covering letter, to projectsjobs@fixers.org.uk
Please include the job title in the subject line of the email.

Closing date: midday on Monday 29 September 2014.
NB. Interviews to be held on Tuesday 7 October 2014 in Leeds.

Additional details:

Fixers is a project of the Public Service Broadcasting Trust, funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund.

  • Organisation: Hemlington Detached Youth Work Project (Linx)
  • Salary: £21,067
  • Salary info: 37 hours per week
  • Job Type: Full time
  • Closing date: 26 September 2014
  • Location: Hemlington, Middlesbrough

Applicants should have:

A Youth Work or relevant qualification.
3 years minimum working with young people.
Proven ability to deliver services with young people.
An understanding and experience of working with NEET young people.
A serious commitment and experience in enabling and empowering young people to achieve.
Entrepreneurial skills to develop social enterprises as potential businesses for employing young people.

Closing date: 12 noon Friday 26th September 2014.


Organisation profile:

Linx is a not-for-profit organisation established in 1993 and based in Hemlington, Middlesbrough. We are dedicated to working with young people in Hemlington and the surrounding areas of South Middlesbrough.

We offer a variety of packages for young people including:

  • Detached Youth Work Street Sessions in Hemlington and South Middlesbrough
  • NEET Project (Not in education, employment or training)
  • Sexual Health and Relationships Project
  • Young People’s Sexual Health Clinic @ Viewley Centre Doctors Surgery
  • Drugs and Alcohol Project
  • Duke of Edinburgh Award Programme
  • Boys and Young Mens Project
  • Healthy Young Mums Project
  • Junior Youth Clubs
  • ‘You’re Welcome’ – Young Inspectors of Health Services
  • Fun interactive activities and courses (contact for more details)

Website: www.hemlingtonlinx.org

Application notes:

For an Application Form and further details on the above post, please contact Gavin Munkley/Garry Robinson on 01642 591955, e-mail: jobs@hemlingtonlinx.org  or apply via our website http://hemlingtonlinx.org/jobs.html

Please read the application guidance before submitting you application form.

Note: If you submit by email and do not receive a read receipt within 48 hours please ring 01642 591955.

September 13 is Social Saturday, a day to celebrate and buy from social enterprises – businesses that put people and planet first. Every purchase we make has an impact on the world we live in. Social enterprises trade to tackle some of the greatest challenges we face, like unemployment and food waste. Find out more >>>>

NESEP and the FSB have put together a social enterprise gift guide to help you shop social this weekend. If you’re a social enterprise, why not add your products/services using the reply box below?

Follow @team_at_NESEP on Twitter for updates, and don’t forget to check the #socialsaturday hashtag!



Lithic Fire
Lithic Fire is inspired by the people who lived in Northumberland 3500 years ago, the Neolithic people. They camped beside the banks of the Rivers Tweed and Till where they caught salmon and hunted wild animals in the now unimaginable wilderness that surrounded them. They made their own stone tools to build shelter and prepare their food. They may have made a simple ring of stones to contain a fire on which to cook and take comfort from under a canopy of stars. Lithic Fire aims to inspire modern people to experience something of the way that our ancestors lived all those years ago. A Firepit from Lithic Fire is a unique creation forged from steel and stone to last a lifetime. A large fire chamber with steel walls at least 5mm thick will age in the outside air but will not fall apart after a summer or two. It is deliberately primitive in its construction to give an authentic flavour of outdoor cooking.
Find out more >>>>

The Tyneside Cinema
Tyneside Cinema is the North East’s premier independent cinema, screening the best films from around the world in beautiful 1930s Art Deco surroundings. As an organisation, it is committed to affecting social change through education and community engagement, and making a positive impact on the environment. With help from a public fundraising campaign, Tyneside Cinema recently renovated an empty shop unit on the Pilgrim Street frontage of the cinema in Newcastle, which has now reopened as Tyneside Bar Café. Tyneside Cinema’s new exhibition space and cinema screen The Gallery opens on Friday 19 September; a free daily art programme starts with EDIT, a video installation by Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard.
Read more >>>>

The Electric Bike Shed
Sports Recycler was founded in 2005 to promote a healthier lifestyle, encourage recycling, provide services for the benefit of the community and offer training and work experience for people who are disadvantaged in the mainstream job market.  The company takes donations of unwanted cycles and refurbishes them for low cost sale and re-use in the community; bikes are also made available to long-term unemployed people newly back to work through various job support agencies. Sports Recycler sells a range of electric bikes through its sister company, The Electric Bike Shed.
Read more >>>>

The White T-Shirt Co.
Founded on the values of responsible manufacturing and design, The White T-Shirt Company is committed to ethical production that is conscious of its impact on the environment. Using ethically grown organic cotton from Turkey, and environmentally friendly manufacturers in Denmark, The White T-shirt Co packages and distributes a range of high-quality garments from its North Shields base.
Shop now >>>>

Jesmond Community Leisure
Jesmond Pool is an award winning social enterprise, operating as a charity since re-opening under community management in 1992. The centre offers a full range of sporting and physical activities for everyone, including a full range of water activities, two fitness suites, a multi-purpose dance and activity room, massage and therapy room and a poolside sauna and steam room.
Book classes today >>>>

Bill Quay Community Farm
Bill Quay Community Farm is a treasured green space on the edge of Gateshead. Farming for fun, learning, food and wellbeing, there is always something going on at the farm. Since July 2013, the farm has been run by Bill Quay Community Farm Association; a registered charity which operates the farm on a not-for-profit basis for the benefit of the wider community.
Visit today >>>>

Plan B Furniture and Goods
Plan-B Furniture and Goods is part of NBZ Enterprises Community Interest Company, a not-for-profit social enterprise base in the north east. Everything the organisation does benefits the community and the environment. Any surplus income we make is re-invested back into providing other services and help for local communities and local people.
Shop & donate >>>>

Founded in 2012, TASTECLUB sources, promotes and sells food and drink products, gifts and experiences on behalf of the North’s leading food and drink talents. TASTECLUB connects consumers with the people and stories which lie behind some of Britain’s greatest food and drink. In 2013 tasteclubhq.com – a curated selection of the finest food and drink gifts – was launched. TASTECLUB is offering a special Social Saturday discount this Saturday, 13 September – use code ‘SS10′ at checkout to get 10% off.
Shop now >>>>

Jazz.coop is a community cooperative set up to support the rehearsal, performance, promotion and development of jazz, poetry, dance and related arts. It is the first cooperative in the UK to own a music venue and education centre – at the Globe in Newcastle upon Tyne. The co-op organises gigs and workshops there and at other venues. The co-ops new jazz education programme begins this October, booking is available now.
Book now >>>>

South Tyneside Gymnastics
South Tyneside Gymnastics and Wellbeing Centre Community Interest Company took over running the Centre in May and has ambitious plans for further improvements to encourage more local people to participate in sport, fitness and fun activities. Eight of gymnasts from the centre were recently chosen to represent Great Britain at the 8th World Age Group Compétitions in Paris; the team brought back two bronze medals. There’s a fun packed programme of activities for all ages at the gym this season.
View the Autumn programme >>>>

Goodmoves is the premier careers hub for the charity, NGO and voluntary sector. The site offers low cost, fixed rate job advertisements, specially tailored to the needs of social enterprises and third sector organisations. In 2014, Goodmoves moved into England by way of a partnership with the North East Social Enterprise Partnership.
Find out more >>>>

Tyneside Cinema’s Arts Programme is expanding, with the opening of a brand new exhibition and screening space in September 2014.

Located on the Cinema’s third floor, The Gallery will be a unique, state-of-the-art space, celebrating the incredibly exciting creative crossover between artists and filmmakers working with moving image. In the daytime it will show and commission a rich and exciting programme of moving image work by artists, and in the evening it will turn into an intimate 33-seat cinema, where you can enjoy fantastic feature films, new and historical artists’ films, special events and much more.

The daytime programme will change regularly – and it’s completely free.

The Gallery opens with this beautiful and moving video installation, which is the first return to art-making by Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard since their award-winning feature film 20,000 Days on Earth.

EDIT is a unique collaboration between artist-filmmakers Forsyth & Pollard, musician Joe McAlinden, writer Martin McCardie and arts producer Katie Nicoll, based on a powerful piece of music by McAlinden (founder member of Scottish band Superstar). Inspired by the sound of the ebbing tide, McAlinden mixed stunning vocal harmonies with the haunting sounds of one of the UK’s last working water-powered church organs to complete the rich musical score. Forsyth & Pollard’s visual response is an emotional, arresting journey through loss and redemption, scripted by McCardie and starring Kate Bracken.

Tyneside Cinema is thrilled to present EDIT for the first time in England and the first exhibition of the work in a gallery setting, following its premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June 2014.

For more info visit https://www.tynesidecinema.co.uk/whats-on/art

Term time programme

For further information please contact the Gymnastics Centre between 9am and 9pm
(0191) 424 6426 or 07715941068 / Email ian4gym@gmail.com

Mixed gym classes
Develop co-ordination, movement and balancing skills in these fun and challenging sessions.  For ages 5+ years.
Cost: £3.50 per session, per child
Monday to Friday 4pm- 5pm
5pm – 6pm

Mini club – gymnastics
An introduction to grass roots gymnastics with 4 specialist in-house badge award sessions every four weeks.  For children aged 3 to 5 years.
Cost: £3.50 per session, per child
Monday to Friday 4pm – 5pm

Talented tots course (half termly)
Body shapes, movement, balancing, rolling, jumping and swinging are just a few of the co-ordination skills this fun and challenging course introduces.  For ages 2 – 5 years*.  This course cost includes free access to the Parent and Toddler session that takes place immediately after this one (course prices available on application).
Tuesday and Thursday 1pm – 1:45pm
Friday 9am – 9.45am
Sunday (starts 7 September 2014) 9:30am – 10:30am
10:30am – 11:30am
11:30am – 12:30pm

Parent and toddler
Let your child explore and enjoy themselves in this safe and fun environment.  Sessions help with your child’s interaction, co-ordination, balance and strength.  For those children that like a challenge, a fully qualified gymnastics coach is available to assist.  For children aged 5 months to 5 years.*
Cost: £2.40 per session, per child
 Monday – Friday 10am – 11am
2pm – 3pm

Trampoline course (half termly)
Trampolining for all abilities.  For ages 5 to 16 years (course prices available on application).  In-house badge scheme available every four weeks.
Monday – Thursday 4pm – 6pm
Friday 6pm – 7pm
Sunday (1 hour classes run between) 10:30am – 12:30pm

Bouncy tots trampoline course (half termly)
Children can take part in this new and exciting course introducing basic trampoline skills, body control, shapes and jumps.  For children aged 2 to 5 years* (course price available on application).
Wednesday 3:15pm – 4pm
Sunday (1 hour classes in between) 9.30am – 12.30pm

Bouncy adults trampoline course
Bounce along to these turn up and pay sessions.  Suitable for all abilities, aged 16+ years.
Cost: £3.50 per session
 Friday 7pm – 8pm

Disability trampoline course (helf termly)
For all abilities aged 6 – 16 years (course prices available on application).
Wednesday 6pm – 7pm

Tumble track
A series of powerful, dynamic elements performed down a sprung tumbling track.  Roundoffs into back flicks, whips, somersaults and twists.  Trampolines are also used to help with the skills (prices available on application).
Monday, Wednesday and Friday 5pm – 6.30pm and 6.30pm – 8.30pm (depending on age and ability).

British Gymnastics Awards course (half termly)
The British Gymnastics award sessions provide a structure in basic movement and agility that is suitable for children of all ages who have had no previous experience of gymnastics.  Badges and certificates awarded from levels 1- 6 for achievement at these sessions. For ages 4+ years (course prices available on application).
Sunday 9.30am – 10.30am
10.30am – 11.30am
11.30am – 12.30pm
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