Social Enterprise and The Honesty Pot

The Social Enterprise and The Honesty Pot is a free Bristol Festival of Ideas event which explores the achievements and potential of Social Enterprise on Thursday 2nd October. The work of the pioneering Pierian Centre, and a recently published account of it, The Honesty Pot, will introduce a wider discussion of the role social enterprise can play in a fairer and more sustainable future.

Bristol’s Pierian Centre closed its doors in 2011 after a decade of providing a home for activities that ranged from corporate to community, and from the arts to health and well-being. From its base in St Pauls, the Centre came to play a leading role in movements like Abolition 200, City of Sanctuary, and the European Year for Combating Poverty & Social Exclusion. But though it grew to touch the lives of thousands, at the root of all its work was the inspiration and values that its founder, June Burrough, absorbed from the people she met on her journey through life. It is this journey that The Honesty Pot, published in June this year, sets out to trace.

The Pierian Centre was the first Community Interest Company (CIC) to be awarded a Social Enterprise Mark, and a sense of responsibility to the community around her was a hallmark of June’s work there from the start. For this reason June and the book’s author, Nick Thomas, are joined on the speakers’ panel by the UK’s Community Interest Company (CIC) Regulator, Sara Burgess. Sara has held this office for the last seven years, determining the eligibility of an organisation to become and to remain a CIC, and offering guidance and support for those wanting to set one up. The event will be chaired by Jenny Lacey, known to millions of listeners to BBC Radio 4, Radio Bristol and LBC where she won the Variety Club’s Independent Radio Personality of the Year.

Not only will the event feature readings from the book that chart the Pierian Centre’s growth as a social enterprise, but it will also showcase Music For All Zimbabwe, a CIC that June helped set up. Teachers from two local primary schools will be joined by teachers from the two rural Zimbabwean schools that are benefitting from the project’s provision of mbiras or thumb pianos. Their contribution and the presence of Sara Burgess will prompt discussion of how such social enterprises can help build a more human and sustainable world. Copies of The Honesty Pot, normally selling at £10, will be provided free to everyone present so as to spread word of a rather different approach to life and work.

Every social enterprise is different, but the sector generally asks some tough questions of conventional practice. The Pierian Centre, for instance, was a challenge to business, to individuals, and to the society we shape and that in its turn shapes us. It aimed to re-integrate work and leisure, bring communities together, and promote humanity above the profit motive. It asked: can we live as full human beings in the modern world? Do come and help us answer that question!

This free event is presented by the Bristol Festival of Ideas, and takes place at Foyles, 6 Quakers Friars, Cabot Circus, Bristol BS1 3BU. The event runs from 5.45–7.45pm on Thursday 2nd October 2014, but you are asked to arrive at 5.30pm for free drinks and light refreshments. Tickets are free but should be booked in advance at

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