Ashton Chief Executive Paul Roberts has been recognised for his outstanding work in shaping, guiding and championing the UK’s social enterprise sector by being awarded an honorary fellowship from Social Enterprise UK, the body that represents and promotes the sector.
Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK said: “We are proud to welcome this year’s fellows into our social enterprise hall of fame. They come from across the UK and have been leading the way in growing, supporting and promoting fairer and more sustainable ways of doing business. Whether it’s inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs or creating opportunities for people and areas in the greatest need, this year’s fellows are the embodiment of what makes our movement the inspiration that it is.”
The fellowship is awarded to those individuals who have not only taken their own organisations from strength to strength, but who have also played a pivotal role in championing and furthering the wider social enterprise movement. Current fellows include microfinance pioneer and Nobel laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus; CEO of Divine Chocolate, Sophie Tranchell and founder of the Big Issue, Lord John Bird.
Paul, who has headed up Ashton for the last 24 years, will be joining five other social enterprise pioneers in being awarded the fellowship this year.
As Chief Executive Paul has played a leading role in the organisation’s development from a small community group to a leading not-for-profit employer in Belfast.
“Ashton is committed to the development and growth of social enterprise in North Belfast and across the wider region. We embrace the vision of a diverse, thriving and truly impactful community that is enabled, supported and empowered. We work to achieve that vision every day in our meetings with partners and when we work innovatively with members of the local community to deliver outcomes that will not only support this generation, but generations to come. It’s a team effort at Ashton and together with partners I’m very proud to say we deliver quality support services that enable lasting and positive change in our communities.”
Commenting on the announcement of this year’s fellows Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK said:
“Social enterprises are showing us what the future of business can look like – they are more innovative, diverse and dynamic than traditional businesses and are contributing £60 billion to our economy. Their success is due in no small part to the strength of the individuals within it and we are fortunate as a sector to have such incredible people at the helm of our movement.”