Social Value UK Conference 2020 #Time to Act

At the end of January I was lucky to be sponsored to attend my first Social Value UK conference in London. #TimeToAct

It was really refreshing to hear about and have presentations from a number of fantastic examples of social value already being delivered across the UK. However it also highlighted there’s still so much could be achieved!
Examples were presented from diverse communities such as the London Borough of Islington, Bristol, Durham, Manchester and Nottingham. These areas of the UK might not seem on the surface similar to Cumbria but it soon became apparent that there was common ground. All were responding to issues such as poverty – financial and poverty of opportunities for some, tackling inequalities etc.

Winners of Social Value Awards

There were a number of worthy winners over the two days, these were my favourites:

Social Value and Decent Work – Radiant Cleaners & UnLtd

A Nottingham based social enterprise that has employed 30 people since starting in November 2017, paying them all the real Living Wage.

Radiant Cleaners offers individuals opportunities to overcome barriers to employment such as homelessness, mental health issues, criminal convictions etc
For 22 of the team this has either been the first time back at work after long-term unemployment or their
first ever job.

In their words “Social Value = Lives Changed”.



Social Innovation – Orbis 

A Social Value Marketplace based in East Sussex. A simple open online platform that matches the needs of the local voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE’s) sector to the latent capacity within local authority suppliers and the wider supply base.

Their vision is:

“For the public, private and third sectors to work together so we can combine our efforts and resources to collectively use these to improve the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of our residents and local communities.”


Sound and look familiar? Great recognition that, although still a “bright young thing” and constantly evolving, Cumbria Exchange is already amongst some of the most innovative platforms nationally for delivering social value.
But………we still recognise there’s ways we can improve, let’s hold that thought!

Final Thoughts

There were so many inspirational speakers to listen to and colleagues to talk to over the two days, that it’s impossible to share it all in this blog. But two things were in strong focus:

  1. The social value agenda is rapidly gaining momentum and positive outcomes are being delivered in our local communities.
  2. Everything we do can have an element of social value so……..
  • as a business look for opportunities, some might be obvious, others might require a bit of thinking outside the box!
  • as a non profit, think about your needs and how a business could provide support. Be clear and concise about what you’re asking for and why.


Anne Broome
Anne is the Cumbria Exchange Coordinator and the first port of call for all things Exchange. Read more from Anne