Projects and Partners
Social Firms UK works with a number of partners at national and regional levels to help meet the needs of the Social Firm sector and influence policy. We cannot be held responsible for the activities, actions or views expressed by, or on behalf of partners. However, of course we hope that, by working with other agencies at regional and national level, we can bring added benefits to our membership.
The partners that we currently engage with are:
Social Enterprise Coalition (SEC)
Founded in January 2001 SEC grew out of the need felt by many social businesses to have a co-ordinated voice, and desire to work together when necessary to develop the sector. It was clear that the voice of social enterprise had not been heard in a coherent way when vital decisions were being made about RDAs, Small Business Service, the National Childcare
Office Of The Third Sector (OTS)
This was the national Development Partnership (DP) formed to submit and operate a programme under EQUAL to strengthen the social economy. The main partners were Social Firms UK, Development Trusts Association, Co-operatives UK (previously called the Co-op Union), New Economics Foundation, Social Enterprise London and the Social Enterprise Coalition.
Social Firms UK was actively involved in the national online Business Support Register and the Quality and Impact and Training work of SEP. For more information view the SEP website on www.sepgb.co.uk.Social Enterprise Unit (SEU)
The SEU of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) launched the ‘Strategy for Social Enterprise’ in 2002. A progress report on the strategy was produced in October 2003. Both these items are available from the resource centre of Social Firms UK or direct from the DTI website. See www.dti.gov.uk.
European Confederation of Social Firms and Co-operatives (CEFEC)
Social Firms UK is a member of CEFEC. CEFEC is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) currently working out of a secretariat in Athens, Greece. With members all over Europe, CEFEC holds an annual conference which provides excellent networking opportunities for those developing Social Firms. Any organisation involved in training, vocational rehabilitation or employment initiatives - including Social Firms - for disadvantaged people can become a member (www.cefec.org).
Phoenix 2001-3 Project
Social Firms UK applied for Phoenix Development Funding in 2000 to carry out a significant capacity building programme for regional networks (Phoenix was England only) and programme of business support for members. This application was successful and much of the funding was devolved down to regional level to carry out business support, workshops and training for members. This programme ran from January 2001 to end December 2003.
The Social Firm sector and Social Firms UK would have struggled to make any difference had this funding not been obtained. As it is, up to December 2003 a total of 145 business Support Interventions had been made under the Social Firms UK Business Support programme and regional networks had been given the opportunity to develop and become established within that timescale.
Social Firms UK used its experience from that round of Phoenix to apply for the ‘Building on the Best’ round of Phoenix Development Fund, in partnership with the regional networks, for 2004-2006.
Phoenix 2004-6 Project
Invest to Save 2001-3
For information on this project please go to www.socialfirms.co.uk/isb/index.html.
Other European Social Firm Support Structures
Social Firms UK works with several European partners who carry out similar support functions in their own countries:
Projects and Partners