Author Archives: Sophie Allen

10 July 2013 - 10:59 am The most USEful two years of my life: So long, and I’m not sorry for the puns

Okay, let’s get this over with quickly, like ripping off a plaster. Deep breath – I’m leaving USE.

I’ve just finished university and am heading home to the farm; so, after two years part-time and a USE-filled summer, it’s time to move on. I couldn’t possibly leave you all, though, without a few words on the time I’ve spent at USE. So, here it is: my last blog post.

Continue reading “The most USEful two years of my life: So long, and I’m not sorry for the puns” »

7 July 2013 - 11:09 am What I bought on ebay

When I have deadlines, or general important work to be getting on with, there is nothing I love quite so much as adding another pointless social media or internet related hobby to my repertoire.

In second year, for example, when my results started to matter, I signed up to Twitter. Never have I regretted anything more – I can’t even remember how I used to experience events or TV shows without live tweeting.

So, in third year when things really mattered, I figured that would be the perfect time to start trying to buy stuff on ebay – and that’s when I became a monster.

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3 July 2013 - 10:44 am Gripple Employee Ownership Open Day

In support of National Employee Ownership day, a joint initiative of the Government and the Employee Ownership Association (EOA), our buddies over at Gripple are hosting an Employee Ownership Open Day.

The day, which will take place at The Old West Gun Works, will give attendees the chance to meet and chat to companies using the employee owned model.

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1 July 2013 - 4:09 pm Artsy type? Apply to the Arts Fundraising Fellowship!

Give us an A. A! Give us an R. R! Give us a T. T! Give us an S. S! What have we got? ARTS!

I’d say I’m a fangirl of the arts. I tried to evidence this by doing a little cheerleader skit just then – yep, that’s right, that’s what it was – but it became less effective because of my reluctance to use too many exclamation marks.

Anyway. If you’re also a bit of an arts nerd, as well as entrepreneurially minded and ambitious, you could be the perfect candidate for the Arts Fundraising Fellowship.

The brand new programme is run by Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy (AFP), a huge, England-wide group of arts organisations, fundraisers, coaches and mentors passionate about the need to find innovative new ways of gaining funding. That, my friend, is where you come in, as AFP are looking to develop ‘professional fundraising entrepreneurs for the arts’ to help them do just that.

Tate Liverpool is one of many host organisations just waiting to make you awesome.  (Thanks to 8mm and Other Stuff for the image)

Tate Liverpool is one of many host organisations just waiting to make you awesome. (Thanks to 8mm and Other Stuff for the image)

Early this year, they received a grant allowing them to develop and run the Fellowship scheme for the first time. The programme is designed to produce a new generation of Development Directors, Chief Execs and social enterprise leaders by placing passionate, proactive, entrepreneurial, creative and communicative candidates with host arts organisations, ranging from The Northern Royal College of Music and Liverpool Tate to Free Word, a centre that explores the transformative power of the word.

Participants will receive expert-training in fundraising and philanthropy within their organisation, as well as support following a personal development plan. You’ll get the chance to implement your skills and learning straight away, so there’ll be plenty of on the job, practical learning, too, as you learn from the experts in your field.

Alongside your hands-on work, your learning will also be supported by participation in the National Arts Fundraising School course, plus loads of coaching and mentoring.

If you think this sounds pretty great, but you’re worried you need fundraising experience, don’t worry – you don’t. AFP are looking for candidates with excellent face to face communication, an entrepreneurial, creative mind and a professional attitude, as well as evidence of being a motivational project leader and strong team player.

Reckon this sounds like you? Take a look at their website where you can find loads more information, as well as a more detailed idea of what the Fellowship actually entails.

To me, this seems like a pretty fab way of flexing your entrepreneurial muscles whilst still remaining in a field you’re passionate about – so much so that, actually, I think I might just apply.

Hurry, as the application deadline is… er… TODAY! Good luck!

25 June 2013 - 9:38 am An interview, fear and why you still shouldn’t give up

If you’ve read my blogs before, you’ll know that I’ve at times been a little less than optimistic when it comes to the ol’ job hunt. Well, many many many rejections later, the exoskeleton of demoralisation and disappointment I’d built up to protect me from all further harm turned into an aura of stubbornness.

Continue reading “An interview, fear and why you still shouldn’t give up” »

23 June 2013 - 10:53 am Get involved in the festival season – but without the mud

Ah, festival season. A season of wellies, tent cities, disappointing weather and booze-fuelled weekends filled with music, joy and inevitably below-par toilet facilities. I love a good festival, but paying upwards of £150 to slum it in a £9 tent that doesn’t keep out the rain (to be fair, that last part was my own fault for being a massive, massive cheapskate) isn’t for everyone.

So, if you prefer your festivals mud-free and enterprise focused, then the Entrepreneurs Festival could well be for you.

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21 June 2013 - 10:50 am The return of the Ideas Bazaar

Hey, you there! Got some great ideas? You have? Cool. Fancy collaborating and getting yourself a nice wad of funding to make them happen?

Of course you do, and that’s where the Ideas Bazaar could help you out.

Continue reading “The return of the Ideas Bazaar” »

10 June 2013 - 10:14 am NACUE Startup Launchpad 2013

It’s taken me a while to get around to writing this, granted, but on the 18th and 19th of April, my business partner, Fran, and I – because I totally have a business partner now  – headed down to London for the NACUE Startup Launchpad 2013.

Not being from London, and being extremely poor, things kicked off to a great start when we booked our Megabus tickets to get down. These tickets cost £14 altogether, there and back. That sounds cheap, you say? Correct. But then again, we were probably being compensated for the fact that our coach left Meadowhall at 3am on Thursday morning.

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4 June 2013 - 10:05 am Our first focus groups

Whew. It’s been a busy few weeks. Well, maybe it’s been a busy month. Okay, fine, a busy few months. In the midst of the blind terror that is my final semester of university, as well as the work I’ve been doing on the new USE website, I haven’t really found much time to blog. In fact, it’s been so long that I think I’ve forgotten how to be funny so, you know. Apologies in advance for the lack of hilarity.

You might have read about the new women’s magazine I’m starting up with my buddy Fran, and since deciding to get the ball rolling we’ve been trying to do bits and pieces as we work on finishing off our assessments and exams.

Continue reading “Our first focus groups” »

18 May 2013 - 10:27 am Introducing your Environmental Hero 2012/13

So, guess what, guys? I won an award!

Obviously working at USE and getting to do all the cool and crazy stuff I get to do – a lot of it in the past has come from me saying ‘Hey, wouldn’t this be cool?’ and everyone else saying ‘Sure, go for it!’ – is rewarding in itself, but receiving an award for the work I’ve been doing really has put the icing on the cake.

Continue reading “Introducing your Environmental Hero 2012/13” »


  • About the author

    Sophie Allen

    Hello! I'm Sophie and I'm an English Literature graduate and the ex-USE marketing intern. I now work at the University of Nottingham SU as the marketing coordinator, which only slightly makes me a huge traitor. I'm also a freelance copywriter, occasional editor and lover of crafts.