ESSENCE goes farming!

Social Enterprise and Co-operatives group ESSENCE are meeting at Westtown Farm, Ide, EX2 9TG 3.00 pm – 5.00 pm on Tuesday 29th May.

This is the first of the Essence outdoor excursions: it is an opportunity to leave your desk and venture into the countryside to see a social organisation at work.

West Town Farm is a working organic farm near Ide, 3 miles from the centre of Exeter. The farm is part of the Higher Level Stewardship, runs a range of educational and cultural activities and hosts Organic Arts.

On the 29th May we have the opportunity to visit the farm and be taken on a tour by the farmer Andy Bragg. We will bring the picnic, West Town farm will provide a stunning view and all you need is some suitable footwear!

For more information on West Town Farm visit: 

 To book on to this event please login to the website or email

. Please note that there is a priority booking for ESSENCE members and social enterprises / co-operatives.

To join, call or email / 01392 411433. Please quote ESSENCE. This meeting is free of charge

 If you are interested in car-sharing, please let us know.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Free Business Advice Sessions in Exmouth and Broadclyst until Mid July

As stage two of our work with the Rural Growth Network we are able to offer free business advice sessions on a one-to-one basis for a small number of new clients in Exmouth and Broadclyst.  If you are, or you know someone who is, grappling with:-

  • identifying needs and opportunities….
  • community entrepreneurship….
  • establishing a co-op or social enterprise…
  • designing innovated solutions to issues in their community….

email or call her on 07811 152544 for an informal discussion to start with.

Make the Most of your Marketing – ESSENCE meeting 27 March 3.30pm!

Social Enterprise and Co-operatives group ESSENCE are meeting at The Generator at 11-15 Dix’s Field from 3.30 pm – 5.30 pm on Thursday 27th March. ‘Make the Most of your Marketing’ This meeting is focusing on getting the most out of your marketing on a small budget. There’s a hand-on ‘Writing Desk’ to support you develop your marketing in the session, to learn how both the Chamber and ESSENCE can support your organisation and to get the top tips and tools. This is a chance to share your expertise, learn from more experienced marketeers and support the growth of our local social enterprises and co-ops. So come along to catch-up and network with the group, find out about how to improve your marketing and benefit from the collective wisdom of our local entrepreneurs. To book on to this meeting please login to the website or email Please note that there is priority booking for ESSENCE members and social enterprises/ co-operatives.

Cash for Carlton, Teignmouth – great news!

There’s nothing like opening an email to discover that a client has received long awaited news from a funder and it’s a ‘yes’.

Teignmouth will get a new arts and enterprise centre having secured £1.75million from the Coastal Communities Fund (CCF). The community has fought hard and long and we’re delighted to have been involved in securing the money for them. Continue reading “Cash for Carlton, Teignmouth – great news!”

Heart of the South West LEP Strategic Economic Plan Consultation Thursday 13th March

Strategic Economic Plan Consultation Event – book your place now

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership is holding a business breakfast on Thursday 13 March 2014 at the Exeter Golf and Country Club as part of its consultation on the area’s draft Strategic Economic Plan. If you want to have a say, then book a place quickly. Places at the meetings are limited to one person per organisation and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

To book your place, please email by Thursday 6 March 2014.
If you are unable to attend the event, you can still respond to the consultation online at Please note that the online consultation closes on Friday 7 March 2014. Continue reading “Heart of the South West LEP Strategic Economic Plan Consultation Thursday 13th March”

School Farm CSA – looking for supporters!

Please read the appeal below from one of our clients and pass on the word to those who might be keen to support this great social enterprise:

In recognition of our ‘enlightened’ agricultural approach, School Farm Community Supported Agriculture has been awarded match funding for our crowd funding campaign from the A-team Foundation and The Fund for Enlightened Agriculture.  This means that for every £1 you donate, School Farm CSA will receive £2.

We have already raised £2,475 of our £6,800 target, which leaves a further £4,300 to raise by February 17th.  We would really appreciate any donation you can make, as well as your help to spread the word!  Remember, every £1 you donate will be doubled in value!  There are various rewards in return for your donation, as well as the knowledge that you are supporting a good cause. Visit our crowd funding page to find out how you can support us:

‘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 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.

ESSENCE and The Chamber, Special Event, 10th October

It sounds like the title of a Harry Potter book but it’s our local social enterprise and co-operative network making the really positive move to come under the Exeter Chamber of Commerce. We’re delighted! It’s great news to have the marketing and administration clout of The Chamber and members benefit from extra networking opportunities, more events and marketing opportunities to other Chamber members.

There’s a special celebratory event on Thursday 10th October, 6pm – 8pm. For more details, click here


Winning social enterprise contracts for Cornwall

We are delighted to be working as a delivery partner on the new ‘Social Enterprise Focus’ programme in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. This aims to increase the number and size of contracts being won by Cornish social enterprises by facilitating business development, collaboration and engagement of potential product and service buyers.

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Convergence Programme, the service is delivered by Peninsula Enterprise in association with ourselves, the Cornwall School for Social Entrepreneurs, Sue Morrish, Buckman Associates and W Wills Consulting.

For more information contact:

Anna Peachey, New Projects and Development Manager
Telephone: 0871 641 2119 ext. 8909

Steve Humphreys, Funding Support Officer
Telephone: 0871 641 2119 ext. 8128