At a drinks reception last night to celebrate Social Enterprise Day, Gateway Family Services (GFS) announced that it has become the first Birmingham-based winner of the Social Enterprise Mark, an independently evaluated ‘kitemark’ scheme which started in the south-west and has now gone national.
GFS, a Community Interest Company, was born out of a Primary Care Trust just over three years ago and is one of the fastest growing social enterprises in the region, currently employing over 140 staff.
It is a new kind of community health business and believes in putting health to work in local communities in order to address inequalities and deliver employment opportunities. By recruiting, training and accrediting people from disadvantaged communities to take up local employment opportunities in community health, GFS delivers health benefits as well as creating social and economic opportunities.
Cllr Sue Anderson, Cabinet Member for Adults & Communities, spoke glowingly about GFS’s work and said the award was a “fantastic achievement”.
Gateway CEO Vicki Fitzgerald said the award recognised the shared values and efforts of the whole GFS team. “It will give Gateway a competitive edge but we will also use the Mark to help promote the social enterprise movement in general,” she added.
The award is great news for Gateway, great news for Birmingham and great news for the sector and congratulations are due to Vicki, to Liz Carroll her deputy, and to the whole team at GFS. It will be fascinating to see how they utilise the Mark in their marketing and key messages in the coming months.