The Life of a Social Entrepreneur Part Nine

And so to school ………

SSE-a I went to my uncle’s funeral on Monday, a sad yet uplifting experience in some ways, it was very Welsh, very Chapel and finished with a passionate rendition of Bread of Heaven. Reflecting later on the passion he felt for Wales, Rugby and singing put me in mind of Entrust Care Partnership’s absolute ‘passion’ for making a difference to the lives of children with disabilities and their families.

Bread of Heaven, or in Welsh Hollalluog, has been adapted and used regularly by many a rugby and football fan and even featured in my much loved Coronation Street. I know only too well that at Entrust we are passionate and adaptable, providing each service with all the enthusiasm we can muster. But is that enough???

And so to school – yes really this time! On the Wednesday I was chauffeured to London, some may already be groaning and thinking this was a daft idea but it was a ‘trial run’ in preparation for my daughter’s hen party ‘do’ coming up in June when I have to travel directly from the School of Social Entrepreneurs to Bristol.

Given the logistical experiences I have had to date I didn’t feel overly confident. Congestion charge: easy, hotel parking: easy and actually as the barrier was broken no charge!!!! but I don’t want to shout that too loudly…… Brill journey until twenty miles from the capital then rarely out of first gear!

If you have to travel at peak times surprisingly it worked out cheaper than the train but… with accident & emergency vehicles in abundance, road rages, police horses, police escorted vans, horse guard parades and all the excitement of the city in full Technicolor meant that eventually had to drive straight to meet my first Mentor from Lloyds Bank, leaving no time to register at the hotel. I then went to meet with my SSE Mentor. Both are excellent, affirming, supportive and challenging which helps me think more deeply about Entrust Care Partnership and its future.

Next morning – can anyone help with this bit of trivia? Is it now a modern phenomena or a fashion statement to wear your hair in curlers in a hotel at breakfast time? I do remember in my childhood it was commonplace to keep your curlers in whilst chatting on the doorstep but in a Premier Inn in Tower Bridge? Apparently sales of traditional curlers are rocketing? What’s your vote?

20160303_094553_resized I won’t mention what’s coming out of City Hall at the moment but here I am just looking at the Scale Up Programme, sans curlers, waiting for the first Witness Session of the day.

Our ‘witness’ today is Alex Graham who has been a leading figure in british television for more than 30 years. You will have heard of the Independent Film Company Wall to Wall who were responsible for critically acclaimed programmes such as Who Do You Think You Are?, New Tricks, Long Lost Family and the 1900 House to name ‘drop’ a few. How lucky were we.

The afternoon was spent leaning about a variety of replication methods & models and working together in small groups on Ansoff’s matrix. The question for us is where do we sit? We are trying to grow our market share, extending our 1/1 service to working with disabled adults and working in different geographical areas, even diversifying a little with our Homeshare pilot service which will support older adults but through challenging debate with other Social Entrepreneurs it seemed apparent that their business models, which were covering their costs, could be easily replicated where ours could not.

The Witness Session the next day was with Karen Lynch the CEO of Belu, which is an ethical water brand, pledged to donating a minimum of £300,000 to Water Aid over a three year period. Her subject and business acumen was phenomenal if only we could replicate that.

relax-scale-up The afternoon open space session began with us all trying the 5 Tibetan Energy Rejuvenation Exercises led by Crispin, one of the course participants from Father Nature a social enterprise which is Making outdoor spaces for playing, learning, living. Their aim is to connect inner city folk, young and old, with the potential of London’s growing spaces, with nature, with each other. Father Nature is a community landscape gardening and horticultural organisation based in the heart of Lambeth. He uses this regularly with his team – all sorts of interesting learning points. Any takers Entrust???

Finally after an enjoyable but busy three days we drove home weaving our way through London traffic and Friday night antics to the Warwickshire sleet and snow.

Signing off till next time, with very best wishes Lynne