Social Incubator North now active…

seedlingPic44There is a new feeling of enterprise and social business generation abroad in the North of England.

Social Incubator North is now taking applications for the new fund, offering support, encouragement and practical assistance to entrepreneurs and nascent social businesses in the North.


The Fund offers…

  • On-going, specialist advice and support
  • Assistance with your staged development
  • Up to £25k of investment available with contacts to other investors
  • 80 hours of one to one development support
  • The opportunity to network and learn from peer groups

‘Social Incubator Fund is Government initiative that offers investment, bespoke business support and access to expertise to grow entrepreneurial ideas into glorious fruition.Its aim is to nurture social businesses from a grassroots level.

Social Incubator North received just over £1m from the UK-wide £10m Social Incubator Fund from the Big Lottery Fund on behalf of the Office for Civil Society. This was match funded by the delivery partners to create a total fund of just over £2m’.

You don’t need a fully formed idea to apply to the fund, just a competitive and innovative new idea. See more on the Social Incubator North web site here.

(Article by Tim Smith – Tim is a board member of SEEM, a regional partner in the Social Incubator North delivery framework).

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Children’s Centres Ofsted Inspection Changes

Liv 2yrsFrom April 2013 Ofsted have made changes to the inspection framework for Sure Start Children’s Centres

The main changes are in a reduced set of judgements, from 20 to 4, and a change from satisfactory grading to ‘requires improvement’ grade.

There is also the recognition that children’s centres are organised through the local authorities in different formats which has been taken into account in the new framework.

For instance, where a children’s centre is part of a cluster, but with individual governance, the inspection will take place for each centre. It is hoped that connecting children’s centres can be inspected at the same time, so joint services would only be visited once.

The handbook and framework are useful management tools for all involved in children’s centres and can be downloaded freely from Ofsted.

As we use them in our work with children’s centres they are also available from

Sue Martin

Children’s Centre consultant