Lancashire awards event showcases region’s top social enterprises, including Child Action North West, Preston Vocational Centre and Lancashire Women
Lancashire is a national hot spot for Social Enterprise; businesses that are changing the world for the better. Social enterprises create employment and reinvest their profits into our local communities; they tackle social problems, improve people’s life chances, provide training and opportunities for disadvantaged people and help the environment.
Each year Selnet, Lancashire’s social enterprise network, hosts the Enterprise in Society Awards to promote, celebrate and reward the achievements of social enterprises across the area.
On Friday, Lancashire’s top social enterprises joined together to celebrate their achievements over the past year. 250 representatives of the sector’s top organisations came together at The Villa in Wrea Green to celebrate excellence in categories including ‘Community Impact’, ‘Enabling Ability’ and the ‘Social Enterprise Champion’.
Having drawn over £12M investment into Lancashire, Selnet have gathered increasing notorieity as one of the UK’s Top 100 social enterprises (NatWest SE100 2019) and are using this platform to draw national attention to Lancashire.
New to the judging panel this year, Paul Halfpenny (Director at Northern Social Investment Group) said:
“SELNET has been one of the most successful, respected and long-standing of the social enterprise networks in the UK and having seen the incredible quality of applications this year I can see why.
The Lancashire sector seems to be booming, not just with a wide range of large and small businesses, but with really exciting innovations. Long may it continue!”
Selnet CEO Liz Tapner, named the UK’s current ‘most influential woman in social enterprise’ and top 100 ‘Northern Power Woman’ said:
“On the biggest year in our history, we wanted this, our ninth annual celebration of Lancashire’s social enterprises, to match – and we were absolutely blown away by number and quality of nominations this year! 56 separate nominations over 9 categories show just how vibrant and successful this sector is.
“This is a massive night for Lancashire – The successes we are celebrating tonight are felt by individuals across Lancashire who benefit from improved health and wellbeing, support to face daily challenges and newly expanded horizons. And in the words of Gary Barlow, you’re all giants!
All 25 shortlisted organisations were in line for the top award, the judges’ choice “Social Enterprise of the Year”, in what was described as an ‘inspirational but gruelling afternoon’ for the independent judging panel Paula Brown (First Ark), Margaret Porter (Unity Trust Bank) and Paul Halfpenny (Director at Northern Social Investment Group).
Speaking on behalf of headline sponsor First Ark Social Investment, Paula Brown said:
“I was tremendously impressed by the quality of the applications and the social impact being delivered and it was a difficult decision to single out a winner in each category! We chose to be headline sponsor again to support the valuable work that Selnet do for social enterprises in the region, and to raise awareness of the investment funds we have available to help organisations throughout Lancashire to grow and become more sustainable.”
Speaking on behalf of sponsor Unity Trust Bank, Margaret Porter said:
“This is the fifth consecutive year I have had the pleasure of judging the awards and have to say it has been the most difficult. The job of the judge is very difficult indeed, as all are worthy winners. Unity is delighted to be a sponsor of the awards as we are a Bank with a social conscience and support organisations with like-minded values”
The Enterprise in Society Awards 2019 was held in association with First Ark Social Investment. Selnet would like to thank First Ark, Unity Trust Bank, The Sewing Rooms, Connector Media CIC and Recycling Lives for supporting this wonderful event and celebrating Lancashire’s vibrant social enterprise sector. For more about Lancashire’s annual celebration of our social enterprise sector visit awards.selnet-uk.com.
And the winners are…
Start Up Social Enterprise of the Year
The Therapeutic Forest provides free therapeutic woodland sessions for children with additional challenges co-led by Forest School Leaders and a Multidisciplinary Therapy Team. We run programmes for children with complex needs and disabilities as well as projects for young carers in Rossendale.
Small Social Enterprise of the Year
Preston Vocational Centre’s aim is to deliver the highest quality vocational construction training and support to enable young people and adults to gain skills, qualifications and confidence that enhances their potential and builds a positive future.
Large Social Enterprise of the Year
Lancashire Women is a leading charity for Women, established since 1982 and has grown over the years to now support over 8,616 women in the past year (with 4,850 being new women to our service). Lancashire Women value its active volunteers who support delivery of their services. Their vision is where all women in Lancashire are valued and treated as equals. Lancashire Women empower women to be able to transform their lives by bringing them together to: find their voice, share experiences and understanding, develop their knowledge and skills and challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about them, so that they can have choices in becoming the individuals they want to be.
Community Impact Award
Despite challenging circumstances in the sector today URPotential continues to provide and deliver services that demonstrate how we are making a difference to the lives of local people and their families. We continue to support young people and adults, improving their future prospects and life choices. We work with the community to enhance community cohesion and make a difference.
Enabling Ability Award
Over 18 months, we have developed a number of services at The Grange in Blackpool for people from all backgrounds and with deep social issues. These include free family meals and subsidised breakfasts, a volunteer programme to gain time credits which can be spent on food and clothing, a commercial laundry service so that people can wash their clothes at the Grange, school uniforms, so no child has to go without, a variety of intergenerational projects to bring young and older together, older people have reported that their worries have reduced, incidences of vandalism have reduced, and a fragile sense of community is returning to the neighbourhood.
The Larder is a small social enterprise with a big heart and even bigger ambition to achieve ‘food fairness for all’. We do this by providing education and access to good food and believe that everyone is entitled to a healthy, sustainable diet, regardless of income. We promote food that is good for people and for the environment.
Volunteer of the Year
John joined our project as a participant after having befriended one of our support workers. He attended and facilitated activities in the Hyndburn and Blackburn area until he was ready to go it alone as an independent volunteer. He is now changing people’s lives and giving them hope and a vision to go forward.
Employee of the Year
Child Action North West
Rachael is passionate, compassionate and builds a fantastic relationship with the young people she supports. In the last year she has supported a high number of young people to return to education and employment, helping them realise their goals and potential. She over achieves against all targets and goes above and beyond. She is an asset to all and makes an outstandingly positive impact on the communities in which she works.
Social Enterprise Champion 2019
The Sewing Rooms
A significant part of Paula’s career was forged in the private, public and third sector and possesses over 30 years’ experience of assisting business develop and grow. She has been a director of numerous successful SME’s businesses with some of her work international in nature. Paula is currently an Ambassador on the Government’s Well North Pathway Programme; West Lancs Borough Council’s Placeboard Initiative; Lancashire County Council’s Over 50 Platform and is a current board member of Selnet. She was awarded the High Sheriff of Lancashire Award 2019 in March in recognition for outstanding commitment to the people of the county and was invited to attend Buckingham Palace Garden Party in May.
Social Enterprise of the Year
CANW Solutions CIC was established in 2009 to provide services and opportunities for vulnerable young people and adults. We passionately believe that everyone has the right to achieve their potential, whatever challenges or barriers they face. We work across the Northwest, predominantly in Lancashire.
Congratulations to all!!!
Photos from the night available here
See the story from Twitter here