Big Society

helpThe wonderful vision of a Big Society where people help each other, not for reward but just because they can.

In some places where this is happening through volunteering and support groups you can see that confidence is built and self esteem is lifted. People reluctant to step forward for fear of being unable to join in can find they step out on a ladder which gives them a feeling of self worth, helps them to have fun with their families and can even lead to a start of something new in their lives.

A great example of how a school ‘Home to School’ support really helps directly with people is shown in Children and Young People Now, wk 22 – 28 June 2010.

At the Marion Richardson School in Whitechapel, 30% of parents are now involved in some form of volunteering. Previously they were reluctant to leave their homes.

There is a credit union, after school clubs, maths and reading clubs. A group has started for teaching Arabic to Bengali and Somali parents, which is led by a Moroccan parent .

Alison Jones, who is employed by the charity School Home Support, is often found in The Parents’ Hut – the mobile in the playground. She supports parents as a listening ear on family sickness, bereavement, unemployment and housing and domestic violence.

The Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities programmes and courses are also a way in and Alison says,‘It helps them to get to know other parents, but also learn about violence in our community, how to stop kids getting into gangs, what is domestic violence and child abuse.’

At SmithMartin Partnership we are involved in many schools around the extended day and activities that are happening in after school clubs and holiday schemes

We like this approach, being there in a place where parents are comfortable, even if nothing else the time to listen can be a real life line.

And as Alison says, ‘For most parents its about having the confidence to move out of depression and into the community.’ What a difference that must make.

Social Enterprise Management
A featured title

Doherty, Foster, Mason et al have produced a great primer for the person intent on mastering the management of social enterprise.

Published in 2009 the book Management for Social Enterprise contains a wide ranging and detailed analysis of many aspects of successful social enterprise management.

It combines not only operational advice, but also gives pointers across some of the ethical issues, corprorate tensions and community reactions that an emergent social enterprise can deliver.

There is also a strong section on financial management of social enterprises, which although created by academics scores well in terms of readability for the lay person. We recommend it.

You can find other books on social business on our SmithMartin ethical business book page…read more here.

By Mr Bob Doherty, George Foster, Chris Mason, Mr John Meehan, Mrs Karon Meehan, Mr Neil Rotheroe, Ms Maureen Royce – published by Sage Publications Ltd., March 2009. (Available from around £20).

Social Entrepreneurs 25 – 35 needed

newShootsPicThe Arthur Guinness FundUnLtd and Rathbone have joined forces to create the Guinness Bring It To Life Awards, offering new young entrepreneurs with a community changing idea the chance to get started.

Aimed at ideas driven social venturers in the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham or London – the new fund will support ideas, exisitng or new, that have social or environmental aims.

The Bring It To Life web site states that…

Two levels of Award are available for entrepreneurs. 15 Catalyst Awards, each worth up to £2,200, are available for those who need the running costs to get their idea off the ground and 6 Development Awards, worth up to £15,000 each, are available for established social entrepreneurs to get their ventures fully operational.

You need to send in your expression of interest by July 9th, 2010. The full application process closes on 23rd July.

The winners of the awards will be announced, it is planned, by September 2010. See the award web site for more details.

National Childcare Week 2010


What I want to be………

Daycare Trust are asking children and young people of all ages to join them to celebrate National Childcare Week 12th – 16 th July.

The art competition is based on “ What you want to be”. It may be a racing driver, a teacher, a writer, a spaceship astronaut, who knows……

fifiWinners of the competition will be invited to an awards ceremony in Central London where they will receive their prizes and the chance to meet some famous book and tv characters, like Big Chris and Roary the Racing Car and their creator, Keith Chapman. The closing date is 18th June 2010.

All the winning entries will be published on Daycare Trust website and Flickr and other outlets, as well as being included in a booklet to mark the occasion.

SmithMartin Partnership LLP is a supporter and sponsor of the event and are pleased to be part of the Daycare Trust’s continued work, campaigning for accessible and quality childcare.

The research carried out by Daycare Trust continues to be relevant and informative to parents, employers and government initiatives. One of the recent guides produced by Daycare Trust is,
‘A Guide to childcare for disabled children’ which provides lots of details and support contacts .

You can become a member of Daycare Trust and receive much of the information for free. Contact through the website.