Peter Holbrook: What I did at the party conferences

Plus: Social Saturday succeeds and what is Enactus?

Peter Holbrook
Peter Holbrook

It was good to see a few friendly faces at the party conferences this year. The civil society presence was markedly down on previous years, but there was a decent sector turnout. Jeremy Corbyn was handed a massive marrow by the Brighton supermarket social enterprise hiSbe, and my chance encounter with him ensured he was on social enterprise message throughout the conference.

Like most of those at the Conservative conference in Manchester, I was called some sort of scum upon entry. But I'm pleased to report I discovered that at least one of the protesters is busily making rucksacks out of discarded life jackets collected from the beaches in Greece, returning the profits to the emergency response to the migrant crisis. This made it all worthwhile, and Social Enterprise UK got a new member.

Social Saturday was a huge success on 10 October, with more than 60 events taking place, powered by social enterprises, their supporters and, chiefly, by the Cabinet Office and the Key Fund. It was trending nationally on Twitter by 9am and early reports suggest that business was brisk for all who got involved.

Have you heard of Enactus? It is an initiative in which university teams from more than 35 countries compete to build the most impactful and sustainable social enterprise. Southampton University won this year's UK championship and will compete in the global event in Johannesburg. You can catch the team at the SEUK awards on 26 November.

Peter Holbrook is chief executive of Social Enterprise UK

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