Suffolk/UK: Social enterprise employs hundreds across the county

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Realise Futures is up for honours

Growing Suffolk social enterprise Realise Futures has been shortlisted for an award by the national body for social enterprise - Social Enterprise UK (SEUK).

Realise Futures operates across the East of England employing 440 people, of which 40% are disabled or disadvantaged.

SEUK works to raise awareness and campaign on behalf of social enterprises, which are businesses operating for a social and/or environmental purpose.

Realise Futures is a finalist in one of 11 categories of the 16th annual SEUK’s Social Enterprise Awards, and is one of five enterprises shortlisted in the category Education, Training and Jobs Social Enterprise of the Year.

This category recognises social enterprises which have a strong social, environmental and community impact in the education, training and employment sectors.

Recently Realise Futures was selected by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) to provide further education and training to new employees, and their employers, across the East of England - supporting newly-employed adults registered on the government’s Work Programme.

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Last year, the company helped 7,000 people to access community learning across Suffolk – 2,000 of which were under 24 - gave 95,000 people careers advice throughout the Eastern region.

Sarah Sharlott, chief executive officer of Realise Futures said: “It is exciting to be shortlisted for this national award which recognises the increasing importance of the social enterprise model to the national economy.”

The SEUK awards will be judged by leaders across the sector and the winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on November 26 in London and hosted by comedian and broadcaster Sue Perkins.

There were a record number of entries this year, with strong contenders in all categories. SEUK said Realise Futures stood out as outstanding in their field of education training and jobs.

Realise Futures launched its Do a Great Deal campaign www.doagreatdeal.co.uk in May this year, getting people and businesses in Suffolk to do something good for someone else when they purchase a product or service from a social enterprise.

All the profits generated by Realise Futures’ six social enterprises – based in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Woodbridge and Felixstowe - get ploughed back into the business to create more jobs and learning opportunities.

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