On national Social Enterprise day, November 17th, it was announced that Cambridgeshire had been awarded coveted “Social Enterprise Place” status, one of only 19 such areas in the UK
Social Enterprise East of England (SEEE) and Allia made the announcement at a special launch event at the Future Business Centre in Cambridge attended by The Mayor of Cambridge, the Chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council, the Deputy Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK and representatives from many of Cambridgeshire’s social enterprises.
The awarding of Social Enterprise Place status celebrates the thriving social enterprise sector in Cambridgeshire and supports its future growth and development. SEEE estimate that there are at least 175 social enterprises in the county tackling issues such as homelessness, unemployment, disability and financial exclusion and a recent survey of these businesses showed that 55% reported growth over the last year
Nick Temple, Deputy CEO of Social Enterprise UK said: “We’re proud to announce Cambridgeshire as a Social Enterprise County – a hotbed of social enterprise activity. Cambridgeshire join a number of Social Enterprises Places, which are re-injecting life into local communities and local economies across the UK, creating opportunities and wealth, often where they’re needed most. The gap between rich and poor is growing, and so the potential of social enterprise to regenerate communities and to build a more inclusive economy is something that needs to be embraced.
Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council said: “It is great news that Cambridgeshire has been awarded ‘Social Enterprise Place’ status which will provide extra support and recognition for our growing social enterprise sector. Social enterprises add unique strengths in Cambridge. They deliver community services working with councils, and increase the sustainability of the voluntary sector by running successful businesses and earning extra income, while also ensuring they deliver on their commendable social and environmental objectives too.”
Martin Clark, Deputy CEO of Allia said: “There has never been a better time for anyone in Cambridgeshire wanting to start or grow a social enterprise. There is plenty of support already available from organisations including Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge Social Ventures and our own Allia Serious Impact programme, but Place status means we can be even more ambitious in our region. One of our aims will be to produce a directory of social enterprises which describes their products and services and over the next few years all of the organisations involved with this award intend to build a stronger culture in Cambridgeshire of “buying social” and social innovation.”
Rachel Newell, Social Enterprise Manager of Wintercomfort spoke at the event about their two social enterprises, Overstream Clean and Food4Food which support homeless or vulnerably housed people by getting them back into work. Other social enterprises including Burwell Print and ABC Life Support showcased their products and services at a specially created marketplace.