The 2019 Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership Awards took place on Tuesday, 5th March at Coronation Hall in Ulverston.
The theme of this year’s event was ‘Social Enterprise … The Future of Business’.
Rob Randell, Chair of the Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership said “Every year we are simply blown away by the amazing work that is being done by social enterprises throughout the county and it makes choosing the winners very difficult. This year was no exception and the awards honoured some truly remarkable and inspirational organisations and people.”
There were four categories in this year’s awards:
New Social Enterprise of the Year (presented by Rachel Holliday of Time to Change)
- Winner: Alpacaly Ever After
- Highly Commended: Gateway for Women
Alpacaly Ever After is a new social enterprise setup as a Community Interest Company less than 18 month ago. Since then over 7,000 people have participated in walks with their alpacas at the Lingholm Estate in Portinscale near Keswick and meet the alpacas at the Lakes Distillery. Their llamas have gone viral on social media and their video has had over 5 million views on UNILAD and they are currently rated on Tripadvisor as No. 1 out of 388 things to do in the Lake District.
The Gateway 4 Women centre is based in the old Mitchells Dryers building in Denton Holme. The centre provides a safe, welcoming, women-only space for any woman to access a range of support, including domestic abuse, homelessness, drug and alcohol misuse and has supported more than 400 individual women since it opened its doors in October 2017. The centre has a Barista Coffee Bar and a fully-functioning Nail Salon, both of which are used for training. In July 2018 12 women qualified with a Level 2 Certificate in Manicure and Gel application.
Community Enterprise of the Year (presented by Councillor Mark Wilson)
- Winner: Carlisle Mencap
- Highly Commended: Creative Wellbeing
Carlisle Mencap’s award was for their Independence Studio, based in Mencap’s Grace Little Centre in Kingmoor Park, Carlisle. The studio an art and animation studio run by talented young adults with a learning disability and is the only one of its kind in the NW. The studio has created short films on a variety of important issues including sexual exploitation, hate crime, voting, healthy eating and most recently, mate crime. Their films have gained national recognition with both the Home & Cabinet Offices taking copies of their videos to distribute nationally. Their service users script-write, produce and appear in these films which are often based on incidents that have happened to them in real life.
Creative Wellbeing works with statutory services and third sector organisations throughout Cumbria providing inclusive creative activities as a means to enhance personal and community wellbeing.
Social Enterprise of the Year (presented by Guy Huxtable of Wingspan Consulting)
- Winner: Time to Change (West Cumbria)
- Highly Commended: People First Independent Advocacy
Time to Change (West Cumbria) runs Calderwood House in the former Egremont Police Staion. Their mission it to tackle poverty and homelessness in West Cumbria and to challenge the negative stereotypes of homelessness that exists. They have recently expanded and also have 5 self contained affordable move on flats and have just signed a lease on a new property to open a ‘Women out West’ centre in the summer.
In February 2018, People First moved into what was previously an abandoned University of Cumbria library on Milbourne Street, Carlisle. They opened their Conference and Centre for Learning, which is unique in that not only does the centre serve as a large conference and event hub, but also recruits people with learning difficulties to run the centre through its ‘Hospitality Academy’. Working with employment specialists a range of training, skills and development opportunities for young adults with learning difficulties will be delivered in catering, hospitality, centre management and administration skills. Receiving on the job training as part of the in-house ‘Hospitality Academy’, learners will be able to achieve accredited qualifications.
Social Entrepreneur of the Year (presented by Sue Gilbertson of Cybermoor)
- Winner: Lisa Dyke, iCan Health & Fitness
- Highly Commended: Vanessa de Castro, Gateway 4 Women
Lisa Dykes, Director of iCan Health & Fitness CIC based in Denton Holme, Carlisle said “It was an honour to be nominated for an award, but to actually win is incredible. Since we setup our Community Interest Company less than two years ago, we have gone from strength to strength. It’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but it’s all been worth it and shows what you can achieve if you’re passionate and determined about making a difference and we strive to do this every day at iCan.”
Vanessa de Castro, Development Manager from Gateway 4 Women who won two awards said “I was so honoured to receive the awards for Gateway 4 Women. Looking back to the start of 2018 I can’t believe where the year has gone and I am amazed at what we have achieved within the centre. This is due to having an incredible team of staff who are all so passionate about the work they do. I would also like to thank all our fabulous clients who have allowed us to be part of their lives”.
The audience also heard from some truly inspiration speakers including Julia Clifford and Lisa Dykes from iCan Health & Fitness; Fraser Dooley from Amy’s Care Community Interest Company based in North Cumbria, inspired by and named after Fraser’s grandma Amy. Amy’s Care specialise in providing daycare through their social clubs for older adults and in particular for those living with dementia; Julia Walker from Lake District Mobility which was setup in 2017 as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation with the aim of breaking down the barriers that prevent people with limited mobility enjoying the great outdoors, either independently or with their friends and family. You can currently access their Tramper all terrain mobility scooters at Whinlatter Forest and soon at the Langdale Estate.
The speakers took part in a lively panel discussion with a Q&A session from the audience.
The event was organised by Alston based Cybermoor Services on behalf of the Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership as part of Cumbria County Council’s funded Social Enterprise Support & Network Programme.
The Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership supports the social enterprise sector within the county and has nearly 500 members. Membership is free and is open to all Cumbria social enterprises and other organisations promoting social enterprise within the county. Its primary objectives are to support and increase the formation, growth and survival rates of Cumbrian social enterprises and to represent the interest of the social enterprise sector through networking and collaboration. CSEP is funded by Cumbria County Council and is currently engaged in delivering a programme of networking events and providing business support to both start-up and existing social enterprise businesses throughout the county.
It is estimated that there over 800 social enterprises running businesses throughout the county, contributing at least £325m to the economy, providing 4,000 jobs and engaging with 5,000 volunteers. The businesses vary greatly in size and type, operate in many different sectors and provide services in areas where private and public sector provision is lacking.