Want to grow your business and your impact? Apply to join arc

The arc programme is open for new social enterprises to join - apply today!


Social enterprises choose their own package from a FREE support menu, including:

• Expert business leaders for advice and project delivery

Profiling and new business opportunities 

• Subsidised social impact consultancytraining and premises

Who is it for?

Ambitious social enterprises that want to grow their business.

How to apply:

Register your interest online or call on 020 7148 6735. A dedicated staff member will get back to you with an application form for you to submit by Friday 24 October 2014.

Want more information?

arc is supported by our Corporate Partners, led by Founding Partners BP and Visa Europe, together with Exterion Media, Freshfields and Schawk. Find out more about arc.

arc is an initiative of Business in the Community, a unique business movement committed to transforming business and transforming communities. Find out more www.bitc.org.uk

Any other questions?

Call Mike Freeman, arc Programme Manager, 07803 027 989

 Or get in touch via Twitter - @BITC_arc  - #joinarc

Education technology specialist Insane Logic receives €1 million investment

Insane Logic, the education technology specialist social enterprise, has received a €1 million investment from Ananda Ventures. These funds will be channelled into their MyChoicePad software and tools, which help children and adults with learning difficulties communicate more effectively with their carers, family and friends.


—MyChoicePad Pro for iOS and Android includes over 4000 symbols.—

The pan-European Ananda Ventures backs enterprises that provide innovative and important solutions for urgent social challenges. Insane Logic is its first UK education technology investment.

With MyChoicePad, Insane Logic is seeking to help solve a significant UK and global problem. In the UK alone 2.2 million people need speech, language or communication support. MyChoicePad’s application is already used by more than 50,000 individual parents and carers to help improve communication with the children and adults they care for.

Recent pilots of MyChoicePad in conjunction with education and disability service providers have shown:

-          MyChoicePad has led to improvement of up to a third in children’s vocabulary

-          MyChoicePad has led to an improvement of 48-68% in the vocabulary of adults with learning difficulties

Zoe Peden, the co-founder and chief executive of Insane Logic said: “This major investment means Insane Logic can now help many hundreds of thousands more children and adults improve their communication and quality of life every day. We are so proud that our MyChoicePad products are making such an important difference to people with learning difficulties, educational establishments, disability organisations, carers and parents.”

MyChoicePad Pro is available to download for iOS and Android. Find out more or download directly by visiting their website.

Get creative or green fingered this Saturday 20 September

Do It Yourself Upholstery Workshop – with Petit Miracles Interiors

In a fun and creative atmosphere you can learn how to upholster a traditional “drop-in” seat, turning a drab chair into a fab chair, including:

  • Web a frame
  • Attach hessian and bridle ties
  • inserting appropriate fibre
  • Attaching calico, wadding and fibre

When: 11 am – 5pm (all day workshop)

Where: Petit Miracles Shop, First floor, West12 Shopping Centre, Shepherd’s Bush Green
London, W12 8PP

Find out more and book online.

Plant sale- site tour – Good eats – with Cultivate London

Cultivate London are opening their site at Commerce Road to the public for an afternoon of activities, including site tours, gardening demonstrations, and a plant sale with great deals on autumn and winter veg.

When: 11am – 3pm.

Where: Commerce Road, Brentford, TW8 8LR – across from the Brentford Lock West Marketing Suite.

Find out more.

Fantastic offers from birthday Bikeworks until Friday 19 September

Bikeworks the cycling social enterprise is eight years old

Happy Birthday Bikeworks!

On the 19th of September Bikeworks will be eight years old - and everyone is invited to celebrate with their special offers.

Despite the common challenges facing social enterprises as well as the UK’s deepest recession Bikeworks have grown from a small cycle training provider to an organisation with over 30 staff; three shops; inclusive cycling clubs; an employment and training programme that gets 60% of people into work; the UK’s largest bike recycling depot; AND pop-up services that support businesses to get their staff cycling.

Bikeworks attribute this success primarily to the people who wield their purchasing power to buy social with their products and services.So to celebrate and say thanks they’re running eight special offers….all available until Friday 19 September as long as you say Happy Birthday!

Workshops Prices – going back to their initial prices for anyone that says Happy Birthday (saving around £5 a service)

Bike maintenance Courses – 25% off either our know your bike love your bike, or bike first aid courses.

Retail – 8% off any new purchase in store

Pop-Up Bikeworks – we’re offering businesses the chance to have a free mobile maintenance session where our mechanics come out and fix bikes in your place of work

Team Building – any new team building booking we take in the next eight days will come free with a birthday cake to say thanks.

All Ability - free All Ability Cycling sessions to community groups that might benefit

Reuse - a free session at fix your own bike sessions for anyone

Cycle Training – Anyone booking a cycle training session will get a free Bikeworks water bottle

Three arc social enterprises heralded as New Radicals

Nesta and The Observer’s ‘New Radicals’ list collates and celebrates the UK’s most innovative social entrepreneurs from across all sectors.

From over a thousand applications, just fifty organisations made the list – including three brilliant arc social enterprises:

Spacehive - an online fundraising platform for neighbourhood improvement projects. It aims to make it easy for people to transform their local areas by sharing the cost of popular projects - from playgrounds to high street makeovers

(Neighbourhood group celebrating fundraising success via Spacehive’s online platform)

Dot Dot Dot - gives people who do great voluntary work cheap accommodation by placing them in properties which would otherwise be empty.  By reducing their living costs – and by providing support, encouragement and a peer network for their volunteering – Dot Dot Dot enables them to give more time and to have a greater impact.  

(Two volunteers that can contribute more to the community thanks to low-cost living via Dot Dot Dot)

Mazi Mas - a roaming restaurant that brings exciting, authentic and diverse home cooking to the public alongside creating employment opportunities for women from migrant and refugee communities.

(A formerly unemployed woman cooking up a delicious feast in her new role as a Mazi Mas chef)

For more information see the Guardian website with an interview with Niki Kopcke from Mazi Mas and an update on what happened to arc social enterprise Rubies in the Rubble after they made it onto the list in 2012.

Top Tips for Social Saturday

It’s just 48 hours until Social Saturday, a day to celebrate and buy from social enterprises. All across the country there are events and special offers to encourage more people and businesses to wield their purchasing power and make a difference by buying social.

Join the #socialsaturday conversation on Twitter, and see our top tips for how and where to get involved with arc social enterprises:


Browse the stalls at Acton Market, run by Action Acton

  • Local entrepreneurs will be selling everything from low cost fashion,  unique Swarovsky jewellery,  hand -made celebration cards, organic vegetables from MINDFOOD, music/Cd’s, bric a brac from the Blue Cross stall;  ethnic goods and ethnic home cooked food. 

Acton Market, The Mount/King Street, Acton, W3 9NW. (Adjacent to Morrison’s supermarket.)  

Special discount on recruitment services for employers, and free job advice for young people, by Bamberry Consulting

  • Bamberry are offering a 30% discount for any SME, public sector, and corporate sector employers who sign up for their recruitment services between 08-16 September. Young job seekers are also invited to email Bamberry for help to get a new, exciting career, with a free job advice session this Saturday.

Bamberry Consulting, 53 Chandos Place, London, WC2N 4HS.

Save money on unique furniture pieces and home accessories, with Petit Miracles Interiors

  • Save 10% on any item from Petit Miracles Interiors furniture shop, filled with quirky and beautiful upcycled furniture. Shoppers will also be treated to a behind-the-scenes treat with an upcycling demonstration at the entrance to the West12 Shopping Centre.

Petit Miracles Interiors, First Floor, West12 Shopping Centre, Shepherd’s Bush, W12 8PP

Free Breakfast Talk ‘The Future of Business’, with Impact Hub Westminster

  • Learn how not-for-profit business is likely to replace private enterprise at the centre of domestic economies over the coming decades, and how you can help accelerate this trend toward true sustainability. Find out more and book online to secure your place.

Impact Hub Westminster, 1st floor, New Zealand House, 80 Haymarket , SW1Y 4TE

Pick up a free tea or coffee, with Unity Kitchen & Events

Go treasure hunting and pick up a bargain, with Furnish

For more information on the business benefits of buying from social enterprises, including top tips from experts see our guides:

Buying from social enterprises – A guide for suppliers to business

Buying from Social Enterprises - A guide for buying and procurement professionals

Buying from Social Enterprises - A brief for Chief Executives

Free tea or coffee this Saturday at Unity Kitchen, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Visitors to Unity Kitchen Cafe and Events in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park can pick up a free coffee or tea when they buy a slice of homemade cake this Saturday 13th September, the UK’s first ‘Social Saturday’.

Unity Kitchen Cafe interior at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

The cafe is located in the stunning natural landscape of the north of the Park, providing visitors with a relaxing space to sit and chat over a drink and something to eat while kids discover new adventures in the exciting Tumbling Bay Playground.

Customers will have a choice from a selection of delicious homemade carrot cake, lemon and polenta cake, chocolate cheesecake and chocolate brownies.


“Since we opened last summer we’ve served thousands of hungry and thirsty customers who have come to enjoy our top-quality locally sourced produce as well as our fantastic family-friendly setting here in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. So, wearing our social enterprise hat and to show our support for raising awareness of community-minded businesses, we want to give something back to the visitors who come from the local community and from far and wide to sample what we have to offer. What could be better with your slice of delicious homemade cake than a free cuppa to wash it down with?”

 Unity Kitchen’s Social Enterprise Service Manager, Amy McParland (pictured)

Unity Kitchen Cafe
Timber Lodge, 1A Honour Lea Avenue,
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park,
London E20 1DY
T: 020 7241 9076

OPEN: Usual hours - Monday-Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm. Sat-Sun 9.00am to 6.00pm

TRANSPORT: Stratford tube/rail station. Download a map.

Social Saturday aims to raise awareness of social enterprises across the UK and to encourage people to spend their money with them. It is led by Social Enterprise UK, arc’s strategic partner. To find out more about Social Saturday and how you can get involved or register an event, visit www.socialsaturday.org.uk.  To keep abreast of Social Saturday news follow the #socialsaturday hashtag on Twitter.


Unity Kitchen is a social enterprise on the arc programme. Unity Kitchen provides catering services, cafes and venue hire across London, alongside training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Follow them on Twitter @unitykitchen or visit their website www.unitykitchen.co.uk to find out more.

Social Saturday to hit Shepherds Bush - Furnish’s social enterprise market

Furnish, the furniture and home accessory re-use service, will host a ‘social enterprise market’ at the West12 Shopping Centre, Shepherds Bush this Saturday 13 September, as part of the UK’s first Social Saturday.


SEUK’s Social Saturday is designed to raise awareness of and boost the number of consumers buying from Britain’s 70,000 plus social enterprises.

The market will feature a special half-price sale on selected Furnish items, as well as the chance to find out more about Furnish and other organisations such as arc social enterprise Petit Miracles, as well as Goodbeans Cold Brew Coffee, Groundworks and the London Cheese Board. Doors are open 10-6pm.

Furnish @ West 12, Ground floor, West12 Shopping Centre
Shepherds Bush Green
London W12 8PP
Click here for a map.

Furnish manager, Mark Hardy, said: “We’re extremely excited to celebrate Social Saturday and give visitors the opportunity to find out more about businesses driven by a social mission, dedicated to improving local communities.”

In partnership with London Re-use Network, Furnish collect unwanted furniture and makes these items available to local residents and organisations. A generous discount system is offered to enable low income households to furnish their homes. Their shop is open to all and holds a large range of household furniture and home accessories at prices the Guardian described as ‘unbeatable’. Follow their twitter feed for photo updates of stock.

Furnish is part of Shepherds Bush Housing Group’s dynamic social enterprise, Staying First, which is supported by the arc programme. Staying First also delivers housing, debt and welfare benefit advice, home improvements, aids and adaptations, painting and decorating and repairs and maintenance.

To find out more about Social Saturday visit www.socialsaturday.org.uk and follow the #socialsaturday hashtag on Twitter.

Social investment for social enterprises – what, when and how to successfully raise funds

Do you know the right type of investment for your social enterprise? Applications are now open for Impact Hub Westminster’s new free Impact Investment Readiness Programme. Any London based social enterprise that wants to know how to get investment can apply to join via their website, with full details available here. Book now as spaces are limited! #impinvready

To co-incide with this launch, arc and Impact Hub Westminster are hosting a talk on Social Investment and a networking event for arc social enterprises, on Friday 10 October.

The talk will be led by Tom Storey, Director at K10, an arc social enterprise, who has successfully raised £1,000,000 in social investment. Tom will share his learnings and experiences from his investment journey as a social enterprise, including examples of questions posed by investors and top tips to help other social enterprises benefit from K10’s success.

arc social enterprises are invited to hear Tom’s talk from 17:30 – 18:00, followed by some refreshments and networking with arc social enterprises, arc business volunteers and Impact Hub member organisations.


17:30 – 18:00 - Tom Story, Director at K10 on Social Investment

18:00 onwards –arc mix@6 networking event


Impact Hub Westminster, New Zealand House, 80 Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4TE

Tickets for this event are only available for arc social enterprises. Please book online using the link that was emailed to you. If you have lost this or have other questions please email Programme Manager mike.freeman@bitc.org.uk.

Think, snap and tweet!

As the old adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Get involved with a new competition from The Philosophy Foundation and tweet a picture of their new bus advert to win a free copy of their new book ‘The Numberverse’.


The Numberverse addresses the conceptual development of numbers and shows how to build firm foundations in maths - ideal for use by primary and secondary teachers (of children aged 7-13 years old) or parents who want to inspire their children, but perhaps never enjoyed maths themselves.

These thought-provoking posters can be found on the back of the 214 bus from Hampstead to Finsbury Circus in London, and in Wales on the buses out of Bridgend and Blackwood. To enter the competition simply send your snap via Twitter to @philosophyfound #TPFBUS.

The winner will be randomly selected at the end of September.

The Philosophy Foundation is a unique educational charity that brings philosophy to schools and the wider community. Find out more about them and how you can get involved by visiting their website.