12 September 2014 | News and features | Back to Blog

When housing met social enterprise

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In July I attended the launch of Social Enterprise UK’s Social Saturday campaign. Taking place on the 13th September, Social Saturday aims to raise the profile of the sector with consumers. There are thousands of successful social enterprises operating across the country and the average consumer has the power to make their pound matter, and they’re not the only ones.

There are also thousands of B2B social enterprises working to make a difference to the traditional supply chain in the UK. Often, due to the nature of their business, they tend to fly under the radar. But they’re crucial to changing how business operates in this country and business leaders have the power to make their company’s money go further by entrusting work to these innovative suppliers.

As a B2B social enterprise working in the housing sector, our work with clients tends to be a perfect match. Often social enterprises themselves, housing associations’ values are commonly driven by social mission, community regeneration as well as building and providing housing. Our clients understand our model and place value in our ability to use their empty properties to generate social impact.

At this year’s National Housing Federation’s Annual Conference, the new SE Housing Hub will officially launch. It aims to provide housing associations with all the information they need to understand, buy and enable social enterprise. In the spirit of helping housing professionals understand and discover brilliant social enterprises, I wanted to highlight some great organisations that are thriving across the sector.

An idea triggered by the eagerness of residents to paint their own rooms, YourTime was set up in 2008 by Spitalfields Crypt Trust to provide people in recovery from addiction with valuable work skills in a safe and understanding environment.

Trading as Shoreditch Painters & Cleaners, they offer decorating and cleaning services to local charities and businesses in London. The enterprise offers structure in a critical time for people recovering from addiction whilst also delivering a top notch service at a competitive rate.


Connection Crew
Make a contribution to society with your next corporate event with Connection Crew. They donate all their profits to The Connection at St Martins and 25% of their crew are ex-homeless people. They pride themselves on being dependable and professional and are dedicated to making a positive social impact.

Unity Kitchen
Unity Kitchen works hard to provide healthy food to local communities and invaluable employment opportunities to people with disabilities. They provide apprenticeships to those wanting to pursue a career in hospitality and each pound of profit is invested into providing training. Services include business and party catering and venue hire.


ECO Communities
ECO Communities provide organisations with a responsible way to recycle unwanted computer equipment. They restore as much as 60% of donations and use the profits from sale to support various community projects that focus on working with the elderly and providing free IT training.

A fellow Social Enterprise UK member, we’re fans of Clarity’s social mission. Operating since 1854, Clarity provides blind and disabled people with the opportunities to learn new skills and support themselves. They produce soap and various other cleaning products in-house and don’t test on animals. They provide a business service and allow you to support those often excluded from traditional employment by simply buying the products your office would buy anyway. Win-Win.