Richard's Blog

SynodSocial Enterprise

Posted by Richard Gutteridge 09 Feb, 2017 15:49:30

A Synod is an assembly of the clergy and the laity in a diocese or other division of a particular Church. In this instance it's the Nottingham South Deanery. They have asked me to speak to them about Social Enterprise in the context of engaging with a local community. A number of churches across the UK have set up social enterprises and our meeting will be held in St Saviour's church Nottingham, which has set up a soft play centre (http://www.edensoftplay.co.uk/). Social enterprise can be a way of engaging with the community but it must be first and foremost a business, it must generate profits. It might engage with a local community or in the case of Eden people from various communities. What is true of a church is true of other charities. A business allows the charity to develop contacts with people who it might not otherwise contact. Think of the local charity shop or café for instance. But the business is not the charity, although a business may also be a charity - but that restricts the kinds of business in which it can engage. Any business the charity conducts must further the charitable aims of the organisation.



Form or strutureSocial Enterprise

Posted by Richard Gutteridge 05 Jul, 2016 16:26:15

There seems to be two ideas about what constitutes a Social Enterprise. One is that it is a business that trades with a social purpose. We can see charity shops fit easily into that view - they raise money for the charity. We might also stretch the idea to include such big names as the Body Shop which has a clear social purpose of not using animals in testing. The second idea is that it is about structure and governance, a business that is not for personal profit.

Perhaps though it is about concept, about doing business in a new way. Many people are fed up with the sky high salaries and bonuses "earned" in big business and yearn to see business working in ways closer to the communities that they serve, businesses that seek to narrow the gap between those who lead and manage the business and those on the front line or production line. It's about a new ethic for the 21st century, a way that distances itself from the ways of the past, a way that values everyone, a way that moves away from zero hours contracts and minimum wages, whilst recognising that for some people zero hours work as it allows flexibility.

I see social enterprise as a way forward as we move into what may be a post capitalist world - more on that later.