Oxfordshire has become the first county in Britain to be named a ‘Social Enterprise Place’ by Social Enterprise UK and has been hosting a series of events this month, including celebrations on 13 September to mark the UK’s first Social Saturday.
David Cameron, whose constituency, Witney, is in the county, said: “It’s fantastic that Oxfordshire is the first county to become a Social Enterprise Place – a beacon of social enterprise activity. Social Saturday is a great way to raise awareness of the vital and growing role social enterprises play in our economy and local communities in Oxfordshire and across the country.”
He added: “Social enterprises trade to tackle some of the greatest challenges we face, from unemployment to food waste. The UK is home to the largest and fastest growing social enterprise sector.”
Oxfordshire joins Alston Moor, Bristol, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Digbeth and Plymouth in taking the title. It boasts a growing number of social enterprises including Broken Spoke Bike Co-op, the Low Carbon Hub, which champions community energy, and the Yellow Submarine Café, which creates opportunities for young people with disabilities and is rated third out of 483 Oxford restaurants on Trip Advisor.
Peter Holbrook, chief executive of Social Enterprise UK, said: “Oxfordshire is being recognised for re-injecting life into local communities across the county, creating opportunities and local wealth, and changing lives for the better.”
Robin Foale, managing director of Santander Business Banking, said: “Santander is proud to support the Social Enterprise Places programme and part of our commitment to supporting small businesses in the UK. Social enterprises are an exciting part of the UK’s SME sector and play a vital role in local communities, helping to deliver social regeneration.”