Hi All

You may be wondering why you had not had any new meetings dates or invitations through from the Fife Social Enterprise network (FSEN) of late?  If you have a meeting date of the 26th April here at Brag please note that this meeting has now been cancelled.

Andrew McDaniel, Paul Cruise and I (the FSEN Management Group) had decided at the last FSEN Management Meeting back in February that we would suspend any future meetings until we had a clear commitment from Scottish Government on how the SEN’s would be now be supported and resourced. There was also a concern that we were not maybe supporting the social enterprise sector in Fife by just having regular meetings and wanted to explore what additional support was actually wanted and needed and had already looked at a planned visit to the Lothians to see how they were approachingthings over there with a view to exploring good practice. Sadly aftera number of cancellations we were forced to cancel the trip last minute and offer our apologies to WSEN whilst agreeing to pick up their catering bill.

Ata strategic level we were disappointed that although mentioned in the Scottish Government’s 10 year strategy and then again in the recent action plan there was no fixed commitment to what resources we (FSEN) would have and who would be there to supply them.

FVA have offered us some support however until we had a clear indication and guarantee of what the FSEN was there to do I felt compelled as FSEN Chair to put this offer on hold. I have informed SENSCOT and Scottish Government of our current actions and we are awaiting a response.

To be clear we have not disbanded the FSEN it’s just that we are just not having any fixed meetings for now.

Andrew, Paul and I have agreed that we will review things in the summer once we know for sure what resources/support we have access to andthe format of our future communication and support. My own personal view is that social enterprise staff tend to me busy doing the business so taking time out to attend meetings is not always good use of their precious time. I would like to see more robust access to webinars and specialist advice services and this will form part of any future discussions.

I will also take this opportunity to inform you that our own Social Enterprise Advisor Pedro Santos is now away full time running his own social enterprise in North Lanarkshire and so has finally handed in his Brag ID. You will be pleased to know that we have now found his replacement and my thanks go out to Andrew McDaniel and Graeme Ferguson who helped with the recruitment process. Our new advisor is a lady called Susan Oak and she starts here at Brag next week. Susan comes with experience of starting up several social enterprises and will be working closely with Lee to support our new budding social entrepreneurs. They can both be contacted here at Brag in Crosshill if you need support or advice. Susan will also be working with Graeme Ferguson to pull together  a range of events to help stimulate SE in Fife.

At a strategic level we have now set up the Fife Social Economy Partnership and will be working with FVA, FC Economic Development and Fifes leading Social Enterprises to deliver on a new joint strategy.

Many thanks for your patience during this time of change and I would hope to keep you updated on any further developments

Kind regards

Brian Robertson-Fern

Chair of Fife Social Enterprise Network (FSEN)