The winners of the annual UK Social Enterprise Awards were announced on Wednesday evening 28 November during a ceremony at London’s Guildhall. The Awards ceremony is the biggest celebration of social enterprise in the sector, and a truly inspiring evening.

See photos from the evening here.

Category 1 - UK Social Enterprise of the Year (Sponsored by NatWest)

The overall award for a social enterprise that has a clear vision, excellence in impact, and that has demonstrated and promoted social enterprise beyond the sector.

Cafédirect

Cafédirect’s mission is to champion the work and passion of smallholder growers, delivering great tasting hot drinks to improve livelihoods, whilst pioneering new and better ways of doing business. Cafédirect is an award-winning, social enterprise and 100% Fairtrade coffee company. Half of Cafédirect’s profits are invested back into farmer communities through its farmer-led charity, Producers Direct, Cafédirect has invested over £6m to date.

Judges' comments: From decline to success! The turnaround in Cafédirect’s fortune this last year has paved the way for a successful application.  Re-branding, acquisitions and, increased performance all aiming at improving the lives of smallholder farmers in developing countries, whilst conducting business ethically and fairly make this a worthy winner.

Category 2 - One to Watch (Sponsored by GLL)

For a social enterprise that can clearly articulate their future vision and how they are going to achieve it.

Caledonia Cremation

Caledonia Cremation is a social enterprise funeral directors, owned by anti-poverty charity Community Renewal Trust. Every five minutes another bereaved family falls into poverty due to unaffordable funerals. We offer a single, simple, dignified Direct Cremation for £995 – equal for anyone anywhere across Scotland, rich or poor. We help families arrange their own cheaper more personalised celebration away from the crematorium and we invest in counselling, an advice helpline and education around bereavement, funerals and death.

Judges' comments: This new business already delivers 1 in every 300 funerals in Scotland. Whilst providing better funerals, they address widespread funeral poverty and provide bereavement support.

Category 3 - Prove It: Social Impact (Sponsored by Employers For Childcare)

For a social enterprise that can truly demonstrate and communicate their impact with their stakeholders.

Company Shop

Community Shop is the UK’s first social supermarket chain. Located in areas of disadvantage, we offer surplus food to our members at heavily discounted prices. When members shop in store the revenue raised powers our Community Hub, where we engage, inspire and connect with every member who comes through the doors. From debt advice and employability skills, cook club to home budgeting, we are building stronger individuals and more confident communities.

Judges' comments: Community Shop clearly operate in areas of highest need. Their planning and development from learning is notable. Their impact is outstanding, which is expressed in a number of ways. They are continuously refining their approach no doubt helps their impact. They have also shown strong growth and excellent links with suppliers as well as customers.

Category 4 - ’Buy Social’ - Market Builder (Sponsored by PwC)

For a social enterprise, public sector body or private sector organisation that has demonstrably made efforts within its own organisation and remit to create more opportunities to buy from social enterprises.

Amey

We create safer, smarter, and sustainable places to live, work and travel. By designing, building, maintaining and investing in our country’s services and infrastructure we make a difference including engineering, facilities management, utilities, transport, environmental services, defence and justice. We know these are the services that matter – the ones you rely on at home and on the move. That makes us the faces behind the services you use every day – and together, we’re helping to create better places to live, work and travel.

Judges' comments: Amey has embraced the “Buy Social” concept throughout the whole organisation and consciously embeds social enterprise in its supply chain and procurement practices. Amey is large enough to make a substantial difference and to act as a pathfinder for similar businesses.

Category 5 - Social Investment Deal of the Year (Sponsored by Big Society Capital)

For an organisation that has been part of a great investment deal in the last 12 months that has helped the social enterprise to grow or the movement as a whole to develop and flourish.

HCT Group and ClearlySo

HCT’s primary social purpose is to tackle social isolation, a problem characterised by and compounded by a lack of affordable and convenient mobility options and experienced most acutely by the poorest and most marginalised people. ClearlySo work exclusively with high-impact businesses, charities and funds, supporting their capital raising activity through financial advisory work, and introducing them to institutional and individual investors who share their objectives and values. HCT secured £17.8 million in investment with the help of ClearlySo. The funding is being used to accelerate HCT’s growth, providing the working capital to continue their rapid expansion. The capital will also enable HCT to refinance significant existing debt obligations and includes substantial additional funds to fuel the Group’s growth.

Judges' comments: ClearlySo has generated one of the largest social investment deals this year, bringing together a range of investors to provide £17.8 to help community transport operator HTC grow and consolidate its position. The HTC Group can now expand its work in reducing social isolation.

Category 6 - Health & Social Care Social Enterprise (Sponsored by Pinnacle)

For a social enterprise in the health and social care sector with excellent vision and strategic direction, clear leadership and clear evidenced social, environmental and community impact.

Baby Lifeline Training

Baby Lifeline Training Ltd delivers high-quality multi-professional training to the maternity sector. Our Mission is to ensure safety for mother and baby by promoting best practice. Training courses are ‘cutting edge’ and evidence based – planned and delivered by leading experts. Content is constantly updated and modified to reflect changes within maternity service provision; encouraging best clinical practice and communication to improve outcomes from care given to pregnant women, their unborn and new-born babies.

Judges' comments: Feedback from participants of the programme was extremely positive and the impact of the training on practice is clear to see. Where they have monitored impact on institutions over a long period of time, the results are remarkable. The growth in their revenue in the past year is significant and will enable them to diversify and grow.

Category 7 - Consumer Facing Social Enterprise (Sponsored by Co-op Group)

For a social enterprise that produced or delivers a retail product or service to the general public. The winner of this category was selected via a readers' choice vote in our media partner publication The Big Issue.

Madlug CIC

Madlug was founded in 2015 by Dave Linton. A man whose only experience in the luggage industry was bags of enthusiasm. This 40-something Youth Worker was heartbroken to learn that most children in care transport their worldly belongings in a bin bag. In that moment, Dave set out to do something about it. With just £480, he started Madlug and came up with our ‘Buy one Give one’ approach: with every bag you purchase, one will be given to a child in care.

Category 8 - Education, Training & Jobs Social Enterprise (Sponsored by Deloitte)

For a social enterprise in the education, training or employment sectors that can demonstrate excellence in vision and strategic direction, and clearly evidence their social, environmental and community impact.

The Growth Company

The Growth Company (GC), are a not-for-profit commercially driven organisation which is widely recognised as a key player in delivering transformational growth for Greater Manchester and further afield. Our mission is to enable growth, create jobs and improve lives and this is delivered by drawing upon our collective expertise. This range of expertise enables us to deliver an integrated, client focussed approach to service provision, focussed on the creation of added value, improving people’s lives.

Judges' comments: The Growth Company is succeeding in its mission to create jobs and improve lives by placing impressive numbers of people, many of them disadvantaged into training, apprenticeships and jobs. Strong ethical values underpin all their work and help marginalised people to progress in society.

Category 9 - Environmental Social Enterprise (Sponsored by Landmarc)

For a social enterprise in the green and environmental sector with a clear, evidenced environmental impact.

Point and Sandwick Trust

Point and Sandwick Power built and operates the UK’s largest community wind farm distributing its profits for community benefit via the Point and Sandwick Trust.

Judges' comments: A classic example of how a social enterprise can generate profit for social good whilst nurturing the environment. Plans for the world’s first sea-going hydrogen powered ferry are particularly exciting.

Category 10 - Tech for Good: Technology Social Enterprise (Sponsored by Linklaters)

For a social enterprise that uses technology to achieve social impact.

NOW Group

NOW Group is a social enterprise that supports people with learning difficulties and autism into jobs with a future. It is the parent organisation of two social enterprise businesses – Loaf Catering & Cafes and Gauge NI, a research and evaluation business – the profits of both go back into the work of NOW. It is also the organisation behind the JAM Card initiative.

Judges' comments: Now Group deploys a simple but effective approach to technology to harness the power of digital media, both for clients and businesses. They offer a large range of services to their clients, such as codesign, and their impact is increased by their engagement with employers. The amount of money they have saved the public sector and the number of employees who have benefited from their services is phenomenal. Their strategic planning is impressive, and will no doubt also help them to further increase their impact.

Category 11 - Women in Social Enterprise (Sponsored by Santander)

For a woman working in the senior leadership team of a social enterprise who represents excellence in her field of work.

Liz Tapner

Liz Tapner is the CEO of Lancashire’s social enterprise network, Selnet and is a recognised leader in UK social enterprise. Liz is well known in Lancashire as an advocate for social enterprise. Since 2003 Liz has been a SE business adviser, guiding the development of large and small enterprises in a variety of business areas throughout the north west. A chartered business adviser and mentor, she has extensive experience of business support having worked for, and with, local authorities across the north west throughout her career.

Judges' comments: Liz is a powerful advocate for the Social Enterprise sector in the Lancashire area successfully developing and delivering EU and Lottery funded programmes to support the sector in the North West of England.

Category 12 - International Impact (Sponsored by British Council)

For a social enterprise working internationally and are having a big impact in their field. 

Cafédirect

Cafédirect’s mission is to champion the work and passion of smallholder growers, delivering great tasting hot drinks to improve livelihoods, whilst pioneering new and better ways of doing business. Cafédirect is an award-winning, social enterprise and 100% Fairtrade coffee company. Half of Cafédirect’s profits are invested back into farmer communities through its farmer-led charity, Producers Direct, Cafédirect has invested over £6m to date.

Judges' comments: The impact of Café Direct’s rebrand has been phenomenal. They provide skills support for farmers, as well as financial loans. Their grower-focussed approach and high levels of reinvestment in the communities they serve naturally results in excellent engagement with farmers and growers. A truly extraordinary transformation over the past 12 months.

Category 13 - Transformative Community Business (Sponsored by Power to Change)

For a locally rooted social enterprise that trades for the benefit of their community.

Company Shop

Community Shop is the UK’s first social supermarket chain. Located in areas of disadvantage, we offer surplus food to our members at heavily discounted prices. When members shop in store the revenue raised powers our Community Hub, where we engage, inspire and connect with every member who comes through the doors. From debt advice and employability skills, cook club to home budgeting, we are building stronger individuals and more confident communities.

Judges' comments: Company Shop made an excellent application detailing the impact they are having on the communities they work in. Their impact covers alleviating food poverty, diverting waste, improving health and well-being through healthy eating and training.

Category 14 - Employee Engagement (Sponsored by Prospectus)

For a social enterprise that is genuinely engaging employees in all aspects of the business.

Community Dental Services CIC

CDS-CIC is an employee owned social enterprise with a clear ambition; to ensure everybody, especially vulnerable and marginalised groups, receives the oral healthcare and information they need to thrive. Working with the NHS, businesses, schools, community groups and other organisations, we bring the best dental services and oral health information to the people that traditional dental services are unable to reach; people in situations or locations where good dental health care is harder to deliver.

Judges' comments: An inspiring application from an organisation that seeks to deliver a quality service to the most vulnerable in society. The depth and breadth of employee engagement at CDS is so well embedded and demonstrated. CDS is a fully employee owned company with exceptional results from its employee and patient survey alike.

 

The 2018 UK Social Enterprise Awards was generously sponsored by: 

2018 UK Social Enterprise Awards media partner: