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07 September 2012

Northern Ireland’s Bryson Charitable Group is UK Social Enterprise of the Year

Belfast-based Bryson Charitable Group was named Social Enterprise of the Year at the second annual Private Business awards held last night at London’s Royal Opera House.

Bryson was one of 600 nominations for a Private Business award from across the UK, including leading national and regional social enterprise and charitable organisations.

The judges said Bryson’s kerbside recycling service was a vital community service as well as a commercially viable business.

The awards, which were set up in 2011 to celebrate the best in the private business sector and to underline its importance to the UK economy, were sponsored by PwC, in association with HSBC Private Bank and in support of the charity LEAP.

Founded in 1906, with the objective of combating poverty, Bryson is now the UK’s sixth largest social enterprise, with 670 employees and an annual turnover of over £30m.

The award was collected by Bryson’s chief executive, John McMullan, who said:

“I’m delighted that Bryson and Northern Ireland have been honoured tonight and that the judges recognise that social enterprises can compete with eh best of the private sector.

 “This award is for our staff, our volunteers and supporters and everyone who helped create and grow the Bryson Charitable Group.

“In the current economic climate, social enterprises play a vital role in economic regeneration and social inclusion and in bridging the gap between public sector provision and private sector delivery.

“Bryson is determined to be active in that role and this award demonstrated that the judges believe we are already making our mark.”

Bryson’s activities range from skills development for school leavers and the unemployed, to social care and an inner city water sports programme.

Bryson Recycling is now the region’s largest provider of kerbside recycling services.

Kevin MacAllister, partner and private sector leader with PwC in Northern Ireland, said:

 “These awards recognise the issues and challenges that social enterprises and private businesses face and the way in which they contribute to the economy.

“For Bryson to become the UK’s leading social enterprise is a recognition that Northern Ireland can compete with the best in the UK and that the best social enterprises can hold their own with the most competitive private sector organisations.

“I am delighted that this remarkable organisation has been awarded Social Enterprise of the Year; it will serve as role models to other companies and organisations in the region.”

Craigavon-based Almac was also short-listed for the Employer of the Year award, which was won by Instarmac Group plc, based in the midlands.

Almac employs 3,000 staff and exports to 32 countries, worldwide. With all profits reinvested and a significant annual investment in R&D, Almac’s commitment to staff and customer engagement is the legacy of its founder, the late Sir Allen McClay, and has already earned the company a cluster of international awards.

Commenting on the awards, Charlie Hoffman, managing director, HSBC Private Bank added:

“HSBC Private Bank is delighted to be the associate sponsor of the only national awards in the UK which celebrate Private Business.  By this I mean majority owned by private entrepreneurs, not corporates, not private equity.
  
“Most importantly Private Business deserves a bigger voice in the UK. Private businesses are an integral part of both the UK’s economy and HSBC Private Bank’s strategy. These Awards offer a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the sector’s companies and individuals.”

Contact details
Email: John Compton
Tel: +44 (0)28 9041 5663