Guardians of the social economy, Her Majesty calls

CEO of Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) Peter Holbrook and healthcare innovator Dr Sam Everington are among those to have been recognised in the 2015 New Year Honours list.

Following the announcement that Holbrook is to recieve a CBE for services to social enterprise, former minister for civil society Nick Hurd tweeted: “Really delighted to see honoured for his tireless work on behalf of #socent and the #socialeconomy.”

Among the many congratulatory tweets to the social enterprise leader, Guardian journalist Patrick Butler posted: “And boss joins the establishment!” – to which Holbrook responded “never”.

Previously Holbrook was the CEO of the Sunlight Development Trust. In the same year that he became CEO of SEUK, 2010, he also became a member of the Cabinet Office’s Mutuals Taskforce and was appointed a trustee of the Big Society Trust. In 2012, he took on the role of chair of the Social Enterprise World Forum and was made a member of the EU Social Business Initiative Expert Group.

Chair of the Mutuals Taskforce Professor Julian Le Grand – formerly a senior policy advisor to Tony Blair – was also included in the 2015 Honours. Le Grand has been given a knighthood for services to social sciences and public service.

In total 44% of the 1,164 people recommended to the Queen were honoured for their contribution to the community, voluntary and local services sector. 

Dr Sam Everington – currently a partner at St Andrews Clinic in Bromley-by-Bow, London, and chair of the award-winning Tower Hamlets GPs' Commissioning Group – has received a knighthood from the Queen "for services to primary care".

Everington was one of the East London healthcare innovators who pushed the NHS to back the Bromley-by-Bow Centre in 1997. The centre is a social enterprise that provides a range of support to its local community – from supporting people to overcome chronic illness and unhealthy lifestyles to enabling people to learn new skills.

Another supporter of the social enterprise sector, former Dragons' Den star James Caan received a CBE for services to entrepreneurship and the charitable services he has created through the James Caan Foundation, which raises money for social enterprise.

Last year CEO of the YKTO Group Bev Hurley received a CBE through the New Year Honours. She says an honour is a "door-opener". The YKTO Group aims to support the growth of 6,000 companies that will together will contribute more than £1bn annually to the British economy by 2020. Earlier this year the Group's Outset programme, which focuses on helping individuals from deprived areas out of unemployment through enterprise, celebrated the creation of over 3,000 businesses

Hurley told Pioneers Post: "My CBE acts as a door opener to help me and my team find and foster new opportunities and relationships which, for our Outset business start-up service, benefit the economy through effective and profitable social enterprise.

"The CBE, and the underlying achievement, confirms to business, government and the community as a whole that the work we do within disadvantaged communities is both important and valued by this country.”

In 2014, Mrs Hurley campaigned for SMEs working for local and national government to demand written references from these funders, to help gain new business opportunities and aid procurement for smaller firms.

“Being able to get a good reference from the public sector is vital for small business, to fully compete with the big corporates, yet some departments were refusing. There’s no doubt the CBE smoothed the way for accessing ministers and senior civil servants and explaining the hurdles faced by ambitious small enterprises,” said Hurley.


Photo credit: Tristan Martin