"Wigan borough has always been a place where local people roll up their sleeves and solve problems they see on their doorstep. Setting up social enterprises is one way of doing this."
David Baxter, group lead and director of ACC,
Wigan has been awarded Social Enterprise Places status thanks to the work of the borough's social entrepreneurs and community-focused businesses
The status, given to Wigan by Social Enterprise UK, acknowledges the borough’s commitment to supporting and growing social enterprise activity: organisations that are changing the world for the better by reinvesting their profits to create positive social change.
Wigan is now part of a network of 32 Social Enterprise Places nationwide and is the second borough in Greater Manchester to achieve the status, following Salford. The recognition will allow social enterprises from Wigan the opportunity to share skills, experiences and network with like-minded organisations across the country.
There are thought to currently be approximately 650 social enterprises in the borough.
A stakeholder group including Umbrella Arts, based on Bradshawgate in Leigh, Wigan Workshop on Meyrick Street, Abram Community Cooperative as well as Wigan Council and private businesses, plan to use the status to encourage residents and commercial businesses from across the borough to buy ‘social’ from local social enterprises.
David Baxter, group lead and director of Abram Community Cooperative, said: “Wigan borough has always been a place where local people roll up their sleeves and solve problems they see on their doorstep. Setting up social enterprises is one way of doing this - and we’re delighted to now be recognised for the incredible social enterprise activity that is happening across the borough.
“Hundreds of social enterprises across the borough are reinvesting and donating their profits to transform lives in Wigan.”
Councillor Keith Cuncliffe, deputy leader of Wigan Council, said: “It is really exciting and an honour to see Wigan recognised as a Social Enterprise Borough.
“It goes to show just how many of our fantastic businesses are willing to reinvest in our communities by helping create jobs, improve lives and give back to the Borough in which the operate.
“This pandemic has not been easy for local businesses but as we begin to recover, these social enterprises will only become more vital to the Borough. I am very proud to see their work recognised and I am looking forward to seeing how they will continue to change lives and contribute to the future of Wigan.”
Peter Holbrook, chief executive of Social Enterprise UK, said: “We are delighted that Wigan has been recognised as an official Social Enterprise Borough. Social enterprises in the area are making a real difference to the local community, with the vast majority working in the borough’s poorest areas and employing people from disadvantaged groups.
“They are showing how profitability can be combined with social and environmental impact, offering a blueprint of a better way of doing business. As we recover from the pandemic, Wigan’s social enterprises will be needed more than ever to build back in a way that places communities and equality at its heart. We look forward to seeing the continued growth and development of social enterprises throughout the borough and beyond.”
For more information on Wigan borough’s new status visit: https://www.socialenterprise.org.uk/existing-places/wigan/
PHOTO from left to right: Wendy Bowers, Umbrella Arts, Ian Tomlinson, Driven, Alex Winstanley and Hayden Smith, Happy Smiles, Dave Baxter, Abram Ward Community Cooperative, Angela Fishwick, Unify Credit Union.