It is with great sadness that we report the unexpected passing of Tony Curtis this weekend, at the age of 62. Tony was the Chair of NESEP’s board of directors at the time of his death, and had been an integral part of NESEP at all levels of its operation for over ten years. His loss will be keenly felt, and our thoughts are with his family.

WEYDA, was set up by a group of young people from the west end of Newcastle, who were passionate about graphic design, drawing, cartoons and filming. Last year, they developed a film about their West End Heroes, which they developed cartoon characters for.  Since the West End Heroes project, they are in the process of forming a young enterprise and they are now using their new skills to do commissioned pieces of work. The campaign they are currently working on is about Loan Sharks in their community.  WEYDA is open to everyone from the age of 11 to 17, who has a passion for design, drawing, animation and filming. More info about WEYDA here >>>>

More about Young, Religious and Judged Documentary here >>>>

As I think you are aware, Social Enterprise Europe has been helping to develop the FairShares Model. This work has progressed steadily and FairShares is now recognised as an innovation in the ownership, governance and management of social enterprises. Recently, I’ve had online and face to face meetings with people from the US, Ireland and Australia. I want to tell you a bit more about this, then invite you to subscribe to the FairShares Association.


I was one of six social enterprise educators and consultants who formed the FairShares Association in February 2013. In July 2014, I co-published V2.0 of the FairShares Model with Rory Ridley-Duff. This set out the development pathways, social auditing diagnostics, model constitutions and support documentation for FairShares.

What is the FairShares Model?

The FairShares Model is a set of design principles and development pathways for companies, cooperatives and associations who want to promote solidarity amongst their stakeholders. FairShares design principles make it much harder for the top 10% of earners to enrich themselves at everyone else’s expense. It achieves this by adopting practices we have developed over the last 40 years and refining them using findings from top quality research on the social economy and sustainable development.

As a result, we are confident that between 70% – 100% of the power and wealth created by a FairShares enterprise will go to the social entrepreneurs, workforce members, customers and social investors who create and develop it.

Don’t we already have models for this?

Unlike social enterprises incorporated under new legislation in the US, UK, EU and Australia, FairShares social enterprises are unambiguously based on co-operative values and principles (with workplace democracy supported by one-person, one-vote). But unlike most co-ops and mutuals, they are also unambiguously multi-stakeholder in their design (enfranchising entrepreneurs, labour, users and investors). Unlike charities, FairShares enterprises permit individual and collective wealth creation through a transparent system for issuing and trading shares amongst members. Member-owners, mutual societies, employee trusts and charities are the primary beneficiaries, rather than institutional investors.

This ‘second generation’ social enterprise design transcends many of the limitations reported by early practitioners of social enterprise, and by academics engaged in scholarly studies of the sector.

Why is this getting popular now?

At SEE, we are not sure what is driving international interest in the FairShares Model. We are aware that FairShares got a mention in public proposals advanced by the P2P Foundation for a ‘Commons Transition’. This has been circulated to hundreds of thousands of academics worldwide. We’re also aware that New Start Magazine listed FairShares as one of 10 ideas to create systemic change. New Start is sent to tens of thousands of public policy professionals.

Whatever the precise reason, it has prompted an approach from the founders of Mass Moasic (who are developing a global crowdsourcing platform) and the founders of Independent Living Ireland (who want to create a national care support service across Ireland). Both are passionate about using the FairShares Model (and Brand) to build their national / international enterprises. For the first time, the association really needs to secure a larger supporter base willing to seed fund this type of work through regular (small scale) subscriptions.

How will Social Enterprise Europe benefit?

We won’t benefit directly. Social Enterprise Europe has a stake in the FairShares Model as a result of the time and energy invested by two of its directors. We do, however, expect to gain indirectly from the demand for consultancy when FairShares is adopted by enterprises and regional networks, and when its value to strategists in the social economy becomes more apparent. So, while we won’t gain directly (your subscription goes to the FairShares Association), it helps us if our supporters are well represented inside the association.

If you think you can help, please take out a subscription to the FairShares Association.  At present, they are offering a complimentary copy of the world’s first social enterprise novel – The Dragons’ Apprentice – with each new subscription.


Cliff Southcombe

Born in India but based in the UK, Cliff is one of the founders of the Social Enterprise movement in the UK and manager of England’s first Community Cooperative. He also set up a successful managed workspace company in the 1980s. He has pioneered work on legal structures, social auditing and licensing and new practices on social enterprise governance and management. As Managing Director of Social Enterprise Europe Ltd he introduced the concept of social enterprise to many countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. He is currently the UK representative on the Board of the Euclid network of third sector leaders.

The Centre for Social Justice and Community Action is launching a new Participatory Research Hub based at Durham University on Monday 27th April 2015, 16.00-19.00, College of St Hild and St Bede, Durham, DH1 1SZ. There will be an introductory talk from Prof Mary Brydon-Miller, Director of the Action Research Center, University of Cincinnati, USA; a participatory workshop; information sharing; and a buffet. Further details in this flyer. Booking is essential.

You can book here >>>>

The aim of the Hub is to support and promote participatory research that involves university researchers (staff and postgraduate students) working with organisations and community groups.
We will offer a helpdesk that will respond to queries and try to match up university staff and students with community partners interested in undertaking participatory research. There will also be an exciting range of free events and training organised during 2015. The Hub has been funded initially for one year through Durham’s Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Account.

Please complete this short survey where you can sign up to find out more. The survey only takes a few minutes and will help the Hub design process:

What is participatory research?
Participatory research is an approach where partners develop research ideas together and collaborate on some or all of it. The aim is that the research results in benefits and changes for all of those involved. Successful participatory research projects often involve long-term partnerships based on a common set of values. For more information on participatory research please look at some of our research projects on the website and toolkits.

Contact the Hub: Cat Alexander is the Coordinator of the Participatory Research Hub
Tel: 0191 33442254

This story first appeared on >>>>

The UK’s social enterprise sector is packed with vibrant micro social enterprises and it’s growing at a phenomenal rate, reveals the latest data snapshot from the RBS SE100 Index.

Published today, 2010-2014: A Five-Year Analysis of the UK’s Social Enterprisesexamines the sector under the entire term of the Conservative-LibDem coalition government. The RBS SE100 is a live web platform which ranks and scores UK social enterprises according to their growth and social impact. Its research team takes regular snapshots of the data to analyse the performance of the sector.

The latest report shows that spite of the austerity measures which have dominated the UK’s economy over much of this parliamentary term, social enterprises have – on the whole – thrived.

The average growth in turnover of all of the members of the RBS SE100 in 2014 was 72%. Between 2010 and 2014, their average growth was 45%.

The top 100 fastest growing enterprises expanded their turnover by 774% in 2014 and the five-year average growth for this group is calculated at 350%.

The SE100 researchers compared this growth performance with a number of other analyses of small business growth and found that the SE100 comfortably outstrips most of them, except the most innovative tech companies.

The social enterprises in the RBS SE100 have contributed a total of £22bn to the UK’s GDP between 2010 and 2014.

Founder of the SE100 Tim West said: ‘This is the first time that long-term data has been collected on the UK social enterprise sector – and the figures should make all who have been working to build this new way of doing business feel proud.’

‘Recent years have not been easy for any business – let alone those who dedicate their profits to a social purpose – but social ventures across the UK are continuing to spring up and grow.’

In addition to highlighting the growth of the sector, the report points out that in recent years smaller – micro – social enterprises have become more prevalent. The 2014 figures show that the median turnover of SE100 members was £134,000, around half the size of the median turnover in 2010 which was £281,000. This reflects an explosion in the number of small, newer organisations, many of which are community interest companies, according to the report.

Rather than being insignificant players in the wider social economy, the SE100 researchers echo the thoughts of Lord Young, the prime minister’s adviser on enterprise, who believes that micro enterprises (those with fewer than ten employees) are hugely important, making up 95.5% of the total number of the UK’s firms and driving economic growth.

An example given in the report is Petit Miracle Interiors, a tiny social enterprise with four staff which provides training in interior design and upcycling to vulnerable people. It also supports emerging entrepreneurs through its own Petit Miracles Hub in London. Its most recent year-on-year growth in turnover is 229%.

As the UK gears up for the general election in May, the SE100 researchers urge the next government to continue to support the social enterprise sector to help it realise its potential.

‘Successive governments have shown their commitment to building the social enterprise marketplace, while recent innovations, such as social investment tax relief, social impact bonds, the creation of Big Society Capital and new funds to support capacity building have put the UK at the forefront of the global social enterprise frontier,’ said Tim West.

‘As we consider the prospect of further austerity and a new UK government forming in just over a month’s time, the challenge now will be around encouraging policymakers and practitioners alike to stay the course and keep the momentum going.’

Read more >>>>

The North East Growth Hub will be a single access point that provides a bespoke offer to business users.

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership is asking North East businesses to get in touch and be part of the development of the Hub. A beta version of the Hub, focussing on a few initial functions will be live in the next month, and the LEP would like North East businesses to help shape what this and the next phases of the Hub will look like.


The Growth Hub will coordinate and simplify business support available across the North East so that it joins up national, local, public and private support and creates a seamless customer experience for businesses. This multi-channel, user-centered digital platform will exist to provide a single point of reference, where businesses can come to support, enquire, advise, share, help and be helped by each other.

Amongst a range of function, the Growth Hub will provide the opportunity for businesses to talk to each other regarding common issues and challenges through online community forums which will develop in response to business demands. It will provide access for businesses and their advisors to a comprehensive directory of business support and sources of finance. This directory will be continually developed in response to the needs and wants of North East businesses.

The Growth Hub will be live in spring 2015.

Read more >>>>

Get Mindfuel is a new Community Interest Company offering bespoke, professional consultancy and training to the third sector, businesses and schools. They are offering TWO organisations the opportunity to benefit from their mental health and emotional wellbeing services for free.

This post appeared first on The Plunkett Foundation’s website.

The Rural Community Co-operative Awards 2015 celebrate the most inspirational examples of what can be achieved when rural communities work together. The awards will showcase the co-operatives that have made a real difference to individuals within their community, from helping to overcome social isolation and loneliness to addressing specific health issues. They also recognise innovative business practices from both established rural co-operatives, as well as newer enterprises.

Why enter?

  • Winners will receive a £500 cash prize to reinvest in their community enterprise
  • If you are shortlisted you will receive a free ticket to the Community Co-operative Networking Event and Plunkett Foundation AGM
  • The Awards are free to enter
  • You will receive free publicity for your enterprise
  • You will have a fantastic accolade to impress funders and customers alike
  • Even if you do not win, the information you provide may lead us to create a case study of your enterprise, publicising your fantastic ideas or inclusion in our newsletters or future literature
  • The Awards are kindly supported by a range of organisations, representatives of which make-up the judging panel. Just entering the awards means your enterprise will be given exposure to these organisations, and, if you are shortlisted, you could receive a visit
  • Being a part of the Plunkett Foundation Rural Community Co-operative Awards means you are helping to raise awareness not only of your enterprise, but the community enterprise sector. You will be helping to raise awareness of the potential of co-operation in even more communities across the UK and Ireland, hopefully inspiring them to follow in your footsteps.

Who can enter?

The Plunkett Foundation is inviting enterprises from across England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland to apply and help to inspire other communities to improve rural lives and livelihoods through co-operation. Applicants need to be:

  • A community co-operative enterprise such as a shop, bakery, café, garage, pub, bookshop, gym etc.
  • An incorporated body – suitable structures: IPS Ben Com, CIC (large membership) and CLG (with appropriate articles)
  • Open and trading
  • Located within the UK or Ireland
  • Rural

The deadline for applications is Thursday 30th April 2015 at 5pm.

Three co-operatives from each category will be shortlisted, and will automatically receive one free place to the prize-giving ceremony, which will take place at the national Community Co-operative Networking Event and Plunkett AGM on 25 June 2015.

Visit The Plunkett Foundation’s website for more info >>>>

We’re delighted to hear that our friends at The Funky Indian CIC are expanding, with plans to open a second restaurant in Newcastle!

At the end of 2014, The Funky Indian opened its Sunderland branch to rave reviews. The restaurant operates as a social enterprise, offering training and employment opportunities for young people. Owner-manager Kam is putting plans in place to open a second Funky Indian restaurant in Newcastle, to continue to expand his unique concept of high-quality dining as a social enterprise.

Read about this story on The Journal >>>>
Read about this story on BDaily Business News >>>>

More information about The Funky Indian on their Facebook page >>>>

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2015, Northumbria University’s Gender & Society Research Hub has organised a series of events with the City Library which focus on women’s role in society. Each event is focused on a particular theme and will feature women from the local community working in a variety of professional areas and contexts.


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