Job Opportunity as a Zebra!

Having been successful in securing funding, Zebra Collective are recruiting 2 Community Development workers in Plymouth. Check out for the details.  Closing date 24th July 2013.


Inspiring International Social Entrepreneurs at British Council Malta

VINESWORKS was delighted to co-plan, facilitate and present at The British Council's Our Shared Future seminar in Malta last week. Sixteen social entrepreneurs came together to share and further develop their business ideas, having already worked through an on-line business planning course.  Hearing from "experts" in the sector, entrepreneurs also had opportunities for lively debate and cultural exchange, both within the seminar programme and when "off duty"!  This made for fascinating conversation, with entrepreneurs from across Europe and North Africa including; Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Malta, Ireland, UK, Poland, Russia and Kazakstan.

I made two presentations, the first looking at badges and "identifiers" for social enterprise in the UK, and the need for quality within enterprise - looking at PQASSO as a useful standard for the sector.  There followed an interesting discussion about the need for such identifiers, or not!  The second presentation was a pitstop tour around social impact measurement and in particular social accounting and auditing.  This was webstreamed and you can watch again at livestream. I must try to lose the slight "mad-eyed Vines" look and the strange voice and mouth shape not unlike that of a prominent royal person!

Three days spent with wonderfully creative, inspiring, thought provoking, warm hearted, smart and savvy social enterpreneurs, intent on change for social good.  Well done to them and to the British Council for making this happen.


VINESWORKS goes international with The British Council

Excitement levels are rising as I finalise plans for facilitating a two day event in Malta, bringing together social social enterprises and entrepreneurs from across Europe and North Africa. 

A British Council project, Our Shared Future helps social enterprises to play a meaningful and transformational role in their communities at a time when acute youth joblessness in the region demands innovative solutions.

Social entrepreneurs however need the business skills and personal networks to be able to sustain themselves and scale up their impact. Our Shared Future has therefore gathered a group of budding entrepreneurs from 17 countries to benefit from the ‘Start a Business’ online course. At the project’s workshop in Malta, facilitated by VINESWORKS, the entrepreneurs will come together with other experts for further training, mentoring, inspiration, finalisation of business plans, and to consolidate a rich peer to peer network. 

In addition to facilitating the two day event, VINESWORKS will also be running  workshops on:

  • measuring social impact, primarily using social accounting and auditing;
  • branding/badging of social enterprises, the UK scenario; and
  • quality standards for social enterprises, focussing on PQASSO.

It's certainly going to be a busy, and fascinating, few days, and VINESWORKS is delighted to be working with The British Council on this project.


Who's social value is it anyway?

With the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 due to come into force next year the phrase on everyone's lips is "social value".  VINESWORKS is delighted to be presenting at the South West Forum seminar on Social Value, on Weds 17th October and the Innovation Centre at University of Exeter.

VINESWORKS is facilitating a discussion entitled "What is value?"  I suspect we're going to need more than the 30 minutes allocated to come to agreement on that!  Helen will be part of the Panel Discussion and in the afternoon will be presenting a case study she wrote last year about Dartmouth Caring who provide a holistic range of services all with the aim of "keeping older people in their homes for longer".

The case study has already been used in discussion with NHS Commissioners and others and is being cited as a model of best practise in the 2012 Devon Prevention Strategy.  

With over 45 commissioners, procurement officers, third sector organisations and other agencies attending it should make for a lively event.   Contact VINESWORKS for more details.


Westbank gain PQASSO accreditation - time to celebrate!

After working with staff at Westbank in Exminster for over a year, VINESWORKS is delighted to hear that following their external accreditation visit, they have been awarded the PQASSO award at Level 1.  That's no mean feat and represents a huge amount of investment of time, energy and planning to examine every part of Westbank's operations and ensure that they deliver (internally and externally) to a given standard. The award is given for a three year period and is then up for renewal. 

VINESWORKS as a CES approved mentor, provided mentoring support to guide them through the process, also drawing on over 15 years organisational development expertise.

If you are interested in how PQASSO can provide a valuable framework to help you develop your organisation, contact VINESWORKS for more information.



Culture Cafe World Film Premiere

Hot on the heels of the Cannes Film Festival is the world premiere of the RAMM Culture Cafe film. Culture Cafe was a wonderful pilot project, bringing together the fabulous refurbished RAMM (Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery) and Age UK Exeter, together with Helen from VINESWORKS as evaluator.

The project was a simple concept: "coffee, cake, curiosity, culture and company" and it aimed to encourage older people back to the museum, or indeed to the museum for the first time.  RAMM and Age UK Exeter sought outcomes around health and wellbeing and VINESWORKS was invited to work with a great team to help deliver the 6 sessions and to evaluate the project.

VINESWORKS contracted EclipsFilms to produce a short film capturing the essence of the project, which was hugely oversubscribed and very well received.  We're now looking at follow on projects as there was such a positive response to Culture Cafe.  It was such a delight for VINESWORKS to be involved with such a great team and meet so many lovely people.


Changing tides at Cotehele

VINESWORKS gets to work in some great places (and with some great people)!  Tuesday was spent at the wonderfully evocative Cotehele Quay on the banks of the River Tamar.  VINESWORKS was co-facilitating the second round of focus groups for National Trust staff and Volunteers, local community organisations and residents, who are giving their time and knowledge as part of a Phd Study around "Visualising Change in the Tamar Valley".

Amy Nettley has created a 3D visualisation (aka short film) from a combination of remote sensing technologies. She is using this to show the anticipated impacts of future flood events at Cotehele, a National Trust site.  Local organisations and individuals have been involvement in the development of the film through a series of focus groups, run in March and again in September, planned and facilitated by VINESWORKS in partnership with the University team.

The film shows the impacts of sea level rise and tidal flooding based on projections from the UK Climate Impacts Program. It also draws on historical evidence of past flooding events, which local people strongly resonate with.  The film will be used as a tool for community engagement and will support the understanding and acceptance of change at a local site of built heritage, for the local community and decision-makers. Ultimately the project aims to make this a transferable method which can be applied at other sites. . . .  f f flksdjfweo

If you want to see the film or find out more about the Project, Amy will be at the Discovery Centre on Cotehele Quay on Sat 1st October.  It's also Cotehele's Apple Weekend so a chance to learn about the natural environment and sample its delights!




Zebra Collective earn their stripes!

Zebra Collective, a social enterprise which works to promote its core values of equality, participation and positive communication, has completed its first set of social accounts, examining the Collective's social, economic and environment impact in relation to some of the work that its done over the period 2010/11.

Zebra, based in Plymouth, opted for the self-audit which was then externally verified by Helen from VINESWORKS at a meeting on Monday.  Helen worked with the Zebra team to go through the accounts, ensuring that the evidence presented was "a reasonable statement and based upon competent, reliable data and information".  She also undertook an audit trail, tracing a range of evidence presented back to source, just as a financial auditor would. 

Zebra will be publishing their full accounts on their website, and produce a summary version for wider circulation and use.  And the best news is that they are committed to carrying on with social accounting, seeking to make it even better next time round.  Well done Zebras!

For information about how VINESWORKS can help you with Social Accounting and Auditing to measure the difference you are making, get in touch.   


mhhp get to grips with outcomes!

Helen delivered an Introduction to Outcomes workshop to mhhp (Mental Health Helplines Partnership) members yesterday.  Travelling to Birmingham from all regions of England, members soon got to grips with developing an Outcomes framework for their organisations, all of whom provide helpline services (amongst a menu of support) to their clients with mental health issues.

It was a busy, interactive session with lots of food for thought, not least of which "how do we find appropriate and relevant indicators to measure change for our clients, within the context of a 1-off anonymous phonecall"?   No quick fix there, but definitely a lot of interesting ideas and best practise shared amongst participants.

"(the session) enabled better understanding of the process, the trainer delivered extremely well, thank you"

"excellent presentations, interesting and motivating, very interactive".

For information about how VINESWORKS can help you with Outcomes get in touch. 


PQASSO Quality Standards - Helen approved as Mentor!

Following training and assessment with Charities Evaluation Services (CES), Helen at VINESWORKS has been approved as a PQASSO Mentor.  This means she is licenced to support organisations in the Third Sector who are engaged with PQASSO, the Quality Standards tool.

Helen is working with Well UK and several of its members as they work their way through PQASSO, with the eventual aim of seeking external verification and gaining the Quality Mark.  Well UK and its members bid for contracts and deliver services in the field of health and social care.  Commissioners look to ensure that contractors have quality at the centre of what they do, and PQASSO is the obvious system for the sector. 

For more information about PQASSO, check out the CES website.

For information about how VINESWORKS can help you with Quality Standards get in touch.


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