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  • Chamber Member People Matters wins Regional Social Enterprise Award

    Leeds Chamber member People Matters reports that it has recently gained the regional award ‘Social Enterprise of the year’ (sponsored by Hempsons Solicitors) from ‘SEYH’. Delivering social care and education across Leeds and beyond its members have disabilities and/or experience other disadvantages which can result in long term unemployment.

    The journey to the award has been one of ‘relentless determination’ in the social care sector given its reputation for small margins reports the Chief Executive, Tina Turnbull. In the last 6 years growth has been substantial, averaging 20-25% per year with 2018-19 reaching over 30%. At the end of 2018 its social care service was inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for the first time and rated ‘Good’. The organisation has now also gained recognition as a Disability Confident Leader from DWP. Staff turnover is half the sector average with social care being subject to significant recruitment challenges. Helen Hirst, an Associate at Hempsons states “Having an established charities and SE practice in Yorkshire it’s important to Hempsons that we support local social enterprises via sponsorship of the SEYH Awards.  The calibre of entries was again of a very high standard and we congratulate ‘People Matters’ on winning the ‘Social Enterprise of the Year’ award”

    It is growth, the pursuit of quality and the recent successful move into supporting people into work and volunteering, that has led to the award. Nearly 180 people are due to have been supported by the People Matters employment service by the summer. Key to success has been a service that is supportive, personal and matches the preferences and interests of individuals and needs of employers. The business model the People Matters team has developed responds to the best practice agenda of the British Association of Supported Employment. There have been some real success stories from individuals and employers taking part in the service such as the ongoing work with Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust. The trust has undertaken to employ a significant number of people who are disabled to better reflect the community they serve.

    The organisation is also working with DWP for example supporting a new employee working at Wetherspoons. Wayne Stephenson the Job Coach Team Leader at People Matters is always looking for new employers who are interested in being supported to recruit and retain local employees from non-traditional backgrounds. He said ‘work opportunities can vary dramatically in nature and we can collaborate with employers to determine how they can best trial employment which matches with individuals, so the employment become sustained. This is as well as supporting applications for Access to Work funding.’ We are particularly interested in working with employers who are concerned about their ability to recruit going forward and/or recruitment agencies with a social purpose.

    After winning the award People Matters also agreed with SEYH that they would spend time promoting understanding of what social enterprise is and does. Many people are unaware that social enterprises can operate across many sectors of the economy and have a variety of legal structures. These can vary from one that is based upon share ownership, through those with an asset lock such as being a charity. The generally agreed parameters are that at least 75% of turnover should be traded on a profitable basis and that there should be a clear requirement to reinvest a significant portion of profits into social purposes. The Chamber of course has its own ‘Raising the Bar’ scheme which encourages members to give something back. In Leeds the work of People Matters clearly responds to the ‘Leeds Inclusive Growth Strategy’. Those organisations that are social enterprises will have memoranda and articles/constitutions that are registered with the CIC regulator or Charities Commission, they may be a co-operative society or community benefit society. People Matters uses the charity with a wide membership model but actively includes trading in contrast with how many view how a charity operates. For chamber members with an interest in supporting local people through corporate social responsibility involvement with People Matters wider work with vulnerable young people and adults is a great way to make sure they can ‘Raise the bar’ effectively.

    Nationally Social Enterprise UK in its report ‘The Hidden Revolution’ states that there are around 100,000 social enterprises, contributing £60bn to the UK economy and employing 2m people. Social enterprises are worth around 3% of UK GDP and 5% of all UK employment, employing as many people the entire creative industry sector. 42% are led by women and new social enterprises are starting up at three times the rate of other businesses. Social Enterprise, its bigger than you think.

    If you would like to find out more about their work contact People Matters or SEYH on:


    Email: info@peoplemattersleeds.co.uk

    Tel 0113 2346896