It would seem, as well as being the season of goodwill, Christmas is also clearly the time for buying pointless presents.

Inflatable boyfriends, singing fish, cat shaped pencil sharpeners and out of date biscuits – these are just a few of the Christmas gifts received by members of the public and disclosed to us in a recent bit of online polling. The polling was undertaken as a piece of pro-bono work by PR company 72point to gauge the country’s mood when it comes to buying ethical this Christmas, with the aim to use it as a media hook to promote buying from social enterprises.

At Social Enterprise UK we’ve long encouraged consumers to use their spending power to make a difference and our Social Enterprise Christmas Gift Guide is full of presents with purpose guaranteed to raise a smile from loved ones.  Whether it’s socks, soap, fashion, chocolates, beer or luxury handbags – the guide features gifts for all your friends and family. With Christmas around the corner there’s still time for you to buy social and make your money go so much further! 

We also shared some presents with purpose with actor, comedian and big time social enterprise fan Aisling Bea who's been sharing social enterprise gift ideas on her Instagram feed as part of her #aislingrecommendsecoorsociallyconsciousbrandseverydayuntilxmas!

With the year coming to the end, it was fantastic to celebrate the achievements of the social enterprise movement with our members, supporters and friends at the UK Social Enterprise Awards which took place at the magnificent Guildhall on 28 November. The Awards were a real testament to the dynamism and strength of our sector and really showcased how social enterprises are changing lives and supporting communities both in the UK and around the world. Winners included an employee owned social enterprise dental practice, a social enterprise tackling funeral poverty, a community supermarket and a coffee company rebalancing the terms of trade to support smallholder farmers. You can see the full list of winners here.  We often say that social enterprises are the future of business and the organisations in the room that evening certainly proved that this can be the case.

Looking ahead to 2019 we’re going to be making a few changes to how we operate internally as we push to find the best ways to work as a membership organisation and as a campaigning body advocating to change our failing economic model. Part of this will include a bigger membership team and we are currently recruiting a new Membership Manager who will be instrumental in both supporting our current membership and driving up member numbers so we can better represent the sector. It’s a massively important role and you’ll be joining a fab team! The deadline is 6 January so please do share amongst your contacts.

Finally, we know how difficult Christmas can be for many people with too many spending the season alone or without a secure place to call home. It is very often social enterprises who are out there on the frontline, providing support and shelter and we salute all of you out there spreading some Christmas warmth and comfort in your communities.

We wish you all a peaceful and enjoyable festive break and look forward to working with you in 2019!

Best wishes,

Fiona Young

Head of Media and Communications, Social Enterprise UK