SSEN was established by Royal Society of the Arts, Manufacture and Commerce (RSA) Fellows Caron Walton and Caroline Veal supported by Sheffield Community Enterprise Development Unit (SCEDU). SSEN was created as a response to the phasing out of social enterprise business support contracts due to central Government’s business support simplification programme.
Sheffield City Council published their Sheffield Social Enterprise Infrastructure Study (Pulse Regeneration, 2012). This report found that although there were at least 250 social enterprises, there were severe gaps in support with many support providers closing. The report recommended “creating one main point of contact that is the first point of call for people wanting to access support or the sector.”
The SSEN became inactive due to cuts to services and loss of key sector personnel.
Morgan Killick contacted Caron and Caroline and suggested re-establishing the SSEN. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with 50 people attending a meeting on 28 August 2014 and voting to resurrect the network. Sheffield City Council also backed the plans.
Morgan Killick passed responsibilities to a new Management Committee, which was formally elected at an AGM on 4 February 2015.
The SSEN successfully won an “Awards for All” application for £10,000 to develop the network. These funds are designated to improve communications, organise an events programme, develop organisational infrastructure and ensure capacity building for future sustainability.
APRIL - JULY 2015
The SSEN Management Committee focused its efforts on internal administration in order to ensure that a sustainable foundation was in place. This included the overhaul and redesign of the SSEN website, regular Management Committee meetings and improved internal communications, and a new schedule for the SSEN newsletter.
On 20th August 2015, SSEN was officially 'relaunched' with an event at Fusion Cafe. The Management Committee presented the new branding and website, and we reminded attendees of SSEN's Four Pillars. Jamie Veitch interviewed Laura Bennett about the event, for the Business Live radio show on Sheffield Live. Listen to the audio here.
SSEN launches a new premium set of options for membership, adding additional services to its basic free membership which will support local social enterprises, but ensuring that its well respected newsletter remains free.
Following an application process led by SSEN, Sheffield received the much vaunted accolade of being named a 'Social Enterprise Place' by Social Enterprise UK. This recognition for the city will substantially raise the profile of social enterprises in our city and a new 'Social Enterprise Place' board (on which SSEN has a seat) will drive this forward.
Sheffield Social Enterprise Network CIC was incorporated to scale up the SSEN network to meet the new challenges we all face in supporting each other.