Smart shoppers celebrate Social Saturday

As Michael Sheen knows, everyone benefits when we shop from social enterprises. Social Saturday is the annual campaign highlighting the good that they do

It’s always nice to give a little back. Social enterprises put the people and the planet first, taking profits and re-investing them in the things matter.

Instead of going into a shareholder’s back pocket, all the money made by the firm is put towards the likes of training, employment, housing or health, education and clean water. That seems like something worth shouting about.

For one day every year, social enterprises are thrust into the limelight on Social Saturday. Taking place on October 14, the annual campaign aims to raise awareness of the difference that these businesses make in communities on your doorstep and around the world.

Social Saturday, which is run by the national governing body Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) with government support, encourages firms to open their doors for the day, running events and inviting local politicians to find out more about what they do on a daily basis.

The initiative had the support from across the political spectrum when it was first launched in 2014, including backing from then-Prime Minister David Cameron.

Social enterprises contribute over £24 billion to the economy

Actor Michael Sheen and the Minister for Civil Society Tracey Crouch MP are among the people who have thrown their weight behind this year’s campaign.

So how can you make a difference?

Social Echo

The key message this year is that consumers can have a huge impact on the causes that are close to their heart by just making one small change to their spending habits – a point that SEUK patron Sheen is keen to point out.

“We have a choice about where we spend our money and how that money gets used,” he says. “We can choose to support social enterprises which make a difference on issues that matter to us.”

There are nearly 80,000 social enterprises in the UK and Social Saturday is the perfect time to familiarise yourself with how they contribute over £24 billion to the UK economy while employing more than a million people.

And The Big Issue is here to help with a special Social Saturday collection offering some of the best ways to give a little back.

Elvis and Kresse washbag

Stylish washbags (above) that make the most of old decommissioned fire hose to help support The Fire Fighters Charity, baby grows that raise funds for orphaned children around the world, and ethically-produced T-shirts (below) that generate cash in aid of homelessness charities – all the products in the collection feature a strong social echo.

Purchasing one of the products might be a small change to your online shopping habits, but can make a massive difference to another person’s life either in the UK or around the world.

Hopeful Traders T-shirt

Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK, said: “Social enterprises are using the power of business as a force for good.

“Through where they work, who they employ and how they operate, they are creating jobs for those who need them most, such as the long-term unemployed or the homeless. They are also protecting our environment and rejuvenating our communities.

“Social Saturday is a day to focus on the outstanding work they are doing across the country.”