Social enterprise

Our firm has specialised in social enterprise for a number of years, assisting in innovative enterprises that combine ideas, capital, social networks, property assets and enterprise to unlock enhanced civil value and impact.  Many projects have involved inclusion, asset reinvention and public sector reform and community involvement.

Main areas of practice

  • Commercial and charity integrated structures, including community-motivated asset-locked bodies
  • Structuring, start-ups and business transfers
  • Joint ventures, partnering arrangements, commercial collaboration
  • Community projects - including resource "hubs", retail centres, allotments and village shops
  • Finance - structures and documentation for finance streams, bonds, securitisation and other financial instruments; micro-finance; equity finance investment
  • Sustainability and renewable energy - joint ventures, construction, solar, anaerobic, micro hydro and wind power, sustainability requirements within new construction developments and the retrofitting of existing building stock, green energy initiatives, innovative and tax-efficient "green" leases for community green energy production
  • Property issues - acquisition and disposal, leases and licences, landlord and tenant issues
  • Data protection and intellectual property - brand protection, trademark registration and defence
  • Employment and Pensions - employee shared ownership, volunteers, contracts and services
  • Fraud and business risk

Clients

Our clients for whom we provide charity shops services include:

Catch 22 Portsmouth Diocesan Council
Cool Farm Alliance CIC Sustainable Food Lab
Eden Solarflair and Ebico The FSE Group
Landshare The Low Carbon Hub CIC
Low Carbon West Oxford Unilever
Ovesco University of Aberdeen
West Oxford Community Renewables

Significant experience

Examples of how our specialists have helped clients include:

  • Advising Catch 22 on establishing Auto 22 and subsequently on an innovative equity investment into Auto 22 by the social investment arm of a venture capital house.
  • Acting for Eden Solarflair and Ebico on their groundbreaking scheme at the Eden Project – the UK's first employee-owned renewables project.
  • Advised the FSE Group and the National Energy Foundation on establishing the Community Generation Fund, which is aimed at providing financial support to community-based energy schemes.
  • Set up a new CIC for the Cool Farm initiative, an innovative joint project between Unilever, the University of Aberdeen and the Sustainable Food Lab to develop low carbon tools for use in agriculture.
  • Advising on a community project to construct a village hall, involving collaborative working with the community, local authority and key land owners.
  • We advised on the establishment and structuring of the Low Carbon Hub, a community central resource for low carbon community projects and initiatives throughout the whole of Oxfordshire.  We also advised on its initial share offering to raise equity capital investment, and we provide ongoing advice in relation to the leasing of rooftops for solar panels, construction projects and various other initiatives.
  • Acted on a three-party joint venture to develop local partnerships in the developing world setting up micro-generation renewable technology projects (such as anaerobic digestion).
  • We have led in groundbreaking, innovative work on projects involving leasing community rooftops for solar panel projects, including advising on employee investment schemes, to assist those in fuel poverty.
  • Advised on the corporate structuring of the UK arm of an innovative international enterprise, utilising various legal structures to provide a new and efficient way of raising funds for charitable and community purposes.
  • Advised on a partnership and collaborative project between charities and commercial landlords to alleviate homelessness.
  • Advised social enterprises on collaborative schemes with local businesses to provide increased job opportunities for those in need within the local community.

Related expertise

Main contacts

Related Knowledge & Resources

Blake Morgan partner appointed to Oxford Local Enterprise Partnership board

Press Release

Blake Morgan partner Penny Rinta-Suksi has taken up a key position on the board of the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP).

Charities and social enterprises that contract with the Government to be subject to increased transparency

News

The Government has set out its policy on the transparency of information about publicly funded services in a set of principles called 'The Transparency of Suppliers and Government to the Public'.

Health and Social Care (Safety and Quality) Act 2015 given Royal Assent

News

The Health and Social Care (Safety and Quality) Act 2015 received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015.

New law in force and change of terminology for Industrial and Provident Societies

Industrial and provident societies should be aware of the new Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, which came into force on 1 August 2014.

Stakeholders' views sought on the Social Value Act

The government has launched a consultation, as part of a wider review, to assess how well the Social Value Act is working, and whether it would be beneficial to extend it.

Want to invest in a social enterprise? Tax relief now available

Investors looking to put their money into social enterprises can now benefit from tax relief on their investments, following the introduction of Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) earlier this year.