Choose communities: British public urged to #BuySocial in post-pandemic recovery

Social Enterprise UK launches three-day 'Choose Communities: #BuySocial' campaign with news that three-quarters of consumers would prefer to purchase from companies that put people before profits.

British consumers, public services and companies are being urged this week to continue the community spirit demonstrated since the Covid outbreak by buying from social enterprises.

The three-day ‘Choose Communities: #BuySocial’ campaign is organised by Social Enterprise UK (SEUK), the membership body for social enterprises, and supported by the Co-op. Social enterprises across the country are promoting their work locally and via social media, with each of the three days focusing on a different market: businesses, public sector and consumers.

SEUK launched the campaign this morning alongside results of a YouGov poll which found that three-quarters of British people would prefer to buy products and services from companies that put people before profits. 

Peter Holbrook CBEIt’s now vital that social enterprises are placed at the heart of our recovery from the pandemic so we can build back better in a way that is more equal and sustainable – Peter Holbrook, Social Enterprise UK

A similar proportion said they would like to see more new businesses using their core operations and profits to have a positive impact on communities. 

Peter Holbrook, SEUK’s CEO, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on communities, but at the same time there has been a real resurgence in community spirit.”

He added that social enterprises had been at the forefront of community responses to the crisis – shifting their business models to keep on supporting their communities and deliver vital services.

“It’s now vital that social enterprises are placed at the heart of our recovery from the pandemic so we can build back better in a way that is more equal and sustainable,” he said. 

“This polling shows that there is a real appetite amongst the public to support a different way of doing business, not only in the types of businesses they want to support now but also the kinds of businesses they want to see grow in the future.” 



“We have the power to build the kind of world we want to see – so get out there and buy social, because when you do you choose communities.” 

Consumers are being directed to Social Enterprise UK’s Buy Social Directory to find local social enterprises. A Choose Communities video showing the impact of social enterprises upon their communities is also being promoted online.

A social media 'thunderclap' is planned for 10am on Saturday 17 October with the aim of getting the campaign trending.

Social Enterprise UK’s Buy Social campaign is an annual fixture that encourages people to spend money with social enterprises.

Last year’s activities focused on an augmented reality app which showed customers films about the social impact of their purchases when they scanned social enterprise products.

The campaign comes alongside news that the number of social startups being created has not been affected by the pandemic. One in seven existing community interest companies was founded since the Covid-19 outbreak, with over 3,000 more CICs in October than at the beginning of March 2020.

• To get your social enterprise involved in the campaign, see Social Enterprise UK’s Choose Communities: #BuySocial webpage for resources. 

Header photo: Tracy Reeve, environmentalist and founder of The Cut Back, a new zero-waste shop and community hub in Saltburn, Yorkshire