Social Business Wales awards see top gongs go to youth ventures

‘You are changing Wales and the world in a positive way through the power of social enterprise’

The Social Business Wales Awards were announced yesterday, with youth support ventures Therapeutic Activities Group in Cardiff and Prom Ally in Llandudno taking home the biggest prizes.   

Hosted by BBC Wales Today presenter, Jennifer Jones, the ceremony was attended virtually by 150 guests from the social business sector. 

The winner of this year’s Tech for Good category, Denbighshire Music Co-operative, a not-for-profit organisation providing quality music tuition for pupils in the Denbighshire area, delighted guests during the event with a rendition of Uptown Funk.  

Therapeutic Activities Group won the Social Enterprise of the Year Award (sponsored by Cowshed Communication). The Cardiff-based community interest company was set up in February 2019 to improve the physical, emotional, educational and social wellbeing of young people. It works in 23 schools across south Wales, engaging between 10 and 15 young people per school – a total of around 345 ‘at risk’ young people. Its long-term goal is to set the standard in programme delivery of Specialised Trauma Informed Therapeutic practices. 

The 2021 One to Watch category (sponsored by Legal & General) rewards new social enterprises that have been trading for less than two years which show significant promise for the future. Winner Prom Ally, a social enterprise from Llandudno, enables girls and boys who are experiencing financial hardship to access the free loan of a prom outfit for their special night. Prom Ally has helped hundreds of girls since it began and has recently opened up to boys too, offering suits in addition to the dresses. 

Prom Ally founder Ally Elouise

Other winners, included:

  • Community Impact (sponsored by Triodos Bank): Iorwerth Arms, a community owned pub in Holyhead that was saved from closure and demolition through community action in 2015. It is now a successful community hub for the Bryngwran area  
  • Tech for Good (sponsored by Perago): Denbighshire Music Co-operative, a not-for-profit social business run by teachers, providing quality music tuition for children in the Denbighshire area 
  • Social Enterprise Team of the Year (sponsored by Acuity Law): Creating Enterprise, a subsidiary of Cartrefi Conwy, provide a range of contracting and development services to clients across the public and private sector
  • Green Willow Funerals and Llangefni FC also picked up a highly commended award.

Economy minister Vaughan Gething said: “I was pleased to see this year’s excellent standard of entries, showcasing the positive activity taking place in the sector across Wales, delivering positive social impact in our communities and societies, and improving social and economic wellbeing. I am encouraged about the future of the social business sector and the role it can play in our Economic Action Plan, Prosperity for All, with its progressive purposes of reducing inequality and spreading wealth and well-being across all of Wales.” 

Wales Co-operative Centre CEO Derek Walker said:  “We all know how incredibly difficult the last 18 months have been. But it would have been so much tougher for many of us if hadn’t been for work of social enterprises across the country. Social enterprises have stepped up to continue to provide services in challenging circumstances and often set up new services where required. Social enterprises have been at the heart of local communities and of Wales’ response to the pandemic. Well done to all of our winners and finalists. You are changing Wales and the world in a positive way through the power of social enterprise.”  

The Social Business Wales Awards have run annually since 2010, as part of the Social Business Wales project, to highlight and honour the best social businesses in Wales. Social Business Wales is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Regional Development Fund and is delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre. The project provides business support to social businesses across Wales which have plans for growth and expansion.