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The Social Economy

Describing the Social Economy (diagram: Richard Hull).

Socialising the economy

The recent City of Culture bid revealed the strength in depth of the creative economy in Hastings and St Leonards – now a new initiative is exploring the potential for our social economy, writes HOT’s Richard Hull.

Hastings Works director David Hinton has teamed up with Hastings Voluntary Action and Hastings Borough Council to host an initial discussion for those interested in social enterprises and other social economy organisations.

David is a firm believer in the potential for social enterprises to work for the social good at the same time as generating a sufficient profit – he demonstrated that belief first with Eastbourne Works and now with the new social enterprise Hastings Works. “These are difficult times, so it’s even more important that people who share a focus on this socially important area of the local economy get together for mutual self-help,” he says.

Social economy organisations include co-operatives, arts and music trading organisations, sports clubs that generate income, charities that trade, community enterprises, credit unions, housing associations, mutual societies and other similar associations that generate income from trading. The local initiative to bring together these different organisations follows the launch of a national campaign, the Social Economy Alliance, urging political parties to become more aware of the needs and issues.

The UK’s social economy has been expanding rapidly for decades. Part of the reason is that some public sector services have been hived off, often to new types of organisations such as ‘spin-out’ enterprises, formed by public sector employees to provide their service on contract to the public sector. For instance some community nurses have formed workers’ co-ops to provide community nursing under contract to the NHS. On the negative side, there are many examples of services taken over by organisations with barely discernible social purposes, or taken on by charities that are then muzzled by their contracts from criticising government policy. It is a complex area and there are currently extensive attempts by central government to encourage and develop social enterprises.

People with a practical interest in the social economy in the Hastings and Rother area will shortly be able to meet others working in social enterprises, non-profits, co-ops, mutual societies and associations to share ideas and expertise.

The meeting is at Hastings Works (18 Robertson Street, Hastings, 01424 205360) on 22 July at 5:30pm. It will be an informal event to chat with others and share ideas on how groups can better work together and hopefully the first of further gatherings.

Book your ticket online

Or contact:

Dave Hinton, Hastings Works, 01424 205360 david@hastingsworks.com

Steve Manwaring, Hastings Voluntary Action, 01424 444010 steve@hvauk.org

Cat Denning, Hastings Borough Council, 01424 451986 cdenning@hastings.gov.uk

 

Posted 12:00 Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 In: Campaigns


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