Social enterprise is best in South Yorkshire region

Pictured at the Key Fund, awards Event at the Magna Centre,  Rotherham 'Key Funds CEO Ann Oldroyd, holds one of the Awards
Pictured at the Key Fund, awards Event at the Magna Centre, Rotherham 'Key Funds CEO Ann Oldroyd, holds one of the Awards

A SOUTH Yorkshire firm has been named the best social enterprise in Yorkshire – and awarded £10,000 of prize money.

Six South Yorkshire organisations were included before the ceremony in a shortlist of 10.

Doncaster Refurnish, based at Hutton Business Park, Adwick, was crowned the winner at the Yorkshire Key Fund’s Top Ten Social Enterprise Awards.

Last night’s event at the Magna, in Rotherham, marked the Key Fund’s 10th anniversary since giving out its first loan.

The Key Fund, a social enterprise itself, is now Britain’s largest regional Community Development Finance Institution.

Andy Simpson, chief executive of Refurnish, said: “We are just overjoyed at winning this award and I can’t praise the Key Fund enough for helping us achieve the success we have to date.”

Doncaster Refurnish was formed in response to a lack of affordable furniture for disadvantaged people and the vast amounts of reusable furniture going to landfill.

In the first seven months of this financial year, Refurnish made 13,309 collections of bulky items, received 125 shipments from retailers, diverted 504 tonnes from landfill and supported 10,500 individuals and families with the proceeds.

During the same period, the company has provided work for 11 former offenders and 79 training work placements for the long-term unemployed.

Meanwhile, Refurnish has provided educational activities for 149 youngsters.

Matt Smith, fund manager at the Key Fund, said: “Refurnish is a truly entrepreneurial social enterprise which combines the delivery of social, environmental, and economic targets.

“It’s not just about helping its employees, it makes a significant impact helping people who are in dire financial straits, developing services so they don’t fall into the murky world of loan sharks and illegal activity.”

* Darnall Post Office, Sheffield, run by members of Darnall Forum. Reopened last year after previous branch closed in 2009, and is the UK’s first community-managed Post Office.

* Chapeltown Baths, Sheffield, which is run by a community trust. A group of residents took over the running after Sheffield Council threatened the facility with closure in 1996.

* Higher Rhythm Recording Studios, based on Nether Hall Road, Doncaster, provides recording facilities and music-related training.

* Barnsley Community Build construction firm.

* Cawthorne Children’s Centre, Barnsley.