Friday 21 March 2014

Soho and Glasgow

If you are ever in Soho Square, look up at the elegant Georgian town house in the SE corner. Emblazoned across the front is “House of Charity". This is the House of St Barnabas, a long standing charity providing help and support to young people, particularly to get them back into work through their academy and support schemes.

I have blogged about the wonderful developments here before. I went to see this place as it was transformed from a girl’s hostel into a club for social leaders. An inspirational CEO, Sandra Schembri (ACEVO member naturally) had the idea of turning the elegant " hostel" into a club that then provides income to support their work with deprived young people. The hostel had become outdated and inadequate for proper care and they wanted to focus on support for young people into work.

I was there hosting a dinner wearing my Social Investment Business hat. We were celebrating the new partnership we have formed with the Social and Sustainable Capital group, formed by 2 brilliant ex City lads who wanted to turn their huge financial acumen to further the reach of social finance. SIB and BSC have put capital behind 2 new funds they have established with a 20m pot for third sector organisations to apply for simple straightforward investment. It’s what the sector needs; not a lot of talk about equity and complicated social impact bonds. 

Amusing to bump into Peter Holbrook (CEO of SEUK) in the bar. He is a frequent visitor here he tells me!  ACEVO members can join St Barnabas at a reduced membership fee. I recommend it.

They even have a smart garden and Chapel (good place to marry!).

I also had a great meeting with CiarĂ¡n Devane, the CEO of Macmillan Cancer Care to talk about where we are in getting a reformed NHS. He also sits as a non-exec on NHS England so in a powerful position to influence the debate on shifting resources from hospital to community. Amusingly I flew up to Scotland afterwards to Chair some interviews for the Government and popped into the new Museum of Modern Art. In the cafe and library there I spotted this magnificent display from them. I know from personal experience that the advice and support they give to people with cancer is second to none.

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