RBS SE100 Awards nomination for Suffolk-based Realise Futures

Adrian Scarratt, head of corporate resources at Realise Futures.

Adrian Scarratt, head of corporate resources at Realise Futures. - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk-based community interest company which supports disadvantaged and disabled people has been shortlisted for a national award.

Realise Futures, which operates across Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, has become a member of the RBS SE100 listing which ranks the country’s leading social enterprises according to their growth and impact in the community.

In parallel, RBS SE100 Awards are held annually to recognise best practice and exceptional achievement within the sector, with Realise Futures having been named among the finalists for the 2014 Trailblazing Newcomer Award

Realise Futures, which provides careers advice, learning and development services and employment support to adults across the East of England, has doubled in size in the past year and has increased its workforce by more than 100 since being spun out from Suffolk County Council in 2012.

It operates a range of social enterprises including cafés, such as The Rec in Stowmarket and the Town Hall Tea Rooms in Ipswich, as well as horticultural services, such as Nowton Park Nursery in Bury St Edmunds and Growing Places in Ipswich, which provide seasonal vegetable boxes.

It has also secured a Skills Support for Work Programme Participants in Employment contract from the Government, bringing in an extra £2million per year.

Adrian Scarratt, head of corporate resources, said: “Our impact is high because all our services are interlinked, so that different sides of the business can support the individual user journey.

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“Our careers advice leads to informal or formal learning, which then hopefully leads to a job and employment within our organisation, which we are then able to provide on the job support for. We don’t just offer an intervention and walk away.”

He added: “We are hugely excited to have been nominated for this award; it’s great to be recognised for the work that we do. The sector has difficulty marketing and publicising itself so any vehicle that promotes that is really useful and helps organisations such as Realise Futures win new business.”

Duncan Sloan, head of community banking at RBS, said: “RBS has been supporting businesses set up to solve social problems for many years. The social enterprise sector is a valuable part of the UK economy and it is our aim to support its development.

“The RBS SE100 Index and the Trailblazing Newcomer Award allow us to recognise the successes of new ventures. Sometimes social enterprises need funding to get off the ground, other times they need access to the right networks to ensure they can evolve. The RBS SE100 Index provides just that, and is a key initiative in our commitment to the success of the social enterprise sector.”

The RBS SE100 Awards will be announced on November 24 at the Good Deals social investment conference in London.