Monday, 15 March 2010

Spring has sprung

So today’s question is how many social enterprises are there in the UK? According to Hidden Social Enterprises, a report by Delta Economics and IFF launched last Thursday at an event at London’s Goodenough College, where I spoke, there are loads more than we thought. Delta surveyed some 2,121 companies from which they concluded that 21% of them could be classified as social enterprises. From this they concluded that there could be as many as 232,000 social enterprises operating in the UK. Their approach was to allow the company questioned to decide for themselves whether their primary motivation is to achieve a social and/or environmental impact. If they did, they met the broad criteria of social enterprise.

So, with those eligible for the Social Enterprise Mark at one end of the spectrum and the Delta Economics work at the other, on which number do we pin the donkey’s tail? What this means of course is that we don’t actually know (because of course, we can't agree). But we do know that our movement is growing. The number of social enterprises coming into being is rising, as is the extent to which we are influencing main stream business. So that’s good. Agreeing on what a social enterprise is may take a little longer. Maybe we should leave it to the academics, who by the way are still wrangling over what defines the term English, whether international investment helps or hinders, and whether or not we have passed the environmental tipping point. So maybe we shouldn’t hold our breath?

I had a lovely Mother’s Day. The kids gave me some top gifts, a poem from Sam, the last of the Larrsson trilogy, “The Girl who kicked the hornets’ nest”, from Joe and a lovely clay alien wearing a top hat from Katie. Chris quickly identified the alien as a bangle holder, to which Katie brightly said, no, it was in fact a pencil holder, but the arm had come off. As it was my day I dragged everyone round RHS Wisley to look at the Helleborus (there’s a joke there). Then we went to the pub in Wisley village on the canal and the kids threw crisps at the ducks (below). The boys had sat three music exams between them last week so deserved some fun too. I think the Grades went well. The important thing was to give it their best shot, which I know they do every time.

By Sunday it had already been a busy weekend. With the help of our fab au pair Sarah (pictured in the 'after' shot, below) we repainted the corridor between the hall and kitchen that we rather grandly call the Gallery, because we hang our family photos there. As I love before and after shots, I thought I’d show you the results of our hard work. As you can see I’ve gone for light and bright. I don’t know if it’s the long winter, or just because I’ve taken an age to really move on from losing my lovely Dad, but I really feel like a new start, lightening everything up. It gladdens the soul.

As promised I also attacked the strawberry patch this weekend. My approach was so brutal that fellow allotment holders came over to look. Basically I dug out the old half of the patch composting the strawberry plants and setting aside the bind weed roots for the brazier. I then filtered the new half, tidying up last year’s runners and planting them on the now empty half which had of course been manured and fed. Katie was a trooper cleaning up over 60 new plants for me to put in and watering them in as you can see. I’m not expert but last year I yileded up to 18lbs of strawberries a day, so fingers crossed the formulae works again. Again, more before and after shots, all very satisfying and leading to a much enjoyed quiet Sunday.

Finally have a look at this lovely piece of work I just picked up on Twitter. It's by a social enterprise network in South America for young social entrepreneurs launched back in 2007. Isn’t it great to be part of a Global movement? I might make international info updates a regular part of my blog. Watch this space. I do love knowing what is going on in the world, especially if it’s stunning like this piece of work. I wonder what they're up to now? Anyone know of them?

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