Research proves Realise Futures creates ‘significant and demonstrable’ social value

Published: 20 July 2015 at 13:25

Andy Brady

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

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.

She added

“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.”

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.”