Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Thurrock Lifestyle Solutions win top award for work through pandemic

THURROCK Lifestyle Solutions CIC recognised on UK Social Enterprise Roll of Honour for their work supporting people through the pandemic

The outstanding work of Thurrock Lifestyle Solutions CIC over the course of the pandemic has been recognised at a special event bringing together the UK’s business community.

The Roll of Honour was announced at Social Enterprise Futures which took place between 25-26th November and saw nearly 1000 attendees come together to celebrate the heroes of the last year.

Thurrock Lifestyle Solutions CIC has been working in Thurrock for the past ten years and supports disabled people to live the life of their choosing within our community.

Led by a group of Directors who are disabled themselves and thus ‘Experts by Experience’, the organisation provides a huge range of support for over 200 people in Thurrock.

As the pandemic hit, they joined forces with many local organisations and were determined to keep their vulnerable citizens safe. This nomination was particularly in recognition of their staff team’s flexibility and fast move last March to operating in bubbles via a strategy aptly named ‘Diving Bell’.

By moving in with groups of people and working 7 days on and 7 days off but in isolation they have kept people with learning disabilities safe.

At the Social Enterprise Futures event Thurrock Lifestyle Solutions CIC was celebrated along with all the others on the Social Enterprise Roll of Honour, by a session hosted by actor, comedian and director, Chris Addison. The Roll of Honour acknowledges those individuals and businesses which, over the course of an extremely challenging year, have demonstrated the strength, passion and resilience which is so characteristic of the social enterprise sector. Over 400 nominations were received from those within the social enterprise sector as well as supporters of the sector.

Social enterprises are businesses which trade for a social and/or environmental purpose and have been at the heart of community responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve been doing all they can to keep on serving the communities they are set up to support with many pivoting their business models to do so.

Commenting on being named as part of the Roll of Honour Neil Woodbridge CEO said
“We were very humbled to receive this nomination – but feel rightly proud of all our staff efforts during this virus. The true community spirit of Thurrock’s ‘Stronger Together’ shone through – from shopping for over 50 families, letting our building be used as a temporary foodbank or simply just being with our vulnerable customers – I feel truly proud”

Speakers at Social Enterprise Futures included former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who commented on the success and strength of the UK’s social enterprise movement, stating that “there is no route to the future that does not have social enterprise at it’s centre”.

Other speakers included leaders of big business such as former CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman and economist, Kate Raworth who stressed the sheer extent to which business needs to change to build a fairer and more sustainable economy.

The event was organised by Social Enterprise UK, in partnership with social enterprise trade bodies across the home nations – Social Enterprise Northern Ireland, Social Enterprise Scotland and the Wales Co-operative Centre.

Commenting on the event and the Roll of Honour, Peter Holbrook CBE, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed and exacerbated the deep inequalities within society. When the pandemic passes, we need to seriously rethink how the economy works and the role of business within it. To truly build back better we need a real step change in the uptake and adoption of social enterprise models, which show that successful businesses can put people and the planet first.

The Roll of Honour, announced at Social Enterprise Futures, shows just how important social enterprises have been to communities’ response to the pandemic.

They’ve been pivoting their business models to create new goods and services, getting food and essential supplies to the vulnerable, manufacturing PPE and also working on the frontline of the pandemic delivering vital health and social care services. It is this spirit that needs to be harnessed when we eventually head out of lockdown, so we make sure we don’t go back to business as usual.”


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