Following on from my announcement at the last meeting I can indeed confirm that the FSEN as a membership organisation will continue after 1st April 2020. However, I must announce that the additional 1-2-1 support previously being provided by BRAG will now no longer be available.
Before I outline the next steps I think It’s important to appreciate that the support previously being provided by BRAG (which included the running of the FSEN) was kindly being funded by Fife Council through its Business Gateway arm. Sadly with other pressures and with the government supporting a move to mainstreaming of all business support services they were struggling to justify its continuing. I think it’s appropriate to thank both Pam Stevenson and Graham Ferguson at Economic Development for their continued support given its one of very few councils that was putting money into SE support. After the announcement from the council back in December I communicated with the Third sector Unit at Scottish Government, our local TSI as well as CEIS (who have the Just Enterprise contract) to see if the support being provided by BRAG could continue in some way. Sadly we were unable to do so. That said, we have collected all your letters of support and we will pass them to the third sector unit with a hope that it shapes their thinking around real local delivery in the future.
Next Steps for FSEN
So what now? Well, thanks to a small legacy payment from Fife Council and a few thousand we had in the bank the FSEN meetings will still all take place and Sue is still going to be organising things. It’s just that we won’t be able to provide the 1-2-1 support that she once did. Please, don’t be tempted to ask her for more as she only has one day a week available now and I know with her passion she will want to do more for you probably all in her own time.
In essence we will now be directing you all to the help being provided by Fife Voluntary Action, Business Gateway and Just Enterprise. It’s clearly not good timing given the coronavirus outbreak and it’s going to be a real shift for us all but we will come through it I’m sure and I would ask that you adapt to this change. To help monitor support we have agreed that Sue will now send out regular surveys to everyone on their experiences so as to provide constructive comments to the providers.
Finally I would like to pay tribute to Sue who like Pedro before her has shown a real passion for Social Enterprise and is a true champion of the cause. Sue will still be working within BRAG and we will be working on a number of new projects that you will be made aware of as time progresses.
Good luck and I’ll see you all when we can when life returns to normal.
Brian Robertson-Fern (Chair)