Category Archives: News

Introducing social enterprise peer network project

‘Peer Networks’ is a national peer-to-peer networking programme for SME leaders that want to grow and develop their organisation for future success. Selnet are excited to be delivering 2 Peer Network cohorts for social enterprises in Lancashire!

This important business support initiative is being delivered as part of a wider Peer Network programme during what has been a tough time for many businesses – with the added dimension of meeting increased community need during such a challenging time.

The programme includes interactive action learning, trained facilitators, small groups, flexible topic selection and one to one coaching for groups of individuals to collaboratively work through common business issues with individual one-to-one needs-led coaching support.

By completing Peer Networks, you will overcome business challenges and recognise and act on new opportunities, build a trusted network of connections to support you now and in the future, and improve your long-term personal and business performance.

 

Participate in Peer Networks

Participating social enterprises should have a trading address within the Lancashire LEP area and have:

Please register your interest to participate or if you have any questions about this programme email Yvette Holden on yvette@selnet-uk.com.

 

Register Interest to participate (pdf)
(Adobe reader required to use interactive features)

Also available in Microsoft Word format here

 

The programme is jointly funded by BEIS and Lancashire County Council

 


 

29 hits

Formal Notice of Selnet’s Annual General Meeting

The AGM will be held online via Zoom on 26/11/20 from 14:00 to 15:15.

Due to restrictions arising from Covid-19 and local lockdowns, this year’s Selnet AGM will be an online event and cover essential company business only. We are planning a specific members event that will be separate from the AGM and held early in the new year.

The AGM will be a chance to get an update on the business, review the accounts and meet the Directors.

Please book via Eventbrite. If you have any questions please email yvette@selnet-uk.com

 

Become a Director of Selnet

The AGM is an opportunity for members to stand as a Director of Selnet, as four positions on the Board will be vacated.

For more about Director’s responsibilities and to nominate an individual to stand as a Director, please refer to the guidance below:

AGM 2020 – Director Expectations

AGM 2020 – Director Nomination Form

In preparation for the meeting please ensure you submit your nomination no later than 9am Monday 23rd November 2020.

 


 

58 hits

Covid, Brexit and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund

Selnet are members of Social Enterprise UK and the Employment and Related Services Association, ERSA, and work closely with Network for Europe; we keep a watchful eye on issues associated with the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UK-SPF) and will keep members up to date with the progress and implications of Brexit.

Now that the UK has left the EU, ESIF funding will cease. In order to replace it, the Government pledged to set up a Shared Prosperity Fund to “reduce inequalities between communities”.

At the beginning of 2020 we were organising a sector-wide event ‘Beyond the EU Projects: What Next for Lancashire?” bringing specialist speakers together with our VCSE sector for the most current picture on the UK-SPF and to help prepare for anticipated consultations. This event was postponed in response to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Our sector is deeply rooted within our communities and is at the forefront of solutions to the crisis; they are on the health and social care front line and providing crucial community support to the most vulnerable. 

– Selnet CEO Liz Tapner

UK-SPF Consultation

Although the budget is cancelled due to the uncertainty caused by Covid, the Comprehensive Spending Review seems to be going ahead before the end of this year.

This could include the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, to replace the approximately €13bn (£11.7bn) we would have received from Europe over the next seven years for ESF and ERDF.

The open consultation that we had been promised does not appear to be taking place. Without the proper involvement of the Partners in discussions and the creation of the new fund, it will not be efficient or effective.

NCVO will shortly be publishing an updated paper on UK-SPF, calling for a fund designed around places and needs – we will keep members informed on this.

NCVO and ERSA

In July 2019, the national Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and Employment-Related Services Association (ERSA), umbrella bodies representing charities, sent a letter to the new Prime Minister urging him to confirm that:

  • The Shared Prosperity Fund would provide support for disadvantaged groups and communities;
  • Funding for employment and skills support would not fall below the level provided by the European Social Fund; and
  • There would be no gap between the end of EU funding and the start of funding from the Shared Prosperity Fund. The letter was co-signed by 100 chief executives of charities and businesses in the UK.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation

In October 2018, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (a social policy research charity focusing on poverty) published a report on Designing a Shared Prosperity Fund, which came to the following conclusions:

  • The Fund should match the current level of EU structural fund spending and be planned across multiple years;
  • It should be focused on ‘inclusive growth’ and “allocated according to the employment rate and earnings of the least well off”;
  • Funding should be allocated across the UK based on need rather than on the Barnett formula;
  • Revenue and capital streams should both come from a single ‘pot’ of funding.

 

VCSE, Covid and policy

Leaders of Manchester-based charities have shared their experiences of the Covid-19 crisis and their thoughts for the future in a new report produced by Macc, Manchester’s local voluntary and community sector support organisation.

 “Invest in a crucial sector or risk losing it”

No Going Back is from 22 Manchester third sector leaders on the response of VCSE organisations to Covid, and highlights the determination, passion and wealth of policy ideas from our sector.

 

‘Getting Brexit Done’

The UK left the European Union at the end of January, and we are in the Transition Period, so we do not influence EU policy, but are bound by the rules.

We still have funding – for example for ESF and ERDF. The UK failed to ask for an extension at end June, so the Transition Period ends on 31st December 2020.

The ninth and final round of the planned trade talks has finished with no agreement. Some further negotiations will take place over the next few weeks, so we will either have no deal, or have a thin deal.

“Third sector organisations should be preparing for some disruptions”

The agreement needs to be by late October/early November in order to be ratified by the Member States, and the European Parliament, so we are almost out of time. None of this has been helped by the UK saying it could break international law, which was met with disbelief across Europe.

The UK has some preparations for the extra bureaucracy and transport delays expected from January, and third sector organisations should be preparing for some disruptions.

 

Read more

 

[23/10/20]

28 hits

Selnet members recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours

On behalf of everyone at Selnet, congratulations to Stella Connell OBE, Mohammed Sidat MBE and Kay Johnson MBE, whose work in communities across Lancashire has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for 2020:

 

 

Chief Executive of the Birchwood Centre, Stella Connell OBE has been recognised for services to Homeless and Vulnerable People (based in Skelmersdale, Lancashire)

Birchwood were awarded the Most Effective Collaboration title at Selnet 2018 Enterprise in Society Awards, described as a Birchwood was described as “a leading light for how civil society organisations can embrace social enterprise and yet retain their values, services and character.”

 

 

Founder of the IMO Charity in Blackburn, and Director of Selnet, Mohammed Tayyab Sidat MBE has been recognised for charitable services to the community (based in Blackburn, Lancashire)

‘MTS’ founded this charity in 2006 to help support disadvantaged young people and their families in Blackburn and joined the charity as Director of Operations in 2018. Prior to joining the charity, he has worked in Local Government, Prison Services and the NHS. Join IMO on social media.

 

 

Founder of The Lancashire and Region Dietary and Educational Resource ‘The Larder’, Kay Johnson MBE was recognised for services to food nutrition and the community in Lancashire, particularly during Covid-19 (based in Preston, Lancashire)

The Larder were recognised as Lancashire’s Environmental Champion at Selnet’s 2019 Enterprise in Society Awards.

“The Larder is a small social enterprise with a big heart and even bigger ambition to achieve ‘food fairness for all’. We do this by providing education and access to good food and believe that everyone is entitled to a healthy, sustainable diet, regardless of income. We promote food that is good for people and for the environment.”

 

36 hits

COVID-19 Selnet Statement & Resources

How Selnet are supporting Lancashire’s social enterprises through Covid-19: 

 

Selnet believe that social enterprise can transform lives and change the world for social good. Now more than ever, the skills, passion and expertise of social enterprises are needed to support our vulnerable and marginalised communities who are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

We are seeing Lancashire’s phenomenal social enterprises step up, innovate and collaborate to respond to need; whether that’s getting good food out to disadvantaged communities and maintaining critical services for marginalised people, to manufacturing masks for the NHS and providing advice and support for entrepreneurs.

The Selnet team are working hard to continue delivery of the social enterprise partnerships we lead and helping our amazing sector in Lancashire stay connected, up to date and supported:

The Covid-19 pandemic is presenting uncertainty and challenges to our organisations, teams and the communities we support. As your social enterprise network, Selnet are here to help you navigate through this uncharted territory. We will do everything we can to support you now and as we adapt to ‘the new normal’… So keep in touch!

    Liz and Team Selnet

 

 

Selnet Ltd – Business Continuation Plan (pdf) updated 14/05/20

 

Funding Updates

The National Lottery Community Fund

Lancashire COVID-19 Community Support Fund – As a result of the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak, particularly for those most vulnerable people within our communities, the Community Foundation for Lancashire has launched the Lancashire COVID-19 Community Support Fund for community and voluntary organisations on the frontline.

DEFRA Covid-19 Food Charity Grant Scheme – The grant aims to provide immediate support for a limited period of time to help to feed those most vulnerable due to the economic impacts of Covid-19. This ensures that they can access a continual supply of food in a time of increased demand. This will feed numerous economically vulnerable groups including the homeless, the elderly and those in rehabilitation.

DCMS Loneliness Covid-19 Grant Fund – As part of the Government’s plan to tackle loneliness during the coronavirus lockdown, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has launched a £5 million to fund national organisations working to tackle loneliness and build social connections.

Good Finance – information, resources and tools designed to support charities and social enterprises navigating COVID-19

Charity Bank – If you would like to receive our regular updates and newsletters please sign up here. Information about Charity Bank’s response to COVID-19 can be found here.

Institute of Fundraising – Information for fundraisers to help everyone in the fundraising community have the right information to guide any action you might need to take

Charity Finance Group– Coronavirus and your charity – What can you do to mitigate the impact of Coronavirus?

 

Council and Government Guidance

Boost Business Lancashire

  • Boost is Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub. The #AskForHelp service is available to all Lancashire business owners. Call 0800 488 0057 to discuss all business issues related to the coronavirus outbreak. Our team will advise where possible, as well as directing businesses to expert advisers across Lancashire.
  • We have also built a dedicated #AskForHelp hub with resilience guides, access to Government updates and partner advice as well information about webinars, virtual drop-in sessions and other support.
  • A Lancashire-wide relief efforthas been launched to support those in isolation by utilising the spare capacity of hospitality businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Coronavirus: Government advice for businesses

Local Authorities

  • Lancashire County Councilare continuing to work with colleagues in the NHS and Public Health England to do everything we can to delay the spread of coronavirus and ensure the people of Lancashire are protected.
  • Blackpool Council– Blackpool Council’s business support team is in the process of setting up a dedicated helpline to ensure that local businesses can access the support announced by the Chancellor. Details will be issued on this website shortly.
  • Blackburn with Darwen Council– includes guidance on building closures, prevention and business rates.

Government Guidance

 

Social Enterprise Guidance

Social Enterprise UK

NCVO

  • Information and guidance about coronavirus and what it means for voluntary organisations and volunteers.  This is to help you plan and access the latest up to date advice.
  • NCVO have also taken down all pay walls on the Knowhow website. This means that all online content is now free to all to use. So, whether it’s information about governance or online training for staff who are working from home unable to do their jobs, they hope this will provide that little bit of extra support.

Employment Related Services Association (ERSA)

School for Social Entrepreneurs

  • We want to do everything we can to help you, and the people you support, weather the storm. This blog shares links to resources you might find useful. We’ll update it as new resources become available or visible to us.

Pioneers Post 

  • The magazine and news source for social enterprises and the social-impact sector will be sharing news and updates specific to our sector on coronavirus (COVID-19)

Other resources:

  • Plunkett Foundation– Information about Community Business and Coronavirus
  • Charity Commission– Guidance for the charity sector
  • Institute of Fundraising– Information for fundraisers to help everyone in the fundraising community have the right information to guide any action you might need to take
  • Charity Finance Group– Coronavirus and your charity – What can you do to mitigate the impact of Coronavirus?
  • Good Finance – information, resources and tools designed to support charities and social enterprises navigating COVID-19
  • Charity Bank – If you would like to receive our regular updates and newsletters please sign up here. Information about Charity Bank’s response to COVID-19 can be found here.
  • Co-operatives UK have put together a guide on HR issues answering questions such as ‘how do we treat employees who follow guidance to self-isolate?’ and ‘what about parents who are off work because their child’s school has closed?’.
  • Shelter: Coronavirus housing advice and resources to support for helping those who are homeless during the coronavirus pandemic
  • Groundswell: Resources to support people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic. All developed together with people who have been homeless themselves. 

 

National business and employer support

  • Chamber of Commerce As the situation surrounding coronavirus / COVID-19 continues to unfold the Chamber is working hard to keep you informed. With advice constantly changing and new support becoming available the Chamber will be sending regular updates to give you the information businesses need.
  • This Federation for Small Business (FSB) guide includes sections on if you have to close your organisation, business insurance, advice for employers and measures for the workplace. It’s aimed at small businesses but the advice is also relevant to small charities, social enterprises, community businesses and impact organisations.
  • Enterprise Nation– Support for small businesses during Coronavirus
  • ACAS– Advice for employers and employees
  • CIPD– Understand how to support your business and workforce through this global health emergency
  • Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)– Advice and guidance for small businesses and the self-employed
  • Charity Comms offers a free crisis communications planning template. The same page includes links to online advice guides.

 

These links are external and are provided for information only.

Selnet is not responsible for the accuracy of the information contained in these links.

 

356 hits

Digital Freedom

Selnet and the Lancashire Skills Hub secured funding from the Community Foundation for Lancashire, to provide digital devices and connectivity to disadvantaged over 50s in Lancashire, Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen.

Applications for support through Digital Freedom 50+ are completed by approved Distribution Partners, on individual beneficiaries’ behalf. The funding for this project has secured a limited number of devices for residents in every district in the County, ensuring the 14 Lancashire districts are equally resourced.

Between October and November the project team had allocated 318 devices for older people who had been digitally excluded, helping connect them with people and services during lockdowns

Working in partnership

Applications for organisations to become Distribution Partners are now closed, and applications are active .

Over 40 organisations working with local residents have expressed an interest in becoming Distribution Partners, to apply for digital devices and connectivity on behalf of disadvantaged over 50s.  As the funding is limited, we can only support a limited number of applications and therefore the project is making awards based on eligibility and clearly evidenced need, on a first come, first served basis.

For information about this project please send your enquiry to devices@selnet-uk.com

Find out more about Lancashire’s Digital Skills Partnership and support available through Lancashire Libraries.

Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership was announced as the Winner of the Digital Leaders 100 Award in 2020.

250 hits

Selnet in UK’s Top 100 Social Enterprises

For the second consecutive year, Selnet has been ranked in the top 100 leading UK social enterprises at the NatWest SE100 Awards. This recognition comes after securing £5.5M extensions to 3 Building Better Opportunities projects we lead on behalf of 45 social enterprise partners in Lancashire, securing the Two/Zero social enterprise scale up project, delivering the Building for Sustainability Leadership programme, the success of our annual Enterprise in Society Awards and ensuring the continuation of Lancashire’s crisis support (furniture) service.

The UK’s most impressive start-up social enterprises have been growing at a staggering rate of 355% over the past year – but this was before the onset of the coronavirus crisis. The figure is revealed as part of a series of announcements around this year’s NatWest SE100 Index, the annual list of the UK’s leading 100 social enterprises, compiled by Pioneers Post in partnership with NatWest Social & Community Capital.

The top 100 list was released after a rigorous process to assess the best performers of the year from almost 300 applicants. Applicants to the NatWest SE100 were asked to complete a comprehensive survey exploring key aspects of their business performance: from turnover, growth, profit and how effectively they manage their impact, to leadership, resilience and storytelling.

Selnet CEO Liz Tapner said:

_____________

While we’re working hard to support our membership through these challenging times, it’s wonderful to have this good news and recognition! Plus it’s a great boost for a brilliant team who are separated and missing our daily interactions.

Selnet are proud to be the recognised lead for social enterprise in Lancashire and we do not take this responsibility lightly. As an infrastructure organisation we’re a step removed from the front-line social enterprises; but we’re here to help our sector achieve and further their individual missions. We’re continuing to lobby on behalf of our sector (#SaveOurSocEnts), to bring in partnership and capacity building opportunities, and raise the profile of members and your impact supporting communities across Lancashire.

Social Enterprise services have never been more needed than now and will be at the heart of the UK’s economic, social and environmental recovery from Covid-19; and we’re here to help you be resilient, robust and responsive through the pandemic and beyond.


_____________

The Sewing Rooms were also included in the Top 100 Index and joined Selnet in proudly representing Lancashire. Co-Founder of The Sewing Rooms, Paula Gamester, is Selnet’s reigning Social Enterprise Champion (Enterprise in Society Awards 2019).

Ben Carpenter, CEO of Social Value UK, which advises on the impact aspects of the SE100, commented:

_____________

“It’s heartening to see that impact management is becoming a growing focus for the UK’s leading social enterprises, as revealed in the SE100 Index. I am also particularly encouraged that the UK’s best start-up social businesses – with so many things to focus on to get up and running – are recognising that impact systems and processes must be a key priority early on, and not just a ’nice to have’ that they should think about only once the business has matured.”

_____________

More detailed figures will be revealed later this month, in the NatWest SE100 Health & Fitness report – which uses data and insight from two of last year’s SE100 surveys to assess how social enterprises were performing and feeling about the future before the pandemic took hold.

Eddie Finch, partner in the charity and not-for-profit team at Buzzacott accountants, whose team did much of the due diligence for the SE100 judging, said:

_____________

“While the incredible events of 2020 to date continue to take shape I have been warmed by the response of social businesses – including many of our past SE100 Award winners – stepping in to meet new needs. While no doubt some businesses will be broken by the crisis, there are clear signs that the speed of adaptation and resilience of the sector are making massive contributions to lessening its worst effects on individuals and communities – I look forward to recognising those astonishing achievements next year.” 

_____________

You can find the top 100 and top 25 newcomer lists here, to view and also to download (enterprises are listed in alphabetical order).

 

 

61 hits

Save our Social Enterprises

We know that Social Enterprises are at the heart of the fight against coronavirus and that they will be vital for the social and economic recovery from this crisis, but too many are falling through the cracks in Government support.

Selnet are joining the calls of other sector bodies to urge Government to do more to support social enterprises and co-operatives and have signed this letter to the Chancellor containing a four-point plan to give social enterprises the support and recognition they deserve.

_____________

Social enterprises are more likely to work in the poorest areas than traditional SMEs or charities – with 1 in 5 based in our most deprived communities. 

Social enterprises also employ those furthest from the labour market. They employ tens of thousands of vulnerable and disadvantaged people such as those with disabilities, homeless people and veterans. Many of these workers will struggle to find employment if the social enterprises they work for close. 

Social enterprises are also more likely to be led by women and BAME people, the loss of their businesses will compound the inequalities in British business.

_____________

If things remain unchanged half the sector could run out of money by June. The situation is urgent and we need as many organisations as possible to sign the letter. Social enterprises are too important to be ignored and a failure to support them will push back the fight against inequality, poverty and the climate emergency. They are the key to the recovery out of Covid-19 and must be given the support they need.

Add your signature to the form below to demonstrate to Government how important it is to #SaveOurSocents so we can #BuildBackBetter

 

Action:

Please complete this short form to add your support to our urgent call to the Government for a four-point plan to save the social enterprise sector. By doing this, you are backing our proposal for the below actions from Government:

  1. Extending existing business grants to include social enterprises;
  2. Changing the delivery of loan finance to work for social enterprises;
  3. Opening up emergency financing for public services to social enterprises delivering services on behalf of the state;
  4. Providing business support so that social enterprises can use any funds they do receive effectively to transition their business.

You can view the full four-point plan here.

You can view the letter to the Chancellor here.

 

This campaign is a collaboration between Community Leisure UK, Co-operatives UK, Locality, Plunkett Foundation, School for Social Entrepreneurs, Social Enterprise Mark CIC, Social Enterprise UK, Social Value UK, and UnLtd.

 

70 hits

Beyond the EU Projects: What next for Lancashire?

The event Selnet had been planning with Network For Europe on the 1st April was postponed due to Covid-19. We are committed to continuing to lobby in the best interests of our sector and keeping our members informed as the consultation progresses.

_____________

“The consultation on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, to replace ESF and ERDF, still seems far away, given the pandemic, but it is becoming more urgent as time passes” –
Andy Churchill

_____________

Network for Europe have shared an update including a Briefing Paper that refers to the ERSA-NCVO letter sent last year to the Prime Minister. Click here for the latest update from Network For Europe.

Background and issues for consideration concerning the Government’s proposed Shared Prosperity Fund, which will replace EU structural funding now that the UK has left the EU:

Now that the UK has left the EU, this funding will cease. In order to replace it, the Government has pledged to set up a Shared Prosperity Fund to “reduce inequalities between communities”. There are several issues that will need to be considered when setting up the Fund. These include:

  • the priorities and objectives of the Fund;
  • the amount of money to be allocated;
  • the method of allocating it between the countries and regions of the UK, and whether this is based on need (and what measure is used to determine need);
  • the model by which funding will be allocated, whether pre-allocating an amount for a country or region or inviting competitive bids from across the UK;
  • the length of the planning period and the way in which this could conflict with domestic spending priorities;
  • who administers the funds (whether they are controlled from Westminster or by the devolved administrations) and the degree to which local authorities are involved;
  • the implications of the Fund for state aid rules.

Although the Government has not yet published its consultation on the Fund, a number of organisations have already made comments about the possible design. Although these vary in their emphasis (for example, the Welsh Government is strongly opposed to the idea of administering the Fund from Westminster), most organisations seem to agree that the level of funding should be at least maintained at its current level, it should largely be allocated based on need, and local authorities and partners should be closely involved.

Read the full report here.

 

1st April event – postponed

The UK has left the EU, and so EU Structural Funds (ESIF) will start to taper off from 2020-21. The ‘UK Shared Prosperity Fund’ (UK SPF) has been proposed to replace ESIF funding but as yet there is no replacement prepared for when ESIF ends.

Selnet have facilitated EU programme-funded delivery partnerships for 13 years. We are currently managing 3 Building Better Opportunities projects for 50 partners, having secured £14.7M for our sector over 6 years.

Selnet are working to ensure funding is secured for the sector to continue delivering on their missions and building on the impacts being achieved in communities across Lancashire.

As the recognised lead for social enterprise in Lancashire, we are collaborating with Network For Europe to deliver “Beyond the EU Projects What next for Lancashire”; a Consultation Readiness Event to update and prepare our sector in advance of a national consultation on what will replace ESIF.

_____________

“Unfortunately this event has been postponed and will be rescheduled in due course. In the meantime, on this page and via the Selnet Informer, we will be issuing some information regarding the Shared Prosperity Fund and the implications for Lancashire of ESIF funds coming to an end.”

_____________

New date TBA 
Click here for more information and to book online

 

187 hits

Selnet Vice Chair awarded MBE for services to Social Enterprise in Lancashire

Selnet Vice Chair Alistair Clarke has been awarded an MBE for his work with social enterprises across Lancashire. A former radio news editor, Alistair is a chartered business advisor and professional marketer as Director of Tick The Publicity Box CIC – a community interest company established in 2008 to aid social enterprises and charitable groups to raise awareness through marketing, PR and events.

Selnet members will recognise Alistair as one of our specialist Business Advisors, and as the host of our annual Enterprise in Society Awards, most recently held in November 2019 at the Villa in Wrea Green. He is also the Chair of Social Enterprise Solutions CIC in Blackpool.

Alistair said: “I’m delighted and honoured that my work with social enterprises in Lancashire has been recognised. I’m passionate about supporting people and social businesses that want to help others in their community.

“If you’ve ever bought a copy of the Big Issue, been shopping at the Coop, seen a show at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre, or you’re one of the volunteers at Integrate Preston, then you’re already helping social enterprises. It’s about selling goods and services and then using the profits to help others in the community.

“I work with so many people across Lancashire that do amazing work often with vulnerable people, in difficult circumstances and with limited funds and I want to see all of them considered for a national honour in the future.”

Selnet CEO Liz Tapner said “Huge congratulations to Alistair on this fantastic achievement! Alistair is an advocate for the sector in Blackpool and as part of the Selnet Business support team has supported many individuals and organisations across Lancashire to realise both their business and social ambitions. Alistair’s enthusiasm for our sector is huge and this is well deserved recognition”.

 

93 hits