Now For Something Different…… There is good news too…
This website and its Partner site “Destroying the Planet” mainly focus on the negative sides of Human behaviour and their effects on Climate Change. It is becoming clear that massive internationally co-ordinated action over lengthy periods of time will be necessary to save the planet from ruin.
Bad News about the future of the planet and the human race abounds. For example: a headline in the newspapers of 30/11/ 2023 reads; “Five million people die of poisonous air caused by burning fossil fuels”.
However, there are signs of hope, which often are invisible to the lenses of Governments and organisations such as the United Nations. Like the organisms that support forest trees, which are often underground fungi and nearly invisible insects, these organisations that offer practical support and hope to communities and individuals often go unrecognised and unsung by politicians and national institutions. This piece aims to recognise and offer praise to one such institution
It is called “The School for Social Entrepreneurs”, and operates mainly in the United Kingdom, although it has a branch in India.
The main characteristics are:
Its main platforms are learning, it does not offer solutions to the thousands of individuals that it has helped; instead it helps individuals to find their own solutions and pathways to solve often local problems. Through its “Action Learning” programmes it has supported thousands of individuals and small groups to establish not-for-profit organisations that address often local problems.
“Action Learning is a method for individual and organisational development based upon small groups of colleagues meeting over time to tackle real problems or issues in order to get things done; reflecting and learning with and from their experience and from each other as they attempt to change things.— John Edmonstone - The Action Learner’s Toolkit
But over the years, these small organisations have often created networks that work to spread the knowledge and understanding of how to address individual, community and often wider problems.
How did it start?
To go right back to the beginning, more than 25 years ago. Lord Michael Young, whose distinguished career covered the Foundation of the Open University and many other initiatives
The following description of his achievements is very revealing of the merits of the man:
Michael Dunlop Young, Baron Young of Dartington, (9 August 1915 – 14 January 2002), was a British sociologist, social activist and politician who coined the term "meritocracy". He was an urbanist of different dimensions such as academic researcher, polemicist and institution-builder.
During an active life he was instrumental in shaping UK Labour Party thinking. When secretary of the policy committee of the Labour Party, he was responsible for drafting Let Us Face the Future, Labour's manifesto for the 1945 general election, was a leading protagonist on social reform, and founded or helped found a number of socially useful organisations. These include the Consumers' Association, Which? magazine, the National Consumer Council, the Open University, the Institute for Community Studies, the National Extension College, the Open College of the Arts and Language Line, a telephone-interpreting business.
Towards the end of his career, Young became concerned to hand on to subsequent generations the knowledges and thinking that had coloured his life, so he aimed to establish a “school” to educate individuals like him. To do this he recruited a manager from industry, who turned out to understand even less than him about how to establish a learning institution.
Eventually, he was put in touch with Charlotte Chambers, who had extensive experience in the education sector and had initiated “Action Learning” programmes for senior managers across the world in a large British owned company.
Charlotte was recruited to establish the programmes envisaged by Lord Young, but broadened the aims to include any individuals who had a viable idea for setting up a social enterprise business.
From small initial beginnings, the School for Social Entrepreneurs programmes caught on and several school, locally funded. Were developed across the UK, with new schools being started by individuals and in the early years, in Canada and India.
Now, some 25 years later, the School for Social Entrepreneurs is a very successful enterprise, maintaining its original roots in Action Learning as the basic “lever for development, and expanding into all forms of learning, based on Mentoring and coaching. The number of Social Entrepreneurs and their businesses has reached over 10,000 over the years, and the School is widely recognises across the United Kingdom.
SSE is not alone…
A Sample of other organisations that are of benefit to the community. Each of these organisations are either owned by their Customers, or their Employees, or are Charities dedicated to doing good to Society. They are: