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Social Economy Alliance Launches General Election Charter Campaign

The Social Economy Alliance (Social Firms UK is a member) has launched their ‘General Election Charter Campaign’, which is aimed at getting as many parliamentary candidates as possible to come out in support of the social economy.

Message your local candidates and ask them for their support using this link.

You can also download a campaign pack to help raise awareness in your local area.

Santander's Social Enterprise Development Awards Open for Applications

The Santander Social Enterprise Development Awards aim to support social enterprises and charities with trading activities looking to grow their business and improve their local community.

The Development Awards are targeted at established social ventures that have ambitions to develop their organisation but need a financial boost to help them realise their potential. SEDA is an annual competition with winners selected on the strength of their business plan for growth.

If your venture could use a Development Award of up to £10,000 read more about the competition here.

The Stephen Lloyd Awards Invites First Applications

The Stephen Lloyd Awards Committee invites entries to the Stephen Lloyd Awards, set up to honour the memory of the inspirational lawyer who died in August 2014.

The aim of the awards, reflecting Stephen Lloyd’s commitment to innovation in tackling social issues, is to encourage and support the development of new ideas and early stage projects that have real potential to achieve practical, sustainable social change.

The awards will harness expert pro bono support from specialists in the charity and social enterprise world, as well as finance from philanthropists and social investors. Awards will comprise significant pro bono commitment, plus funding of up to £20,000.

Help for employers and potential employers

Whether you are a new or existing business, being an employer isn’t just about running a payroll.  Businesses need extra help as you grow.

HMRC's free online learning helps you understand what you need to do when you take on your first employee, how to deal with tax and National Insurance under PAYE and prepares you for National Minimum Wage and statutory payments.

It’s easy to use. There are bite-size sessions which means you can dip in and out of this online learning, as and when, to suit your busy lifestyle.

The government makes it easier for small and medium sized businesses to win public sector contracts

The public sector spends £187 billion each year on goods and services, and the Government wants to work with more small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). This includes social firms, of course. 

Changes have been made in the way government buys goods and services, to make the process easier for everyone. What are these changes?

Find Out More About VAT

 HMRC have put together a series of short helpful videos about VAT to help small businesses get it right. 

Toys“R”Us celebrate World Autism Awareness Week with exclusive store browsing event.

Toys“R”Us® will hold an autism friendly exclusive ‘experience’ event for families affected by autism and additional needs this month supporting World Autism Awareness Week and offering families a calm environment with their child.

The Toys“R”Us event, being held in the morning of Sunday 29th March, will be a browsing event for families allowing them to visit their local store offering a relaxed environment to enjoy the experience of shopping with their children together. The event, planned in conjunction with the National Autistic Society (NAS) will allow families to browse the latest selection of toys and games in a subdued environment as recommended by the charity and other local groups across the country.

If You Thought the Bedroom Tax was Bad... Jeff Mitchell on Universal Credit

Quids In! Magazine reports: It seemed like a good idea: a single simple benefit to replace six others, that would allow claimants to keep some of their benefit if they found low-paid work. Yet the implementation has been a classic case of clever people making short-sighted decisions. Another expensive computer system. Direct payments to claimants, not landlords. Paying monthly. In arrears. Managed online. There are a lot of assumptions in there and they all overlook how claimants are often unbanked, lack budgeting skills and aren't online. Our 2014 Quids In! Reader Survey reported that only 26% of respondents had access to the internet. So digital exclusion is to become a major issue, even if the IT system gets sorted out. 

Read more in Jeff Mitchell's blog

Locality launches Keep It Local 24 March

Locality's new campaign Keep it Local launches in Birmingham next week, on Tuesday 24 March.

Keep it Local is about getting better public services, delivered by local community-focused organisations.

Places are available at the launch event, at the Quaker Meeting House in Birmingham. 

If you're on Twitter or Facebook, consider joining the Locality Thunderclap. Thunderclap is a nifty bit of software which will send out a tweet or post on the launch date from all supporters' accounts, massively amplifying the campaign's reach.

Remploy Joint Venture with MAXIMUS Announced

Remploy Employment Services will leave government ownership with the creation of a joint venture between Remploy employees and MAXIMUS.

View the written Ministerial Statement here

The partnership will enable both organisations to support thousands more disabled people into work in the years to come.

This is a historic day in Remploy’s long and proud history of supporting disabled people, securing its long term future. It also places Remploy's employees at the heart of the business as co-owners sharing responsibility for the success and growth of the business with a strong and committed commercial partner.