Wales triumphs at 2016 Social Enterprise UK Awards
A 34-year-old renewable energy co-operative took the top prize at the annual Social Enterprise UK awards in London last night.
Comedian and host Nish Kumar announced Dulas as the Social Enterprise of the Year. It follows Dulas' triumph at the Social Business Wales Awards in October, where it was also named Social Enterprise of the Year.
Around 400 guests gathered together in the impressive surroundings of the Grand Connaught Rooms to celebrate social enterprises in 12 categories.
It was a particularly good night for the Welsh contingent in the room, with Cycle Training Wales also winning in the Education, Training and Jobs category. As well as teaching safe cycling, the organisation also offers cycle maintenance courses that have seen students go on to gain employment.
Welsh actor Michael Sheen tweeted his support for the awards and pointed out that it was the second year in a row that a Welsh social enterprise had won the top prize following Vi-Ability’s win last year.
Accepting the award, Alistair Marsden, sales and marketing director of Dulas, took the opportunity to urge “a directional change” for government in renewable energy policy.
He said policy changes in the last two years had “crippled much of the good work that people in this sector are doing.”
Dulas was originally established as a co-operative by six engineers in the small Welsh town of Machynlleth in 1982. It now has 75 employees and has worked on projects as diverse as hydro dams in Austria to solar powered vaccine fridges in Zambia.
The awards ceremony also featured a tribute to the outgoing chair of SEUK, Claire Dove, who is leaving after eight years in the role.
SEUK chief executive Peter Holbrook praised Dove’s professional and personal attributes in equal measure before introducing a photo gallery depicting milestones of her career during that time.
List of the winners
UK Social Enterprise of the Year - Sponsored by NatWest
One to Watch Award - Sponsored by GLL
Social Impact Award - Sponsored by PwC
‘Buy Social’ - Market Builder Award - Sponsored by CAN
Salford City Council
Social Investment Deal of the Year - Sponsored by Big Society Capital
Bristol & Bath Regional Capital
Health and Social Care Social Enterprise - Sponsored by Mutual Ventures
Consumer Facing Social Enterprise - Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson
From Babies with Love
Education, Training & Jobs Social Enterprise - Sponsored by Wates
Cycle Training Wales
Environmental Social Enterprise - Sponsored by Landmarc
The Big Lemon
Inspiring Youth Enterprise Award - Sponsored by P3
Real Ideas Organisation
International Impact - Sponsored by the British Council
Alive & Kicking
Women in Social Enterprise Award - Sponsored by Santander
Maria Morgan - Kineara