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


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 Higher Education Institution founded in 1856, offering a range of Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Pre-Degree study across Art, Design and Media.

Run by artists for artists, the college is a Founding Associate of Tate Exchange and a UK Advisory Council Member of the Creative Industries Federation, seeking by practical example to influence policy and create innovation in the national agenda for art education.

Plymouth College of Art was awarded the Social Enterprise Gold Mark in June 2017 for demonstrating social enterprise excellence in its ethical approach as an employer and its social impact within the wider community. The college demonstrated significant social impact through considered strategic growth with investment in both traditional and digital making facilities, and extensive work to promote the arts at a national level, examples of which include:

  • Establishing the public Gallery to encourage and support access to the arts, as well as creating a platform to profile Plymouth and South West-based artists to the world
  • Working in partnership with Jeremiah’s Journey, a charity that works with young people who have terminally ill parents during the period of illness and after the family bereavement
  • The founding of a city-centre all-through free school for 4 to 16-year-olds, creating a progressive continuum of creative learning and practice that extends from early years education to Masters level study and beyond, into professional practice

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.”

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 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


Wray Irwin

“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.”

Wray IrwinHead of University Centre for Employability and Engagement

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.”

Richard CobbettAssessment and Compliance Manager, Social Enterprise Mark CIC


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.


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

University of Winchester

The 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

“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.

Professor Joy CarterVice Chancellor, University of Winchester

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.”

Richard CobbettAssessment and Compliance Manager, Social Enterprise Mark CIC

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