Projects & partners

Sunlight garden cropped.jpgPartners



Regional/national Social Firm and/or social enterprise support agencies

Social Firms UK works with a number of partners at national and regional levels to help meet the needs of the Social Firm sector and influence policy. While we cannot be held responsible for the activities, actions or views expressed by, or on behalf of partners, we hope that, by working with other agencies at regional and national level, we can bring added benefits to our membership.   We currently engage with:

  • Social Firms Scotland (SFS):
  • Social Firms Wales (SFWales):
  • Social Enterprise East Midlands (SEEM):
  • Institute for Social Entrepreneurs (ISE):
  • Broomby (Yorkshire):
  • Social Enterprise London (SEL):
  • Social Enterprise East of England (SEEE):
Social Enterprise Coalition (SEC)

SEC.gif     Founded in January 2001 SEC grew out of the need felt by many social businesses to have a co-ordinated voice, and desire to work together when necessary to develop the sector. It was clear that the voice of social enterprise had not been heard in a coherent way when vital decisions were being made about RDAs, Small Business Service, the National Childcare Strategy and a multitude of other Government initiatives that would impact on the future business of social enterprises. SEC was incorporated in April 2002. Sally Reynolds of Social Firms UK is on the Council of SEC. To find out more about the Social Enterprise Coalition, go to

Office Of The Third Sector (OTS)

OTS.png     Social Firms UK and the OTS are in a strategic partnership from 1st July 2007 to 31st March 2011. The partnership is orientated around providing a 'voice' for Social Firms and emerging Social Firms into the field of policy and helping to influence future direction of social enterprise initiatives, providing a series of promotional and publicity activities for the Social Firm sector, reaching out to Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups and individuals about Social Firms, and setting up a Social Firm visit programme. This is an exciting programme for Social Firms UK and its members and we expect the sector to benefit significantly from this strategic support. A memorandum of understanding was signed by both parties and it is available for view here. (See the Memorandum Of Understanding Between Social Firms UK and The OTS)

Communities and Local Government (CLG)

CLG.gif     At the beginning of 2009, Social Firms UK was one of two organisations in the social enterprise sector to be awarded the Empowerment Fund until March 2011. This is a vital programme, providing core funding to Social Firms UK, to build its own capacity and deliver against its objectives of creating more Social Firms at a local level which, in turn, play a significant role in empowering people and communities by creating jobs. 


Remploy.     Remploy and Social Firms UK have worked in partnership since 2007, when it became evident that individuals being redeployed from some of the closing or transferring Remploy factories might benefit from transitional placements for up to one year within Social Firms. The organisations compiled a transitional employment placement programme called the TEP Scheme; more than 10 individual employees have benefited from this scheme and the pilot is providing valuable information to Social Firms UK about what the ACTUAL cost of supporting disabled employees within the Social Firm workplace is. This information will inform the lobbying function of trying to seek a financial contribution into Social Firms for the employment they provide and support they offer, which is currently not being covered from anywhere except their own profit margin within the business.

On Purpose

On Purpose1.jpg      Social Firms UK worked with Tom Rippon, the founder of On Purpose, to link into the social enterprise sector so that the initiative of placing graduates within social enterprises could commence. Sally Reynolds, CEO of Social Firms UK, will be delivering training to these graduates in the course of their placements.  To find out more about On Purpose, go to

 British Library

british-library-logo.gifSocial Firms UK is a Marketing Partner to the Business and IP Centre of the British Library in London, and promotes all of the events that are held there as well as its splendid facilities for anyone wanting to start a business (including Social Firms and social enterprise). To find out more, please go to the British Library website.

Total Jobs is one of the UK's leading jobs boards, attracting over 3.6 million jobseekers every month on the hunt for one of 90,000 live job ads the site carries at any one time.Thousands of recruiters from multinationals to smaller regionally based businesses, recruitment consultants and advertising agencies use to recruit individuals across almost every sector in the UK. To find out more visit 

Social Firms UK are listed on the Totaljobs website as a "Back to work"  charity supporting those with severe disadvantages in the labout market back into employment.


Working Together: The London Network For Social Enterprises Helping People Into Work

WTmasterlogo.pngWorking Together is an informal network of people and organisations in London that run, or have an interest in, social enterprises that focus on helping people to get, and stay in work. Social Firms UK has been contracted by Social Enterprise London to develop and support the networking project until 2011 with funding from Capacitybuilders.  Find out more about:

Phoenix 2001-3 Project

Social Firms UK applied for Phoenix Development Funding in 2000 to carry out a significant capacity building programme for regional networks (Phoenix was England only) and programme of business support for members. This application was successful and much of the funding was devolved down to regional level to carry out business support, workshops and training for members. This programme ran from January 2001 to end December 2003.  The Social Firm sector and Social Firms UK would have struggled to make any difference had this funding not been obtained. As it is, up to December 2003 a total of 145 business Support Interventions had been made under the Social Firms UK Business Support programme and regional networks had been given the opportunity to develop and become established within that timescale.  Social Firms UK used its experience from that round of Phoenix to apply for the ‘Building on the Best’ round of Phoenix Development Fund, in partnership with the regional networks, for 2004-2006.

Phoenix 2004-6 Project

Flagship Firms was a franchising and replication project run by Social Firms UK between April 2004 and March 2006, funded by the SBS Phoenix Development Fund Building On The Best Programme, to support the development of 15-20 high profile Social Firms with the potential to motivate and inspire others. The main achievements of the Flagship Firm programme were primarily viewed as attitude change, building capacity and raising profile, greater in-depth understanding of successful Social Firms, production of materials and resources rather than new enterprises and job outcomes.

Invest to Save 2001-3

For information on this project please go to

Social Enterprise Partnership (SEP (GB))

This was the national Development Partnership (DP) formed to submit and operate a programme under EQUAL to strengthen the social economy. The main partners were Social Firms UK, Development Trusts Association, Co-operatives UK (previously called the Co-op Union), New Economics Foundation, Social Enterprise London and the Social Enterprise Coalition.

Social Firms UK was actively involved in the national online Business Support Register and the Quality and Impact and Training work of SEP. For more information view the SEP website on