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Social Business Wales Awards celebrate ‘outstanding’ Welsh enterprises

Eight innovative social enterprises which have made an “outstanding impact across Wales” have been recognised at this year’s Social Business Wales Awards.

A thriving community leisure centre, a zero-waste shop, and an environmental monitoring company are among the diverse businesses to be awarded at the ceremony in Cardiff’s City Hall on Wednesday night.

The evening, delivered by Social Business Wales, brought together over 220 of Wales’s leading figures from the social business sector, to celebrate the positive impact that social enterprises, co-operatives, and employee-owned businesses are having across Wales.

During the night, hosted by Welsh TV star and tenor Wynne Evans, both Splash Community Trust, a Wrexham-based leisure facility, and Natural Weigh, a Crickhowell zero-waste shop, were among the biggest winners.

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Splash Community Trust received the coveted Welsh Social Enterprise of the Year Award, after it saved a disused Wrexham centre from demolition and transformed it into an invaluable leisure facility. Thanks to the trust’s dedication, the thriving centre has improved the health of local residents, and created over 40 jobs and training opportunities in one of the most deprived areas of North Wales.

Crickhowell-based Natural Weigh scooped the hotly contested One to Watch Award on the night, after it championed a reduction in the use of single-use plastic in its store and among its customers.

A special recognition award was presented to Skye Instruments, which designs and manufactures electronic instrumentation for environmental monitoring, climate change studies, plant, crop and vegetation research.

The business received the award thanks to its successful transfer of ownership from the company to its employees, with the Llandrindod Wells business now overseen entirely by its staff.

Other winners on the night included re-use and recycling charity Toogoodtowaste; health and social care enterprise Antur Waunfawr; digital technology co-operative ProMo Cymru; employment, education and training enterprise Empower – Be The Change; and wood re-use and recycling enterprise Reseiclo Community Wood Recycling.

Derek Walker, Wales Co-operative Centre CEO, said he was “delighted with the calibre of the entrants this year”.

He said: “A lot of the categories were very competitive and judges had a challenge choosing the winners. The social impact made by these businesses is outstanding. We wish the winners the best of luck going forwards to the UK awards and hope their success will inspire future social entrepreneurs.”

The winners will now go forward to compete with their counterparts from Scotland, England and Northern Ireland at a UK Awards ceremony being held in central London in November.

The Social Business Wales Awards are run as part of Social Business Wales, a project funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Welsh Government as part of the Business Wales service. It is delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre with principal sponsorship from NatWest Cymru.