The outstanding work of MHFA England over the course of the pandemic 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 25-26 November and saw nearly 1000 attendees come together to celebrate the heroes of the last year.
MHFA England’s vision is to improve the mental health of the nation by training one in ten people in mental health awareness and skills. MHFA England reinvests its profits to give access to quality mental health training, and this year, it has focused on providing support to the NHS, frontline workers and Black-led organisations. MHFA England’s training seeks to create an unshakable belief that we can all talk freely about mental health and seek support when we need it.
At the Social Enterprise Futures event, MHFA England 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, Simon Blake, CEO, MHFA England said:
“We are delighted to have been recognised on the UK Social Enterprise Roll of Honour for our work on supporting people throughout the pandemic. I am so grateful to our staff, Instructor Members and the entire MHFA England community, whose enduring hard work and commitment has allowed us to move closer to our mission of training one in ten people in mental health and awareness skills, despite the challenges brought about by coronavirus.
“As we move into 2021, we will continue to focus on providing support to the NHS, frontline workers and Black-led organisations. We hope that our online training options – created in response to the new working paradigm - will empower people to talk freely about mental health and seek support at their time of need, wherever they are working. Whatever the new year brings, together we will continue to create a society where everyone’s mental health matters.”
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.”
To find out more about MHFA England visit https://mhfaengland.org/mhfa-centre/about/.