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HMRC Publish Online Interactive Guide to Help Small Business

HMRC have been working to make tax easier, quicker and simpler for small businesses to deal with. HMRC have published an online interactive guide to show just some of the things that they have done to achieve this.

This digital guide contains links to new and enhanced products and services for small businesses. The publication is written in a user-friendly, accessible style, and shows how HMRC is:

  • delivering new and enhanced digital services
  • delivering better help, support and guidance
  • supporting business to grow
  • modernising processes and services
  • listening and learning

Click here to see what products and services are available to you.

Travis Perkins Star Awards Demonstrates how Construction Skills Shortage can be tackled by Building Lives partnership

On Monday 8 December almost 150 leaders from the housing, construction and training sectors along with Social Firms UK Building Lives apprentices gathered at the stunning London Bridge offices of Field Fisher Solicitors’ for a special awards event generously sponsored by leading merchant Travis Perkins Managed Services.

The first of its kind the annual awards recognised and celebrated the hard work and dedication of apprentices, staff and almost 200 partners. Nominations from College Tutors, Apprentice Officers, NVQ Assessors, Apprentices and site staff came flooding in as everyone was eager to promote the success of apprentices and the partnership.

Big Venture Challenge 2015 call is open

Applications for Big Venture Challenge 2015 are open.

They’re looking for another 40 outstanding social entrepreneurs who are committed to scaling up their social impact. This is the final year of the 3 year Big Lottery funded programme, so this opportunity may not be repeated.

The programme supports ambitious, ‘high potential’ social entrepreneurs to raise investment and rapidly grow their ventures by building a compelling growth story, finding investors, making strategic connections and supporting the entrepreneur during the journey.

For more information, click here. Closing date 3rd February 2015

Shared parental leave and pay: ACAS Leaflet

Shared Parental Leave comes into effect for children due on or after 5th April 2015. It will enable eligible mothers, fathers, partners and adopters to choose how to share time off work after their child is born or placed for adoption. This could mean that the mother or adopter shares some of the leave with her partner, perhaps returning to work for part of the time and then resuming leave at a later date.

It is designed to give parents more flexibility in how to share the care of their child in the first year following birth or adoption. Parents will be able to share a pot of leave, and can decide to be off work at the same time and/or take it in turns to have periods of leave to look after the child.

Charity Awards 2015: Now open for entries.

The 16th annual Charity Awards, established in 2000 to celebrate the very best of charitable endeavour, are now open for entries.

Entry is free and open to charities of all sizes throughout the UK, and provides the perfect platform to showcase the exceptional work you do. Use the Hallmarks of Excellence to demonstrate how your charity helps to build a better civil society and share best practice and learning across the sector.

For more information, click here

Social Firms UK Article in Philanthropy Impact Magazine

The Most Difficult Social Enterprise of All

Social Firms UK was invited to write an article in Philanthropy Impact Magazine, which was published in November 2014. We were able to highlight the additional challenges in running social firms, but also the impact that the social firms movement has on social justice. 

We made the point that social firms are not just about creating jobs for disabled and disadvantaged people; they are also experiments in a whole new way of doing business from the inside, of people relating to each other in a more inclusive and integrated workplace. We are social enterprise’s cutting edge, and it often challenges not only conventional business wisdom, but also the social enterprise movement itself.

You can read or download the article here

Social Firms UK Member Realise Futures CIC wins RBSse100 Trailblazing Newcomer Prize

We were delighted to that Social Firms UK member Realise Futures won the Trailblazing Newcomer Prize at the RBSse100 Awards at the end of November. 

Realise Futures operates across Cambridgeshire and Suffolk providing careers advice and community learning for adults, therapeutic services for people with learning disabilities and supporting disabled and disadvantaged people to gain employment across the region.

They run businesses providing catering, furniture, horticulture services, fulfilment and signs and print. 

InWork Toolkit launched at November EU-wide Conference in Amsterdam

A successful EU wide conference was held in Amsterdam in November to launch the InWork Toolkit and Resources.

The conference was the final action of the InWork project, where Social Firms UK partnered with organisations from the Netherlands, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic.

Expert speakers included Social Firms UK CEO Michele Rigby, Social Firms UK members Sarah Sharlott from Realise Futures, John Foster from Emmaus Gloucester, as well as Vina Patel from Social Firms Wales, and national experts Nicky Stevenson and Paul Anders from Drugscope.

InWork Project - improving the participation of marginalised groups on the labour market.

INWORK is a European project, financed through the Grundtvig Life Long Learning Programme of the European Commission. The project aims to improve the participation of marginalised groups in the labour market.

Marginalised and vulnerable groups, such as drug users, homeless people, people with psychiatric problems or (ex) offenders still have a large distance to the labour market in most European countries. Their educational level is often low, they have little opportunities to participate in schooling and employment and there are only few initiatives that increase or improve the participation of these groups in the paid or unpaid labour market.

The INWORK project joined the forces, skills and experiences of the project partners to address the issues of active citizenship, participation, self-reliance and integration in the labour market at the European level.