Social Enterprise Gold Mark Holders

Find out more about the inaugural Social Enterprise Gold Mark holders, who demonstrate social enterprise excellence.

The Social Enterprise Gold Mark offers enhanced accreditation to social enterprises which can show best practice in proof points across three key areas:

  • governance
  • business ethics
  • financial transparency

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 and University of Salford – were presented with the first Social Enterprise Gold Marks by former MP Hazel Blears.

In June 2016, they were joined by York St John University, who were presented the Gold Mark by Phil Hope at the Social Enterprise Mark CIC annual conference, followed by Plymouth College of Art, The University of Northampton, and the University of Winchester in 2017.

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



Integrated Care 24 (IC24)

IC24IC24 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

Gold Mark logo swirls

IC24’s Social Impact Declaration



Gilly Carliell

“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.”

Gilly CarliellAssociate Director of Communications & Engagement, IC24


Hazel Blears

“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.

Hazel Blears


Plymouth College of Art
Hannah Harris, Director of Development, and Professor Andrew Brewerton, Principal and Chief Executive of Plymouth College of Art, with the Social Enterprise Gold Mark award

Plymouth College of Art

Plymouth College of Art is a specialist, independent art school offering a range of study across Art, Design and Digital. The college holds a strong local profile and reputation, and forms part of the very fabric of the city.

The college has established a unique continuum of creative education, from pre-school through to postgraduate study. As such, it has an educational vehicle through which it encourages and facilitates individual agency leading to personal and community transformation.

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

  • Ethical approaches as an employer, in terms of engaging stakeholders and internal processes, which include robust governance through its board of governors and academic board to ensure collaborative and transparent decision-making, commitment to fair pay, and strategic growth through investment in both traditional and digital making facilities.
  • Social impact is well engrained in the culture of the organisation and across all activities

Richard Cobbett

“Social impact is part of the natural fabric at Plymouth College of Art. This was evidenced in my conversations with staff at various levels, who can very easily point to both the internal social impact and value being created for their key student stakeholders, and for the wider communities of which they are a part.

The college is involved in a diverse range of stakeholder interests and their engagement with the local community ensures that they continuously add social value that extends far beyond that of core educational purposes.”

Richard CobbettAssessment and Compliance Manager, Social Enterprise Mark CIC

Professor Andrew Brewerton

“Creative learning is transformational: in terms of individual lives, the life of our community and its prosperity within the UK’s world-leading creative economy.

“The work of our staff and students at Plymouth College of Art and at The Red House, home to Plymouth School of Creative Arts, is deeply embedded in our community, and we feel honoured and delighted that this commitment over many years has been recognised with the Social Enterprise Gold Mark. This is in truth an acknowledgement of our community as a whole, and everybody across our networks of social engagement in Plymouth as a Social Enterprise City.”

Professor Andrew BrewertonPrincipal and Chief Executive, Plymouth College of Art

University of Salford

salford-uniSalford is an ambitious University, with its 20,000 students contributing enormously to the local economy and its expertise transforming individuals and communities through excellent teaching, research, innovation and engagement.

The University of Salford was the first university in the UK to receive the Social Enterprise Gold Mark, demonstrating social enterprise excellence across the key criteria proof points, particularly excelling in community engagement:

  • 42% students from lower income families or ‘first from family to University’
  • England’s 3rd strongest university for SME engagement, and 5th in the UK (The Witty Review 2013)

The MSc Social Business and Sustainable Marketing course aims to enhance knowledge and understanding of social business models and sustainable marketing functions at a national and international level. Click here to find out more about social enterprise at University of Salford.


Gold Mark logo swirls
University of Salford’s Social Impact Declaration



Colin McCallum

“We are delighted that our work in social enterprise has been recognised by this prestigious award.

Contributing to social value should be at the heart of the mission of a university and promoting social enterprises is vital to this.

The Social Enterprise Gold Mark means we stand out as a University, as part of the social enterprise elite. We are proud to show the world how  we live our mission as a university with strong social values, and how that creates greater impact for the communities we serve.

Colin McCallumExecutive Director, University Advancement, University of Salford


Hazel Blears

“I know all about the University of Salford’s fantastic work in encouraging students and social enterprises to think carefully about how responsible business practice can benefit wider society.

Their social impact is particularly evident through their very strong community focus. For example, 42% of students are from lower income families and/or first from family to go University. At least 40-50% of their students are from the local catchment area. In addition, the University enjoys double the national average (which is 7%) of students from a care background.

University of Salford is also to be recognised for their commitment to the Living Wage, which is paid throughout their organisation and in their supply chain.”

Hazel Blears

York St John University

York St JohnYork 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, and works 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

Lucy Findlay

“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.

Lucy FindlayManaging Director, Social Enterprise Mark CIC

Karen Stanton

“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.

Karen StantonVice Chancellor, York St John University