Suffolk Business Awards 2021: meet the Changing Lives Special Recognition finalists

Mackman Group employee helping client

Mackman Group is a market research, branding and marketing agency that has been nominated for the Changing Lives Special Recognition Award 2021 - Credit: Mackman Group

The Changing Lives Special Recognition Award, sponsored by Norwich Research Park, recognises businesses that have a clear strategy to go above and beyond normal expectations to make a positive impact on the communities in which they are located. 

Mackman Group 

Mackman Group incorporates two brands based in Sudbury, Suffolk – Mackman Research, a market research agency, and Mackman, a full-service branding and marketing agency. Established in 2003, the company has worked with leading brands around the country.  

An active member of Suffolk ProHelp, Mackman Group regularly supports non-profit groups with their marketing on a pro-bono basis. 

The judges recognised the company’s ethos of giving back to the community and developing its people. They said its guiding phrase ‘Together We Grow’ shines through in everything it does, and that the leadership is determined to enrich the lives of everyone it touches. 

The judging panel also saw a business where there is no shirking of responsibility, as seen in the way it stepped up to plate when Covid hit. “They realised that this was happening on their watch, and they wanted to be able to look future generations in the eye and say, ‘This is what we did.’”

Combat2Coffee is a community interest start-up with coffee shops across East Anglia.  

Combat2Coffee is a community interest start-up with coffee shops across East Anglia - Credit: Combat2Coffee

Combat2Coffee 

Founded in 2018 by former prison officer and army veteran Nigel Seaman, Combat2Coffee is a community interest start-up with coffee shops across East Anglia.  

Through the use of branded coffee, a strategic high-street presence, pop-up caravan coffee shops, B2B engagement and its coffee roasting and barista prisoner rehabilitation training programme, Combat2Coffee aims to deliver and support charitable causes, veterans and those suffering from mental health issues locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. 

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“This is more than just a business,” said the judges. “It has a soul.” They highlighted that the person as an individual is front and centre of everything that Combat2Coffee does, from sourcing supplies to service delivery. “Not only is it helping those people who have fallen on unfortunate times, it is now extending itself to support anyone with mental health issues and is teaching people new skills while helping them to rehabilitate.” 

Emmaus Suffolk van with employees and clients

Emmaus Suffolk runs social enterprises in Ipswich and Felixstowe working with vulnerable, unemployed people - Credit: Emmaus Suffolk

Emmaus Suffolk 

Emmaus Suffolk works with vulnerable, socially-isolated or long-term unemployed people and those at risk of homelessness.  

It runs social enterprises in Ipswich and Felixstowe where people are given the opportunity to gain hands-on work experience while accessing the support services of a charity. This support includes benefits and job-hunting advice, self-esteem and confidence building, budgeting and housing advice. The charity also runs workshops and drop-in support hubs where people can access support. 

The judges said it’s fortunate that there are organisations like Emmaus stepping forward to make the “important issue” of homelessness and isolation their business. It’s “a reality that most of us prefer not to know about” and is often regarded as “someone else’s problem”. They added that the ambition of Emmaus “is bold and brave, but one for which success is so badly needed.” 

Restitute is a non-profit that supports third-party victims of crime in Suffolk and Norfolk

Restitute is a non-profit that supports third-party victims of crime in Suffolk and Norfolk - Credit: Restitute

Restitute 

Restitute CIC was born from the personal experience of its founder, Cath Pickles. As a third-party victim of crime, she took it upon herself to establish an organisation that could offer support to people whose loved ones have suffered unthinkable trauma.  

The non-profit works closely with families across Norfolk and Suffolk, offering training and commissioning to ensure third-party victims of crime are able to recover. Unprecedented demand for Restitute’s life-changing work has seen its caseload triple. 

The judges commended Cath Pickles for turning personal crisis into a business that is already making a huge difference to people and saving lives. “There are so many individuals and families who will be affected by abuse and have nowhere to go,” they added. “Restitute allows them to have a voice and be heard. It is now building a business model rather than a service to ensure it remains sustainable.”