It was a successful night for social enterprise across the region.
It was a busy night for social enterprise across Yorkshire and Humberside on Thursday 12 March, as Social Enterprise Yorkshire & Humber (SEYH) hosted their annual awards evening at the Leeds Corn Exchange recognising charities, non-profit and third sector organisations within the region.
SEYH itself is an organisation which connects social enterprises and supports and represents the sector. Members of SEYH, consisting of organisations who are either social enterprises themselves or those interested in helping the sector, have the opportunity to nominate people and groups to be shortlisted for awards.
The awards show – accompanied by a three-course meal – was rife with healthy competition amongst each of the nominees, but, of course, there could only be one winner for each category.
Perhaps the most anticipated award was Social Enterprise of the Year which was given to Aspire Community Benefit Society – a non-profit organisation based in Leeds which provides essential care and support services to adults with learning disabilities.
Carol Benson, marketing and communications manager for Aspire, says the award showcases the organisation’s dedication to fighting for people with learning difficulties: “We’re absolutely delighted to be named Social Enterprise of the Year in the Social Enterprise Yorkshire and Humberside Awards.
“This accolade is testimony to the hard work and dedication of everyone in the organisation who is committed to supporting people with a learning disability to have a better life.”
Aspire brought some of the people they work with to the event and invited them up on stage when collecting their award.
However, Aspire weren’t the only ones who saw success on the night. SEYH’s own Ali Ward was presented with the award for Social Entrepreneur of the Year, having been nominated for the shortlist by Revive Leeds.
Ms Ward organised the event and is the general manager of SEYH. She has worked in social enterprise for two decades and received a loud applause as she picked up her prize
She says: “Our winners are absolutely fabulous and it just showcases the absolute amazing work they do in all our communities across Yorkshire and Humber.
“It’s just brilliant that we have the opportunity to showcase and give them the chance to celebrate just how amazing social enterprise is.”
Other winners included Eden’s Forest CIC – which teaches children outdoor experiences such as bushcraft and a love for nature – for the Start Up award, and Calder Valley Community Land Trust which won the Social Investment Award for its work in creating sustainable and affordable homes.
After a busy and exciting evening, it’s back to business for the members of SEYH; that is, until next year, when perhaps we’ll see ambitious startups like Eden’s Forest reaching for the coveted Social Enterprise of the Year award.