East Anglia: Social enterprise Realise Futures celebrates successful first year

Members of the Realise Futures team at the opening of the organisation's new offices in Ipswich earl

Members of the Realise Futures team at the opening of the organisation's new offices in Ipswich earlier this year. - Credit: Archant

East Anglia-based social enterprise Realise Futures has chalked up a spectacular first 12 months, increasing its turnover by £3.3million and creating more than 100 new jobs.

Realise Futures, which was spun out of Suffolk County Council as a community interest company a year ago, provides advice, training, skills development and paid employment for people who are disabled or disadvantaged.

It its first year as a stand-alone business its turnover has grown to £16.7m and its workforce has increased by 105 to around 370.

This total includes 35 new jobs in careers advice across the East of England, with the company becoming one of three biggest providers under National Careers Service.

Sarah Sharlott, chief executive of Realise Futures, which is a member of the EADT’s Future50 listing of high-growth potential businesses, said: “It’s been a fantastic year for us.

“Our business continues to expand whilst at the same time helping people grow to fulfil their potential. Our success is due, in the main, to the motivation, self-belief and hard work of our dedicated staff and those who have supported us in this first year.

“The growth in social enterprises, against a backdrop of tough economic times, is testament to their ethos of reinvesting in the communities they serve. Conservative estimates indicate that social enterprises in the UK are employing 800,000 people, and contributing at least £24 billion to the economy. We are proud to be playing our part in this success story.”

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One third of the Realise Futures workforce are people who are themselves disabled or disadvantaged and the profits generated by the company are reinvested to help more people improve their social and economic wellbeing.