Birmingham on top at Social Enterprise Awards

City success in non-profit sector recognised.

Birmingham proved it was the capital of social enterprise in the region last week when it claimed four of the major titles at the Social Enterprise West Midlands Awards.

Witton Lodge Community Association, Beatfreeks, Changes UK and Production Assembly Services beat off the challenge of 90 other organisations to secure the SE Plant, SE Passion, SE People and SE Profit accolades respectively.

The latter offers a range of services to assist businesses with capacity shortfalls, including light assembly, contract packing, ultrasonic welding, shrink wrapping and mailshot collation.

A division of BITA Pathways, it helps adults experiencing mental health issues towards employment through specialised training, personal development and one-to-one support.

PAS has achieved significant growth in the last twelve months working with a host of automotive, medical and general engineering firms and is currently looking to fund the next stage of expansion through social investment.

Sallie Ryan, Partnerships Manager at Social Enterprise West Midlands, commented: “This is one of the biggest award ceremonies in our sector and it is only right that we recognise organisations, enterprises and individuals that are creating businesses that have a sustainable impact on the communities in which they operate.

“We had a record number of entries this year, showcasing tales of expansion, innovation, passion, community spirit and employee development. These are serious businesses, with clear strategies that are being delivered and helping to add wealth and jobs to the West Midlands.”

She continued: “Birmingham again proved its credentials as a City that welcomes and cultivates social enterprises, with the four winners highlighting the diversity of our sector and the impact it is having on local people.

“We have had a fantastic response from our supporters who make this event happen, including sponsors Amey, Big Society Capital, PwC, UnLtd, Development in Social Enterprise and the Enterprise Foundation.”

Other Birmingham winners on the evening included:

• Beatfreeks (SE Passion) – An agency that uses creative arts to engage with and inspire young people
• Changes UK (SE People) – Delivering innovative person-centred support for people seeking abstinent recovery from drugs and/or alcohol
• Witton Lodge Community Association (SE Planet) – Enhancing the local environment by replacing sub-standard housing and organising gardening, walking and wildlife clubs

Changes UK’s Steve Dixon concluded: “It was fantastic to be surrounded by some of the finest social enterprises in the West Midlands and even better that we came away with one of the main awards.

“For over a decade, we have been helping people recover from drugs and alcohol so they can live independently and have a positive impact on society, whether that is through 24-hour support in the early days to our eight-week Recovery Academy that equips individuals with the skills to gain employment. It’s an approach that works, with 78% of people staying clean, 95% accessing suitable independent accommodation and an 85% reduction in criminal behaviour.”

Social Enterprise West Midlands is the leading business network and consultancy for social enterprise in the region.

The membership-led organisation offers access to expert consultancy, advice and guidance, as well as a series of event and workshops designed to educate, inform and promote a sector that has the highest percentage of social enterprise start-ups outside of London in the country.

Hosted by the University of Birmingham, the SE Awards were backed by a host of sponsors, including Anthony Collins Solicitors, iSE, and Lister Trade Frames.

For further information, visit or follow @_sewm on twitter