Social Enterprise Gold Mark Holders

Find out more about the social enterprise elite, who demonstrate social enterprise excellence.

The Social Enterprise Gold Mark offers enhanced accreditation to social enterprises which can show best practice across several key business areas that are central to social enterprise excellence::

  • governance
  • stakeholder engagement
  • business ethics
  • financial transparency
  • social impact

It is not just about social impact, it’s about measuring what makes a great social enterprise excellent.

The Gold Mark was launched at the House of Commons in 2014, where the inaugural recipients – Integrated Care 24 – were presented with the first Social Enterprise Gold Marks by former MP Hazel Blears.

Since then, the following organisations have also been awarded the Social Enterprise Gold Mark:

Find out more about these ‘gold standard’ social enterprises below.

Professor Joy Carter of University of Winchester receiving Social Enterprise Gold Mark from Lucy Findlay
Karen Stanton, York St John University

Integrated Care 24 (IC24)

IC24 logoIC24 is a social enterprise committed to providing a variety of health and care services to around 6 million patients across a large geographical area. IC24 is passionate about making a difference to their patients, people and partners.

IC24 was awarded the Social Enterprise Gold Mark for demonstrating social enterprise excellence across the key criteria proof points, particularly excelling in new product innovation:

  • ‘mylittleone’ promotes bonding between mother and baby when an infant is in neonatal care, reducing stress and anxiety for both
  • Profits used to create social impact through the use of technology for a better patient experience and reduced demand on other services

Integrated Care 24 staff

“We are passionate about making a difference to our patients, people and partners. 

The Social Enterprise Gold Mark helps us achieve this by benchmarking and acting on these important aspects of our business. This means that we can communicate clearly to our patients, our people and our partners about how we are enhancing the services that we provide them with.”

“Integrated Care 24 particularly excelled in outstanding social enterprise creativity by developing new product innovations.

Profits are used to create social impact through the use of technology for a better patient experience and reduced demands on other services.

For example, ‘mylittleone’ promotes bonding between mother and baby when an infant is in neonatal care.  A camera is placed above the infant’s cot with video streaming to a tablet possessed by the mother wherever she is, which reduces stress and anxiety for them both.

Thanet Health CIC

Thanet Health logoThanet Health CIC works to the motto ‘Everyone together for a healthier Thanet’. Their key social aim is to contribute to improvements in patients health and well being by providing services which are easy to access and which provide the most appropriate care for those patients.

Thanet Health was awarded the Social Enterprise Gold Mark in December 2021, demonstrating social enterprise excellence across the key criteria proof points, which included:

  • Improving people’s access to better healthcare – enabling patients to have quicker and better access to healthcare, therefore reducing the demand on emergency care and consequent costs to the NHS
  • Response to the Covid-19 pandemic – adapted and extended services to support over-stretched frontline health practitioners, maintaining access for patients to face to face visits throughout the whole period.

“The assessment process was a positive experience. It gave us lots of opportunities to reflect on what we think we are doing well and to look at those areas which we have found more challenging to address. The assessors were very supportive and provided lots of assistance during the process.

As a social enterprise, we have developed strong relationships with other social enterprises and third sector organisations – the Gold Mark has been welcomed by these partners and as such has enhanced our credibility as a business which is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of people who live and work in Thanet. We also fully expect this to further improve our reputation with commissioners, thereby improving our ability to secure new contracts in the future.

Wray Irwin and Nick Petford of the University of Northampton with their Social Enterprise Gold Mark

University of Northampton

As one of the few universities to be ranked Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), The University of Northampton know that sharing knowledge, supporting creativity and striving to make a positive difference will change the future.

The university wants to break the mould of what Higher Education can be and is motivated by the drive to help people make changes that will transform their lives.

The University of Northampton was awarded the Social Enterprise Gold Mark in June 2017, demonstrating social enterprise excellence across the key criteria proof points, which included:

  • Institutional commitment to social innovation and impact – focus on integrating social impact across the curriculum
  • Placing the organisation at the heart of the community – development of new Waterside Campus is a physical manifestation of commitment to social innovation and achieving a lasting impact

Richard Cobbett

“I was impressed by The University of Northampton’s over-riding commitment to social innovation and social impact, which is not a sub-conscious by-product of University of Northampton life, but rather a driving force of being.

It is not the role of a single team or set of processes but is an organic part of the way they operate as an institution.”

Wray Irwin and Nick Petford of the University of Northampton with their Social Enterprise Gold Mark

“Northampton leads the charge when it comes to learning that makes an impact on society. Our whole way of working reflects this; making a difference is in our DNA. Receiving professional recognition for this is great news but the Social Enterprise Gold Mark in particular is testament to the dedication at Northampton, from students and staff alike to ‘do good things’ in the world beyond university.

It goes without saying that the award really belongs to all of them. We all look forward to continuing on this path in the months and years ahead.”

University of Westminster

University of Westminster logoThe University of Westminster was established as London’s first polytechnic in 1838, and has since then provided educational opportunities to people regardless of their background and supported them on their journey to develop their skills, knowledge and expertise.

It is committed to providing grounded, holistic education with wide horizons and opportunities, so that people from every background can realise their true potential, contributing to a richer, happier society. The university has a forward focus on creating a whole institution holistic approach to social responsibility, making a measurable change for good to the well-being, health, culture and progression of our students, colleagues, local and international communities and creating a truly inclusive university.

The University of Westminster was awarded the Social Enterprise Gold Mark in September 2020, demonstrating social enterprise excellence across the key criteria proof points, which included:

  • Social impact reporting – the university clearly contributes to a range of social outcomes and benefits that extends beyond their core educational purposes and is using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework for exploring this;
  • Stakeholder engagement – the university actively involves partners and stakeholders to ensure its research is targeted in ways that are socially relevant and delivers direct social outcomes, rather than contributing to a knowledge bank that depends on others to develop ongoing practical applications. E.g. working with Transport for London and Local Authorities on urban regeneration.

Photo of a blue flag on a building with text 'University of Westminster'
Students working at a desk

Richard Cobbett

“The evidence collected through our assessment demonstrates that there is a shared commitment to the social purpose of the university, which spans all levels of responsibility, and is one that students and other community stakeholders believe is being delivered. I was particularly interested to see the novel approach that is being used to measure social impact, by aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to show how they are contributing to social and environmental outcomes that extend beyond their core educational purpose.

Our commitment at Westminster to social enterprise is embodied in our communities of research, our teaching and learning, and our practice. As a University we aim to make a difference in the world by harnessing our resources, expertise and partnerships to effect sustainable social change with local, national and global impact. We are a progressive, responsible and sustainable organisation, and this ethos is increasingly embedded in our values, activities and governance practices. We are an exemplar of a social enterprise: an organisation that puts social purpose, positive environmental impact and good governance ahead of financial return.

University of Winchester

University of WinchesterThe University of Winchester prides itself on being world-leading in values-driven higher education. Its teaching and research tackles global challenges, students are nurtured to become drivers of economic and social change, and its world-leading research and partnerships focus on making the world a better and more innovative place.

It is committed to being a university community where all individuals matter, where well-being is paramount and pastoral care is of the highest quality. A place where people, the planet, and all living things are held in the highest regard. The University campus is one of the best for low-carbon, sustainable management.

The University of Winchester was awarded the Social Enterprise Gold Mark in June 2017, demonstrating social enterprise excellence across the key criteria proof points, which included:

  • Environmental conservation policies – e.g. integrating environmental and climate change modules into every undergraduate programme offered at the University;
  • Active engagement with the Student Hub​ charity – actively engaged in helping co-ordinate volunteering activities for students, principally in helping charities and social enterprises.

Professor Joy Carter of University of Winchester receiving Social Enterprise Gold Mark from Lucy Findlay

“As a values-driven university, all we do is closely aligned to the Social Enterprise Gold Mark priorities. From divesting our fossil fuel linked investments, our pioneering work with care leavers and others who are underrepresented in higher education, through to our world-leading research in peace and reconciliation, we are a university driven by a passion to make a difference.

We believe that big ideas and growing flourishing people and communities make the difference for a better world. So we are delighted to have the Social Enterprise Gold Mark to help us both communicate our unique focus and priorities, as well as to be continuously challenged.

Richard Cobbett

“The University’s commitment to social purpose is a defining part of its vision and one that extends well beyond core educational objectives. This is very keenly stated within the corporate strategy and supporting plans, providing both transparency of intent but more importantly demonstrating a deeply considered ambition of fulfilling a wider social mission that places you at the heart of the Winchester community – and beyond.

There is a wealth of evidence that covers how the University is achieving social impact across a broad range of areas.”

York St John University

York St John University logoYork St John is the oldest higher education institution in York, dating back to 1841. The University works to make a contribution to the wider community, working in partnership with all stakeholders to make a positive impact.

In June 2016, York St John became only the second university to receive the Social Enterprise Gold Mark, demonstrating social enterprise excellence across the key criteria proof points, particularly excelling in it’s commitment to community engagement and improving accessibility:

  • Providing learning environments that promote equality and diversity
  • Management demonstrate a strong sense of place in promoting wider social and community values, which appears in all they do and at all levels

“The university is clearly committed to providing a great student experience for learners from all different backgrounds.  The management team and staff also share a very strong sense of social purpose.

We were impressed with the university’s commitment to achieving best practice beyond that which may be specifically required by the Higher Education sector, including how well people are treated and managed. Promotion of equality and diversity throughout the institution was seen as a standout strength.

“York St John University is delighted and honoured to have been awarded the Social Enterprise Gold Mark. This much-coveted accreditation is only given to those organisations who can demonstrate they are making a real difference to their community and the environment.

We are one of only a few universities in the UK to have achieved this status and I am deeply grateful that the hard work and dedication of the York St John teams involved have been recognised in such a positive way.