A Blackpool community group is celebrating after being recognised for its work with vulnerable people in the town.
The inaugural Hirst Prize was awarded to His Provision which operates a food bank at Raikes Parade, a community cafe in the former Oliver’s Bistro on Central Drive, training courses, supported accommodation and a second-hand store, also on Central Drive .
The prize was presented to the community group for social enterprise excellence.
It was presented to the group members by Clive Hirst, of Social Enterprise Solutions, based at the Enterprise Centre on Lytham Road, along with a cheque for £500 which is a community share of the organisation’s profits.
The Hirst Prize was established in recognition of the work that Clive Hirst has done locally and nationally in social enterprise.
As the architect of the Social Enterprise Places initiative, which is a similar idea to Fairtrade Towns, Clive now travels the country encouraging social enterprises to work together.
Former teacher Clive said: “So much good work is done by social enterprises in Blackpool it was very difficult to choose a winner.
“However, the team and volunteers at His Provision are making real, tangible improvements to peoples’ lives.
“Social enterprise is a great way to do work for the social good, like a charity, but they are run along business lines so as to be more sustainable.
“National examples of social enterprise include Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurants, The Cooperative, The Eden Project, John Lewis and many more.”
Chris Phillips, a director at His Provision community interest company, said: “We’re delighted and honoured to receive the award in recognition of our work.
“There is so much need in Blackpool that community groups like ours are needed to support the hospitals, council and police, especially at a time when they are having their funding reduced.
“We plan to use the money to buy additional furniture in the community cafe so more people can enjoy the facilities.”
The aim of social enterprise is to do good work in society rather than making a profit so when Blackpool’s Social Enterprise Solutions have spare funds, they plough them back into the local community.