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Social Enterprise & Migrant & BME Communities

May 25th, 2012

LeandroSepulveda.jpg -  bytes This is a podcast by Leandro Sepulveda who is a Principal Researcher at TSRC and the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR), Middlesex University Business School. His research provides evidence of the move towards what the current national policy discourse defines as social enterprise (SE) within an area of highly diverse population.

The findings demonstrate that defining and measuring the ethnic minority SE sector as an object of study or policy intervention is more complex than is portrayed in the policy rhetoric and this has important consequences for its incorporation into the policy process.

They also show that a relatively high number of BME VCO organisations have being compelled to reinvent themselves and adopt income generating survival strategies (or social enterprise) to fund their core mission resulting in reduced dependency on grant funding but increased and potentially fatal financial vulnerability.

The vast majority of ethnic minority organisations have not engaged with the notion of social enterprise and continue to feel more comfortable with the ethos and values of VCOs and charities. Indeed for many, movement towards the social enterprise model is seen as part of the development of a more hostile policy environment towards the BME sector.

These findings do not downplay the significance of the considerable ethnic minority social enterprise activity that is evident on the ground. Many organisations that are playing key roles in serving and supporting BME communities have also embraced the social enterprise policy agenda and material conditions in deprived areas provide demand for such services.

However ethnic minority social enterprise activity is being reduced in practice to a narrow arena for action mainly focused upon the delivery of public services.

In term of the policy process, the evidence presented here of disengagement between the policy discourse and SE activity on the ground raises concerns that recent policy developments have acted to marginalise rather than include ethnic minority organisations.

Without access to ongoing support to develop their capacities many BME organisations will be unable to survive let alone become 'contract ready' and hence gain equitable access to public service contracts.

BME organisations must therefore confront this radically changed environment to identify a basis for sustained operation which at the same time seeks to retain their autonomy, social objectives and political voice. The Social Enterprise form may provide one, although not the only, means of achieving this.

Social Enterprise & The Homeless

May 15th, 2012

This podcast is one of three that we are producing that addresses the ways different types of social enterprise can address disadvantage. In this Podcast we focus on homelessness and unemployment. In doing so, we hope to draw out the inherent tensions between social and economic goals, and to understand ways in which social enterprises can balance these in order to achieve their social goals.

To discuss this with us we have Simon Teasdale who has been involved in the field of social enterprise for 15 years, beginning at the Big Issue in the North in the early 1990s. Since then he has been employed as a researcher at the Institute for Volunteering Research and Crisis, while lecturing part time on the University of East London’s BA Social Enterprise. He moved to Birmingham in 2009 to take up a position as research fellow within Third Sector Research Centre who has helped us developed our podcasts and events around social enterprise and marginalised groups.

Social enterprises have achieved widespread recognition over the last decade. In England the notion that social enterprises successfully combine social and commercial goals led to them being given a prominent role in a range of policy area. This has been particularly apparent in the homelessness field where a policy discourse presents social enterprise as a way to help homeless people access secure employment and so escape social exclusion.

It is important to note the strong policy message that employment is the sustainable solution to homelessness, and that work integration social enterprises are primarily placed as a vehicle that can facilitate this solution.

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ICoCo Conference - The Minister’s Views

May 5th, 2012

At the ICoCo Ease With Each Other conference, speakers & delegates explored the Government’s new approach, considered alternatives and focused on practical concerns and issues for policy makers and those responsible for delivery. The conference provided an opportunity to discuss pertinent issues for the UK’s social agenda and the wider context of integration and increasing diversity in an age of austerity.

Two ministers attended this conference and we interviewed them about some of their views

The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP

Eric Pickles MP was appointed Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on 12 May 2010. In 2009, David Cameron appointed Eric Pickles MP Chairman of the Conservative Party. He joined the Shadow Cabinet in 2007 as the Department for Communities and Local Government Secretary having served from August 2005 to July 2007 as Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party. Other posts he has held include Shadow Secretary of State for Local Government and the Regions; Shadow Minister for Transport and Shadow Minister for London; member of the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Select Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party, with special responsibility for local government affairs and Parliamentary Private Secretary to Tim Sainsbury MP, Minister for Industry. Eric Pickles has been Member of Parliament for Brentwood and Ongar since 1992. He was educated at Greenhead Grammar School (a comprehensive), Keighley, and Leeds Polytechnic. He is married and a trustee of two local charities - Brentwood Foyer and Brentwood Theatre.

Andrew Stunell MP

Andrew Stunell OBE MP was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government on 14 May 2010. Andrew Stunell was first elected as the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Hazel Grove in 1997. He had previously served on Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council, and on Cheshire County Council, and has written extensively on local government policy issues. In 2004, he steered his Private Members Act on Sustainable Buildings through Parliament. He is married to Gillian and they have five grown up children, two of whom are adopted. Andrew and Gillian live in Romiley, in the centre of the constituency. Andrew is a former Baptist lay preacher and an active member of Romiley Methodist Church.

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Cohesion & Social Networks

April 27th, 2012

In this podcast Francis Sealey of GlobalNet21 looks at how the 21st century world has made the sense of community more complex and how the digital age can both add to that complexity as well as provide new ways of facilitating cohesion and co existence.

Francis Sealey was a Producer and Executive Producer for many years working for both the BBC Open University and the Community Programmes Unit. He has been active in politics and community action for most of his life, being a Parliamentary Candidate in 1974 and founder of and activist in a number of social & community networks. Since 1993 he has been a freelance producer working with a number of training, public and voluntary organisations. In 2007 he founded 21st Century Network (now GlobalNet21) to help recreate public space and bring genuine debate back to public life. In four years, GlobalNet21 has grown significantly and now hosts many meetings, webinars and podcasts and uses social networks as an important way to publically engage. Francis Sealey is now Chairman of GlobalNet21 and with others is now responsible for its activities and development. He has also published a book, “Global Public Square; Identity and Action in the 21st Century” that looks at personal and social change and the relationship between them in the age of social networks.

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At Ease With Each Other - Objectives & Outcomes

April 25th, 2012

The Government’s first statement on integration, launched in February 2012, marks a significant departure from recent policy and provides a fresh context for communities learning to live together in an increasingly complex society. The Government’s approach challenges no less than six government departments to put integration at the heart of their mainstream programmes. It suggests that integration happens locally and only ‘exceptionally by national government’.

This places fresh emphasis on the importance of shared aspirations, a sense of responsibility, social mobility and active participation whilst at the same time encouraging robust responses to extremism and exclusion. Centrally funded programmes based on principles of multiculturalism have recorded significant successes over the last decade. With more emphasis on local communities and agencies delivering the new agenda, what will happen to that success? Also, little mention is made of the austere times that we are in when local funding, especially for voluntary organisations, is under pressure. Local grassroots activity is already being curtailed amid concerns about how those at very local levels, where impact can be biggest, will continue to achieve in this financial climate.

At the At Ease With Each Other conference, speakers & delegates explored the Government’s new approach, considered alternatives and focused on practical concerns and issues for policy makers and those responsible for delivery. The conference provided an opportunity to discuss pertinent issues for the UK’s social agenda and the wider context of integration and increasing diversity in an age of austerity.

In this podcast Ted Cantle who founded ICoCo tells us why the Conference was important to convene at this time and Mike Hardy the Chief Executive gives us his impressions of the Conference and what further action is needed.

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Communities, Cohesion and the 21st Century

April 9th, 2012

In this Podcast Francis Sealey of GlobalNet21 interviews Prof Mike Hardy about his view that we need to rethink the whole idea of community and cohesion in the 21st century both globally and locally.

Professor Mike Hardy CMG OBE  is the Executive Director of the Institute of Social Cohesion previously held a leadership role in British Council.

Mike is an established leader in intercultural dialogue with a wealth of international experience including a specific interest in diversity and cultural exchange. He began his career as an applied economist and was Head of Economics and Public Policy at Leeds Metropolitan before moving to a Chair in International Business at the University of Central Lancashire. In 1995, following work with FCO, British Council and European Commission in the transition states of East Europe, Mike moved full time to British Council to continue international work in private sector development.

His interests in cultural relations developed and following postings in the Arab world and Asia, he was appointed to frame and lead British Council's global programme in intercultural dialogue. Through his programme British Council grew its work in interculturalism, working with difference and with inter-community relations.  His portfolio included British Council's international work with schools and skills, networks of young global citizens and capacity development within civil societies worldwide and supporting partnerships which help conflict and post-conflict contexts and people and communities in fragile states. Mike's work and experience in international cultural relations is supported by practical international and in-country experience of issues of diversity, cohesion and multiculturalism in the broader Middle East and as BC Country Director in Indonesia at a time of major national turmoil. As a senior leader at British Council he managed the corporate relationship with the World Bank Institute, the UK Department for International Development, and United Nations Alliance of Civilisations. He is a member of the UK National Cohesion Forum.

Mike has been recently appointed as lead expert for 'Identity' for the Vodafone-sponsored new Future-Agenda Initiative. He was invited, and attended as a constituent, the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2011, Davos-Klosters; he continues to contribute to conferences, global discussions and applied research in Intercultural Dialogue, multiculturalism and diversity.

Mike was awarded the OBE in 2001 for his work in the Middle East, and was appointed a Companion of Honour of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the Queen's Birthday Honours June 2010 for his work internationally in Intercultural Dialogue.

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Understanding Social Networks

April 6th, 2012

Francis Sealey was a Producer and Executive Producer for many years working for both the BBC Open University and the Community Programmes Unit. He has been active in politics and community action for most of his life, being a Parliamentary Candidate in 1974 and founder and activist in a number of social & community networks. Since 1993 he has been a freelance producer working with a number of training, public and voluntary organisations. In 2007 he founded 21st Century Network (now GlobalNet21) to help recreate public space and bring genuine debate back to public life.

In four years GlobalNet21 has grown significantly and now hosts many meetings, webinars and podcasts and uses social networks as an important way to publically engage. Francis Sealey is now Chairman of GlobalNet21 and with others is now responsible for its activities and development.

In this podcast Francis talk about the complexity of social networks and how the unexpected can occur as a result of its reach and impact.

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Harringey Online

April 6th, 2012

Hugh Flouch is the founder of Networked Neighbourhoods, an organisation working with clients to foster digital society at the local level. Within the scope of this project he established the double-award-winning Harringay Online, one of the UK's most successful citizen-led neighbourhood networks. Networked Neighbourhoods is a collaborative venture between experts in social media, neighbourhood networks and community development.

Their vision is to foster digital society at the local level to increase neighbourhood social capital, grow democratic engagement and build the capacity of communities to work as more active agents in partnership with local councils.

Here Hugh tells us about Harringey Online and how the virtual world meets the real one so that action often results.

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Making Connections

April 6th, 2012

Angus McCabe leads TSRC’s “below the radarresearch, exploring the experiences of small community based organisations, BME and refugee/migrant groups. Angus has a background in community development work, both in inner city and settings on peripheral estates. He is a Board Member of the International Community Development Journal, an Associate of the Federation for Community Development Learning and has been involved in training and development work with non-governmental organisations in Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Angus here discusses the importance of linking the virtual world with the real one so that connections are meaningful.

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Below The Radar

April 6th, 2012

Matt Scott is the Director of the Community Sector Coalition. Between 1996 and 2008 he worked in a community development role in South East London, including management of the Lewisham Community Empowerment Network. Prior to this he has worked in the North East and Midlands in a number of roles including as an advice worker, volunteer co-ordinator and manager in several workers co-operatives. He is also a Director of the National Coalition for Independent Action, a founder member of the Community Development Network London and an occasional lecturer at Goldsmiths College where he is completing a PhD on the role of communities in the modernising local government agenda.

Here he discusses the importance of the hundreds of community groups that exist are are often not visible and below the radar but are often the heartbeat of democracy and civil society.

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