Marked for social enterprise - are you up for it?
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Marked for social enterprise - are you up for it?

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Social enterprises work in almost every industry in the UK, from health to transport to IT to recycling to education, employment and a growing number in sports and leisure industry. Social enterprises are businesses trading primarily for social and environmental purposes.

Now there is a new visible branding device known as the Social Enterprise Mark catching on up and down the country as Leisure Trusts apply for and get awarded this prestigious mark of achievement. Any business displaying the Mark is telling its customers that it is committed to social and environmental objectives.

The Social Enterprise Mark is the identifier for social enterprise businesses creating a fair and just world. In a recent meeting with SPORTA members Peter Holbrook from SEC had this to say...

"Hundreds of thousands of people are using leisure facilities up and down the country have little idea that they're customers of social enterprises, and as a result they are supporting job creation, training and many other local community benefits that social enterprises can achieve."

Peter Holbrook - CEO Social Enterprise Coalition

Consider the facts... From recent industry survey 63 per cent of SPORTA members are considering applying or currently applying and that is not surprising considering the support its getting.

  • 74 per cent of customers would rather buy from a company that makes decisions based on concern for society and the environment*
  • 88.2 per cent of commissioners said that (assuming other contract requirements were met) they would prefer a bidder that has a public service ethos*
*Omnibus Survey of 1,000 people representative of the British population.

Social Enterprise Mark businesses are awarded this prestigious recognition and can then badge that they are proud to be making a difference clearly identify those businesses which meet the criteria. The Mark is a visual badge for a movement that is working for social change and environmental sustainability. The Mark identifies businesses which meet defined criteria for social enterprises, for example allocating 50% or more of profits towards social and/or environmental benefit.

Now just six months after launch there are over 250 mark holders up and down the country from Edinburgh to Exeter. The list of SPORTA members who have been awarded the Mark is growing each day and this is what some members say about the Mark:

GLL

"GLL is delighted to have been awarded the Social Enterprise Mark - it is a clear endorsement of the fact that we are meeting our social goals and clearly distinguishes us from purely commercial enterprises. When a customer uses a GLL service, they do not just get their swim or gym, they are also investing in creating local jobs, helping young athletes, providing for people with disabilities, crime diversion schemes for young people, installation of sustainable technology and a whole range of added value social initiatives.

The Social Enterprise model is the 'win win' way forward for local services, the Social Enterprise Mark is the badge that reassures customers that the service they use is being run for social outcomes, not private profit " Mark Sesnan, GLL Managing Director

Tone Leisure Limited

"As soon as we became aware of the Social Enterprise Mark we realised how perfectly it aligns with our business ethos and social and charitable values. Tone Leisure is passionate about health and physical activity and we are driven by making our leisure facilities and community 'outreach' programmes as accessible as possible to all our local communities.

"Our message is simple: 'Tone is a Social Enterprise, reinvesting every penny into helping more of our community feel good' and we are delighted to be able to display the Mark as a symbol of this socially conscious way of working." Juliette Dickinson, Managing Director, Tone Leisure Limited

Link4Life

"Link4Life balances financial stability with clear social objectives that adhere to the principles of equality, co-operation, and concern for community, democratic governance and appropriate use of surpluses. Recognition from the social enterprise mark helps us to effectively underpin this commitment.

Every time someone uses our cultural facilities and services they are investing back into the community and that has got to be a good thing. The Social Enterprise Mark demonstrates that Link4Life is well placed to respond to the government's Big Society agenda and I for one am extremely proud that we have been awarded the mark." Craig McAteer, Managing Director at Link4Life

Trusts in the sport and leisure sector have a big opportunity to be badged and recognised for the programmes and schemes they operate to drive community engagement and getting hard to reach audiences, the Mark allows this story to be told collectively making it a powerful differentiator and giving customers a beacon to appreciate the nature of differences in organisations which put something back.

How to apply

It's straightforward and cost-effective to apply for the Mark all online - simply register your interest and view the website for more information about applying at www.socialenterprisemark.org or call for more information on HELPLINE 0845 5046536

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Social enterprises work in almost every industry in the UK, from health to transport to IT to recycling to education, employment and a growing number in sports and leisure industry. Social enterprises are businesses trading primarily for social and environmental purposes.
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