‘The Social Value Act – how can social enterprises benefit?’ at the January ESSENCE meeting!

Social Enterprise and Co-operatives group ESSENCE are meeting at The Hub on the Green from 3.30pm – 5.30pm on Thursday 30 January.

The speaker is Kevin Balding, Head of Business Supplies and Services procurement, Devon County Council.

The topic is ‘The Social Value Act – how can social enterprises benefit?’ He’ll be covering key questions such as:

How the Value act is being incorporated into tender evaluations?

  • How can social enterprises position themselves in the strongest way to benefit from this?
  • What is the relative importance of the social value aspect versus competitive pricing?
  • What are the top tips on how to write a successful tender?

After this, there will be the opportunity for networking and catching up after Christmas.

To book on to this meeting please email heather@exeterchamber.co.uk. Please note that there is priority booking for ESSENCE members and social enterprises/ co-operatives.

This meeting is free of charge for ESSENCE members and those who would like to try an ESSENCE meeting with a view to joining.

Lots of Enterprise in Exeter!

It’s heartwarming to experience the interest in social enterprise reflected in the fact that we have a full-house for our Social Enterprise Day ESSENCE meeting tomorrow at the Innovation Centre.  Also interesting to see there’s still an appetite among many to be their own boss and set up in business, reflected in the numbers booked on the November Ready for Business workshop which is also full and has a waiting list.

If you haven’t taken advantage of the great deal we negotiated with the Chamber of Commerce for social enterprises in Exeter there’s still time.  With discounted joining fees and membership running from now until end of March 2014 that more than 16 months for the price of 12.  Just Quote “ESSENCE” when you contact the Heather at the Chamber. : www.exeterchamber.co.uk

The Fruit Tree for Business – one year on!

Before we knew what had happened a year of trading as the Fruit Tree Partnership came and went.  We wanted to reflect on what we’ve done and in particular whether being a co-op, albeit a rather small one, has shaped the work that we’ve done and the way that we’ve done it.  To celebrate and mark the year in a small way we have produced a simple report to share with our clients and friends or indeed, anyone who is interested and can make time to read it.

The Fruit Tree One Year On

SoberLink’s Return on Investment – SROI

And another Exeter Social Enterprise makes the Guardian News today

Exeter based SoberLink features with an article on their experience of undertaking a Social Return on Investment (SROI) evaluation. SoberLink offers a recovery mentoring service for alcoholics at the end of detoxification and statutory treatment services in Exeter and East Devon.  To find out more about their experience check out their website.



Launch of Women Forward, new co-operative for mid Devon


Womenforward co-operative founders with Town Mayor, Launch event, March 2012
Womenforward co-operative founders with Town Mayor, Launch event, March 2012

Last month saw the successful launch of a new business network for women in Mid- Devon.

Women Forward is a co-operative of women who are intending to start up their own business or who are already trading locally.

It provides opportunities for training, networking, cross trading and joint marketing.

At its launch Mayor, Neal Davey welcomed this innovative project supporting business women across Mid-Devon. Over wine and canapés more than 30 women discussed their ideas for starting and developing a wide variety of businesses in these challenging economic times. Continue reading “Launch of Women Forward, new co-operative for mid Devon”

Branding for ESENCE! 26 April

The next meeting of Exeter Social Enterprise and Co-operative Enterprises will be on the 26 April at Exeter Real Food Cafe between 5.30pm and 7pm.  We are lucky to have as our guest speaker for the first of this series of 3 meetings, Jonathan Alder, from Alder and Alder.

Jonathan is a Director at Alder and Alder. He specialises in working with ambitious organisations to help them achieve their goals and objectives. The secret to this is helping them to communicate better, and turn their passion into success. Jonathan helps organisations to communicate more effectively by making better use of their brand. Alder and Alder are currently working with a number of non-profit organisations, including Hospiscare and YouGen. At our event Jonathan will distil 22 years’ experience into 30 minutes, to help you understand your brand, and how to unlock its value.

If you are an Exeter based co-op or social enterprise and wish to attend please email Debbie debbie@the-fruit-tree.co.uk as we need to know numbers.


Plymouth SEN Recruiting Business Administration Apprentice

The key purpose of this role will be to will provide administrative and communications support to the Network Coordinator. This role will carry out day to day administration and general support including compiling, writing and circulating newsletters and social media development. They will assist in the coordination of network events.

This post will offer a variety of challenging roles with considerable of potential for gaining wider experience and personal development.

Business Adminstration Apprentice

Working Week:  9am – 5pm 1 hour for lunch. This includes time for training

Weekly Wage:  £ 91.00

This role will be based at Devonport Guildhall

For an application pack please or further information about the post please contact Gareth Hart on 07786 863206 or gareth@iridescentideas.com


Get Growing Workshops from ECI

Get Growing is a series of practical hands-on workshops, designed to give would-be Exeter growers on low incomes the skills and confidence to create and care for a vegetable garden. Participants will also have the opportunity to join a group of volunteers maintaining Harvest’s allotment plots and growing food for themselves.

The sessions will follow the growing cycle as we plan, prepare, plant and care for our allotment. Each session will be led by an expert grower. Sessions are held on Saturdays from 10am – 3pm at Cowick Lane Allotments, and cost £5. Some free places are available; please enquire to find out if you are eligible by ringing Andi Tobe on

Tel: 01392 205800 Ex 212

Workshop 3: Starting From Seed
Saturday 17th March, 10.00am – 3.00pm
Tutor: Greg Towning
Early sowing and planting out techniques for successful food growing. We’ll have the opportunity to get some hands-on experience of sowing seeds and pricking out techniques, as well as learning about what to start when and much more.

Workshop 4: Caring for your Garden
Saturday 12th May
Tutor: Greg Towning
What to do about pests and diseases, taking care of your plants, maintaining soil fertility, keeping everything healthy and growing well.

Workshop 5: Harvesting and Feasting
21st July 2012
Tutors: Andi Tobe and Ellie Parker
Last but not least – enjoying the fruits of your labour! How to bring in the harvest, how to know when it’s ready, and most importantly – what to do with it when it’s picked. We’ll be picking, preparing and cooking our own produce on the allotment.