Suffolk-based Leading Lives among the winners at the Social Enterprise UK Awards

The Leading Lives team receive their tropy at the Social Enterprise UK Awards in London.

The Leading Lives team receive their tropy at the Social Enterprise UK Awards in London. - Credit: Archant

Ipswich-based Leading Lives has been named Health and Social Care Social Enterprise of the Year at the Social Enterprise UK Awards.

The national competition recognises excellence and outstanding achievements by social enterprises – businesses that reinvest their profits for social good.

Leading Lives, created as a spin-out from Suffolk County Council in 2012, provides social care support to 1,200 customers and their family carers across Suffolk and north east Essex.

It beat off stiff competition from social businesses across the UK to win the award, which was presented by Lord Victor Adebowale at a ceremony in London.

The award recognises the progress Leading Lives has made as a new public service mutual business. Judges highlighted how the organisation has successfully migrated services for customers with complex needs with minimum disruption, meeting financial targets and delivering a surplus which is re-invested back into the business or into community projects.

In the last two years, Leading Lives has reinvested nearly £45,000 into Suffolk-based community groups and organisations through its Community Benefit Fund and has been at the forefront of many community engagement programmes to enable people with complex needs to live safely in their own communities.

These have included support for hate crime initiatives and safer, more welcoming communities, training for people with learning disabilities to lead independent lives and working with the Parliamentary Outreach Team to encourage adults with learning disabilities to register to vote in this year’s General Election.

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In three years, the business has grown with more than 50 new jobs being created, and the Suffolk and north east Essex services formerly provided by Crossroads Care East Anglia have also recently been incorporated.

A new domiciliary service, Independence Plus, has been set up to provide support in the home for a more diverse customer group, generating £400,000 of new business and a market shaping pilot around Individual Service Funds and direct payments is underway.

Leading Lives is structured as an employee owned co-operative, with an executive board made up entirely of elected staff members.

Tony Carr, Leading Lives’ managing director, said: “We are thrilled and proud to have won in the nationally recognised Social Enterprise UK Awards. It recognises the hard work of everyone in the organisation over the last three years and also our vision to establish a successful social care social enterprise that reinvests back into the services it provides and into our local community.”