As winner of the NI regional heats Ashton went forward to the UK Social Enterprise Finals in London and was Highly Commended in the top overall category of Social Enterprise of the Year.

As winner of the NI regional heats Ashton went forward to the UK Social Enterprise 2017 Finals in London and was Highly Commended in the top overall category of Social Enterprise of the Year. The Awards celebrate the work of leading social enterprises in England, Scotland, Wales and NI.

Ashton Community Trust has another award to celebrate after receiving the ‘Highly Commended’ top award for its business excellence and contribution to society at a high profile London social enterprise ceremony.

The ‘Highly Commended’ award was given to Ashton after they were shortlisted as a finalist in the overall UK Social enterprise of the Year category against 8 other social enterprises from Wales, Scotland and England. Last week’s awards celebrated a sector which sees more than 70,000 enterprises employ almost 1 million people while generating £18.5bn for the economy.

Social Enterprise patron and Hollywood actor Michael Sheen endorsed the work of social enterprises by saying: “I believe that social enterprises are the most effective and powerful tool to change the world.”

Ashton Community Trust Chief Executive Paul Roberts said they were bowled over by this latest accolade.

“We are truly thrilled with this top award recognising the work of Ashton Community Trust. Ashton has been providing quality and accessible community orientated services for the last 26 years as part of our mission to make real and lasting change to local people. We can say now with confidence that we have, and are continuing to make a real difference to local people in the community. This is Ashton’s core goal and we will continue expanding and regenerating services where possible with a view towards responsibly responding to local community needs and developing structures that have meaning and are sustainable into the future.”

The UK Social Enterprise Awards celebrate social enterprises that are ahead of the pack, leading the way when it comes to innovation and impact and have a track record of delivering real benefits for the community they serve.

Irish comedian Aisling Bea hosted the awards at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London on November 23, 2017. At the ceremony SEUK patron Michael Sheen delivered a speech why social enterprises can change the world. “It’s a privilege to attend my first Social Enterprise Awards and 2017 is the biggest and best yet! The many nominees and winners show us that you can put people and society before profit AND be a successful business. When they win, we all win!”

Peter Holbrook, chief executive of Social Enterprise UK said: “Social enterprises are continuing to prove that they’re a force to be reckoned with, they’re creating solutions to some of the biggest challenges we face and showing how business can and should be done.”

Ashton Community Trust, a leading regeneration charity established in the New Lodge area of Belfast in 1991.

Ashton Community Trust, a leading regeneration charity established in the New Lodge area of Belfast in 1991.