See photos from the Awards ceremony here

Winner of the 2019 UK Social Enterprise of the Year Award – Furniture Resource Centre

Millions of people around the UK can’t afford essential household items like beds, cookers and wardrobes. FRC Group’s mission is to end furniture poverty through its innovative not-for-profit businesses. They provide a whole range of services, from selling new furniture to social landlords and commercial waste collection to redistributing second-hand furniture to those in need.

Every penny this social enterprise makes goes into achieving their charitable objectives, whether that’s running awareness campaigns, supporting people into employment through training programmes or reinvesting back into the business to create social value.

Over the past 30 years FRC Group has completed over a million household waste collections, recycled over 29,000 tonnes, reused over a million items of furniture, awarded 2,500 qualifications and delivered new furniture to over 100,000 families.

Winner of the ‘One to Watch’ Award – Hey Girls

Period poverty in the UK is very real with one in ten girls in being unable to afford vital sanitary products. Hey Girls is a social enterprise on a mission to end this injustice and eradicate period poverty. They make and donate plastic free period products with a buy one, give one business model – for every product sold, they donate one to someone in need in the UK.

Despite being only founded last year, they have made extraordinary progress, donating 3.9 million period products in their first 18 months of trading. Founded by Celia Hodson and her daughters Becky and Kate, Hey Girls believes that young women should never have to compromise their wellbeing or their health. Having been a single parent herself, Celia understands first-hand the financial strain of buying period protection whilst struggling to survive on benefits. As a young social enterprise, Hey Girls has had amazing growth as an organisation and this has enabled them to make great strides in supporting girls and women out of period poverty

Winner of the ‘Prove it’ Social Impact Award – auticon

Just 16% of autistic adults in the UK are in full time employment despite the vast majority wanting to be in work. Auticon exists to remedy this, exclusively employing autistic adults as IT consultants.

Auticon is an innovative social enterprise IT consultancy, working with some of the country’s best known companies, placing its talented consultants in their teams. It is transforming the lives of some of the most marginalised people in the workforce with 72% of its consultants being unemployed before joining Auticon, with the average length of unemployment being three years.

As well as creating jobs, Auticon is also helping to transform perceptions and understanding of cognitive diversity within the organisations in which its consultants are placed.  Companies working with Auticon include PWC, Glaxo Smithkline and KPMG.

The extraordinary talents of its autistic consultants are what makes Auticon unique. Autistic adults often have exceptional talents in logic, attention to detail, accuracy and pattern recognition. Many have a strong interest in IT, mathematics and technology. Auticon provides their consultants with qualified job coaches and line managers to help them unlock their full potential. Clients receive outstanding quality of work in the areas of IT and compliance; consultants benefit from employment opportunities that match their unique gifts and characteristics. It’s a win win.

Winner of the Buy Social ‘Market Builder’ Award – GLL

Physical inactivity is responsible for 1 in 6 of deaths in the UK – making it as dangerous as smoking – yet over a quarter of us still don’t get enough exercise. GLL are tackling this by removing barriers to participation and engaging with local communities to increase physical activity, as well as providing cultural and educational opportunities.

GLL deliver leisure, health and community services around the UK from gyms to libraries to ice-rinks. They are an employee and community owned non-profit on a mission to improve health and wellbeing by getting more people, more active, more often. Being owned by its key stakeholders and free from external shareholders, allows GLL to reinvest all surpluses back into its facilities, staff and customers.

With locations across the country, GLL manages over 270 public sport and leisure centres, 120 libraries and 10 children’s centres. Being a social enterprises operating at scale, they also play a big part in helping the wider social enterprise movement to grow and develop. This is most evident through their market building work. GLL spends over £15m per annum doing business with around 40 other social enterprises like Divine chocolate, Belu water and Café Direct coffee. They also run and fund the GLL Community Foundation and the GLL Sport Foundation – the largest athlete support programme in the UK.

Winner of the Social Investment Deal of the Year Award – Resonance & Smile Together CIC

With one in four social enterprises having been founded in the last five years, there’s an incredible number of innovative start-ups in the UK looking to make a positive social or environmental impact. This is a high growth area of the market but it’s often difficult for these businesses to secure finance, despite the clear opportunities for investors to make a profit and a positive impact.

Resonance is a social impact investment company that helps social enterprises raise capital from like-minded investors. They also create and manage impact investment funds, which deliver a financial return as well as a targeted social impact. They’ve worked with over 165 social enterprises and charities, enabling them to raise capital to grow their impact, and make a greater difference to the communities they serve. They currently manage 8 funds with over £210m of investment. Thanks to their work, 10,591 people have been supported by Resonance-backed projects.

Resonance supported Smile Together Dental CIC to develop a dental facility that would be suitable for all including vulnerable patients.

Winner of the Health & Social Care Award – NAVIGO

Every year one in four of us will experience a mental health problem and an astonishing 40% of over-16s experience common mental health issues like stress, anxiety and depression. Social enterprises are often on the frontline delivering mental health support and campaigning on behalf of the people they work with.

NAViGO based in Grimsby, provides a variety of mental health services guided by the three pillars of public health – a safe place to live, a job and someone to love.

Being a social enterprise allows NAViGO to go beyond what you’d expect a health service provider to deliver. As well as running acute patient services, community facilities and specialist support such as family therapy and an eating disorder facility, NAViGO has developed a series of income generating businesses which helps secure its sustainability. This includes Grimsby Garden Centre and the People’s Floral Hall. Creating communities is at the core of its operations and its dementia unit contains both a post office and a pub!

Core to NAViGOs ethos is that the pathway to recovery for many people also involves confidence, training and a job they can do. The businesses NAViGO owns create training and employment opportunities for the people they support with staff and service users working side by side. Profit made by these businesses goes back to fund the delivery of services and support more training and employment programmes.

Winner of the Consumer Facing Social Enterprise Award – Brewgooder

Millions of people around the world are still living without access to safe drinking water. Over 3 million people die every year from waterborne diseases and most are children under 5 years old. Lack of access to safe water leaves families trapped in poverty, as they are forced to spend up to four hours a day collecting water at the expense of working or attending school.

Brewgooder is the craft beer brand on a mission to provide clean drinking water to a million people. Launched in Scotland in 2016, Brewgooder uses 100% of the profits generated from its craft beer, merchandise and events to fund clean water projects in developing countries.

It partners with organisations like The One Foundation, who help communities access clean water by digging boreholes and building solar powered water tanks. To date, Brewgooder drinkers have provided 64,748 people with consistent, life-changing clean water.  The mantra of Brewgooder is ‘Madzi Ndi Moyo’, a phrase from Malawi which translates as ‘Water is Life’.

Winner of the Education, Training & Jobs Award – Orchardville

Based in Belfast, Orchardville is committed to changing the lives of people with learning disabilities and autism. They support participants to overcome barriers to employment and to develop the skills and experience needed to secure paid work. In addition, they help participants to become more included in their community, providing them with a range of skills, activities and opportunities that promote independent living.

Orchardville operates an award winning café, a business centre and an industrial support service, with each business also providing meaningful training and employment opportunities for the people they support.

Winner of the Environmental Social Enterprise Award – Awel Amen Tawe

With the UN stating we have just over a decade to deal with the climate emergency, communities are taking the fight for climate justice into their own hands, setting up community energy schemes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions whilst supporting local residents meet their energy needs.

Leading the field of community based renewable energy since 1998, Awel Amen Tawe have vast experience in developing and advising on community schemes, including wind, solar, biomass and hydro; and have implemented energy efficiency measures across thousands of homes and community centres in south Wales. They are also building a pioneering community windfarm with all profits from the scheme going into local regeneration.  

Awel Amen Tawe also set up the first Solar PV Co-operative in Wales, raising £171,000 from 94 members and installing solar panels on five community buildings in south Wales. These systems total 119 kWp of solar energy, saving 1,000 tonnes of carbon over the lifetime of the panels.  Each scheme is linked to a live website where you can see the electricity production and carbon savings, supporting the secondary goal of the organisation to raise awareness of climate change through a sustained programme of information, communication and consultation.

Winner of the ‘Tech for Good’ Award – Clear Voice Interpreting Services

There are over 70 million forcibly displaced people worldwide with the UN estimating that just under 40,000 people a day are compelled to flee their homes for fear of persecution. A small number of these find themselves in the UK where they are faced with the complexity of trying to start a new life and a language they do not understand.

Clear Voice is a social enterprise providing telephone interpreting, face to face appointments and written translations in over 200 languages across the UK. The business was set up by their parent charity Migrant Help, who support and protect people affected by displacement and exploitation, including asylum seekers, refugees and victims of human trafficking.

Through their on-demand telephone and sophisticated in-app interpreting services, Clear Voice deliver a competitive, top-quality service and donates 100% of their profits back into Migrant Help. Many migrants have faced untold horrors on their journeys, from extortion to sexual exploitation and forced labour. Migrant Help supports those most in need and least likely to find support elsewhere, helping them thrive as individuals and recover from their trauma. In 2017/18 they supported almost 300 survivors of slavery and over 20,000 asylum seekers.

Winner of the Women in Social Enterprise Award – Marie Marin

Marie Marin, the founding CEO of Employers For Childcare, has over 20 years’ experience as a social entrepreneur. She founded the organisation with a vision to put an end to the lack of affordable, quality childcare and relevant information in the UK. Employers for Childcare are the only social enterprise childcare voucher company in the UK. They invest their profits to support parents with dependent children to get into and stay in work. Under Marie’s stewardship, the organisation has grown from a small community project into a successful and profitable social enterprise. To date they’ve invested almost £7 million into helping working families across the UK.

Marie’s enthusiasm for social enterprise is described as ‘infectious’ and ‘at the heart of everything she does’. With determination and entrepreneurial spirit, she strives to continuously improve the business and build partnerships to grow the organisation and its positive social impact.

Marie has been instrumental in pushing the voice of social enterprise up the political agenda, playing a vital role in the creation of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Enterprise in Northern Ireland She has shown the innovation and determination which is such an important feature of successful social entrepreneurs – working to develop a new indoor activity centre which is helping secure Employers for Childcare’s future following the announcement that childcare vouchers are to be phased out

Winner of the International Impact AwardBelu

Belu is the UK’s most ethical water brand. It sets the environmental standard in its trading sector and passes 100% of its profits to WaterAid, who provide clean water and sanitation around the world.

Not only does unclean water endanger lives through illness, people (often women and girls) waste hours every day collecting water – time they could spend going to school, running their business  or finding jobs. By supporting clean water projects, Belu helps people break free from poverty and change their lives for good. Every £1 invested in water and toilets returns an average of £4 in increased productivity. So far Belu have donated over £4million to WaterAid, transforming over 270,000 lives.

You can find bottles of Belu in restaurants and hotels across the country from Zizi and Café Rouge to Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons. Belu also developed and runs the ‘Belu Filter Initiative’ where your business can receive filtration systems without charge, to encourage the removal of single use formats.

Winner of the Transformative Community Business Award Homebaked CIC

The story of Homebaked is one of a community coming together to save a treasured local asset and regenerate their area on their own terms. Homebaked is a community land trust and co-operative bakery, owned and run by local people in Anfield, Liverpool. Having started as a project to save their iconic neighbourhood bakery from demolition, Homebaked has developed into a thriving community-run social enterprise, providing quality jobs and reinvesting profits into the local community.

Their co-operative bakery, café and pie shop trains and employs local people at a real living wage. All surplus made by the business is re-invested in new jobs, learning and community spaces. At a time when high streets are at risk around the country, they’re realising a vision for a flourishing community-owned high street, with affordable housing and real shops run by the community for the community.

Winner of the Employee Engagement Award Future Directions CIC

Future Directions is a social enterprise providing social care services to vulnerable adults and young people with learning disabilities and other complex needs in the North. They provide person-centred care by working with the individual, their families, and other advocates or support systems involved to determine how best to support each individual with personalised care. They believe in providing every person their own bespoke support package to meet their individual support needs.

Future Directions takes a values-led approach to the business and places big emphasis on employee engagement. They offer a host of professional development opportunities to employees, like their Aspiring Managers Programme. Underlying this is a central belief in training their staff so they can leave but treating them well enough that they don’t want to.