RBS SE100 Index designed to track growth and impact in the social economy highlights 2013 leaders
Patchwork People, a community interest company in Darlington, has been awarded the Trailblazing Newcomer prize in results announced today at the RBS SE100 Awards.
The RBS SE100 Index is an online listing of social ventures, ranked and scored according to their growth and social impact. Top performing mission-led businesses have been selected from over 1000 organisations listed on www.se100net.
After 30 years of working in the public sector Gill Walker was made redundant. So she took all the skills that she had gained through working with children, young people and families on to the high street. The result is Patchwork People, a new social enterprise where young people can develop their talents and confidence through working with the Labelled shop, this offers a trading, training and enterprise environment for young people to thrive. They sell clothes and accessories in their high street in shop in Darlington and at markets and festivals.
Patchwork People focus on finding the strengths and talents of young people and how they can foster these to help them into self-employment. With a focus on motivation, the organisation’s aim is to try to build confidence and self-esteem, looking at developing their skills and knowledge, as well as offering accredited training wh ere appropriate.
Gill is proving that she’s got a keen business head. Although the organisation has grown rapidly, she wanted to move away from being dependent on grants. “We quickly learned we needed to look at income streams, we needed to generate income to become self-sustaining as a social enterprise,” she says.
“We have managed to double the turnover by year two, reduced our grant dependency and, this year, it’s really beginning to take off. We have a model now that we are looking to replicate.”
The organisation has grown rapidly in the past two years – in their first year their turnover was ￡23,000, 70% of which was g rant money. They managed to double their turnover by year two, reducing their grant dependency. This year they achieved an annual turnover of ￡50,578.
But it is not all about the money. Patchwork People impressed the RBS SE100 Index judges not only with its financial performance, but with its commitment to proving its social impact too. “It’s not just about keeping young people busy,” says Gill. “We have to evidence the difference we are making.”
The organisation’s focus on impact includes ensuring that they maintain a good performance management framework to evidence the difference that they are making, as well as measuring pathways beyond them, looking at the young people moving into employment and into further training.
The organisation also utilize progress wheels which demonstrate the softer outcomes of their services, around self-esteem and confidence. Gill says, “We have got evidence of around a 30% growth in confidence levels within 6 months of the young people joining us”.
They also recently completed an SROI (social return on investment) assessment, seeking external validation, and have made some positive changes as a result. This currently includes working alongside the Job Centre by aiding skill development as well as increasing job search support.
When questioned on what winning means to Patchwork People, Gill said, “I absolutely love the SE100 Index. I entered it to benchmark ourselves against others, to evidence our story. It’ s a very thorough process, we have entered lots of information and been asked more and more questions. Thankfully, we could answer them. I think it’s absolutely brilliant. I would completely recommend that process to others.”
Ian Walters, MD Business Banking at RBS, said: “RBS has been supporting ventures which provide enterprising solutions to social problems for many years and the RBS SE100 Index is a key initiative in our commitment to build on this. This year both the quality and quantity of applicants has been extremely strong, a testament to the success of the sector. We congratulate the 2013 winners and applaud all those organisations across society who are striving for positive change in their communities through entrepreneurship and enterprise.
As well as being eligible for the prize fund, organisations listed on th e web platform can use the SE100 tool to create confidential comparative reports of their own performance, benchmarked against others in the country, their region or sector. The 2013 RBS SE100 is the richest live information resource for social ventures in the UK, this year’s national figures reveal significant average growth of 82%, compared to 24% last year.
The Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, says: “The UK is a world leader in social investment, and these results confirm the staggering social and financial contribution that social enterprises make to our economy. That is why we are doing everything we can to support growth in this vibrant sector by encouraging the development of market infrastructure, such as committing to a tax relief for investment in social enterprise.”
Tim West, co-founder of the RBS SE100, sai d: “Our latest, live RBS SE100 platform has identified the UK’s leaders in this vibrant and rapidly growing sector. Thanks to RBS’s support in taking the Index online this year, social enterprises now have a powerful platform to showcase and benchmark the positive impact they are making in communities across the UK.”
Jeremy Nicholls, CEO of the SROI Network and one of the awards judges, commented: “I am heartened by the growing interest in measurement that recognises the importance of accountability and value, which has been clearly demonstrated by social enterprises that have entered for the RBS100 social impact award this year – making judging all the harder.”