As a social enterprise ourselves, we are joining a national campaign to raise awareness about and get people spending their money with social enterprises. The ‘Choose Communities: Buy Social Campaign’ is all about shining a spotlight on the impact social enterprises are having on communities both in the UK and around the world.
Social enterprises are businesses which trade for a social and/or environmental purpose, reinvesting the majority of their profits to support their mission. There are around 100,000 in the UK and each one is set up to take on some of the biggest issues we face from homelessness to the climate crisis. They are businesses set up with the sole intention to support communities, both in geographic terms as well as groups of individuals with a shared identity or challenge. Many are an essential part of their local community, creating jobs and opportunities for people marginalised in the workforce or running services to support local people from community cafes and leisure centres to health and social care services.
Chiltern Rangers’ mission is to enhance natural habitats through conservation, education and community engagement. We manage 13 woodlands, including 2 Local Nature Reserves in the Wycombe area and also work in partnership at a range of sites in Buckinghamshire for other landowners in the public, private and third/charitable sectors. Our vision is to inspire and enrich communities alongside enhancing local environments.
We achieve this by delivering fun, sociable sessions with the help of volunteers – we welcome people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, plus community organisations, charities, social enterprises, schools, colleges and other partners all have key roles too.
The key message behind the campaign is that whoever you are, whether you’re a consumer, another business or a public body when you ‘buy social’ and choose to spend your money with social enterprises you are choosing to support a different way of doing business – one which puts communities at its heart. The campaign is being organised by Social Enterprise UK, the membership body for social enterprises and is being supported by the Co-op, one of the country’s best-known social enterprises.
Commenting on the campaign, Peter Holbrook Chief Executive at Social Enterprise UK said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on communities but at the same time there has been a real resurgence in community spirit – people have been coming together to support each other, mutual aid groups have been set up and we have come together to celebrate the vital work carried out by key workers across the country. Social enterprises have been at the forefront of community responses to the crisis – shifting their business models to keep on supporting their communities and deliver vital services.
It’s now vital that social enterprises are placed at the heart of our recovery from the pandemic so we can build back better in a way that is more equal and sustainable. We can all play our part in growing the social enterprise movement and the best way to do this is to buy social because when you do, you are choosing communities.”