UnLtd was thrilled to be jointly recognised with Radiant Cleaners at the 2020 Social Value Awards in the Decent Work Category.
The awards, presented at the National Social Value conference on the 29th of January, aim to showcase best practice from around the UK on how all sectors are embedding social value into the way they do business.
Access to employment has been a key area for UnLtd in recent years. We know that behind the high employment statistics there are still many people who would like to work, but are not able to access appropriate, meaningful employment. Fortunately, social entrepreneurs are offering solutions through offering training and high quality employment opportunities, work placements and recruitment services.
A prime example is Radiant Cleaners, who support people who have faced multiple barriers to good employment by giving them a job that works for them. Many of Radiant Cleaners’ employees were long term unemployed and have faced challenges such as homelessness, domestic abuse and drug addiction.
UnLtd has supported Radiant Cleaners through our Thrive: Access to Employment accelerator. We have helped them better understand, measure and celebrate their social impact, so that it’s tied into their core business strategy and activities. This support has involved running a combination of workshops and working one-to-one with ventures.
We’ve helped many ventures articulate their theory of change, prioritise what to measure and develop plans to collect data. Radiant Cleaners were able to develop a system to prove the impact of their specific business model, gathering the data necessary so they can get more contracts, and further their growth.
Having received the award, Matt Parfitt, founder of Radiant Cleaners has said:
"We are delighted to have been recognised for the way we treat our employees - after all our employees are the reason Radiant Cleaners exists. We create jobs for people who would otherwise be overlooked, then provide the support to help them maintain their employment.
We pay people the real Living Wage. None of this is easy or straightforward - and so to be held up as an example of how lives can be changed while surrounded by so many multinational companies is very humbling. Thank you to UnLtd and all of the people who've supported Radiant on the journey so far!"
UnLtd has also helped Radiant Cleaners calculate that Radiant Cleaners’ commitment to paying the living wage has had significant impact on their employees’ financial security. In 2018, Radiant Cleaners has worked with 20 people who otherwise would have struggled to enter regular employment.
According to data from New Economy, this creates an annual social value estimate of £211,406 (£16,262 per person) for the UK through reduction in benefits and contribution from National Insurance over an annual employment period.
It's great to have UnLtd’s work recognised too. As a foundation, we are working hard to understand how we can best support the life-changing work social entrepreneurs do, to help them realise their potential. We are also vocal on what needs to change on a more big-picture level: working with the Government to secure more opportunities for social entrepreneurs. A prime example of that is our work with the Department for Work and Pensions, who are now increasingly seeing social entrepreneurs as a legitimate and effective way of providing access to employment.
The awards were presented as part of the National Social Value Conference, which aimed to bring together professionals from across the public, private and third sectors to share what works (and what doesn’t), explore new ways of thinking and promote more collaboration and innovation to deliver more for communities.
It’s particularly great to have the work of social entrepreneurs recognised in this context as we know that almost two-thirds of social entrepreneurs find it challenging to find routes in to sell to the public sector. This is why we’ve been calling on the Government to level the playing field for social entrepreneurs. Read more here.
I have been working for UnLtd since November 2016. As a Policy Officer I am working with the government and other decision makers to create a more enabling environment for social entrepreneurs to start up and thrive. Previously I gained experience in charity and social entrepreneurship consulting in Hungary. I have a BA in International Relations and a MSc in Management and have completed the Charityworks graduate scheme while working at London's Air Ambulance.
Last year we spoke to the government on behalf of social entrepreneurs on how they should take account of social value in the awarding of contracts. UnLtd sees first-hand how social entrepreneurs deliver public services, centred around the people they aim to serve.
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