Want to make positive impact in our world and connect with those who are already driving transformational change? The @SkollCentre is hosting its biggest social innovation conference, @EmergeConf, on 11-12 November at the Saïd Business School, Oxford.

Emerge is all about ‘what’s next’: the big ideas disrupting and challenging unjust systems and practices. It brings together a community of those who are driving transformational social change, and those who want to get involved. At Emerge, you can explore new ideas, dig deeper into issues alongside experts, build skills, and immerse yourself in the innovations which are redefining our world. Get your early bird tickets at www.emergeconference.co.uk.

From Charity to Social Enterprise: The Marketization of Social Care

A paper on ‘From Charity to Social Enterprise: The Marketization of Social Care’ by F Henderson, C Reilly, D Moyes and G Whittam has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research


Please see abstract below:

Purpose: In Scotland, the Self-Directed Support (SDS) legislation is a catch-all payment system which brings challenges to local authorities, service delivery organisations, and the service users it is intended to empower. Set against a backdrop of cuts to local authorities and third sector funding, this policy presents third sector organisations with both the opportunities and challenges of commercialising their activities to become more sustainable. This paper provides evidence of the challenges faced one charity as engages in a process of hybridity to accommodate changes in its funding due to the introduction of SDS.

Design/methodology/approach: This qualitative case study of one charity presents the experiences of a purposive sample of managers, staff and parents advocating for their children. The challenges of gathering data and giving a voice to parents advocating for children with complex needs are discussed.

Research limitations/implications (if applicable): This study used a small purposive sample of individuals who were prepared to talk about the challenges of SDS in one national Scottish charity.

Practical implications (if applicable): Organically arising barriers to organisational transition from charity to social enterprise are presented, as staff and caregivers react to the prospect of SDS uptake affecting their organisation. Proactive attempts to embrace a hybrid approach by the organisation, are analysed.

Social implications (if applicable): Understanding how social care organisations and clients are reacting to the implementation of individual payments is crucial as the sector faces very real prospects of established organisations failing  and the market becoming dominated by fewer providers delivering cheaper, lower quality social care. Therefore a policy based on choice for the consumer risks removing choice through a loss of appropriate services in the marketplace, leaving vulnerable populations at risk.

Originality/value:  This paper makes a unique contribution to the fields of social enterprise and social care as no other research has been done exploring the transition to hybridity of charities serving children with complex needs in anticipation of SDS creating an open market. The paper further provides evidence of underlying issues which need to be addressed if SDS is to become a successful policy transforming vulnerable individuals’ lives. The paper further identifies that a specific challenge facing hybrid organisations, not articulated in the current literature, is the need to maintain the support of existing clients through the transformation of the organisation.

TransSOL Policy Report and Newsletter

TransSOL is a transnational research project dedicated to providing systematic and practice-related knowledge about European solidarity at times of crisis. It brings together researchers and civil society practitioners from eight European countries—Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom including a team at Glasgow Caledonian University.

The latest policy briefing and project newsletter are now available to view via the links below:

TransSOL Policy Brief 3-284ccp1

TransSOL_Newsletter_Issue 4-2arj2d6


International academics meet to discuss the future of social business and its role in combatting wealth concentration

From 28th-31st July, Pro Vice Chancellor and Yunus Chair, Cam Donaldson attended the Annual Social Business Day and Academia Pre-Meeting on ‘How Can Wealth Concentration be Stopped?’ in Dhaka, led by our Chancellor, Professor Muhammad Yunus. The Academia Pre-Meeting takes place in Bangladesh annually, prior to the annual Social Business Summit and associated Social Business Academia Conference which, this year, take place in Paris on 5th -7th and 8th-9th November respectively. Here, we see Cam, alongside Professor Yunus,  reporting to the international gathering of academics about progress with preparations for the Paris Conference. The meeting was also reported in the Bangladeshi national press:

Int’l academics exchange ideas on social business (Web)
Daily Observer Bangladesh – 31/07/2017
A pre-meeting, was held on Sunday at the Yunus Centre, Mirpur as the preparation of the Social Business Academia Conference (SBAC) scheduled to be held in Paris on November 8 and November 9, this year. The opening speech was delivered by Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, Chair of the organizing committee of SBAC.

Academics discuss educational aspects of social business (Web)
The Daily Star Bangladesh – 31/07/2017
A group of national and international academics yesterday discussed educational aspects of social business in Dhaka as part of preparations for an upcoming social business academia conference. The meeting took place at Yunus Centre, which promotes works and philosophies of Nobel laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus.

Researchers support sustainable community sheds project

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) researchers are working on a new project supporting the development of social spaces known as ‘sheds’ to encourage community development and evidence enhanced health and wellbeing for the people using them.

Run by community members, sheds are organisations which create spaces for people to pursue their hobbies, run community projects, spend time with those with similar interests, learn and share new skills, and enable others who may be isolated and lonely to engage in activities such as education and training initiatives.

In addition to engaging with new social activities helping to reduce social isolation and loneliness, sheds introduce people to other community networks and, as such, can help to develop social capital and enhance community resilience. By providing opportunities for volunteering and income generation, it is argued that sheds enhance employability skills, increase self-esteem, build a sense of identity/value by being productive, and encourage confidence to facilitate a return to work.

The Sheds for Sustainable Development project, led by Dr Artur Steiner, Lecturer in Social Entrepreneurship in the University’s Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health, aims to design mechanisms for sustainable community development through creating sheds that are both financially and socially sustainable. As such, the project aims to tackle some socio-economic challenges and contribute to creating stronger, healthier and more resilient communities.

Dr Steiner will work with a group of sheds to identify the development and entrepreneurial challenges they face and the opportunities they have for training and employment, and explore the impact of sheds on participants’ health and wellbeing. Through a series of workshops, the team will provide evidence to a wide group of stakeholders including practitioners, health providers, social workers and governments.

The project is funded through the Big Lottery Fund, which exists to help communities and people most in need and supports projects which bring people together, create understanding, help people think about their future and reduce isolation.

Dr Steiner said: “This exciting project is embedded in community-based activities and aims to support community sheds though collaborative work between practitioners and academics. We want to make real positive impact and contribute to the development of sustainable sheds. We will do that by considering community views about shed practices and combining that with expert knowledge. The project will bring social innovation into play through co-designing and introducing new solutions to address selected community challenges.”

COOL MUSIC project will enhance socially excluded young people’s skills

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) researchers have developed a new music and video production programme to enhance social and practical skills among socially excluded young people in Edinburgh.

The programme is being delivered by GCU and Heavy Sound, a community interest company which runs music and creative arts programmes in community, custodial and educational settings.

The team will work with young people aged between ten and 21 in special units and communities in areas of high deprivation.

Promoting social inclusion and combating poverty and discrimination are key priorities in the 2014-2020 European Social Fund (ESF) Programme. This research project is funded through the ESF and the Scottish Government.

Entitled COOL (Community Orientated and Opportunity Learning) MUSIC, the programme will involve working with groups of young people over the course of a year, focusing on electronic music production, creative writing, sound recording, film-making and music video production.

Many young people in Scotland face challenges which prevent them from being included and engaged in stimulating educational environments. Participation and engagement in creative activities is particularly low amongst looked after children, those with behavioural problems and those living in the top 20% most deprived communities. This demographic group is least likely to go into a positive destination after leaving school and is more likely to be involved in anti-social behaviour.

Dr Artur Steiner, Lecturer in Social Entrepreneurship in the University’s Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health, said: “COOL MUSIC’s objective is to engage troubled young people and to create opportunities for equal development and innovative inclusion. COOL MUSIC is designed to support wellbeing through personal development, alternative approaches to education/literacy, learning new skills for life and employment. By doing so it aims to help young people realise their potential and positively transform their life.”

The team will assess the effectiveness of the programme by conducting face-to-face interviews with the young people involved, as well as teaching staff, community organisation representatives and relevant participants. If the project is successful, the team intends to develop a larger programme for mainstream education as well as communities and secure units/special schools in other geographical locations and prisons.

Q Conference Glasgow, Early Bird Registration

EARLY BIRD registration closes on Monday 31st July for the 33rd annual conference of the International Society for the Scientific Study of Subjectivity, 7th – 9th September 2017, hosted by Glasgow Caledonian University. On Wednesday 6th September 2017 we will host three separate optional pre-conference workshops. Please note, as all workshops are running in parallel with each other you can only register for one.

For more information and to book a place at the Glasgow Q Conference please visit Registration.

We have a dedicated Q conference mailbox set up so please send any questions or enquiries to Qconference2017@gcu.ac.uk

For more information on the Q Conference please visit the website.

Common Good First consortium meets at GCU

Following their kick-off meeting in South Africa in January 2017, the EU-funded Common Good First project team met again at GCU last week.

Common Good First is a digital project which will link community projects in South Africa to each other and to higher education institutions around the world using a web-based knowledge bank and innovative digital storytelling solutions. Led by GCU’s Director of Digital Collaboration Julie Adair, the Common Good First team will identify community projects and work with them to promote their objectives online and to investigate how the academic network could input innovative approaches to social change in response to the challenges the projects are facing.

The consortium includes representatives from six South African universities, as well as partners from Denmark, England, Iceland, Norway, Spain and Scotland. They were also joined by the project’s EU Officer from Brussels and a representative from the Scottish Government’s Department of Social Enterprise, Social Innovation and Social Investment, who are also contributing funding to the initiative.

The aim of the three-day session was for the team to make progress on planning the digital storytelling modules, which are to be piloted at South Africa’s Rhodes University and University of South East Norway; to develop the approach for project selection across South Africa; and to consider the logistics of the platform build, which will take place in Cape Town early next year.

Earlier this year, Common Good First won a distinguished Ashoka U Cordes Innovation Award in celebration of its community partnership working. The platform was recognised by Ashoka U, a global network of universities and colleges which focuses on social innovation, for its ambitions to identify, showcase and connect social impact projects to each other, and to universities for research, evaluation, teaching and student engagement. Following the award, Sandra White MSP congratulated the digital project in a motion to the Scottish Parliament.

Common Good First also recently won a grant of £25,000 from the Scottish Government.  This is to fund expertise in promoting the project in Scotland and beyond, to help develop the website and digital storytelling modules and to consider how Scottish social innovation projects can be involved in the network.

For more information about Common Good First, please visit https://www.commongoodfirst.com/

2017 Winners of the European Microfinance Research Award

Congratulations to Dr Olga Biosca and Enrioc Bellazzecca from the Yunus Centre for Social Business & Health on winning the 10th European Microfinance Award for their research below.
Can microfinance regulation encourage mission drift? The Italian case
Further details available at the website below: