Ipswich-based Realise Futures in line for an award

Adrian Scarratt, head of corporate resources at Realise Futures.

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

Natonal award shortlist for social enterprise

Realise Futures CIC, a community interest company supporting disadvantaged and disabled individuals into work across Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, has been recognised as a leading social enterprise, shortlisted in the 2014 RBS SE100 awards.

The RBS SE100 Index is an online listing of social ventures, ranked and scored according to their growth and social impact. Each year The RBS SE100 Awards recognise social enterprises on the Index who have demonstrated some of the best business practice within the sector, celebrating the growth, impact and ambition of social enterprises in the UK.

The Trailblazing Newcomer Award is given to a newcomer social enterprise that has made great strides to stand out from the crowd and become a leader amongst their peers, combining solid growth with a commitment to proving the positive impact of their business.

Realise Futures CIC provides careers advice, learning and development services and employment support to adults across the East of England. The organisation works to empower service users, offering guidance and individual focused support to help disadvantaged individuals get into employment or back into work.

The organisation also runs a range of social enterprises that operate commercially to support disabled people in the area, including café’s 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.

Realise Futures has gone from strength to strength, experiencing 109% growth in the last year and increasing their workforce by over 100 people since launching as an independent company in 2012.

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The newcomer award is just as much about social impact as it is about growth. Realise Futures CIC has a social impact score of 10/10, a score that puts the organisation in the top 3.3% of enterprises in this years RBS SE100 index for measuring and demonstrating social impact.

Recently, the organisation has been successful in securing the ‘Skills Support for Work Programme Participants in Employment’ government contract, bringing in an extra £2 million per year, a win that Adrian Scarratt, head of corporate resources, puts down to the organisations social impact measurement efforts.

He said: “Not only have we won this government contract, but we are approached to submit tenders for different organisations outside of our usual remit, based on our high social impact score.”

“Our impact is high because all our services are interlinked, so that different sides of the business can support the individual user journey. 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.”

Adrian said: “ We are hugely excited to have been nominated for this award, its great to be recognised for the work that we do. The sector has difficulty marketing and publicising itself – any vehicle that promotes that is really useful and helps organisations such as Realise Futures win new business. ”

Duncan Sloan RBS head of Community Banking 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 2014 winners will share a £30, 000 prize fund that will be awarded at the RBS SE100 Annual Awards on the 24th November 2014, at the Good Deals social investment conference in London.

The shortlist is divided into five categories: Sustainable Growth, Social Impact, Trailblazing Newcomer and the Resilience and Storyteller award.