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Business Start-up training & people who are HIV Positive

Time for me to Shine workshops & HIV Positive

Red Potato are really pleased to be working with our HertsAid friends to deliver part of the “Time for me to shine” programme.  “Time for me to shine” comprises of five employability workshops that will be held in September and October 2016. The workshops are aimed at HIV Positive service users. Red Potato will be delivering the business start-up training modules that form a part of this programme.  We’re really looking forward to making an impact!

Why is “Time for me to shine” needed?

It was another brilliant summer’s day for our filming – hence we have been “lucky” this year with outdoor filming; so different to the “wet” August reputation! Last week, we filmed some HertsAid service users talk about the proposed “Time for me to shine” programme.  Some of the service users we talked with,  were HIV Positive and they had experienced difficulty securing full time employment.  Consequently several people that we interviewed for the film, also said that they were interested to know more about self-employment.

We are grateful to everyone at HertsAid for their help with the filming and also their patience.  For us, the day was full of new insights.

We will be talking more about the “Time for me to shine” in the coming weeks, so do keep dropping by! For the time being here is a photo of the very helpful outreach team at HertsAid!
Herts Aid Photo

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#BAME Business Bootcamp in Stevenage

Onwards to Stevenage!

Hot on the heels of the “Business Bootcamp” last month at the Pomegranate Centre, Welwyn Garden City, comes the Stevenage Business Bootcamp!

We will be delivering two training sessions for future Stevenage entrepreneurs from the Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority communities (BAME).

Why a BAME Business Bootcamp?

The two sessions will equip local people with the skills to set and develop a business.  The report  A “Portrait of modern Britain said “there are higher aspirations to start-up amongst ethnic minority groups, especially Black African (35%) and Black Caribbean (18%) groups (compared with 10% for White British), but ‘conversion’ remains very low.” – it is this issue that the Red Potato Business Bootcamp on the 18th and 20th June, will address.

We will be running some taster sessions at the Stevenage Day on the 12th June.  Red Potato will be in the big tent with Herts CDA and Stevenage World Forum – which will be cosy!  So if you are in Stevenage, Herts on the 12th June do come and say “hello”!

SWF Business Bootcamp


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Business owners: do you remember what it was like to be 16?

No, we don’t remember either! But it certainly wasn’t an easy time; so huge congratulations to the young people who ventured into the Dragons lair last week to present their business plans.

Success, Failure and Experience

The teams came to tell the story of how they succeeded, failed and learnt from experience, during the 2016 Welwyn Hatfield Dragons Apprentice Challenge.

The eight teams had to brave a “friendly” grilling from our Super Dragons: Special thanks to our Super Dragons; Sir Roy Gardner, Robin Webb (St Lukes Hospice), Joanne Price (Barclays Bank) and Terry Michinson (Welwyn Hatfield Times) for “firing” off questions to the teams.

We were genuinely impressed by the preparation and passion shown by the teams.  It was great to hear their honest reflections upon the process.  Some of the young people said that their involvement had inspired them to continue to work with their charity and in some cases the young people said they were going to set up in business when they leave school.   Let’s hope they remember the lessons learnt as part of the Welwyn Hatfield Dragons Apprentice Challenge.

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A message for Hertfordshire based community groups & voluntary sector organisations

Here in the UK, Red Potato have been providing programme management support to the Herts Healthy Homes Partnership.

Red Potato are very happy to use this post to help promote to voluntary and community groups in Hertfordshire  the help available to local people (in Herts) via Hertfordshire Welfare Assistance Scheme.

Hertfordshire Welfare Assistance Scheme (HWAS) is delivered through partnerships in Hertfordshire to provide information, assistance and advice to people in financial crisis.

The Building Community Resilience Programme has been set up to enable local groups and organisations to bid for some funding which will support people and families in Hertfordshire during extraordinary times.

Hertfordshire based organisations can also bid for a ‘small grants’ fund of up to £20,000, which they can then use to coordinate and administer their own small grants process (see the attached guidance and application forms for further details).

A link to the guidance information and application forms is at the bottom of this post

Completed application forms should be emailed to tracy(dot)webber(at)hertfordshire(dot)gov(dot)uk or posted to : Tracy Webber at Hertfordshire County Council, Community Wellbeing Team, Hertfordshire County Council, SFAR202, Farnham House, Six Hills Way, Stevenage, SG1 2FQ.


Please note the closing date for all applications is noon on Monday 13th  April  2015.

HWAS Building Community Resilience Fund Application Form March 15

HWAS Building Community Resilience Fund Guidance Document March 25th

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Transformation in the Voluntary Sector

I am not an expert on the voluntary sector and don’t pretend to be.

But clearly the sector is in the process of massive changes.   The NCVO published a best practice guide for local authorities and the voluntary and community sector.   At a time when the prospects for the voluntary sector are “shrink, merge or go bust” it is all the more important that public sector organisations recognise the value of the voluntary sector and also the pressures that the voluntary sector are facing.     

Adherence to the CLG guidance on community right to challenge and giving the volutary sector a fair deal when imposing cuts  is only part of the answer.   Having a genuine, authentic discussion with the voluntary sector is what is needed, not megaphone diplomacy.