For the third time in a row, Forward Carers has been selected as one of this year’s Top 100 UK social enterprises in the NatWest SE100 Index. The list was selected according to several different criteria to reflect both business and impact issues – including financial performance, how thoroughly they measured and managed their impact, and their commitment to both climate issues and to taking positive action on equality and diversity. The full list can be found here.

On Monday 10 July the winners of the seven categories: Equality Award, Trailblazing Newcomer​, Social Business Champion, Impact Management Champion, Leader of the Year, Social Investment Award, Climate Champion will be revealed.

This year, our CEO, Simon Fenton has been nominated as a finalist for Leader of the Year Award. This award is for social enterprise heads who demonstrate excellent leadership, effectiveness and inspiration in taking the team on a mission-driven journey to success.

Anna Smith, Programme Manager at Forward Carers, explained why Simon was nominated:

“Simon’s lived experience of caring for a terminally ill school friend inspires us to keep working harder to achieve our mission to create Carer Friendly Communities.   

He’s a trailblazer for employee support in the health and social care sector. He believes staff should be rewarded and that will result in better outcomes for the unpaid Carers we’re here to support. This is evidenced by us having a staff wellbeing policy and through our recent pilot a four-day-week designed to improve staff work-life balance alongside our organisation outcomes.” 

Since 2014, Simon has increased the core team from two to 13 and the number of Carers who we support in Birmingham has grown from 4,000 to 22,000. The services we deliver has more than doubled and we have moved from funder-led output measures to develop our own Carer wellbeing impact measure. Through Simon leading our contract wins we continue to support Carers in Birmingham as well as Carers in Walsall and Dorset in addition to supporting Carers nationally with our Carer Friendly Photo ID Card.  

We have created a commercial training and certification offer for businesses that diversifies our income and helps us maximise our social impact by creating ‘Carer Friendly Workplaces’. In 2022, for every £1 invested in us, we saved the social care sector £11.56, you can read more about this here. 

Recently, we have embraced an innovative new partnership to reach ‘hidden’ Carers by supporting a text partnership with GPs to text patients to identify Carers and provide preventative support.   

Anna, added, “Whatever the outcome, Simon is a Leader of Year in our eyes, he is very forward-thinking, challenges us to improve and dishes out praise when it’s due. He is a pleasure to work with and his passion for supporting Carers inspires us all.”

The SE100 Awards were created by Pioneers Post more than a decade ago in partnership with NatWest Social & Community Capital, the social investment charity founded by NatWest bank. Their aim is to support the development and growth of social enterprise and mission-driven business across the UK through celebrating and sharing stories of success – and the challenges and solutions behind them.