This blog was written by David Stone from Coast and Vale Community Action.

It’s always nice to get a bit of recognition. It’s even nicer to get a lot, especially when it gives a huge boost to our work to support the communities we work in – and that’s exactly what we got when representatives from Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) visited us on 25 and 26 April.

Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of SEUK, Karl Belizaire, Associate Consultant and Kate Murray, Marketing and Communications Assistant helped us launch the Yorkshire Coast Social Enterprise Zone by going on a whistlestop tour of some of the great social enterprises we have helped to develop locally, having dinner with key stakeholders, decision-makers and local social entrepreneurs and speaking at our Are You In the Zone? conference, along with Key Fund’s Chief Executive Matt Smith and Coast and Vale Community Action’s Chief Executive Mel Bonney-Kane.

Peter, Karl and Kate visited the Seafood Social in Scarborough Market HallScarborough and Ryedale Community Cycling at the old Scarborough prison and Futureworks at Coast and Vale Community Action’s youth and community building The Street. They gained a real insight into the motivation behind our local social enterprises and the organisations themselves benefited from the validation of a visit from a national body.  The dinner at the Plough Inn, Scalby gave further insights into the diversity of our local economy (as well as excellent food) and gave rise to many useful conversations that can be built on in the coming months as we move the Zone’s action plan forward.  The conference was jam-packed and following inspirational talks from Mel Bonney-Kane, Peter Holbrook and Matt Smith, delegates discussed the questions: “What conditions do we need to nurture a resilient social economy?” and “What role can you and your organisation play?” Again, lots of ideas were generated that will help us take forward the action plan.

It took a fair bit of planning and preparation but becoming a Social Enterprise Zone and organising the visit from Social Enterprise UK has really helped put our work to develop the social economy on the Yorkshire Coast on the map.  It’s created a real buzz around social enterprise and all the other things we can do to support thriving communities locally and has developed new networks that will help us build further momentum.

If you want to find out more about the work of the Yorkshire Coast Social Enterprise Zone contact David Stone tel: 01723 3622015