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LIVING IN THE CRACKS. A Look at Rural Social Enterprises in Britain and the Czech Republic.

Publisher’s web site

Nadia Johanisova, FEASTA, Dublin, Ireland, 2005

Living-and often thriving-in the cracks between the business world and the state system is an amazing variety of organisations which, according to some economists, theoretically shouldn’t exist. That’s because their goal is not to make profits but to meet social needs which both the market and government either can’t meet nearly as well or have totally ignored.

There’s not even a good collective name for these organisations, although Third Sector is often used and causes most people’s eyes to glaze over. Yet, as this book shows, all human life is there. Based on dozens of interviews with people who have set up and run these organisations, it shows how their struggle to carry their ideals forward has led to lives with more joy, fulfilment and satisfaction than is normally found in commercial life or the civil service. In a world increasingly dominated by giant companies for whom communities mean nothing, and in which the state sector is constrained by limited budgets and tight rules, organisations such as those described here are going to be needed everywhere if we are not to have major gaps in our lives and in the services available to us. Written in an entertaining personal style, this book will not only inspire and guide many of those who will decide to meet those needs but will also enable them to get in touch with some of the pioneers mentioned in its pages.

Contents

FOREWORD by Richard Douthwaite and Andrew Simms

A PERSONAL INTRODUCTION AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

1 SOCIAL ENTERPRISE: WHAT IS IT?

1.1 A country tale from East and West

1.2 Definition(s) of social enterprise: a quest for pigeonholes

2 OTHER ECONOMIES: A QUICK PLUNGE INTO THE PAST

3 WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON THERE?

3.1 What do the social enterprises actually do?

3.2 The people behind the projects

3.3 A look on the inside: Structure and governance

3.4 Finding the muscle: Financial and other survival strategies of social enterprises

3.5 A threat to the small? The perceived challenges

4 LEARNING FROM EACH OTHER: A PEEK INTO THE FUTURE?

SUMMARY

REFERENCES

APPENDICES

Appendix 1 Methods used and areas covered

Appendix 2 Questions asked in interviews in both countries

Appendix 3 Maps of Britain and the Czech Republic showing locations of projects

Appendix 4 Brief descriptions, contact details and page index of projects

Appendix 5 Categorisation of projects in terms of social enterprise definitions