A community space in Holmfirth for parents with young children and a community café in Huddersfield were the main winners of this year’s Kirklees Social Enterprise Awards. 

The prizes were announced at an event celebrating and raising awareness of the great work that social enterprises – businesses that have a clear social mission and reinvest their profits in their community – do in Kirklees. 

Rebecca Clacher from The Nest Holmfirth won this year’s Kirklees Social Enterprise Start Up Award and will use the prize money of £4,000 donated by Locala Health and Wellbeing to fund a year-long programme of workshops focusing on parental health and wellbeing and including topics such as maternal and paternal mental health, postnatal physiotherapy, infant sleep and weaning. 

The Nest is based at the Tech in Holmfirth and specialises in supporting parents with children aged under five.

Rebecca said: “Just over a year ago we opened the doors of The Nest and we’ve worked so hard to grow our thriving community of parents. Winning this award is huge for us and it’s given us the energy to enter the next stage of The Nest’s development.”

The judging panel felt that Rebecca had a classic social enterprise with clear, realistic plans and projections that should be sustainable. They were also impressed with her passion and how she had built the organisation with lots of involvement from local people at every stage.

Rebecca also praised the package of free training with experts from Key Fund, TSL Kirklees, West Yorkshire Community Accountancy Service and SEE Ahead that was offered alongside the competition.

She said: “The award process prompted us to really think about our mission, strategy and plans and we’ve got a solid new business plan as a result.”

The other finalists were Laura Scully from Hello Wellness CIC which uses pilates and coaching to help women who have experienced trauma and Jo Cook from Meet and Mend which helps people learn mending skills to improve sustainability.

Gabby Hurt from Hive Huddersfield CIC community vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free café on John William Street in Huddersfield town centre beat off competition from eight other established local social enterprises to win the first Kirklees Social Impact Award.

Gabby Hurt (second left), MD, Hive Huddersfield CIC, winner of the Kirklees Social Impact Award 2023 with award sponsors and organisers

The judging panel were impressed that in just over two years Gabby had managed to show that she has a viable business model, employs a mixture of staff and volunteers and provides vocational training for adults with learning disabilities. 

She’s also created a safe and welcoming space for both young people from the LGBTQ+ community and people who are struggling or isolated. The café partners with 11 community groups.

Gabby will use the £1,000 prize money, donated by TSL Kirklees, to fund workshops and activities for a new initiative called Wellbeing Wednesday.

Chris Chinnock from Our Creative Connection was runner-up for the Social Impact Award and the judges praised Chris’s initiatives to help people to feel more confident and improve their wellbeing through photography.

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.