Wales Co-operative Centre

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

Ambition and vision recognised as Social Enterprise Awards Wales 2014 winners are announced

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Innovative Valleys based carpet recycling social enterprise Greenstream Carpets has won the coveted Social Enterprise of the Year Award at this year’s Social Enterprise Awards Wales 2014. The Social Enterprise of the Year Award was sponsored by Conwy County Borough Council.

Now in their fifth year, the Social Enterprise Awards Wales are promoted by the Wales Co-operative Centre to raise the profile of co-operatives and social enterprises in Wales and to recognise the achievements of the innovative and committed businesses and individuals that drive the industry.

Greenstream Flooring started in 2008. The company reclaims flooring from commercial offices, sorts, grades and re-sells it across the UK. As well as selling to other business premises they provide low cost flooring for families that would not be able to afford any flooring including working with social housing associations. Greenstream Flooring employ eleven staff directly and provide placements and volunteering opportunities. Greenstream Flooring has grown dramatically with a turnover increase of 1000% since 2010.

Ellen Petts is Managing Director of Greenstream Flooring CIC, she said,

“The whole team at Greenstream Flooring works hard to divert carpet tiles from landfill and support people to carpet their homes.  This award is a great thank you for all that hard work.  It helps us to remember that carpet tiles can make a difference and being a social enterprise can make a difference too. “

Greenstream Flooring CIC saw off fierce competition from a number of highly respected social enterprises to win the award. The other shortlisted nominees were: Pembrokeshire FRAME, Cardigan’s 4CG and Dŵr Cymru / Welsh Water.

Wales Co-operative Centre Chief Executive Derek Walker stated:

“Congratulations to Greenstream Carpets – a deserving winner of the Social Enterprise of the Year Award. Greenstream have a very clear social and environmental mission whilst at the same time operating as a viable and entrepreneurial business. They are developing new markets and new supplier opportunities and they are engaging in mutually beneficial partnerships across the UK.

“The quality of nominations we received for the awards this year demonstrated not only the breadth and versatility of the sector but the importance the sector has to the economy of Wales. Greenstream was recognized for its innovative concept, its entrepreneurial approach and its social impact. They are a trail blazer in the UK and I applaud their ambition and vision”.

Greenstream Carpets will now represent Wales in the UK Finals at a ceremony in London next month. For further information about the company, visit www.findcarpettiles.co.uk

Another Valleys based enterprise won the ‘One to Watch’ award which this year was sponsored by Landsker Business Solutions. Winners Monwel Limited have been producing high quality road signs for 45 years whilst providing employment to people with disabilities and those furthest from the work force. The company underwent a period of transition from ownership by the local authority to an independent social enterprise in November 2012.

Monwel employs 32 full-time people from the local community, 96% of whom manage some form of disability. As a not-for-profit Social Enterprise, Monwel works to ensure the delivery of its social objectives and to operate commercially and profitably in a competitive marketplace. The company invests in the building of relationships with procurement departments in the social, private and public sectors to achieve its goals. It secured over half million pounds worth of contracts within seven months of trading. This included being awarded a Heads of the Valleys contract worth £300,000.

Leslie Barr is Managing Director of Monwel Ltd. She said,

Winning this award is recognition everyone at Monwel rightly deserves for the hard work, dedication, commitment and passion each and every one has contributed to making Monwel a success.

“The prestige and profile that comes with winning such an award will enable Monwel to further promote social enterprise to local authorities, businesses, universities and research centres”.

In a hotly contested category, Monwel Limited triumphed over stiff competition from newly established North Wales textile consortium Draig Tex, community run Canolfan Hamdden Beaumaris a’r Cylch (Beaumaris Lesiure Centre) and Swansea based worker co-operative, Accommodation Furniture Solutions Ltd.

Alison Hill, Chief Officer of Wrexham based Caia Park Partnership won the ‘Social Enterprise Champion’ category sponsored by Unity Trust Bank. Alison was shortlisted for her ten year commitment to developing the organisation into a sustainable, strong, diverse social enterprise rooted in the local community.

Caia Park Partnership provides services, facilities and employment to the residents of Caia Park.  Caia Park Partnership delivers a wide range of services including tenancy support, youth work, employment support and lifelong learning opportunities.  In addition Wrexham Community Enterprises, its trading, arm provides childcare, textile recycling, catering, wood manufacture, training and consultancy.

Francis Hardman, Chair of Caia Park Partnership commented,

“Alison has overseen the transformation of Caia Park Partnership into a professional, sustainable organisation which is firmly rooted in our local community. 

“The development of social enterprises within Caia Park Partnership and the subsequent creation of Wrexham Community Enterprises has played an important role in this transformation and has allowed CPP to provide and develop essential services and employment for the community in a climate of reduced funding and increased pressure on services”.

The other nominees were the team at Holyhead and Anglesey Weightlifting and Fitness Centre, who were shortlisted for their impressive achievements in opening up health and fitness across Anglesey, and Anthea Clements, Chief Executive of Barry YMCA in the Vale of Glamorgan, who was nominated as an acknowledgement of her outstanding contribution to the YMCA and all the organisations she works with and has developed partnerships with.

This year, the awards included a new ‘Inspiring Youth Award’ category, which was sponsored by Big Ideas Wales and whose nominees were all from North Wales. The category was won by Emily Hesketh who is in the process of setting up ‘Changing Rooms, Changing Lives’, an enterprise which will help young and unemployed people from the age of 16 up, to access suitable clothing for interviews when they are applying for jobs.

Emily said,

“It means so much to win this prestigious award.  Changing Rooms, Changing Lives is a newly developing Social Enterprise and this award will greatly increase its profile. I feel quite overwhelmed and honoured to even be nominated for this award, particularly as it is the first year for this category. It is a massive confidence boost knowing I am doing the right thing”.

The all North-Wales shortlist included Ysgol Glan Y Mor in Pwhelli who have developed a mobile ‘app’ to promote local shops to tourists and Ysgol Brynrefail in Llarug who have developed a community radio station ‘Radio Refail’ to develop skills and promote businesses and entrepreneurialism.

Gwynedd Council were also presented with a special recognition from Charity Bank for its work supporting social enterprises in the county.

The Social Enterprise Support Project is tasked with promoting and developing social enterprise in Wales. The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Welsh Government.

 

Written by Mark Smith

September 30, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Posted in co-operatives

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