A Workshop on Social Enterprise

The workshop was created for an international partnership named ‘SEDETT’ that was formed to consider & share issues relating to the development of Social Enterprises.

The partners are based in Ireland, Romania, Spain, Italy, Lithuania, Poland and UK.

The first part of the workshop was an academic session at Wrexham Glyndwr University 

The workshop in Bishop’s Castle is one of the key elements of the SEDETT projects’s ‘outputs’.

It is part of what the Erasmus Plus SEDETT project describes as an “Intellectual Output”.
The details recorded on this page are an integral part of that ‘output’ – and as the page evolves, part of a fully public process, the final ‘product’ (this page) will, in 2018, be a resource available for all.

On Thursday 23rd February 2017 the partnership moved to Bishop’s Castle – and a meal at the Boar’s Head Hotel

To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.

In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance…

…In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.

And what you do not know is the only thing you know

(T.S.Eliot Four Quartets & below except as noted)


The aims of the Bishop’s Castle workshop

to introduce partners to:

  • a workshop style that was based on an educational principle of participatory & experiential action
  • the concept of non-verbal personal expression through creative activities
  • some issues relating to volunteering
  • local experience & variety of social enterprise

The event was designed as a structured process – one that could be used and appropriately altered/evolved into other contexts. The aims underlay the activities & generalised assessments as to their value occurred during the process of the workshop.

The planning process was discrete

– created for this specific group with its own particular interests.

The workshop did not attempt to be the product of a corporate planning process by the partnership.

It was created by a team within Pathways I D who examined the textual material outline of the project, discussed (on the basis of limited knowledge) the requirements of the project and produced a programme to fit the conclusions of those discussions.

The workshop had key methodological processes, regarded as essential

  • intentionally limited instructions & provision of information by facilitators
  • active exploratory engagement by participants as individuals or in small groups
  • periods of intentional intensity
  • opportunities for feedback in plenary sessions, through informal observation & conversational listening by facilitators & brief summary written judgements by participants. The results of these processes are published on this page.

The workshop itself & this web page report are dynamic: subject to change as circumstance requires & as information & comments are received

Flexibility is an important element in managing a workshop that bases itself on experiential learning. All involved (including the managers and facilitators) are engaged in a ‘learning process’.

Day One:

“From a depth that you cannot see, comes everything that we can see” (Augustine of Hippo: Semons)



Who we are,

Where we are and

What we are supposed to be doing (together)

is crucial.

It is not easy to achieve.

“And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate,
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,”



Exploring Context & Engaging in Volunteering

09.00 To Community College Assemble at Boar’s Head

Waterproof clothing/boots requd.

RW will explain movement issues on Thursday evening

09.15 Work on the 3 Social Enterprise examples requested in pre-workshop online questionnaire

Preparation for Forum

See web site for responses


10.00 Onto the Hill If possible: The Overview – of Bishop’s Castle & further
12.30 Exploring and volunteering This activity lasts through the lunch period. Venues for lunch have been arranged for 13.30. Information regarding working groups etc will be provided on the day
Exploring enterprise in Bishop’s Castle

Volunteering action whilst exploring

Distributing leaflets for the evening concert
15.00 Re-assemble at Community College

Plenary session

15.30 Move to Town Hall walking
16.00 The SEDETT Forum All are participants. Each participant to have 1 minute (max & timed) to explain their local situation
17.15 Organising for the evening concert Tasks include: arranging room, moving equipment, ‘Get-In & ‘Get-Out’, ‘front of house’, raffle

Meals: timing dependent on tasks

19.30 The SEDETT concert Three Tuns
Saturday Activities: Two Tasks: Investigating ‘Enterprise’ in Bishop’s Castle
 What ‘Enterprising activity’ is there? Group to decide what that phrase implies (but do not be ‘narrow’ – be inclusive).
 Observation (make notes, take photos): Any enterprise – note if it is clearly ‘social’
 Direct questions to people ‘on the street’, ‘in the shops’ etc
Specific Soc Ent related Questions: Focus is not on terms such a ‘social enterprise’ (most people would not understand). But by using a check-list to see if the following are known
Use a tick, cross or question mark for each response.
List of Organisations People May Know: tick list
Community Land Trust
Enterprise South West Shropshire
Old Castle Land Trust
Town Hall Trust
House on Crutches Museum Collection Trust
Arts Festival
Bishops Castle Carnival
Party in the Park
Michaelmas Fair
Tandem Triathlon
Mid-Summer Rejoicing
The Underground/Public Hall
Albert Howard Society
Walking Festival
British Stone Skimming Championship
Caring for Gods Acre
Tick those who said they had already, today, been asked the questions by a similar group:

The First Action:

A presentation to all of a stick – with the suggestion that it becomes a record of the forthcoming 2 day visit to Bishop’s Castle, recording actions, moments and feelings & being a ‘Journey Stick’

The group then travelled onto the hills above the town to consider its general geographical, historical & social context.

“Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past.”

12 Motte

Rural, sparsely populated, hilly and rather bleak



but containing ancient features such as Offa’s Dyke, in the ditch of which, most below are standing


These features have gained importance both culturally and economically as they form part of the ‘tourist offer’ available locally. Offa’s Dyke itself is now part of a National Trail stretching along the whole English Welsh Border.

For some it has considerable significance:

‘Tri pheth a dylai dyn ystyried: Ble mae, O ble mae’n dod, a ble mae’n myned’

Following the ‘over-view’ the workshop divided into groups charged with investigating evidence of enterprise & especially ‘social’ enterprise in Bishop’s Castle.

One particular type of enterprise seems to have featured quite significantly in the ‘research’.

…. but not exclusively

and the selection of examples of ‘enterprise’ moved beyond the commercial….


…and included a notice of the death of one of Bishop’s Castle’s most significant traders – from a family established for many years in the Welsh Border. Their family & its history forming part of recent local social and commercial structure – and an example of an underlying Welsh influence.



Interviews were conducted……


and places of particular relevance to the project were recorded….


including Enterprise House (above) & the Town Hall….

The Town Hall, as well containing the usual elements such as the Council Chamber acts as an information centre.

By providing an ‘open’ style of question the researchers were freed to interpret as they wished.

The results of such an approach almost always produce thought-provoking results and thus require any observer or listener to engage more particularly in analysing and assessing what a particular word may mean…. in this case ‘enterprise’.

This group managed to include examples from the Arts festival during which the workshop was being held….


… and focused on one event in the festival…. a particularly raunchy lecture by a local classicist. …


Following the researching travels around the town, a brief plenary session enabled findings to be considered.

The third element of the day

was committed to the specifics of Social Enterprise with an Open Forum in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall:



Immediately after the Forum the researching-study group of the early part of the day became, in the

Fourth Element of the Day:

‘The Volunteers managing a concert’.

Tasks were shared and involved arranging seating, box office, ‘raffle ticket’ sales & post-concert clearance.



Day Two:

Varied groups to varied places:


Saturday: Meeting the local actors

09.25 Meet at Community College walk
09.30 Review of Friday

Preparation for Saturday interviews

10.15 Meeting the Actors: groups
Group 1 – Heritage Centre Group 2 – Methodist Hall Group 3 – Enterprise House
Heritage Centre Rep – Bernard Edwards.   questions at BCHRC include visit to museum 10.30

Arts Festival Rep – Sue Willmer

(Scrappies also present)

10.30 – Mike Ashley

Enterprise SW Shrops

12 – 1.45 Break

Possible to start prepping feedback

12 – 1.45 Break

Possible to start prepping feedback

12 – 1.45 Break

Possible to start prepping feedback – how in 2 mins   are you going to do this

  1.45           – College 1.45 – Town Hall 1.45 -College
10.30 – Richard Whately

Liz is around

SPARC rep questions

SPARC visit

Meet Town Hall

Trust – Evelyn Bowles

rep tour

Sir Albert Howard Soc Rep – Trevor Chalkley
Possible questions to ask reps
What does the organisation do?
What is structure of organisation?
Do you have volunteers?
How do you raise money?
Do you have a constitution?
What do you do in the organisation?
Why do you do it?
15.00 Assemble Community College
15.15 Feedback to whole group

2 minutes per group

15.45 Work in national groups on relevance, value, potential for use of process.

Evaluation of the groups encountered.

How could any of the discoveries be applied in partner locality?

17.00 Finish of formal business
17.30 Meal at Ganges restaurant
19.30 R & B Concert (for old hipsters) Assistance has been requested by organiser
Evening free

Background information related to these visits is at


Enterprise House is especially and increasingly important to the social and cultural life of the town. It is a hub containing expertise for a wide range of activities.

It also demonstrates the value of having a leader who has the skills and abilities to share vision and allow individuals within an organisation the space and time to develop their own levels of expertise.

‘Mash’ as the individual concerned is known, is how pictures below one literal ‘hole’ in the Enterprise building concerned with a project known as Village Outreach: a collection of equipment and accompanying technical advisors available to small communities – unusually – on both sides of the Welsh – English border.

 53 54 55 56

In contrast to the established Enterprise House is the newly formed Sir Albert Howard Society that aims to develop a community garden on the edge of Bishop’s Castle.

Sir Albert Howard (8 December 1873 – 20 October 1947) was an English botanist, an organic farming pioneer, and a principal figure in the early organic movement.

The Plenary session reported and discussed on the events of the day


The session also considered the implications of the research and explorations undertaken over 2 days. The issue of Social Enterprise & volunteering was highlighted.


The evening provided two concert venues

64 65 66

“What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened”


Day Three

Time Action Notes
10.15 Reading time
10.30 Telling Journey stick stories.

National groups

Own language

Brief notes in English:

5 points max

to be collected & published by Pathways

Coffee to be served during the following
11.00 Evaluation of workshop

In national groups & own language

Part One

11.30 Evaluation

Part Two


Each participant to make 50 second comment on the whole workshop.

In own language or English

Send to Pathways
Juan Carlos departs for Church Stretton
11.45 Open reflective Session

Where do we go from here?

e.g. implications of Volunteering & “The Elderly Cutes”
12.30 Close
14.00 Dining Room Castle Hotel
15.00 departures

The main focus was on evaluation.

A series of comments had been gathered during Saturday & these were distributed:

wkshp ev:verbal


“Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.”


The concerns above, expressed informally, are not unusual. A key difficulty for all facilitators and workshop managers is that of personal ‘over-enthusiasm’ for the subject & the process. Even when conscious of the need for brevity, it is difficult to be constantly successful.


What matters therefore is to provide a means of external observation – ‘a spider on the wall’ & to listen & then attend through action, to what is reported.


And….  even the best of plans are riven with complexities that often only emerge slowly, it is necessary accept gracefully & hopefully, adjust.

“Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.”

The national groups were asked to produce answers to three questions:

qs3- 1Qs3-2


The results of the evaluation were taken to a Pathways meeting on the day following the completion of the Workshop (Monday 26th February 2017). Pathways then engaged in a wide-ranging discussion on the issues relating to the workshop and the SEDETT project in general.
The results are published here:
Pathways_ internal workshop evaluation

Time past and time future
Allow but a little consciousness.

The Journey Sticks


The lead into to the evaluation sessions was through presentation and discussion of the Journey Sticks. These had been provided at the start and individuals were encouraged to create their own non-verbal record of ‘The Journey’ over the past 2 days. The use of this technique will be further developed and be one of the key elements of the formal IO 3 contribution to the project.

68 69 70 71  73 74 75 76

Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion

The Workshop concluded with lunch in the Castle Hotel


We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

For those travelling by train, the route to the station at Welshpool allowed for one extra, cold visit – to the castle at Montgomery.

Not part of the programme – but an opportunity to add to the general feeling of pleasure and bonhomie.

78 79-serendipity 80-seren 81

 “Quick now, here, now, always —
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well”

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