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Last night we celebrated the winners of our UK Social Enterprise Awards at the iconic Roundhouse in London.
The Roundhouse has witnessed music history and on 30 November 2023 that same stage was graced by the brightest lights in the social enterprise sector.
Across 15 categories, the Awards shone a spotlight on the innovation and impact of the UK’s diverse social enterprise community, as well as those organisations that support social enterprises develop and grow.
The winner of the overall UK Social Enterprise of the Year award was the Isle of Skye Ferry CIC – a social enterprise that owns and operates the last manually operated turntable ferry in existence, running from Glenelg on the Scottish mainland to the Isle of Skye. It connects rural communities, provides training opportunities and creates living wage jobs, as well as helping to grow the surrounding economy by sourcing goods and services from local businesses.
From employing people who are homeless to nurturing artisan makers and supporting carers to running community laundrettes, all our award winners really showcased the dynamism inherent within the social enterprise movement.
View the full list of winners here
The Awards ceremony was hosted by comedian, author and TV star Shaparak Khorsandi. Guests also enjoyed performances from a host of social enterprises that use music to empower young people and marginalised communities.
Commenting on the Awards, our Chief Executive Peter Holbrook, said:
“The last year has been a difficult one for businesses across the UK, and it has been no different for social enterprises. The Awards were a real evening of hope and inspiration and brought home the sheer ingenuity, adaptability and determination of the social enterprise community, which has continued to deliver for the people and communities they work with and support.
“The winners include businesses breaking down barriers for groups marginalised in the workforce, organisations at the heart of local economies, and those finding innovative ways to tackle the climate crisis. The ever-growing movement of social enterprise truly represents business at its best. Congratulations to all of our winners.”
As well as celebrating the successes of the social enterprise movement, the Awards also used a social enterprise supply chain. Trophies from The Workshop Aberfeldy will not only reward the winners but also support young and disadvantaged people to gain employment, skills and confidence. A fantastic three-course meal was provided by the Clink, a business working in prisons. Social enterprises also provided the refreshments, photography, printing services and event management.
The Awards were delivered in partnership with Cwmpas, Social Enterprise Northern Ireland and Social Enterprise Scotland.
The Awards were sponsored by:
The latest Barometer in our Social Enterprise Knowledge Centre depicts a sector weathering economic storms, resilient in the face of growing pressures but also showing real signs of strain.
Our Barometer reports are published quarterly to provide a snapshot of social enterprise performance across the UK. This latest survey looked into the key issues and trends facing the sector, from reserves and profit making to staff numbers.
The proportion of social enterprises that have increased their reserves has gone up in the last quarter, with 33% reporting an increase compared to just 18% in the previous three months. However, 31% reported a decrease in reserves.
Profitability levels and the proportion of social enterprises breaking even has dropped by 10% since January, but most respondents managed to at least maintain their profits over the past three months.
A positive in this quarter’s report is that the downward trend of social enterprises reporting a reduction in staff has continued, and more social enterprises are starting to grow staff numbers.
When asked what the main challenges have been in the last three to six months, more than a quarter cited access to finance as a major issue, with inflation and skills shortages also being identified as major challenges.
The picture painted in the November 2023 Barometer is a mixed one – social enterprises are succeeding against the odds, but many are seeing incomes decline and reserves depleted. More needs to be done to support them as they continue drive growth for people and planet.
Click here to read the full report
Jeremy Hunt described his Autumn Statement as “the biggest business tax cut in modern British history” by making permanent a tax break that allows businesses to offset investment in machinery, IT and equipment against corporation tax.
Although some businesses will welcome this news, it doesn’t help their employees or customers in the spiralling cost of living crisis – and the research and development incentives it promotes have repeatedly failed to deliver the investment and growth our economy needs.
The UK has more than 100,000 social enterprises, with missions to support people and planet embedded in their operations. Taxes can be used to encourage this way of working in the wider business world, but corporation tax breaks announced today reflect a system focused on extracting profit above all else.
Our chief executive Peter Holbrook CBE said:
“It’s disappointing to see the Autumn Statement using tax cuts to reward those who already have wealth and power, instead of creating shared prosperity across our society. Tax should be a policy lever to encourage better business and drive growth for good – not growth at all costs, lining shareholders’ pockets while workers and customers are struggling. ‘Business as usual’ isn’t working anymore, and with a General Election approaching, our next Government must recognise the need for change.”
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