All News

What you need to know about Cyber Security

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has brought out a new booklet for small businesses to inform small businesses about cyber security.

Cyber security is about protecting your computer-based equipment and information from unintended or unauthorised access, change or destruction.

The internet brings huge opportunities and benefits. But it also brings risks.

But most online attacks can be prevented or detected with basic security practices for your people, processes and IT systems.

This guidance provides you with a good practice foundation. You don’t need to be an IT expert to improve your security. Taking some simple steps can help make all the difference.

Click here to download the booklet.

Have you heard about Growth Vouchers?

 Some social firms may be eligible to recieve Growth Vouchers from BIS. Growth Vouchers cover half the cost of getting professional advice.

The vouchers are only available for this financial year so don’t miss out. Click here to apply.

  • Growth Vouchers is a government scheme to help small businesses get strategic business advice.
  • Businesses can get a grant of up to £2,000 towards the cost of this advice.
  • It will take you only a few minutes to register.

The vouchers can be used for strategic business advice in areas from finance and cash flow to management skills, to even making the most of digital technology. Click here to find out more and apply.

Call for Nomination - Looking for Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship is searching for outstanding social entrepreneurs.

Social entrepreneurs are innovators who implement practical and sustainable solutions to address problems in numerous areas including health, education, environment, access to technology and job creation. Whether they are set up as for-profit or not for-profit organisations, their primary focus is transformational social change through innovation.

The winners will join the Schwab Foundation’s community of the world’s most accomplished social entrepreneurs whose work focuses on public good creation – a community that shares knowledge and experience, exchanges best practice and winners can benefit from cutting-edge knowledge in social enterprise planning, management, as well as communications and other aspects that they identify as critical to their enhanced performance.

SEDA Catalyst Awards - apply by 16th June

The SEDA Catalyst Award consists of £5,000 cash and a 12-month development and growth support package. It's for established ventures that have great potential to make real, positive social change but need targeted support to grow and move to the next stage of their development. Find out more here

Social Inclusion, Work Integration, Social Enterprise - Make it Work ! 10-12 November , Amsterdam

 This conference is all about increasing job opportunities for people furthest from the labour market. It will focus on exchange of ideas and good practice in supporting people who have a history of drug use or mental health problems, or who are (ex )offenders or homeless, into work. If you want to share your good practice at the event, just contact the organisers , and if you want to find out what others are doing throughout europe, sign up for the conference now and get early-bird rates.

Social Enterprise Awards 2014

 Applications are now open for the UK Social Enterprise Awards 2014. The awards, run by Social Enterprise UK and now in their 16th year, recognise organisations for their business excellence and contribution to society, as well as the achievements of people working at the heart of the social enterprise sector. The awards celebrate the pioneering work of Britain’s growing social enterprise movement. The awards are open to social enterprises and include specific awards that investors, corporates, public sector bodies and charities may also apply for. New categories this year include a Women’s Champion and Inspiring Youth Enterprise. All the categories are open to organisations from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. To apply please go to the Social Enterprise UK website. Applications close on Friday 11th July 2014.

2014 SFE CEFEC Conference - Nova Gorizia

"1914 – 2014 from the Europe of WW1 to Social Europe” to be held in Gorizia/Nova Gorica (Italy/Slovenia) from May 28 to May 31st 2014.

Legacoopsociali in partnership with Social Firms Europe-CEFEC, Arcobaleno social cooperative, ŠENT Slovenia, SEA and Alleanza delle Cooperative Italiane cordially invite you to participate in the 27-th Annual European Conference of Social Firms Europe, CEFEC 2014 entitled

The 2014 Annual Conference of Social Firms Europe CEFEC will be an excellent opportunity for policy makers, social entrepreneurs, academics, social economy researchers, market and industry analysts, government officials, NGOs and professionals in the field of social economy, the international and national community to discuss and debate on the topic of Social Europe 2020: the development of Social Business Initiatives and the legislation in the field of social enterprises.


Join The Social Economy Alliance

Arm yourself with their new campaign pack in the run up to the local elections in May.

The Social Economy Alliance is a new voice on the economy. It is made up of organisations including social enterprises, co-operatives, universities, housing associations, crowd-funders, social investors, think tanks and charities. It is campaigning to create a more social economy in the UK - one that better supports people and communities. It believes social enterprises and cooperatives hold many of the solutions to our biggest economic and social challenges, but they need government backing. It is calling on for all the main politicial parties to support the social economy by building our recommendations into their manifestos.

Find out more here


Providing Employment And Training Opportunities For Offenders


Low qualifications and lack of employment are recognised within the Government’s strategy for Transforming Rehabilitation as key social issues related to re-offending.

Some local areas have already developed social enterprises as one way to overcome barriers around the employability of ex-offenders. However at the time of writing there is currently very little that brings together learning or examples of effective practice to assist others in doing this.

Recognising this gap, the Home Office commissioned a short term programme of work undertaken in February and March 2013 by Clinks and Social Firms UK.


SFUK Member Building Lives - Winners For Most Innovative Training Programme

Building Lives were exceptionally proud to be announced Winners for Most Innovative Training Programme at the The Housing Innovation Awards on 07 Feb 2014. These awards celebrate everything innovative in the UK housing sector and are the only awards to focus solely on genuine enterprise in the sector.


The 2014 winners were announced at the annual gala dinner on 06 February 2014, where housing’s most enterprising professionals had converged on London’s Grand Connaught Rooms to enjoy an evening of awards, networking and entertainment.

Berkeley Homes North East London were sponsors of the Most Innovative Training Programme Category. John Sanders, Head of Construction was delighted to present the award to Building Lives team, and the Building Lives team were over the moon to receive it! :)