Last Wednesday saw the Social Enterprise UK Awards ceremony, the culmination of months of consideration given to companies and charities nominated by the public and judged by experts in “businesses that give back”, as the organisation’s chief executive Peter Holbrook puts it.
The awards, of which The Independent on Sunday are media sponsors, brought a diverse range of entries – from individuals with innovative consumer start-ups to well-established major players in finance and health fields.
Mr Holbrook said: “The award winners fought off fierce competition and wholly deserve to be recognised on a national stage for their contribution to society. Making a positive difference while making a profit isn’t easy, this is why social enterprises are so extraordinary.”
Overall Social Enterprise of the Year (Sponsored by RBS) Link Group
Formed in 1962, Link Group provides new and improved homes for rent and sale, community regeneration services, and support and care for individuals. It provides services to over 10,000 people in 26 Scottish Local Authority areas.
One to Watch (Sponsored by BP) PS Services
PS Services, run by Gofal Enterprises, is a commercial cleaning & grounds maintenance social enterprise operating within Cardiff and surrounding area. PS Services has created 22 jobs since it started in October 2011, employing vulnerable people and those with experience of poor wellbeing or mental ill health.
Innovation (Sponsored by Landmarc) Local Care Direct
Formed in 2004, Local Care Direct provides urgent and primary health care, dental services and telehealth for patients and GP practices. It is the care provider for more than 2 million people in West Yorkshire, generating an annual income of £20million and providing employment for 400 people and an additional 300 self-employed clinical workers.
Social Impact (Sponsored by PwC) FRC Group
FRC Group creates positive social impact through its services - getting great quality furniture to low-income households - and how it operates, which is by creating training opportunities for long-term unemployed people to develop their skills, experience and qualifications.
Buy Social Market Builder (Sponsored by CAN Mezzanine) Wates Group
Wates Group has been trading with social enterprises since 2010. They have recently launched the construction industry’s first brokerage system and has set a target of spending £5 million with social enterprises by 2015.
Social Investment Deal (Sponsored by Charity Finance Group) Big Issue Invest
Big Issue Invest is the social investment arm of The Big Issue. It has won the Social Investment Deal award for its partnership with Unity Trust Bank, which enabled the social enterprise, Sandwell Community Caring Trust, to buy a high-quality 62-bed residential care home for elderly people with dementia.
Health & Social Care Social Enterprise (Sponsored by Nuffield Health) Provide
Provide is an independent social enterprise with a social mission to deliver quality healthcare. It employs 1,100 staff and provides more than 50 community health services to children, families and adults, from a variety of community settings in Essex and the East of England.
Consumer Facing Social Enterprise (Sponsored by the Social Economy Alliance) Glasgow Credit Union
Created in 1989, Glasgow Credit Union is now the largest credit union in the UK with a growing membership of more than 32,000, providing a genuine ethical alternative to high street banking. Since start-up, Glasgow Credit Union has loaned £371 million to members.
Education, Training & Jobs Social Enterprise (Sponsored by InterContinental Hotels Group) (pictured with Sue Perkins) Blue Sky Development & Regeneration
Blue Sky is a social enterprise with a difference – it only employs ex-offenders. Offering a proper job with a proper company, it aims to break the cycle of re-offending, and challenge perceptions about ex-offenders.
Environmental Social Enterprise (Sponsor SITA) Co-wheels Car Club CIC
Co-wheels is a leading national car club operator that enables its members to access cars on a ‘pay by the hour’ basis, thus encouraging people to think more about their journey, helping to cut car use and tackle climate change. The social enterprise is now operating in more than 35 towns and major cities across the UK with 4,400 members and 190 vehicles.
Social Enterprise Champion (Sponsor Independent on Sunday) Nigel Kershaw OBE
Nigel Kershaw OBE has been at The Big Issue for almost two decades. As Group Chairman and as CEO of Big Issue Invest, he has always been determined to invest in and regenerate communities, preventing people from having to live on the streets. Since 2005, Nigel has run Big Issue Invest, which has invested more than £20m in 160 social enterprises, reaching almost 1.7 million people.
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