The first SEAP of 2021 looked at the health of the sector at the start of the new year, the key challenges social enterprises are facing and their hopes for the year ahead. It also asked questions on Brexit and the changing nature of work with regards to office working.
- COVID-related uncertainty continues to trouble the social enterprise sector – 31% said this is their biggest concern for the year ahead. Around 23% of social enterprises have staff on furlough at the moment – and two-thirds of those that used offices pre-crisis envisage permanent changes in how/where they work.
- In terms of funding and support needs, social enterprises are concerned about a drop in grant income at the start of the new financial year in April – and about the mental health of staff and service users.
- Brexit is not a major concern for most – but nearly 40% think there may be direct or indirect negative impacts. A lack of clarity around the UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a specific worry.
- Social enterprises remain resilient. Cash flow positions are steady across the sector, and although several respondents are focused on survival, a significant number have exciting plans for growth, partnerships, innovation and increasing their social and environmental impact this year.