A Herefordshire micro brewery, an organic farm, a specialist travel agency and a centre for supporting families with disabled children have been named as the region’s shining lights in social enterprise.
Brew On, Fordhall Community Land Initiative, IQS Travel and New Hope were named as the first winners of the SEWM ‘Choose Social Enterprise Awards’ at a high profile event held by Social Enterprise West Midlands (SEWM).
More than 70 people heard how the quartet had shown great commercial acumen in delivering activities, goods and services that are having a positive social impact on the West Midlands.
Melanie Mills, chief executive of SEWM, said the judges were particularly impressed with the scale of innovation on display and how many of the winners had overcome significant challenges to get their enterprises off the ground.
“The awards are a great way to celebrate Social Enterprise and highlight some of the outstanding work that is going on across the West Midlands.
“Our four winners have very different business models, but all share the same ethos for delivering first class services and products whilst ensuring a positive social impact.”
She continued: “This includes providing work placement opportunities, supporting the most vulnerable people in our communities and coming up with essential services that make such a difference to individuals.”
Brew On, which produces craft-brewed ales, ciders and fruit juices supplied to the National Trust, impressed judges to pick up the ‘SE prima’ Award for Innovation, whilst Shropshire-based Fordhall Community Land Initiative secured the ‘SE planet’ title for its environmental performance in running an organic farm.
New Hope of Worcester was victorious in the ‘SE people’ category after providing respite support to 39 families who have children with disabilities and Black Country IQS Travel beat off the challenge of 20 other social enterprises to win the ‘SE profit’ Award.
The latter has seen significant demand for its host of services that are geared towards helping disabled people with their domestic and international travel arrangements.
Nick Comley, managing director of Brew On, said: “It is very pleasing to be recognised for our work over the last 12 months and we will use the SE Award to really push the business on in the future.
“This includes the possibility of opening a new brewery in the East End of London, as part of the Olympic legacy in 2012.”