We have a growing track record of sucessful projects some completed and some ongoing

We have produced a report, presentation and Conference in parternship with the Cooperative Group into Cooperative, Trade Union and Credit Union collaboration.

We have completed an R & D project for Stagecoach in their Social Value proposal for the SW Trains Franchise application

We co-led the application and continue to co-ordinate the Social Social Enterprise Zone

With ERIS we co-produced the Conference An Alternative Economy is Possible (Sept 2018)


Social Enterprise Link plans to be able to help develop a number of initiatives and help leading a movement of private and public business to the social economy enterprise Sector as well as helped support new and existing businesses.

We are working on;

Social Enterprise Opportunities Platform (See SE Opps)

Credit Union Support Organisation UK

Solent Social Enterprise Zone

Wessex, Southampton and other consortia development

Wessex Solidarity Economy Network

The Solidarity Economy is the manifestation of our solidarity actions. It is evident in many of our public, cooperative, social and civil society organisations. It is not private and personal but open and shared; it is not religious but humanist.

Social value, positive money, environmental value, peace, well-being for all and sane societies, egalitarian outcomes, open source, fairness, reducing wage differentials, democratic participation, respect for human rights and economic, social and environmental sustainability are all measures by which the Solidarity Economy might be evaluated.

Social Enterprise Link regards Social, Cooperative, Community, Mutual and Trading Charity enterprises along with Trade Unions, NGO's and constituted campaigning civil society organisations whose purpose is to meet the objectives of the solidarity economy as the core solidarity organisations. But unlike some definitions, we also consider international, national, regional and local government enterprise and service as solidarity organisations. But for all we want to see accountability of the service, as well as the representatives and politicians - solidarity requires producer and consumer engagement – it is empathic and doing with; not doing for, or doing to.


Collaborative membership bids and commissioning opportunities - Including A Heritage Lottery Fund bid, 'The History of Social Enteprise in the Solent area, an Awards for All bid 'Developing Social Value together', the SEUK Corporoate Challenge and we continue to look for opportunities for ourselves and our members


Barriers and Building Blocks to the Solidarity Economy in Europe (see below)



And we have worked on;

South West Trains Franchise Social Enterprise Partnership programme - Research and Development action report for the Stagecoach South West Trains Frianchise Tender

West Howe Social Enterprise ParkCreating a successful social enterprise or cooperative is also about creating the environment for it to thrive. Social solutions to housing, health, employment, retail, leisure etc. can be found and building the Enterprise Park idea is focussed on bringing all these together. In West Howe, 8 local organisations have agreed to help facilitate the development of Social Enterprises and cooperatives from which it is planned many jobs and activities will emerge.

Social Enterprise Consortia for Health (Wessex) – an organisation designed to help bring smaller social enterprise and cooperative health providers together to share knowledge and to make tender bidding much easier

SECOM – Building common objectives for Social Enterprises, CIC’s Cooperatives and Mutual organisations. Representatives of John Lewis, the Co-operative Group, Liverpool Victoria and others have been asked if they think there is the possibility of cooperative working across all SECOM (4th Sector) – so far, the answer has been yes.

ACTid: Arts Consortium in Dorset - project to buid an arts consortium for Dorset


Wessex Solidarity Economy Network


Social Enterprise Link is interested in helping develop a regional Solidarity Economy Networkwhich will help give direction of social and economic development in Wessex.

We believe that sustainable economic, social and environmental developments are essential for international and local social stability, citizen well-being and good working terms and conditions as well as ensuring the prevention of environmental degradation. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are a strong move towards this and we believe we can go further and that these issues are core to the social, economic and environmental purpose of Social Enterprise Link (Wessex) CIC.

To make these objectives effective we need democratically accountable strategies, policies and investment alongside coherent and cooperative approaches to sustainable development.

The Solidarity Economy is an emerging economic sectoral description as a part of the economy which is constituted by 'enterprises and organisations' that are created to meet economic, social and environmental sustainability through progressive democratic economic and political participation.

For the purpose of the coherence of the sector, we argue that along with Cooperative and social enterprises, the Solidarity Economy includes the public sector and civil society organisations such as Trade Unions, NGO's and others who are committed to more human centered and environmentally sustainable development.

How they work together is a question that needs consideration and we believe that by creating this regional network we would significantly strengthen our ability to develop a co-operative and sustainable future in Wessex. It would also help maintain good and comparable relationships with European regions which we see as advantageous and help further reinforce the idea of solidarity in Europe

The network should collaborate on creating a shared agenda and then finding ways to do this, for example;

  • Creating full employment

  • Creating commitment to fair terms and conditions for all employees

  • Improving political and economic democratic participation

  • Researching, reporting and giving focus to environmentally and socially responsible development

  • Building social, cooperative and local authority solidarity

  • Increasing investment in and commissioning of Solidarity Economy Enterprises

We do have some interesting examples of UK regional development in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the Wessex economy offers many comparable social, economic and environmental considerations. Its population, economic activity, social and environmental relevance and more, give reason to believe we have a viable economic, social and environmental constituency in Wessex (Central Southern England)

Therefore, although Wessex has no recent constitutional or distinctive regional investment history, it is a region with significant resources and with commitment from positive partners we could begin to create a stronger and authentic regional economy.

If successful it should help inform future devolution policy, relations between economic sectors, investment strategy for social, environmental and economic sustainability and help bring more local control of its future from central government and multi-national corporations. If you want this to happen it will need some money, time, skills, resources and knowledge.

Exploratory feasibility forums are proposed for coming year.

If you are interested in developing and participating in the Wessex Solidarity Economy Network please contact;

John Merritt

email – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

tel – 07762 405248

mail- 90, Locksway Road, SOUTHSEA PO4 8NY.


Research project: Barriers and Building Blocks to the Solidarity Economy in Europe -


In 2014 the Rome Strategy, included commitments;

2.1 To recognise the unique role of the Social Economy in attaining the objective of “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth”.

2.2. To develop straightforward guidelines, monitoring and reporting tools for national and regional authorities concerning the implementation of the public procurement directive at the national and local levels.

2.3. To expand the modes of partnership between the public sector and social economy organisations within a logic of subsidiarity, co-design and co-production.

2.4. To monitor and report the extent to which European Structural Funds are being used at the national and regional levels to promote and support the Social Economy

On the 7th December 2015 the ‘European Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council’, agreed that “the promotion of the social economy as a key driver of economic and social development in Europe” needed to be supported more firmly.

On the 20th November 2015, the European Institute for Local Development held the 1st International Conference on the “Social Economy as a strategic instrument for European development and integration”, highlighting the sectors’ relevance to quality employment.

On the 12th January 2016 the European Parliament’s Social Economy Intergroup held a Public hearing to consider “Mainstreaming the social economy as an actor into EU employment policies”.

Following a visit to Mondragon in Spain, ERIS and Move Your Business have undertaken pilot projects in North Rheine Westphalia and the wider Basque region, to help identify barriers and building blocks to the growth of social economy and social partnership enterprises in Europe.

A visit to the E.E.S.C. in Brussels in the summer of 2015, hosted by George Dassis further contributed to their considerations and reports from each visit have been written.

These pilot projects identified some key issues to follow up;

  • Legislation and regulation
  • Financial investment practices and ethos
  • The internal challenges for an enterprise to balance financial, social and environmental sustainability (including employee training and well-being)
  • Workers and communities interest, confidence, knowledge and self-identification for taking on the responsibilities of ownership
  • Educational barriers and the lack of understanding of the sector more widely
  • The lack of collaboration in the Solidarity Economy
  • Personality driven governance, operations and remuneration practice

The research will involve web based, theoretical, statistical and interview research to address these questions. Details of this available on request

Outputs will include;

A map of Solidarity Economy organisations

Reports and action plans for each research region.

Experimental research projects


Better informed policy making

Evidence of the value of these collaborations  

The growth of the solidarity economy




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Social Enterprise Link (Wessex) Cooperative CIC is business development and network organisation.

Registered address: 90 Locksway Road Southsea PO4 8JP

Website; www.socialenterpriselink.co.uk Registered Company number 07715180

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