ONE of the UK's flagship social enterprises, Greenwich Leisure, has won the main prize at the Enterprising Solutions Awards.
Greenwich Leisure has been a reference point at many co-op and social enterprises conferences as a strong community business.
It was the first leisure trust and paved the way for the 100 plus trusts now set up across the country.
The employee led organisation manages 45 leisure facilities in six boroughs across London with 210,000 members. GLL employs more than 3,000 staff and last year had an annual turnover of £ 35 million.
It promotes and raises participation levels in some of most deprived areas of the capital and is playing a key role in delivering the Olympics and building a legacy for London.
Judges at the awards ceremony, organised by the Social Enterprise Coalition, said: "GLL is a shining example of how a social enterprise can run a public service."
The awards, handed out on Social Enterprise Day, are designed to celebrate the best in community and social business – and provided a £ 10,000 prize for Greenwich Leisure.
One of the runner-ups was the Daily Bread Co-operative, which is a vegetarian, wholefood retail warehouse in Cambridge. The co-op provides work for people with mental health problems, which constitutes 50 per cent of staff.
The focus of the other runner-ups was regeneration organisations that help to provide training and employment in deprived areas.
These were Newlife in Braunstone, Leicester; Community Opportunities for Participation in Enterprise (COPE) in Lerwick, Shetland; and Bryson House which provides a service to some of Northern Ireland's most socially deprived areas.
The winner of the Young Social Enterprise award was Kibble which works with young men Scotland's who have chronic and acute social, emotional, educational and behavioural difficulties.
Winner of the Young Social Enterprise Award and the runners up received £ 5,000.
Jonathan Bland, Chief Executive of the Social Enterprise Coalition, said: "Social enterprises are making a real difference in every part of the country – as these awards show.
"We want to encourage more fantastic businesses like Newlife, COPE and Daily Bread that take a truly entrepreneurial approach to social and environmental problems. And we want more social enterprises delivering public services.
"Greenwich Leisure, Kibble and Bryson House are all exemplars of the way in which social enterprises can offer a real alternative to state or private sector delivery."