UK Social Enterprise Roll of Honour 2020


The outstanding work of Community Calling (founded by Sarah Scullion in March 2020) has been recognised at a special event bringing together the UK’s business community.

The Roll of Honour was announced at Social Enterprise Futures which took place between 25-26th November and saw nearly 1000 attendees come together to celebrate the heroes of the last year. 

Community Calling provides a community support matching service. The organisation’s goal is simply to get the right support to the right people at the right time. The team do this by using technology to enable support requests to be matched quickly via a central, digital platform.

Community Calling was formed as a volunteer-led initiative to coordinate urgent community support across Northern Ireland in response to the pandemic. The project quickly gained traction with support reaching thousands of people in just a few months.

Right now, the team at Community Calling are working to strengthen community cohesion and build a collaborative community network of individuals and organisations who share the same goal.

To date, the beneficiaries are those significantly affected by the pandemic, in particular those who are in the shielding group. However, as new needs arise, services are being extended to support people facing a multitude of challenges.

At the Social Enterprise Futures event, Community Calling’s work was celebrated along with all the others on the Social Enterprise Roll of Honour, by a session hosted by actor, comedian and director, Chris Addison. The Roll of Honour acknowledges those individuals and businesses which, over the course of an extremely challenging year, have demonstrated the strength, passion and resilience which is so characteristic of the social enterprise sector. Over 400 nominations were received from those within the social enterprise sector as well as supporters of the sector.

Social enterprises are businesses which trade for a social and/or environmental purpose and have been at the heart of community responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve been doing all they can to keep on serving the communities they are set up to support with many pivoting their business models to do so.

Commenting on being named as part of the Roll of Honour Sarah Scullion said:

Forming Community Calling was a bit of leap of faith for me. At the beginning of this year, I was all set to launch an event tourism start-up – a software platform specifically developed to make it easier to get to international events such as music festivals, conferences and sporting events. After years of preparation, unfortunately, that came to a standstill so I decided to use what I had learned to deal with a more immediate problem.

On the 15th March I had an idea, bought a domain and started building a website. Within 24 hours I had launched and people were signing up. I only intended to test the idea, I didn’t expect that what I had developed would actually work as the main system to solve the problem. Not only that but I was amazed by how quickly our team formed – Community Calling is really just a bunch of compassionate people multiplied by superfast technology.

We have been very grateful to receive funding from The Community Foundation NI and The National Lottery Community Fund as well as a tonne of support from software companies such as HubSpot, Slack, Zapier and GeoMapper, to name a few. We’d like to thank everyone who has supported us in achieving our goal.

Speakers at Social Enterprise Futures included former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who commented on the success and strength of the UK’s social enterprise movement, stating that “there is no route to the future that does not have social enterprise at its centre”. Other speakers included leaders of big business such as former CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman and economist, Kate Raworth who stressed the sheer extent to which business needs to change to build a fairer and more sustainable economy.

The event was organised by Social Enterprise UK, in partnership with social enterprise trade bodies across the home nations – Social Enterprise Northern Ireland, Social Enterprise Scotland and the Wales Co-operative Centre. 

Commenting on the event and the Roll of Honour, Peter Holbrook CBE, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK said:

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed and exacerbated the deep inequalities within society. When the pandemic passes, we need to seriously rethink how the economy works and the role of business within it. To truly build back better we need a real step change in the uptake and adoption of social enterprise models, which show that successful businesses can put people and the planet first. 

The Roll of Honour, announced at Social Enterprise Futures, shows just how important social enterprises have been to communities’ response to the pandemic. They’ve been pivoting their business models to create new goods and services, getting food and essential supplies to the vulnerable, manufacturing PPE and also working on the frontline of the pandemic delivering vital health and social care services. It is this spirit that needs to be harnessed when we eventually head out of lockdown, so we make sure we don’t go back to business as usual.


Social enterprises are businesses which trade for a social purpose that reinvest or donate over half their profits to further this social or environmental mission. They are an increasingly important part of the UK economy contributing £60 billion and employing 2 million people. Estimates are there are 100,000 in the UK. Research carried out by Social Enterprise UK, the membership body for the sector, shows they are outperforming traditional businesses when it comes to start-up rates, turnover growth and innovation. They are also ahead of the pack when it comes to workforce diversity and pay. For more information and statistics see Social Enterprise UK’s State of Social enterprise Report 2019 and the ‘Hidden Revolution’ report which showed the true scale and impact of the sector. 

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