The Clothes Club hits Dalston rooftop – to raise money for Bootstrap Campus

We’ve been pretty busy the last few months, planning the 2nd Clothes Club event on Wednesday 4th September. It’s a chance to enjoy the last of the summer, hopefully, on the Dalston rooftop. We’ve been in touch with their team since last summer when we decided to first launch TCC, so it’s a pretty weird feeling that the event is suddenly upon us.

We’re supporting Bootstrap Campus who run programmes and workshops for disadvantaged kids in Hackney. Our first Clothes Club supported Hackney Pirates who also help kids in Hackney, with pioneering educational programmes (after school hours). The youth sector is definitely something we’re passionate about, so it’s great to be partnering with yet another great social enterprise in this space.

Bootstrap Campus are part a social enterprise, Bootstrap Company, who have been around since 1977. They help incubate 100s of early stage companies and believe ‘in the power of creativity and micro-enterprises’. By leveraging the creative enterprises that are part of the Bootstrap building community, they develop programs that focus on creative learning and career building, all done within the perfect space – the iconic Print House building, the WW2 bunker and sought after Dalston rooftop.

Their CEO Sara Turnbull is a ‘Chartered Environmentalist with experience in holistic sustainability, energy efficient retrofit and behaviour change’, she’s no doubt had a major impact on the company (and I’d love to interview her).

If you’re free on Wednesday evening pop by with 3 items of quality clothing to swap. You’ll get tokens in return which you can exchange for clothes and do your bit for the environment. There will be cocktails, live sketching of the event in action, and a famous DJ. But best of all for just £10 you’re not only getting new items, it also helps kids in Hackney (win:win).

Thanks for your support TheclothesClub_Poster_Sept4_final

Action Aid blogger meet up – 4th June #actionaidmeetup

I’ve just been invited to my first blogger meet up by Action Aid. For old hands to this sort of thing it’s no big deal but I’m pretty excited.  If you have a blog and fancy coming you can register here.

They want us to come together to meet with fellow bloggers and tweeters to ‘discuss the importance of food, both in the world’s richest nations, where we can enjoy it in abundance, and in poorer countries, where finding each meal is the centre of existence for many’.

There are some great speakers on subjects as varied as how to cook food brilliantly, to what it’s like to live in a country where millions don’t have enough of it.

When:  4 June 2013

Where: The Crown Tavern, 43 Clerkenwell Green, Clerkenwell, London, EC1R 0EG

Time: 6pm – 8.30pm

Who are the speakers?

Fay Ripley – a British actress of Cold Feet fame will be talking about her passion for food, as well as her experience of visiting Tanzania – where millions of people go hungry every year – and where she also sponsors a child.

Joy Mghoi Mwakisambi – a young campaigner who is visiting from Kenya will speak about the major issues affecting the poorest people in her country, and how we can all add our voices to the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign, which is calling for G8 leaders to tackle the broken food system.

Rachel Beer – founder of the popular #NFPTweetup. An expert in putting on engaging events linking good causes with sympathetic online communities, she will look at the mutually beneficial relationship emerging between charities and bloggers.

What a great line up! Looking forward to meeting some like minded people and discussions about something which unites us all.

Crowd impact: The World’s Largest Social Enterprise Pitch Event

Pitching ideasBen Goldhirsh is the co-founder and CEO of GOOD a community you should join and follow if you want to try to make a difference. They’re a global ‘community of, by and for pragmatic idealists working towards individual and collective progress ‘ = good.

Ben’s a judge for CROWDIMPACT the world’s largest Social Enterprise pitch event offering $100million in capital which is up for grabs.

Social Enterprises get to pitch their ideas in front of an audience of entrepreneurs and investors, dragon’s den style, to win a cash prize and also exposure to impact investment professionals.

GOOD feel what brings Social Enterprises to scale is communities coming together to ‘barn raise’ like this. This is why Crowdfunder has teamed up with GOOD, TED Fellows, X PRIZE Foundation, Social Enterprise Alliance, and many other partner communities for CROWD IMPACT.
The judges need help in deciding who the finalists will be and ultimately which ones will get funded. Here’s how GOOD say you can get involved:
  • Click here to find the social enterprises you believe in and want to support.
  • Click Follow Company on the top right of each company profile you support.
  • Click Share Company to spread the word and share to your social network.

The Clothes Club – raising money for social enterprises

TheClothesClub_black The Clothes Club, a new garment swapping community, has been launched with a goal of raising £5,000 for local social enterprises, at events held by the group.

I came up with the idea a year-ago and have been working since then to get the right team in place. Lucy Dunleavy and Carmen Ortiz Guillen, two East London women with a passion for social enterprise, will be helping with the operation.

A Facebook page is now live and the blog will be ready in April ahead of the first event. What’s the insight behind The Clothes Club? Often there are items in our wardrobe we still like but just don’t wear anymore or perhaps a gift that’s perfectly fine but not your taste. With this in mind we’re forming a community of clothes swappers for good causes.

The money raised at each event will go to a different social enterprise, a sector that’s close to our hearts. We’ll be supporting Hackney Pirates with the event in April, who help 9-12 year olds.

Hopefully The Clothes Club will be a viable alternative to ebay, gumtree and car boot sales. It works this way: You pay £10 to bring 3 items (decent items rather than tat). You receive tokens and can swap them of other items. If there’s something extra you want you can always buy extra tokens. The money raised goes to a good cause and you go home with three new things and potentially some new friends. Sorry boys but it’s a girl only thing for now.

If you’d like to join the community you can here and we look forward to seeing you at the events.

The Social Value Act & Conference – November 20th 2012

As always Social Enterpise UK are doing great things, I’m intrigued into the previous backgrounds they had (must read up). They seem to be true demonstrators of the power of community, when people have a common cause. They’ve had a recent success playing an instrumental role in SalesForce (shivers as I write it) dropping their ridiculous attempt to trademark ‘social enterprise’.

Social Enterprise UK have also triumphed in making a Private Members’ Bill become law in March, which is a ‘rare feat.’  The Social Value Act (which comes into force in January), in a nutshell, means public bodies now need to consider the social value a company creates, the benefits to the community, when they award a contract. The act should result in social enterprises delivering more public services and getting more budget, as they’re committed to doing more than simply making money from a contract. What a role reversal from the Thatcher years.

Social Enterprise UK will be creating guides, best practice events and training offers, to support social enterprises and public sector bodies to build their capacity to comply with the Act. I’d like to go to the  Social Value Conference next Tuesday, particularly to listen to how people are measuring social value and to dispel some slight cynicism I have:

  • Is the Act really going to create good for communities?
  • The threshold is £173,934 if awarded by local authorities and £113,000 by central government, so this doesn’t really help smaller social enterprises deliver public services?
  • Many aspects of social value and wellbeing do not have market values and are difficult to measure. Will the Act create increased burdens, which smaller suppliers might find difficult to bear?

World Kindness Day – November 13th


Luckily I’ve just discovered its World Kindness Day tomorrow. Yesss.

The day started in 1998, by the World Kindness Movement, which now contains 18 member nations. Who’d have thought hey.
The purpose of World Kindness Day is to ‘look beyond ourselves, our country, culture, race and religion; and realise we are citizens of the world.’ For true progress to be made, surely we have to focus on this commonality. We begin to experience empathy for each other when we have things in common – so be kindaware!

Louise Burfitt-Dons heads up Kindness Day UK, which aims to promote the value of kindness in society and the amount of kind acts on this day. Their mission is to make everyone in the UK carry out an act of kindness on November 13th, what may you do?

She’s a very impressive women, check her out.

Collaboration between generations – is it important?

How many elderly people do you know, other than in your family? I have to say 0, which is pretty awful but probably quite common living in london.

Global Net 21 report the following which is a nice sum up: ‘Society’s elders are being left behind the advancing technology that the younger generation is fully embracing. Equally, younger people are missing out on vital wisdom won from hard lessons learnt by their elders. Can the younger generation upgrade the older one? Can the older generation help younger people tap into wisdom appropriate for their era?’

Empowering change through collaboration 

I’m going to attend their online seminar tomorrow night investigating this and the experts look interesting. If you’d like to join it’s at 7.30. Collaboration between generations is surely the essence of society?

Collaboration is a hot topic for this year’s Social Media Week, so keep an eye out during 24-28th September. 90% of events are free, all you have to do is register and select the events you’d like to attend, from August 28th.

The parenting community: Brit Mums Live 2012


I went to Brit Mums Live on Fri 22nd & Saturday 23rd June. I’m not a mum. I’d love to be but I’m a little way off. I do however love my 6 nieces and nephews to death but I’ve never changed a nappy – that’s gross.

I went as I’m really interested in different communities and ‘tribes’. It’s something I’ll keep coming back to on this blog. I also freelance and would like to build relationships with some parenting bloggers, for brands & campaigns in the future. How can you start to do this without actually meeting and finding out what motivates people?

I felt a bit like a fraud though so I kept quite a low profile. When I did have a chat to people everyone was so friendly. In particular Carly from Not A Nottinghill Mum (correction Jane is NANM who I met. Carly sponsored her to attend) Cat from Cat Dean and the lovely Jeen Vojta from the family run business Vitamix.

The ticket price was approx £70 for a delegate, it was £350 for a PR company or brand to attend so quite a big leap but great value for money for ‘normal’ people, which I guess is the point – make it affordable.

They did have major sponsors though such as Lego, Vitamix, Butlin’s, Disney, Johnson’s and Google+ were also their to pimp their product. So although they made the ticket price pretty affordable, they can’t have done too badly from the event (+35 sponsors)

It was interesting to see the ‘ambassador’ programmes some brands offered and the most fun was with Piggy Bank Kids, check them out, they’re doing great things. Lego and Piggy Bank Kids created the most buzz no doubt, with their creative ideas on the day which people were hash tagging, nice touch & effort #spotthepig  #LEGODUPLOcreativecakes

Britmums & The Brewery thoroughly spoilt everyone, from constant refreshments, cakes, lunch, sweets, prosseco, to the heavy weight goody bags at the end (they literally hurt your arm carrying them). The workshops throughout the 2 days covered off a broad agenda but I didn’t learn anything massively new, they were insightful though. I missed the SEO workshop, which was the main one I wanted to see. Luckily they’ll be uploading all the presentations.

The keynote speeches on the Saturday towards the end were shortlisted bloggers, reading out a blog post they’d been selected for. I thought it may feel a bit self indulgent but they were actually very emotional and people walked out crying. ‘You have to make people  laugh or cry’ was a common bit of advice from the weekend.

Although I felt like I was snooping on a special day for very special people, mums, I’m glad I got to see the community that exists. Brit Mums started in 2008 and had grown to a tight-knit community of 3500 parents. Becoming a mother is no doubt the biggest change in your life and it’s great to see mumpreneurs and the support that’s available.

Addition: Idea for next year’s Brit Mums Live 2013

Lots of attendees talked about the incestuous nature and wanting to widen their reach and community beyond parents or parenting bloggers. Could there be different sessions and sections, split into crafts, fashion, lifestyle, food, tech, inviting non-parenting bloggers. Sponsors and goodie bags could then be tailored by these passions.

Social Enterprise: Chris Haughton’s Fair Trade Rugs

[slideshow]It was Fairtrade fortnight from the 27th February to 11th March and there were lots of events at The People’s Supermarket. I went to one on ‘Fair Trade in Design’.

Ki’pe’peo Designs were there on March 5th, they produce handmade cards from recycled material, made by women in Kenya. They had a challenge, they were looking for new designs something more contemporary but needed the women to still be able to make them by hand and for them to remain authentic. What a perfect pairing with Chris Haughton who’s an incredible designer and illustrator (and also an author of award winning childrens books). He was there talking about Node and kindly agreed to help Ki’pe’peo. You can see initial results in the gallery above, a sneak preview before they go on sale. Photos are by Carolin Weinkopf.

Chris has always been active in fair trade and Node was set up, as images of his rug designs became popular on the web, and were picked up on lots of blogs: ‘designers were emailing to ask if they could design their own rugs and buyers were emailing to ask if they could buy them. Node was set up to help facilitate this.’

Node’s aim is to connect a global network of designers and artists with traditional Nepalese carpet makers, so beautiful unique handmade rugs can be created. Employees are given fair wages and taught literacy & skills. Their work also help support a school of 260 children and an orphanage of nineteen. The rugs are doing a whole lot of good #socent

Being kind isn’t cool?

Since I started my blog, I’m sure lots of people don’t fully understand the reason why.

I’m really enjoying the whole process and I want to explore kindness, particularly why being kind isn’t cool? Why is being kind often looked upon in a cynical way and why do I personally find it’s a bit embarrassing. It’s a shame.

This is a great round up by Seomoz – Being Nice Isn’t a Marketing Tactic. Or Is It? I think the same goes for personal giving too.

‘If the warm feeling you get from the favor itself (the intrinsic reward) isn’t enough, then you shouldn’t be taking action at all. The extrinsic reward – the link, or the tip, or the new customer – is gravy. If you can’t grasp that, stop.”

There’s often pressure living in London to go to ‘the’ club nights, restaurants and spend money wearing certain brands. What if Pay it Forward was a day-to-day occurrence that wasn’t so frowned upon and volunteering was a regular thing, that was on the curriculum at school, so it’s engrained in us.

I’m going to be calling on fellow bloggers for their help with ideas, for making being kind cool, can it be?  If you have any let me know

I’ll be carrying them out this year as an experiment really and to put my money where my mouth is. They’ll be under the umbrella idea of being ‘Kindaware’. Hopefully it will help me break the ice.