Highly Commended Best Charity/Social Enterprise – United Response

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We’re absolutely thrilled to have been awarded Highly Commended in the Best Charity/Social Enterprise category at the Richmond Business Awards 2015. It is a huge achievement and wonderful recognition of the hard-work of our dedicated staff.

The real benefit is the boost it will give to the people we support. United Response is a national disability charity working with people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and physical disabilities. In Richmond, as part of our supported services and outreach programmes, we run over 20 social enterprises and activity groups. Each group is set-up, co-run and led by the people we support.

Garden Gnomes, the social enterprise which achieved the commendation, consists of a team of multi-skilled horticulture enthusiasts, who offer an assortment of gardening services to a diverse mix of organisations and the public throughout Richmond. Currently they are known within the disability network, but this award will allow different audiences to hear about the Garden Gnomes and what United Response has to offer.

From small seeds, Richmond’s Garden Gnomes has grown into a thriving business that maintains gardens in the local community and provides real paid employment opportunities to young adults with a learning disability. As an organisation, our strengths lie in delivering meaningful work placements. This award shows that the hard work of everyone involved in our social enterprises has not gone unnoticed. It has given us greater confidence in continuing to develop more projects along the same vein.

The Garden Gnomes are extremely happy with their achievement and the award has given them an extra drive to continue their hard work. All those involved have seen their self-esteem and self-worth grow, all while developing work skills, which have allowed many members of the team to secure paid jobs.

The Garden Gnomes have become an important and valued part of their community whilst maintaining the gardens of libraries, day centres, supported living services and private residencies throughout the borough. We hope to spread the word about United Response’s work in Richmond, with the aim of extending our reach to more people and identifying local businesses who might be interested in employing some of the people we support. With this award, our social enterprises will have an even greater professional reputation within the area and in turn this could lead to future business.

We certainly plan on entering next year’s awards, with the hope of building on our success, and we have a few exciting initiatives in the pipeline.