Social Saturday 2017: shopping for social impact

Social Saturday 2017 will take place on 14 October, challenging consumers across the UK to support social enterprise by investing in products with a social impact.

Events from Newcastle to Bristol will be held as part of the annual campaign, led by Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) and supported by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and the Co-op.

The nation-wide campaign will encourage consumers, local authorities, and businesses to celebrate the impact of social enterprises, whilst promoting their various products and services. 

“This year we’re asking consumers to swap their purchases for social enterprise ones,” said Peter Holbrook, CEO of SEUK. “The best way to support social enterprises is to buy from them – be that coffee, socks, sofas, chocolates, jewellery, or even changing where you get your bike fixed.”

Last year’s Social Saturday involved over 60 events across the UK, from Newcastle, Scarborough, and Norwich, to London, Bristol, and Oxford. Events ranged from woodland walks and community fun fairs to screen printing workshops, social enterprise lunches, and businesses networking sessions.

The campaign engages politicians alongside consumers. Last year, 17 MPs from across political parties visited social enterprises around the UK, including Caroline Lucas (Co-Leader of the Green Party), Ed Vaizey (Conservative MP for Didcot and Wantage), and Cat Smith (Labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood).

Speaking at the launch to this year’s campaign, actor and SEUK patron Michael Sheen said: “We have a choice about where we spend our money and how that money gets used. We can choose to support social enterprises which make a difference on issues that matter to us.” 

In 2016 Sheen attracted publicity supporting SEUK’s pop-up stall in London’s Borough Market. This year, he marked the launch of Social Saturday with a short video showing how everyday items (like socks) can deliver social impact.

Steve Murrells, Co-op Group CEO, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting Social Saturday – it’s a great way to let people know there’s a different way of doing business that meets the needs and expectations of consumers.” 

You can find out more about Social Saturday 2017 here: 

Photo credit: Alex de Haas