East Anglia: Anglian Community Enterprise and Realise Futures shortlisted in Social Enterprise Awards

Sarah Sharlott of Realise Futures

Sarah Sharlott of Realise Futures - Credit: Archant

Social enterprises from Essex and Suffolk are those in the running for recognition in the 2014 Social Enterprise Awards.

Colchester-based Anglian Community Enterprise, which delivers a range of NHS community services in north Essex, is one of seven nominees for the Social Enterprise of the Year title, sponsored by RBS.

And Ipswich-based Realise Futures, which works to provide work opportunities for the disabled and disadvantaged, is one of five organisations shortlisted in the Education, Training & Jobs Social Enterprise of the Year category, sponsored by Wates Group.

The awards, orgnaised by Social Enterprise UK, the national body for social enterprise, are due to be announced during a ceremony at London Symphony Orchestra St Luke’s in London on November 26, with comedian and broadcaster Sue Perkins lined up as host.

Besides providing a wide range of NHS community services in north-east Essex, such as children’s services and rehabilitation, Anglian Community Enterprise also provides learning disability thereapy, some specialist nursing and health and well-being services across north-east, mid and west Essex.

Realise Futures operates across the East of England and employs 440 people, of who 40% are themselves disabled or disadvantaged.

All the profits generated by Realise Futures’ six social enterprises, based in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Woodbridge and Felixstowe, get ploughed back into the business to create more jobs and learning opportunities.

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Last year, the company helped 7,000 people to access community learning across Suffolk – 2,000 of which were under 24 - gave 95,000 people careers advice throughout the eastern region.

Recently, Realise Futures was also selected by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) to provide further education and training to new employees, and their employers, across the East of England, supporting newly-employed adults registered on the government’s Work Programme.

Sarah Sharlott, chief executive of Realise Futures, said: “It is exciting to be shortlisted for this national award which recognises the increasing importance of the social enterprise model to the national economy.”