I was visiting the Oxford Hub, set up by pioneering Adam O'Boyle who saw the need to encourage students to get engaged with the charity sector and to get involved in social action. So they have leased a splendid georgian building in central Oxford (formerly the Taj Mahal restaurant) and converted into an excellent meeting place, restaurant and social sector offices. They have expanded into the house next door and more recently into a small guest house. Its a traditional social enterprise model, where the profits from the business activities go into supporting the wider charitable aims of encouraging students to volunteer etc.
A great place and Adam is the type of enterprising guy you want to back! He has plans for other Hubs on this model and in negotiation for a Cambridge Hub. He wants to cover the country!
We had lunch at the Perch, a gorgeous Oxford pub of ancient lineage and set in the Port meadow; a place of walking and boating. The Hound found it most agreeable and I'm glad to say enlightened pub landlords allow dogs inside. These day there is a growing dog fascism where dogs are prohibited from inside shops,pubs, buildings etc. I'd ban the dog haters not the dogs if I had my way!
But now I'm in Birmingham. The Tory conference. I arrived yesterday. A social action reception in a ghastly airless room. I stayed for a while and then decamped with Seb Elsworth for a decent dinner ....
Up early to do a Social Investment Business fringe where I banged the table for action on more loans to the sector. Then had a private word with Nick Hurd MP afterwards. I'm now off for a lunch with City UK. And more fringes. And tomorrow another wretched breakfast fringe. Up early. Soggy croissants. Bad coffee. Why do I do this ?