Connect with us


Interserve, Catch22 and Clubfinance partnership wins Business Impact Challenge



Big Society Capital today announced a partnership between public service provider Interserve, social business Catch22 and social finance experts Clubfinance has won the Business Impact Challenge.

In partnership with Big Society Capital, the three organisations will create the Public Services Lab, a social business that will enable community organisations, charities and social enterprises to deliver public service contracts at scale. The winning partnership will now progress through Big Society Capital’s investment process with a view to receiving £5 million in matched investment.

Tim Haywood, Interserve’s Group Finance Director and Head of Sustainability, said: “We have worked with voluntary, community and social enterprises (VCSEs) for many years, most recently and prominently in our frontline public services contracts for employment and rehabilitation. We believe that a model that combines the qualities of the private and voluntary sectors is best-placed for delivering such important services. But many excellent VCSEs find it difficult to access funding and don’t necessarily have the skills to bid for large public sector contracts.

“So we are delighted to have won the Business Impact Challenge which could give us the opportunity to increase the capabilities of the VCSE sector and help us deliver the Social Value which is at the heart of our business strategy.”

Chris Wright, CEO, Catch22, said: “The ultimate aim of the Public Services Lab is better outcomes for the users of public services. In the current financial climate, it is more important than ever for the voluntary, community, public and private sectors to come together to develop creative solutions to the challenges facing public services. We’re delighted to have found forward-thinking partners to make this happen.  Winning this competition enables all of us – Interserve, Clubfinance, Big Society Capital and Catch22 – to take the first step on this exciting journey. We know there is already huge appetite for this in Liverpool, welcoming what we hope will be a trailblazing indication of the future.”

The winner was chosen by an expert panel chaired by Lord Davies of Abersoch (former Chairman of Standard Chartered and Minister of State for Trade and Investment) and comprised of internet entrepreneur Baroness Lane Fox, Harvey McGrath (former Chairman of Prudential plc and Man Group plc), Ian Davis (former Managing Director of McKinsey & Co), Karen Lynch (CEO of Belu Water), The Economist journalist Matthew Bishop and Nick O’Donohoe (Chief Executive of Big Society Capital).

Five partnerships were shortlisted for the Business Impact Challenge. Two High Commendations were awarded – Wates and Social & Sustainable Capital, developing the supply chain and a social investment fund in the housing and built environment sector, and Asda and Social Investment Scotland, supporting local social enterprises to bring products and services to market. Big Society Capital will continue to work with them on their proposals with the possibility of matched investment in the future.

Lord Davies, who chairs the panel, said: “The Business Impact Challenge was established to really engage business and catalyse social investment with the private sector. We wanted to see ideas that would generate strong business and social value. The panel was very impressed by the innovative vision of the Interserve and Catch22 proposal. The amount of work and resources that have already been committed give us confidence that this proposal can be significantly transformative when launched.”

Nick O’Donohoe, Chief Executive of Big Society Capital, said: “This challenge has been a great opportunity for private companies to partner with charities and social enterprises and really explore how they can embed social outcomes into their business plans. We’ve been incredibly impressed not only by Interserve and Catch22, but also by the partnerships between Wates and Social and Sustainable Capital, and Asda and Social Investment Scotland. As such, we want to see the winner and both highly commended entries progress through our investment process and realise the enormous potential of their ideas.”

For more information, visit


A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon




energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

Continue Reading


IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”



IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

Continue Reading