Supporting social enterprise is a piece of cake

Flagship Birmingham arts organisation and major local employer, Town Hall and Symphony Hall have declared their support for a new campaign which calls for publicly funded bodies to consider using social enterprises – businesses that trade for a social and/or environmental purpose – as an integral part of their procurement process.

The Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is campaign, promoting the procurement of third sector and social enterprise conferencing and hospitality services, was launched today (Thursday 14 February) during the Social Enterprise Mentor Event organised by Cloudberry and held at Birmingham’s Grade I listed Town Hall.

The campaign, which has brought together the organisations Social Enterprise West Midlands, BuySE and Think Venue, will make it easier to find and buy from local enterprise suppliers.

Town Hall and Symphony Hall have contracted Birmingham social enterprise Devenishgirl Bakery to supply 11,000 hand-made cakes on behalf of Birmingham City University, who are holding a number of graduation ceremonies for thousands of students at Symphony Hall during February and March. The contract, worth around £5,000 to the Weoley Castle*-based business venture, is the first major success of the *_Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is_ campaign.

Nick Loveland, Director of Operations at Town Hall and Symphony Hall said, “Our relationship with Devenishgirl Bakery is a great example of how companies can partner up with and champion the value and contribution that social enterprises can make to the local economy.”

The cake-making contract saw bakery founder Melanie Glass and team produce individually wrapped Victoria sponges on site at Symphony Hall prior to the graduations, reducing environmental impact, and follows on from the successful vintage tea room operation managed by Melanie and Rosie Ginday from fellow social enterprise Miss Macaroon at a recent bridal showcase event held at Town Hall.

Devenishgirl Bakery was set up in May 2012 and offers a range of home baked cakes, traybakes and biscuits; vintage tea parties and wedding packages. Their social mission is fulfilled by offering marginalised young people skills training and opportunities for paid employment.

The Social Values Act, passed in early 2012, requires that all local authorities, government departments, NHS bodies and housing associations in England and Wales explicitly consider how the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of an area is going to be improved by the commissioning of a service.

Follow the Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is campaign on Twitter, via

@thinkvenue / @buyseonline / @PYMWYMI_SocEnt #lovesocent #socent