Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership Awards 2023

Last month Cumbria came together at the historic Millom Palladium to celebrate the remarkable accomplishments of social enterprises and social entrepreneurs from across the county. The Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony showcased a wide array of initiatives that are making a profound impact on the community, in addition to recognising those who are striving to create a better and more inclusive society.

The theme of this year’s Annual Conference was to celebrate the social enterprise sector in West Cumbria and to spotlight the accomplishments of the Sellafield Ltd funded SPARK programme of social enterprise support which the Partnership has been delivering in the area.

The event, which was attended in person by 110 delegates, began with a very successful exhibition of mainly SPARK supported social enterprises, where both exhibitors and delegates were provided with the valuable opportunity to network.

The Chair of Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership, Rob Randell, opened the Conference by informing the audience that very recent research showed that the sector in Cumbria is still growing rapidly.  There are now over 1,400 social enterprises registered in the county, they employ 11,000 local people in addition to engaging with 15,000 volunteers and the sector now contributes £475m to the Cumbria economy.

Keynote speaker Gary McKeating, Head of Development and Community at Sellafield Ltd explained to the audience the rationale behind their Social Impact, Multiplied (SiX) initiative and why the support to social enterprise via SPARK was regarded as a vital component of SiX.

Daniel Heery, the Chief Executive of Cybermoor Ltd. and the lead of the consortium responsible for delivering the SPARK program, provided an insightful update on the programmes’ outputs and its overall success to date. Delegates also had the opportunity to engage with other keynote speakers, including Councillor Lisa Brown, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Governance and Thriving Communities at Cumberland Council who underlined the shared objectives which the Council has with social enterprise and the continued commitment of the Council to the sector.

The conference also featured presentations by Cath Howard, Environmental Sustainability Manager at Balfour Beatty Kilpatrick, and Rachel Melton, Social Value Manager at Jacobs, both of whom are integral parts of the Program and Project Partners (PPP). Cath highlighted possible supply chain opportunities for the sector whilst Rachel informed delegates about the successful “Timebank” mentoring scheme.

Lastly, delegates had the privilege of hearing from one of West Cumbria’s prominent social entrepreneurs, Rachel Holliday, the founding Director of Time to Change. Rachel, who has received support from the SPARK program, provided invaluable insights, inspiration, and motivation to encourage the continued growth and expansion of the social enterprise sector.

The Awards Ceremony featured seven categories, including new for this year two SPARK categories, each category highlighting the excellence of individuals and organisations that are dedicated to driving positive change across the region.

SPARK New Social Enterprise of the Year!

Highly Commended: Strive College

Winner: Proud & Diverse Cumbria

Countywide New Social Enterprise of the Year!

Highly Commended: Dandelion Coaching

Winner: Horizon Studios NW

Countywide Social Enterprise Innovation of the Year!

Highly Commended: Growing Well

Winner: Cumbria Health on Call

Countywide Social Entrepreneur of the Year!

Highly Commended: Mary Smith from Growing Well

Winner: Janine Ward from Together We CIC

Countywide Community Social Enterprise of the Year!

Highly Commended: Cumbria Health on Call

Winner: Horizon Studios NW

SPARK Social Enterprise of the Year!

Highly Commended: Always Another Way

Winner: Works 4 You

Countywide Social Enterprise of the Year!

Highly Commended: Works 4 You

Winner: Cumbria Addiction Advice & Solutions

Cumbria Social Enterprise partnership awards at The People First Conference Centre in Carlisle.