A heartfelt hello from us all at SEUK.

There are a few things I thought you might be interested in hearing about, so I’ll give you the headlines with a bit of commentary and if anything piques your interest then do let me know and we can send more details your way.

Of course, this week sees the arrival of Social Saturday (Oct 13th) – this year there’s been a whole week of activity preceding the day itself with nearly 100 events taking place altogether. Even if its just getting on twitter and shouting about it, there’s a whole variety of ways that you can participate. You can find out more how to get involved in the campaign here.

It was great to travel to Manchester with one of our Patrons, Chris Addison, to launch the campaign at the HQ of the Cooperative Group who have become increasingly vocal advocates for social businesses in all their glorious diversity. We had very warm welcomes from those who we visited in both Salford and Manchester; Start Creative, Sharpe Futures, The Star Inn Pub (we bought a share of this community pub) and those inspiring mavericks at FC United of Manchester who continue to extend social value in just about everything that they do. Chris Addison also travelled to Edinburgh for the Social Enterprise World Forum and was incredibly moved by the stories he heard from you about the changes you are making in your communities and right across the world. He’s become a passionate advocate for what you do - we need many more champions like Chris that can help convey our message. Great that Caitlin Moran has joined our endeavours - you can buy our #socent tote bag featuring a Caitlin quote from the Big Issue Shop.

Prior to the SEWF in Edinburgh we welcomed Callander as our latest Social Enterprise town and our first ever SE place in Scotland. It was incredible to hear how social enterprise youth hostels, community renewables and a film extras company were breathing hope and opportunity into this most beautiful of Scottish towns. Visiting members and learning about what’s happening and how is the very best part of this job.

We’ve also been attending the various party conferences, fab that Vince Cable recognised the potential power of social enterprise in his leader’s speech, but this is less of a surprise given that he chairs HCT Group, and as many of you will know – HCT is a rather inspiring social enterprise success story.

Justine Greening MP supported our Conservative Fringe and boldly called for a social value to be recognised by HM Treasury – she was joined by Nationwide CEO, Joe Garner and David Bird from Cooperative Energy. At Labour we co-hosted a fringe with the Coop Party and had Jim McMahon MP join us for a busy and energetic discussion. Our new report, the Hidden Revolution was the centre piece of our conference activity, and for the first time ever we’ve used live data to capture the true scale and size of the sector. We can finally dump those old Government stats that most of us have used far too long, particularly in the absence of anything better. 

In other news, we’ve been maintaining our dialogue with the Government about extending the Social Value Act. David Lidington MP (de facto Deputy PM) appears to have lost a little bit of his initial enthusiasm for taking a radical look at public procurement, preferring, to cede responsibility to the DCMS Civil Society Strategy – which means rather sadly, little is likely to happen for the foreseeable future – within Central Government at least. We of course do take some comfort that Claire Dove, the sectors Crown rep, is working hard on keeping this agenda alive through her role within the Cabinet Office.    

Finally, tickets for the SEUK awards are now available and this year’s event will be bigger, better and grander than ever and for the first time we’ve secured enough space for an after-awards party. The Guildhall is a magnificent 14th century medieval hall and it’s going to be cracking evening - make sure that you come along if you can.

Keep up the great work and never forget that the work you do and the way in which you do it makes us very proud to represent and work hard for your interests. You are the very best in business and pioneers in developing economic routes to empowerment, social justice and greater equality.

As a community we really are the future of business.

See you soon.

Peter