Alston Moor in Cumbria is a small rural city, home to a number of social enterprises and community-owned businesses. The sector has a combined annual turnover of around £1 million.
Alston Moor in Cumbria has been named UK’s first Social Enterprise Town. The Social Enterprise Towns project is a pilot being run by Social Enterprise UK as part of its Social Enterprise Places project. To gain the social enterprise status a number of criteria have to be met, committing the town to promote the social enterprise message, and encouraging local people and local businesses to Buy Social.
Gareth Thomas, Shadow minister for civil society, has unveiled its status as the UK's first Social Enterprise Town.
The rural town has a social enterprise for every 55 households and a national reputation for taking community assets and running them for the benefit of the town's residents. The social enterprise sector employs around 50 people, with a further 180 volunteers also contributing to the running of the various enterprises. The sector within Alston Moor has a total combined annual turnover of over £1 m.
Alston Moor is home to many social enterprises that aim to provide a better quality of life for its residents, delivering retail, broadband, transport, leisure and tourism services, many of which would otherwise not be accessible by local people if they did not exist. Innovative services are often delivered in partnership with public sector organizations.
Alston Moor was the winner of the Social Enterprise Town Award at the 2012 Social Enterprise Awards, the sector’s flagship awards, organized by Social Enterprise UK.