Alston Moor – Ten Years As a Social Enterprise Place Events

Thank you to everyone that attended our two-day event celebrating 10 years of Alston Moor becoming the world’s first social enterprise place. For everyone who could not make the events, please find below an update on how the proceedings went.

The first day, which was attended by 75 delegates, some from as far away as Plymouth, was held at Rheged. This was a mix of a formal event, with presentations that included excellent keynote addresses by Clive Hirst on the Social Enterprise Place concept. Daniel Heery spoke on the thriving Social Enterprise sector in Alston Moor and on Cybermoor, a social enterprise that provides support to a range of projects focusing on new exciting technologies to benefit the community. Tom Barker from Charge my Street discussed their first electric vehicle chargepoint installation at Alston Gym as well as their recent success installing community funded chargepoints across England. Susan Blakemore from CHoC – Cumbria Health on Call, one of the county’s largest Social Enterprises, and the current Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership “Social Enterprise of the Year” provided the audience with a background to the organisation and how CHoC have recently taken over some of the rural healthcare provision in Cumbria, including very recently in Alston itself.

These social enterprises were joined on a panel discussion by Cllr Virginia Taylor from Westmorland and Furness Council, Martin Allman Social Enterprise Manager at Cumberland Council and Clive Hirst from Social Enterprise Solutions. The discussion was chaired by Rob Randell and featured contributions from Peter Holbrook and Liz Minns from Social Enterprise UK. Liz had previously given those community champion delegates in the audience a history of the Social Enterprise Places programme, and explained why any community might wish to consider becoming a Social Enterprise Place and how they go about doing it.

The formal part of the event was preceded by a very vibrant exhibition where twenty of the county’s most inspirational Social Enterprises were stand-holders: due to an unfortunate veterinary emergency we were unable to have the Alpacaly Ever After alpacas and llamas meeting and greeting delegates outside the Rheged entrance; but in addition to having a stand in the exhibition, CHoC also brought along the “Melissa” bus, where delegates and the visiting public could have short health checks carried out.

Delegates from other UK Social Enterprise Places who stayed the night at the Westmorland Hotel, Tebay were treated to an early morning tour of the recently opened Growing Well Kitchen Garden Social Enterprise on the northbound services.

The second day of the event centred upon the “Safari” – where delegates were transported to Alston Moor to view and interact with the Social Enterprise sector there in its natural environment. This included the Alston Moor Partnership, the Alston Wholefood Shop, Cybermoor, the newly opened Chat Room – and at Nenthead, The Hive and the Community Shop & Post Office. The Safari finished with a tour of the Nenthead Community Snowplough depot at Hayring.

In the time since, the event has received positive feedback from all who attended; be they the exhibitors at the Rheged event, the Alston Social Enterprises that were involved in the Alston Moor Safari, those delegates from other Social Enterprise Places, delegates from the Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership steering group and its wider membership, or Member or officer delegates from the two new Unitary Authorities, has been exceptionally positive. Many very useful contacts have also been established, so the networking elements have also worked well indeed.

Everyone from the Partnership would like to express their thanks and appreciation for the time that Cllr Virginia Taylor (the Cabinet Member of Westmorland and Furness Council responsible for Sustainable Communities and Localities) devoted to us over the two days of the celebration event, especially her very heart-felt speech at Rheged. Virginia clearly understands how the local Social Enterprise sector can contribute towards the priorities of the Council and how the sector enriches the lives of local people and their communities. We very much look forward to continuing to work with Virginia and the officers at Westmorland and Furness Council.

Thank you to Rob, Martin and Daniel for planning and organising the events, and our gratitude to the organisations that sponsored and supported the occasion – Westmorland and Furness Council, Cumberland Council, Social Enterprise UK and Rheged. This ensured that the events were such a success and that the Social Enterprise sector both in Alston Moor and throughout the county received the recognition it thoroughly deserved.

For your interest and information, the itineraries for the two events, plus a catalogue listing the Social Enterprise exhibitors at Rheged the presentations made by speakers and the guide to the Social Enterprises that we visited during the Alston Moor Safari have been linked to the right.

The next Social Enterprise Places event will be held in November, to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of Plymouth becoming the world’s first Social Enterprise City.

CSEP Alston Moor

Photo Credit Amerie Rose (Plymouth Social Enterprise Network)

CSEP Alston Moor

Photo Credit Becx Carter (CSEP Project Officer)

CSEP Alston Moor