Thursday 15 November saw the launch of ‘Hackney Is Social’, a social enterprise manifesto for Hackney, coordinated by Hackney Co-operative Developments CIC on behalf of the Hackney Social Enterprise Place Partnership.

‘Hackney Is Social’ was officially launched by special guest Claire Dove OBE DL, Crown Representative for the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector and former chair of Social Enterprise UK at the ‘Hackney: A Social Enterprise Borough’ conference held in Hackney House.

The manifesto opens with the following statement:

‘We believe that it is possible to use our entrepreneurial energy and spending power to create a fairer society with less inequality. We envision a society that is built upon caring for ourselves, each other and the planet, where diversity is valued and everyone has an equal opportunity to flourish.’

The manifesto states that ‘We who sign this manifesto see that strengthening the social enterprise sector in Hackney is a way to achieve this vision.’

The manifesto envisions ‘a borough where social enterprises operate in all markets generating local jobs, opportunities, vital services and social impact – involving Hackney residents young and old as members, custodians, service users, leaders, volunteers and employees.’

On the ‘Hackney Is Social’ website, also launched on the day, there are the logos of 58 organisations who signed the manifesto as a founding supporter. Now online, the manifesto is open for signatures from all individuals and organisations who want to ‘join the movement’ at this stage.

The development of ‘Hackney Is Social’ has come about over the last two years in the lead up to Hackney applying for and then successfully receiving official recognition as a ‘Social Enterprise Borough’ by Social Enterprise UK in 2017. This put Hackney as one of just 26 hot spots for social enterprise activity in the UK.

Development of the manifesto has included extensive consultation both on and offline.

Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney, who also spoke at the conference, announced Hackney Council’s commitments to the Manifesto which support the three main aims of the project.  Hackney Council’s commitments feature online as part of a total of 28 organisations (from local start-ups such as CounterPolitics to national organisations such as Co-operatives UK, Social Enterprise UK and Loughborough University London).

The launch of the manifesto was supported with an online campaign #whoknew #hackneyissocial which celebrated the often perceived to be hidden work of over 60 social enterprises in the Borough. This joined the #whoknew social media campaign run by Social Enterprise UK for Global Social Enterprise Day.

The impact of the manifesto is being studied by Dr Angela Martinez Dy, a lecturer in entrepreneurship at Loughborough University London, who is following the work of the HSEPP and organisations making pledges to the manifesto. Dr Martinez Dy stated, “The purpose of the research is to understand how we can mobilise a convening tool like the manifesto into real social change, and to track this process to take forward for future learning. On behalf of Loughborough Uni London, which is based in Hackney, I am excited to use research to support the development of the social enterprise sector in our local borough and beyond.” 

Edward Quigley, CEO of Hackney Co-operative Developments CIC opened the 2018 ‘Hackney: A Social Enterprise Borough’ conference: “I am thrilled that Hackney Co-operative Developments CIC has been at the heart of the growth of the social enterprise movement in Hackney over the last few years, and at the role we have played – alongside many others – in firstly securing Social Enterprise Place status, and now launching this manifesto for the movement in Hackney.  Added to this is our nomination for a ‘Buy Social Market Builder’ award with Social Enterprise UK – we’ll know if we’ve won on 28th November. I am excited at what the future will bring as more and more social enterprises come online”

Kofi Oppong, Founder, Urban MBA who also spoke on the panel at the conference said: “Imagine a whole borough working together to solve issues such as knife crime! This is a start to achieving this!”

“Hackney CVS has always supported the types of social enterprise outlined in this manifesto, those that are community run and rooted. We see great value in this type of collective action that will join up our efforts to empower Hackney’s residents to work towards a fairer hackney for all.” Mohammed Mansour, Development Manager, Hackney CVS

Hilary Clayton, Deputy CEO of Shoreditch Trust said ‘we are delighted to be part of the Hackney Social Enterprise Partnership which is gaining momentum as the manifesto is launched for Hackney. We are so pleased to be a part of this movement as partnership working and peer support between Hackney’s social enterprises are recognised as key components of a thriving, social borough. We look forward to continuing to progress the aims of the manifesto.’

“Social enterprises are popular grounds for people looking to do things differently, and the Hackney Is Social Manifesto is the latest collaboration aimed at supporting social enterprises and shifting perceptions of ‘business as usual’.” Marc Gosschalk, Founder, Hackney Roots

Notes to Editors

‘Hackney Is Social’ Website: (later also to be hosted at

Artwork and website for Hackney Is Social was created by young designers, Cere Mae (artwork) and Danny Michaux (web design) both graduates of creative career access programmes run by Hackney based social enterprise Create Jobs.

About the sector in Hackney:

There are at least 300 emerging and bona fide social enterprises operating in or from Hackney: co-operatives, CICs, community businesses, trading not-for-profits and social purpose trading arms. These range from tiny entrepreneurial luncheon-clubs to national enterprises such as HCT Group, who run bus routes and community transport all around the UK, with a turnover of £62.9 million.

About the Hackney Social Enterprise Place Partnership (HSEPP):

The partnership was formed in 2017 in order to apply for Hackney to be recognised as an official Social Enterprise Borough. Since receiving this status the HSEPP sees it role as guiding the borough to use the place status as a catalyst for further development as detailed in the manifesto. Founding member organisations comprise: Bootstrap Company, Hackney Co-operative Developments CIC, Hackney Council, Hackney CVS, Hackney Roots, Renaisi, Shoreditch Trust, UBS, UnLtd and Urban MBA.

About Hackney Co-operative Developments CIC

Hackney Co-operative Developments CIC, itself a social enterprise, has engaged in Community Economic Development projects in Hackney for over 30 years and in particular the support anddevelopment of new co-operatives and social enterprises. Aside from social enterprise development, HCD helps over 80 local businesses, community organisations, cultural institutions and shops remain in Dalston through its role as a supportive provider of affordable workspace;provides packages of free training and support for Hackney residents who are furthest from employment; and manages a diary of community and cultural activities in Gillett Square.

About Pioneering Social Enterprise in Hackney programme

Hackney Co-operative Development’s Pioneering Social Enterprise in Hackney programme has run since 2014 thanks to support from UBS. The programme provides local co-operatives and social enterprises with the necessary skills and knowledge to grow their enterprise, in turn growing the local economy and the socially-owned share of the wider economy. Activities includes 1-2-1 advice services, workshops and networking events along with market building such as the development of a social enterprise quality mark for Hackney and the formation of the Hackney Social Enterprise Place Partnership.


Photography from the event to follow

Interviews available on request.

Contact Details

Sophie Higgins

Social Enterprise Consultant

Hackney Co-operative Developments CIC

Tel: 07547 025 568