Social Business Wales Awards honour wellbeing and environmental projects

‘We have brilliant examples of businesses doing their bit to reduce the impact of climate change and reaching out to new members of the community’

The Social Business Wales Awards were handed out last night, with winners active in fields such as community wellbeing and environmental sustainability.

The awards, presented during an event at the Senned, are part of the Social Business Wales programme delivered in partnership by Cwmpas, Unltd, WCVA, Development Bank of Wales, and Social Firms Wales. The programme is funded by the Welsh government, and it is part of the Business Wales service.

Social businesses in Wales account for 2.6% of the total businesses in Wales, employing over 65,000 workers, with an annual turnover for the sector calculated ats £4.8bn.

The headline sponsor for the Social Business Wales Awards 2023 is Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water. Categories were also sponsored by Legal and General, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, and the Co-op Group.

The winners are:

Social Enterprise of the Year: Câr-y-Môr

Sponsored by Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water

Câr-y-Môr is working on the first commercial seaweed and shellfish farm in Wales, and hopes to create a model others can replicate. With a stated commitment to making a positive impact on the Welsh coastline and the local community, the Pembrokeshire-based community business impressed judges with its “innovative approach to running a business that puts their people and community at their core”.

The Bike Lock

One to Watch: The Bike Lock

Sponsored by Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water

The independent co-working space offers Cardiff’s first secure cycle storage facility as part of its service – along with locally roasted coffee. With a mission “to build a space that encourages people to be more active and engage with their community”, the Bike Lock impressed the judges with its “passion and drive to support active travel in and around Cardiff, enabling a healthier and happier community”.

Outside Lives

Building Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, & Justice: Outside Lives

Sponsored by the Co-op Group

Mold-based Outside Lives is committed to connecting people and communities, running a range of creative and environmental projects to encourage “a more supportive, adaptable, resilient and resourceful environment for every living thing”.

Eleanor Shaw

Social Enterprise Women’s Champion: Eleanor Shaw, People Speak Up

Sahw is the founder and artistic and business director of Llanelli-based mental health charity, People Speak Up (PSU).She worked for many years as a leader in further education, but wanted to make a bigger impact and left her role. After take time out to travel and “find healing and purpose”, she launched PSU, which works to build “healthy, resilient communities through storytelling, spoken word, creative writing and participatory arts”.

With Music in Mind

Community-based Social Enterprise: With Music in Mind 

Sponsored by Legal and General

With Music In Mind is a not-for-profit community interest company, based in the Vale of Glamorgan, offering a regular services for older people in the community – with singing and social groups, and more recently gentle exercise and social groups.

The judges were impressed by “the care and dedication With Music in Mind shows towards the people that need its service, and its plans to extend its services to a wider area, ensuring more people suffering with isolation have the support they need and deserve“.

Creating Enterprise

Social Enterprise Innovation of the Year: Creating Enterprise

Sponsored by University of Wales Trinity St David

Creating Enterprise, part of social landlord Cartrefi Conwy, is an award-winning building and maintenance contractor based in North Wales.

The judges were impressed by its plans to build energy efficient, carbon zero homes, certified by Beattie Passive, and the way it gave employment to people supported by Cartrefi Conwy .

Glenn Bowen, director of enterprise at Cwmpas, said: “Social enterprises embedded within their communities provide much needed support, services and jobs.

“We have brilliant examples of businesses doing their bit to reduce the impact of climate change and reaching out to new members of the community through their equity, diversity and inclusion work. Congratulations to all our wonderful winners.”