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The annual social enterprise awards have been handed out to Lancashire’s best. DAVID NOWELL reports

Move over king of the jungle, Lancashire has a new champion of social enterprise.

Champion: Dawn Welham, right, Social Enterprise Champion receives her award from the outgoing Champion, Elizabeth Taylor

Champion: Dawn Welham, right, Social Enterprise Champion receives her award from the outgoing Champion, Elizabeth Taylor

The annual Selnet Enterprise In Society awards sees dozens of social enterprises from across the county competing in a host of categories.

And the highlight of the night is the announcement on Social Enterprise Champion – the person who, in the judges view, has done most to promote the sector in the last 12 months.

This year’s winner is Dawn Welham from Lancashire Community Recycling Network.

Through her work at Leyland-based waste giants Global Renewables she is able to link together a range of the county’s social enterprises that are involved in recycling.

The awards ceremony, staged at the De Vere Hotel in Blackpool with more than 250 guests, was a good night for the community sector in central Lancashire.

Top awards were presented to Integrate Preston and Chorley, Community Gateway Volunteer Drivers and a partnership between Lancashire County Council, the Care Foundation Trust and Advocacy Focus where the third sector is playing a key role in helping the public sector. Social enterprise – where the profits go back into the social good rather than to the directors – is thriving in Lancashire.

Its work is spearheaded by the Social Enterprise Lancashire Network, Selnet which is based at Preston Technology Management Centre on Marsh Lane, Preston.

Its chief executive, Liz Tapner, said: “The Selnet Enterprise In Society awards are like no other. Every year, we see fantastic examples of ways in which social businesses are making a real difference to people’s lives in Lancashire.

“Take the Enabling Ability award for example. Community Gateway Volunteer Drivers in Preston started with just one vehicle and now there is a fleet of cars helping to break down people’s isolation.

“This is now the fifth year of the awards and and we had the most amount of entries and the largest number of guests at the ceremony so I am very proud.”

The full list of winners is as follows:

Start-up Social Enterprise of the Year: Winner: Jobs, Friends and Houses CIC (Blackpool). Highly Commended: Dig In (NW) CIC (Preston)

Small Social Enterprise of the Year: Winner: Total Reuse CIC (Skelmersdale). Highly Commended: Spring into Action CIC (Pennine)

Enabling Ability Award: Winner: Community Gateway Volunteer Drivers (Preston). Highly Commended: Peter Cousins (Jnr) (Skelmersdale). Unsung Hero: Winner: Diane Price (Blackburn). Highly Commended: Ben Mathew (Blackpool)

Business Adviser Of The Year: Winner: Janet Fraser (Lytham). Highly Commend: Tony Carr (Blackpool).

Most Effective Collaboration: Winner: Advocacy Focus, Lancashire County Council & Lancashire Care Foundation Trust. Highly Commended: Emmaus Preston

Environmental Champion of the Year: Winner: The Woodhouse (Integrate Preston & Chorley Ltd). Highly Commended: Total Reuse CIC.

Social Enterprise Of The Year: Winner: Spiral Health CIC (Blackpool). Social Enterprise Champion Winner: Dawn Welham