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The Bridge jobs plan scoops social enterprise award

Bridge social enterprise award
Michael Sandys of Liverpool solicitors and award sponsors Jackson & Canter presents the North West New Social Enterprise 2013 trophy to Linda Miles of the Brian Kennedy Trust: one of the founding investors in The Bridge, of which Anne Davies (right) is Business Director. Download hi res pic here.
A new charity working in Cheshire and Warrington has been named the North West New Social Enterprise of the Year, for its groundbreaking plan to provide work for the long term unemployed.

Called The Bridge, it is bringing together investment from private and public organisations, together with wealthy individual backers, to set up new businesses which generate jobs.

It has already secured investment to establish Bridge Community Farms – a network of up to five sites growing vegetables and herbs in areas of high unemployment, which will create five permanent jobs in its first year. The first will be in Ellesmere Port.

A further two new social enterprises are expected to provide six jobs in the first year.

The Bridge’s Business Director, Anne Davies, said: “Our plan is to invest in up to 25 social enterprises in the next five years. The return on that investment will be at least 150 new jobs for people who cannot find work.

“The Bridge’s aim is to provide the start up finance and know-how to create sustainable new businesses that can stand on their own feet. There are plenty of organisations involved in ‘getting people ready for work’. Our role is to help provide new jobs for them to go to.

“Our approach is to bridge the gaps between commercial businesses, public and voluntary sector organisations, together with wealthy people who want to give back to the community. We are not just about raising money – we are harnessing the knowledge, skills, energy and resources of a wide range of people in the region to get real new businesses off the ground and make them a success in the long term.

“We would like to hear from organisations and individuals who can contribute in any way, as investors or supporters.”

Backers of The Bridge include the Brian Kennedy Trust, Cheshire West & Chester, EA Technology, Hillyer McKeown, Plus Dane Group, Santander and Heaven Skincare founder Deborah Mitchell.

The inaugural Excellence In Social Enterprise Awards 2013 were run by Social Enterprise North West. The award categories included Large Social Enterprise, European Excellence and Coop of the Year, with applications received from social enterprises across Cheshire, Cumbria, Lancashire, Manchester and Merseyside.

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