For every £1 invested, the social value created by Realise Futures is £2.51



For every £1 invested, the social value created by Realise Futures is £2.51


Monday 20thJuly, 2015 - Research conducted by Anglia Ruskin University has demonstrated that social enterprise Realise Futures is creating 'significant and demonstrable' social value through its Suffolk enterprises.


The year-long study concluded that for every £1 invested in four of Realise Future's social enterprise businesses in Ipswich, £2.51 of social value will be created for service users, their parents and carers, Suffolk County Council, Shaw Trust, the state and society.


The findings are described as "conservative and, if anything, under-claim the benefits that Realise Futures bring to its stakeholders."


Commenting on the research findings, Realise Futures Chief Executive Officer Sarah Sharlott, said: "We always knew we created social value for people and society, but had never before done the analysis. This study shows what we knew ourselves to be true - that our social businesses provide a safe and happy environment where people who are disabled, and who face multiple barriers to participating in the world of work, are offered real jobs or therapeutic placements which save the state money.


"It demonstrates our social business model is working and reinforces our social mission of supporting individuals by creating opportunities for learning and work, underpinned by great careers advice.


"Now we want to disseminate this information to health and social care workers and to our strategic partners so they can show we really are able to put a figure on how much social value our services represent to them," she added.


Ms Sharlott said the company's vision is to replicate the social businesses and employment, learning and development and careers advice services it provides elsewhere, continuing to grow the business to help more people who are remote from the world of work.


Andy Brady, programme manager for Anglia Ruskin's 3rd Sector Futures, said: "Third sector organisations, whether charities or social enterprises, have increasingly come under fire, whether for levels of executive pay, aggressive fundraising, or spending on overheads. We're delighted to have helped Realise Futures demonstrate the impact they make and the social value they create. 


"Our report clearly shows that there is a positive return for society for every penny that is invested in Realise Futures, and that funding bodies and the public can have confidence that the services they deliver represent excellent value for money."


Elaine McCorriston, a social return on investment (SROI) accredited practitioner from a specialist unit based at Anglia Ruskin University, wrote the research report. She said: "These findings have relevance across the health and social care sectors so should be disseminated more broadly, such as to social workers and mental health teams to stimulate joint working and commissioning.


"Realise Futures' social business model delivers a valuable and appreciated service that is perceived by stakeholders as meeting their needs, and creates significant and demonstrable social value. Additional value provided by Realise Futures helps prevent people from falling into crisis and avoids the need for one-to-one social care provision, which incurs much higher costs.


"Real employment offered by Realise Futures - to those who previously found it difficult to find work - have a positive impact on people's outlook and wellbeing, resulting in health cost savings. The company's enterprises are striving towards a sustainable model of operation that will place less pressure on the public purse."



For further information, please contact:

Jane Sutton                                                                             Jamie Forsyth

Marketing and Communications Manager                             Press Officer

Realise Futures                                                                       Anglia Ruskin University

01473 238606                                                                         01245 68 4716                                     




Sarah Sharlott, Chief Executive Officer, Realise Futures

Andy Brady, Programme Manager for Anglia Ruskin University's 3rd Sector Futures


Notes to editors:


About the SROI research

Social return on investment (SROI) is a method for measuring and reporting on the social and environmental value that is created by an organisation, as well as the economic value. 


Findings are contained in the reportSROI Evaluative Analysis: Realise Futures Social Businesses, based on SROI research commissioned by Realise Futures and carried out by Anglia Ruskin University.


The research was conducted from 1st April 2013 to 31st March 2014 on four Ipswich-based social enterprises - Realise Futures Fulfilment in Whitehouse Road, Eco Furniture at The Drift, St Lawrence Café in Ipswich town centre and Growing Places in Claydon - which employed 60 disadvantaged and/or disabled people and offered therapeutic placements for 76 people.


Key stakeholders - such as service users, carers, customers, volunteers, statutory bodies such as the Department for Work and Pensions, the NHS, police and prison services and partner organisations such as the Shaw Trust and Suffolk County Council - were asked what value Realise Futures' social businesses delivers for them.


Taking all the data into account, including the value of services provided and benefits gained, the

SROI estimates that for every £1 invested in Realise Futures' social enterprises £2.51 is returned in social value.  42% of the value is achieved through outcomes associated with service users and 12% for parents/carers.


The analysis demonstrates Realise Futures' social enterprises help individuals most disadvantaged in the labour market to get into and sustain employment and by changing the lives of people who they engage with. This SROI provides evidence that social enterprise offers an innovative approach to public sector delivery with broad social outcomes for the individual and society as whole. 


Realise Futures

Realise Futures was launched as a Community Interest Company in November 2012 and is now one of the largest social enterprises in the East of England, employing around 400 people, 40% of whom have a disability, operating in the six counties of Suffolk, Essex, Bedfordshire, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.

The company is the largest provider of careers advice services in the East of England and supports adults into paid employment of 8 jobs per month of 16 hours a week or more, for people with disabilities or who are disadvantaged.

Realise Futures Learning and Development runs bespoke courses for businesses, offering training for small, medium and large employers across the Eastern region. It is a leading provider of adult education in Suffolk running courses on behalf of Suffolk County Council from seven centres in Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket, Lowestoft, Beccles, Felixstowe, Newmarket. It is graded as good by Ofsted (May 2014) for its provision of adult education and learning in Suffolk supporting 8,000 people every year.

Last year the company won the Trailblazing Newcomer Award run by the RBS SE100 Index, an online listing of social ventures ranked and scored according to their growth and social impact. It achieved a social impact score of 10/10, a score that puts the organisation in the top 3.3% of enterprises in the RBS SE100 index for measuring and demonstrating social impact.


Realise Futures six social enterprise businesses in Suffolk are:


Eco Furniture:This enterprise makes outdoor furniture made from 100% recycled plastic waste. In October 2013, The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) awarded it the Sustainability Award for the East of England.

Realise Futures Catering: As well as providing outside catering services, staff run six cafes in Suffolk. Two are in Ipswich - the Town Hall Tea Room and St Lawrence Café; two are in Bury St Edmunds - Nowton Park Café and Café Libra in Bury Library; there is one in Felixstowe- Café Libra at Felixstowe library; and there is one in Stowmarket - called @The Rec in Finborough Road.

Realise Futures Horticulture: Staff at Growing Places in Ipswich cultivate seasonal produce and vegetables in five poly tunnels. They run a vegetable box delivery scheme which is highly regarded, and sell produce they have grown on a stall at various venues every week. At Nowton Park in Nowton Road, Bury St Edmunds, staff specialise in horticulture and have developed a wide range of plants and shrubs ideal for all domestic and commercial gardens and grounds. Operating in Suffolk and Essex, grounds maintenance staff carry out all types of grounds care.

Poppy's Pantry: Based in Melton, Woodbridge, this enterprise is an eco and whole food shop, and also provides a snack box service to businesses.

Realise Futures Fulfilment: This growing business helps to fulfil the packaging requirements of a wide range of businesses in the county including well-known brands.

Realise Futures Signs and Print: Staff design, manufacture and install internal and external signs, pop up banners and exhibition stands as well as print services such as flyers, parish magazines, brochures and business cards.


Anglia Ruskin University


• Anglia Ruskin is a modern, global university with 35,000 students from 177 countries studying with us across four continents.

• 12 of our research areas across our five faculties were classed as world-leading by the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014.

• Our graduate prospects are among the best in the UK, with 9 out of 10 starting their career or in further study within six months.

• We have three main campuses, in Cambridge, Chelmsford and Peterborough.


• Anglia Ruskin University is the Times Higher Education's Entrepreneurial University of the Year.