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Social Enterprise Day: What it means for Five Rivers


The term Social Enterprise has been around for more than 20 years but still many people don’t understand what it means and how social enterprises benefit the economy.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy defined social enterprise as a “business trading for a social purpose. How does that relate to Five Rivers, a fostering, residential and educational children’s services provider?

Social purpose

First and foremost, our mission is to add real social value to society.  We can honestly say our service is “child-centred” – not just in terms of our psychological approach but as a commitment that is 100% real, practical and financial.



Nevertheless, we are a business:  we are not a charity – we do not solicit or accept donations, we don’t have trustees and we don’t employ volunteers. We employ people on the same professional and legal terms as any other provider. We run our accounts professionally and at the end of the day, we must balance our books. Our exacting customers are local authorities who demand a reliable service at a reasonable cost.

As with all good businesses we want to operate in the black – we aim to generate a trading surplus. In business terms, this may be called “profit” but we avoid the term because we never want to profit financially from our activities: if we have any money left over it is invested back into the business – in training, improved services and enabling opportunities for young people to get involved in projects such as Fixers – a national youth voice promotion scheme.


The Social Enterprise movement

Social Enterprises rarely have much money to invest in their brand. Brand equity is built by  delivering a great service or product over time – in our case 27 years. The voice of social enterprise can be drowned out by the corporate world so it is necessary for us to pool resources to get noticed. Organisations like Social Enterprise UK are doing a vital job in supporting the sector with Social Enterprise Day which promotes the fantastic impact social enterprise is making on communities. Governments and leading think tanks can and do recognise our economic and social value.


As part of this wider movement we are dedicated to supporting other social enterprises: we promote local and ethical buying to our staff and foster carers,  and when they understand the importance of Social Enterprises working together, they are keen to support fellow organisations which operate under the same non-profit driven ethos.


This Social Enterprise Day we urge you to search out a Social Enterprise in your local area and see if you can buy something from it. Visit the Social Enterprise website and search the membership list by location:


If you can’t find anything suitable then we encourage you to buy Christmas presents from this wonderful online Christmas catalogue:

Enquire Today

Do you feel you have the energy and true commitment to make a positive difference to a child’s or young person’s life?

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