Smile Together, a dental social enterprise based in Cornwall, was highly commended in the Health & Social Care Enterprise category at the UK Social Enterprise Awards, held last night at the Guildhall in the City of London.

The national awards organised by Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) shines a spotlight on the leading lights of the social enterprise community, recognising the outstanding achievements of businesses which trade for a social purpose.

There are approximately 100,000 social enterprises in the UK, contributing £60 billion to the economy each year and employing approximately two million people. They operate in nearly every sector from selling quality consumer goods to providing health and social care services.

Employee-owned Smile Together operate out of 14 centres across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly providing both NHS and private dental care.  The past year has seen Smile Together provide record levels of social impact through reinvesting surplus funds into the community.

Commenting on winning the award, Paul Critchley, Managing Director at Smile Together, said:

“We’re honoured to have caught the attention of the judges who recognised the impact we’ve made over the past 12 months. From saving the NHS budget over £300k with our Brighter Smiles oral health campaign, through to increasing access to dentistry for over 9000 local people and investing heavily in enhancing the clinical environment for our patients and people; it has been a tremendous team effort.”

Commenting on this year’s ceremony, Peter Holbrook Chief Executive of SEUK said:

“In the troubling, uncertain times we’re living in, social enterprises are a beacon of hope. They are showing that another way of doing business is possible, one rooted in the values of community, equality and fairness.

This year’s finalists are testament to the strength and diversity of the social enterprise movement. It can no longer be seen as a fringe part of our economy but rather as a sector creating real impact both socially and economically.

Social enterprises are showing us what the future of business can look like.”

The Awards were sponsored by Big Society Capital, The British Council, The Co-op, Deloitte, Employers for Childcare, GLL, Landmarc, Linklaters, NatWest, Pinnacle, Power to Change, Prospective, PwC, Santander and Unity Trust Bank. The Big Issue, itself a social enterprise was the official media partner.

Photo: (left to right) Joy Callendar, Nicola Barr, Rob Witton, Tracy Wilson and John Burchill.