A snapshot of our work supporting people, communities and organisations over the last year

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I’m really pleased to share the work that my colleagues and I have been doing over the past year in a our most recent annual report. So new, it’s not yet hot off the press, the 2015-16 annual report is a snapshot of the work we’ve done between April 2015 and March 2016 to support individuals, communities and organisations across Dudley borough.

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Support for social entrepreneurs

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Happy Global Entrepreneurship Week!

“Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.”  (From http://uk.gew.co)

What better time to let you know about events and support for local social entrepreneurs?

An exploration of opportunities emerging in the West Midlands – this Thursday

Local people and organisations are invited to run activities during Global Entrepreneurship Week, and one of our local organisations, the Beacon Centre for the Blind have signed up. They are hosting an event this Thursday. The Opportunities for Social Enterprise, Investment and Impact conference is a West Midlands wide event, and places for people who live or work in Dudley borough have kindly been subsidised by Dudley Council, so are free. Just hop over to Eventbrite to register.

A marketplace event – on Friday 27 November

A different kind of event coming up for social enterprises and social entrepreneurs in Dudley borough has been organised by the local Synergy network (@synergy_dudley on twitter). On Friday 27 November they are hosting a marketplace event at Brierley Hill Civic Hall.

Doors open at 9am, and the event kicks off at 9.30am with talks from the Leader of Dudley Council, our Chief Officer Andy Gray, along with other Synergy network leads and local MPs. A panel discussion leads into  a free lunch at 12.30pm and the afternoon marketplace will be open until 4pm.

If you’d like to pop along for part or all of the day please contact Tim Jones at Higgs & Sons Solicitors on 0845 111 5050 or email tim.jones@higgsandsons.co.uk

Dudley CVS support – available any time

And finally, don’t forget that we offer free support to social entrepreneurs and social enterprises in Dudley borough. I recently interviewed Becky Pickin about the support Dudley CVS provide.

Have a listen to the short clip to hear about how we help people – from the first step on the journey of understanding what a social enterprise is, to developing ideas and undertaking market research, to setting up governance. I also asked Becky about Synergy, so if you’d like to hear more about what it is, just click the play button.


Do you have any questions about social enterprise? Are there any local social entrepreneurs you’d like to see featured on our blog? Leave us a comment or get in touch with us on twitter or Facebook.

Celebrating our work with people, communities and organisations

Dudley CVS Annual Report, 2014-15

I’m really pleased to share the work I and my wonderful colleagues have done to support individuals, communities and organisations last year. The Dudley CVS Annual Report outlines how we’ve been connecting and inspiring people and organisations to achieve positive change and championing their work. It covers the year April 2014-March 2015.

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From Dudley to Dublin

Last month officers from Dudley Council met with people from local voluntary organisations and community groups. The aim of the session was to begin shaping a plan for joint delivery of the Community Council vision, building on work the council have been doing to date. Council officers shared the poster below (available here as a pdf) which articulates the council’s vision. Discussion focused on opportunities which could be included in a plan for the next year.
Community Council Poster

Following the planning activity, we were invited to share thoughts and ideas on steps to achieve the changes listed on the right hand side of the poster:

  • The council changing how they do things: designing and delivering services with people, reducing red tape, having honest conversations
  • The council knowing local communities: understanding community strengths as well as needs, and making decisions by listening and talking to people
  • The council changing their culture: recognising that communities can lead, being open, honest and approachable, and supporting their staff to embrace change
  • The council working differently in communities: starting with what’s good in communities, enabling communities to make things happen, facilitate rather than control.

We will, of course, share notes and the plan developed from the session on this blog. We’ll also be looking for ideas, inspiration and learning from other places. Such as Dublin.

Two years ago Dublin City Council launched DCC Beta projects, described by Innovation Dublin as:

… a new approach by Dublin City Council to experiment, innovate and quickly test ideas directly ‘on the street’… and to solicit the opinion of Dubliners who walk, cycle or drive around these streets everyday.

The Council is suggesting it as a new way of trialling ideas, away from the realities or pressures of a ‘real’ project. The trials could last days, weeks or months, but generally wouldn’t be longer than a year or so.

While Dublin City Council ‘trials’ ideas all the time, it’s generally as part of a real project (for example the LED lights in Smithfield).  The difference between a ‘trial’ and a ‘beta’ is what the Council call ‘the headache-factor’. If something has to be changed in a beta project it generally wouldn’t (read shouldn’t) cause a problem, whereas in a trial it probably would.

Dublin City Council describe what being in ‘beta’ means on the DCC Beta blog:

Dublin City and Dublin City Council needs to be able to easily and regularly freely discuss ideas and to innovate – and to innovate you need to be able to experiment and to then learn from those experiments, and which in turn enables greater discussion.

We’re calling this overall ethos or approach ‘Dublin City Council beta’.

“Beta” and “in beta” are labels used (mainly by the IT sector) to convey that something’s imperfect and is being released early so that it can benefit from some real-world testing and feedback. We adopted this phrase as it enables us to build ‘a brand’ (ie a recognisable ethos) with an associated and established method, whereas a generic phrase such as “trial” might mean different things to different people.

There is more on the DCC beta blog about how the initiative works, and you can find out more about the beta projects on the really lovely twitter feed (@DCCbeta) or Facebook Page: DCCBetaProjects.

What do you think about Dublin’s initiative? What are your thoughts on Dudley’s Community Council vision? Leave us a comment here, on our Facebook Page or on twitter.