Accolade for Sheffield’s commitment to business for good

Sheffield has been awarded formal accreditation as a Social Enterprise Place for its commitment to developing and supporting social enterprise to thrive by Social Enterprise UK (SEUK).

Social Enterprise Places are hotspots of social enterprise activity where these businesses are collectively working to make their place fairer, greener and more inclusive.  Social enterprise membership body and advocate SEUK has awarded Sheffield this status for its championing of social enterprises, and its commitment to doing so in the future.

Sheffield has a long history of social enterprise activity and South Yorkshire is home to around 463 social enterprises (228 of which are in Sheffield) operating in sectors ranging from education and training, creative and cultural to community farms, food and hospitality, and even environmental projects.

Some of the social enterprises in Sheffield include:

  • Blend Kitchen recently established as a restaurant on Ecclesall Road, offering employment and training opportunities to those on the outside of the employment and skills market;
  • Printed By Us, a printing social enterprise offering employment to the homeless;
  • A Mind Apart, a long standing performing arts company in the city specialising in working with young people and those vulnerable to society supporting them to develop as individuals through community and education interventions using performing arts;
  • Opus Independents, the ‘think and do tank’ working for social change regularly offering solutions for complex societal problems. Their work includes Now Then Magazine, Festival of Debate and Wordlife.
  • Regather, a co-operative of local people working to improve food and build community in Sheffield. They run an organic farm, vegetable box scheme, and many other sustainable food community projects.

Each new accredited place had to set out a three-year plan to sustain the structure and function of the Social Enterprise Place, and boost social enterprise communities within it. These plans include creating programmes to grow markets for social enterprises; engaging with the wider private sector; working with universities to provide social enterprise education; and putting on public-facing awareness campaigns. 

Business Sheffield is proud to have supported the city to gain this accreditation, by being part of the steering group that helped to guide the formation of the action plan. Sheffield Social Enterprise Network, which chairs this group, continues to work closely with Business Sheffield by connecting with referrals; sharing opportunities and events between one another; and working together to support clients in their journeys.

Commenting on the accreditation, Peter Holbrook Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK said:

“Sheffield has a strong, dynamic social enterprise community. We heartily congratulate the city on gaining accredited Social Enterprise Place status, showing its commitment to unlocking the potential of social enterprise in the area.

“Sheffield is showing the difference social enterprises can make in local communities. As the cost-of-living crisis begins to bite and faced with the fallout of the pandemic now is the time to grow and invest in businesses which are reducing inequalities, creating jobs, and working to protect the environment. There can be no meaningful levelling-up without investment in social enterprise.

“Places like Sheffield are putting social enterprise at the heart of regional development and we look forward to seeing social enterprises continue to grow and flourish in these areas.”

Through these new action plans the three Social Enterprise Places are building on the considerable progress they have already made – boosting an already strong social enterprise presence.