Students from across the South West have been recognised at an awards ceremony held in Plymouth on 21st November, as part of the week-long Plymouth Social Enterprise Festival.
The students were all supported by the Real Ideas Organisation (RIO), taking part in the Social Enterprise Qualification (SEQ), the first qualification to accredit social enterprise learning, or in RIO Challenge Days, designed to get students to think about social enterprise and how to generate income for their schools. The Social Enterprise Qualification was developed by RIO in partnership with SFEDI awards.
Nick Temple, Director of Business and Enterprise at Social Enterprise UK, presented the awards to the hard-working students.
The award for Social Impact was awarded to Aster Group, for their bespoke mobile phone translation app to help Housing Associations better communicate with their foreign customers. This work was carried out as part of their Gold SEQ.
Charlotte Weedon, SEQ mentor for Aster Group, said, “It’s great to be recognised with this award for social impact as it captures the essence of what we want to do as an organisation, and is a flavour of the social impact we hope to make in the future.”
Plymouth College of Art students were awarded Best Product Design when Plymouth City Council tasked them with developing beautiful products to promote and celebrate Plymouth’s West End. They designed custom jewellery and other hand-crafted products which they sold at their own pop-up shop. This was also part of their Gold SEQ project.
The award for International Market Builders was given to school students from Plymstock School for their Our Way social enterprise. Their journey began in January of this year, when they were asked to develop a social enterprise that encouraged the use of foreign languages in the school. Our Way supports local businesses in the South West to increase sales by introducing their products and services to the French market. With national and international press coverage and a trip to meet business leaders in France, this is a social enterprise that is building international relationships whilst encouraging the use of French in their school.
Lauren Peel, from Our Way, commented, “To think that we are able to access the world of social enterprise and international trade is an achievement in itself. To win an award for this is something else entirely.”
The HOPE festival was the outcome of a lot of effort by Liskeard School and Community College students, and their social enterprise was awarded Culture in the Community. Year 9 students from the school were asked to create a social enterprise business concept that expands and improves the vitality and viability, energy and enthusiasm of their local town. The festival took place in July 2013.
Plym Student Union won Most Effective Collaboration for their unique student union collaboration across four sixth forms from Hele’s School, Ridgeway School, Plymstock School and Coombe Dean. The students worked together to set up a university style student union which works to improve and enhance the life of all students. The union is ‘for students by students’ and has so far run a careers programme, a making memories campaign for school leavers, and social events.
Katriona Goodsell, from Plym Student Union, said, “It feels amazing to win this award! It’s the best feeling in the world to know that all you have achieved is being acknowledged and praised. It’s good to know that what we are doing is making a difference!”
Other winners included Tor Bridge High School, who won Creative Pioneers award for their social enterprise that raised the profile of the talent within their school, Bideford College who won the Fairtrade Award and Backwell School, who were awarded for the best SEQ portfolios.
The awards were a chance to recognise the great entrepreneurial work that is being done with young people in schools and other establishments, and a clear sign of the impact that social enterprise can make.